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Reform Jewish Wedding Program

Religious elements or traditions can enrich a wedding ceremony, but determining what to include in the program to reflect your beliefs as a couple can be difficult. We've gathered sample programs from several religions to get you started. Use them as a guide and add your own spin to make your wedding day a truly personal affair.

Front Cover

Wedding of Bride's Name and Groom's Name
Date
Temple Name
City, State

Inside Page 1

The Wedding Processional
Rabbi
Cantor
Name         Bride's grandmother
Name         Bride's grandfather
Name         Groom's grandmother
Name         Groom's grandfather
Bridesmaids
Name         Relation to the Bride
Name         Relation to the Bride
Name         Relation to the Bride
Name         Relation to the Bride
Name         Relation to the Bride
Woman of Honor
Name         Relation to the Bride
Groomsmen
Name         Relation to the Groom
Name         Relation to the Groom
Name         Relation to the Groom
Name         Relation to the Groom
Name         Relation to the Groom
Best Man
Name         Relation to the Groom
Groom's Name will walk to the huppah with his parents, Father's Name and Mother's Name
Bride's Name will walk to the huppah with her parents, Father's Name and Mother's Name

Optional Jewish Reform Ceremony Explanation
Inside Page 2-3

Wedding Ceremony
A Jewish wedding is not merely between two individuals, or their families and circle of friends; it is a cause of celebration for the entire Jewish people. A wedding is not just about two people finding happiness; it's more about the potential of this couple to make the world a better place by the virtue of being together as one.
It is a Jewish belief that when two people who are destined for each other get married, they complete one another.
The marriage of Bride's Name and Groom's Name was blessed at Temple Name on Date in a ceremony called aufruf during which Bride's Name and Groom's Name were called to the bimah and given honors before the Torah.
Prior to the ceremony, the civil marriage license was witnessed and signed by Witness' Name and Witness' Name. The ketubah (Jewish marriage document) was witnessed and signed by Witness' Name and Witness' Name. The ketubah was traditionally a revolutionary concept, protecting the bride's rights and obligating the husband to look out for her welfare. Today, the ketubah reflects the equality of bride and groom and reflects their mutual obligations to each other.
The wedding takes place under the huppah, symbolic of the home Bride's Name and Groom's Name will build together. The huppah has no walls; the marriage begins with just a roof, and Bride's Name and Groom's Name will build the walls with love and friendship, based on a foundation of respect and trust. The huppah is open on all sides so that family and friends will always feel welcome.
A blessing of krikat erusin, or betrothal, is recited over the wine, followed by another in praise of God, who brought Bride's Name and Groom's Name together. Bride's Name and Groom's Name drink from the same cup of wine to represent the life that they will share from this day forth.
Next comes the giving and accepting of rings. Jewish custom requires that wedding bands be made of a single piece of metal with no adornments breaking the circle, representing the wholeness achieved through marriage and the hope for an unbroken union. Groom's Name will place the ring on Bride's Name's right index finger to represent that marriage is an act of law, saying, “Behold, you are set apart for me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.” After reciting his vow, he will transfer the ring to its permanent place on her left ring finger to represent that the marriage is an act of love. The bride does the same to the groom. The ketubah is then read and presented to Bride's Name. After the chanting of the seven marriage blessings -- shva b'rachot -- the couple drinks from a second cup of wine.
At the conclusion of the ceremony, Groom's Name will step on a glass and break it. This ancient practice has many interpretations. One of the most traditional is that it reminds us of the destruction of the holy temple in Jerusalem and the many losses that have been suffered by the Jewish people. Another explanation is that love, like glass, is very fragile and must be protected because, once broken, it is hard to put back together again. A more contemporary interpretation is that the sound travels through time and space to share their joy with all who have loved them, both those who are separated by distance and those separated by time. Immediately following the ceremony, Bride's Name and Groom's Name will leave the huppah and spend their first few minutes as husband and wife alone together in a private place. This is called yichud, or seclusion.
-- Special thanks to Rabbi Paul Swerdlow, Northport, New York