The Jewish Wedding

THE JEWISH WEDDING

The Divine Presence shines upon all brides and grooms.
— A Yiddish Saying

The Jewish wedding ceremony is deep, beautiful and profound. Approached with sensitivity and intentionality, it can be one of life’s most peak experiences. Its traditions are complex, and rich in customs and possibilities. I have over 20 years’ experience educating and guiding couples through all parts of the Jewish Wedding in order for them to understand, appreciate, and ultimately create their own meaningful version of the amazing experience of Kiddushin (This is the Hebrew word for ‘wedding’; it implies a process of drawing increasingly close and creating a sacred boundary). Throughout the process of preparing for your wedding, I will be your guide, support and resource.

Some frequently asked questions . . .

We just got engaged!! How do we get started? What is the process?

Standing beneath the chuppah (wedding canopy) is a very intimate experience. You want to make sure you feel comfortable with your officiant. I also want to get to know the two of you! We’ll start with an initial meeting in order for a good mutual connection to begin. After this meeting, you can decide if you wish to continue with me as “your rabbi”!

leaf imageIf you decide to move ahead, we will schedule 3 or 4 planning sessions. In them, we will go over all the parts and customs of the Jewish wedding, and work together to create an individualized ceremony that feels just right. Along with explaining the customs, their origins, and their deeper spiritual significance, I can help you arrange your wedding party, figure out the processional and recessional and consult with you on music (Along with being a Cantor, I used to be a professional harpist and have played at hundreds of weddings before becoming an officiant!)

Most importantly, I can help you decide where you might like to include important personal touches, such as: ways in which the people dear to you can participate, and the inclusion of various poems, readings, music or other creative rituals/personal themes. For example, at a recent “beach wedding”, I blew a conch shell in place of a shofar, and the chuppah had seashells sewn into it. At another wedding, the groom’s mother (who flew in from Britian) brought the family “tea time” tablecloth with her on the plane to use as the chuppah. Weaving these additions into the traditional ceremony hold such personal meaning for a couple; I will welcome and encourage your creativity.

Should we get a ketubah? 

cottonwood tree leafI strongly encourage couples to consider this time-honored tradition. The Ketubah (“Jewish wedding contract”) has become, over time, the “mission statement” on which a couple’s marriage rests. While the more traditional Ketubot (plural) of the past were largely a legal document (assuring, by the way, a woman’s rights within the union!), the wording of most modern Ketubot now define your shared values and the promises you are making to each other. It is therefore highly beneficial to go through the process of finding or/creating just the right wording that clearly and accurately expresses your hopes, desires, and dreams that will become the foundations of your life together.

Here’s a good place to start your search for just the right ketubah: www.ketubah.com

What if only one of us is Jewish?

I do perform interfaith weddings, and will also, under the right circumstances, co-officate with clergy of other faiths. That said, I generally don’t commit to performing an interfaith wedding without an initial meeting. There is much to be explored and discussed to insure that an interfaith union will be well-equipped to handle both anticipated and unforeseen challenges that could unfold as the years go by.

Do you offer pre-marital counseling?

Yes! This is an option we can discuss at our initial meeting. As a trained and experienced Pastoral Counselor, I know well that an upcoming wedding can raise various personal, interpersonal and/or family systems issues. I can help you clear these up and/or find strategies for dealing with them before you get married. We will do all we can to ensure that your marriage gets off to the very best start. Pre-marital counseling is a wise investment. (For more information, please click on the Premarital Counseling page on this website.)

What is the cost for your services?

Most initial meetings, subsequent planning meetings, wedding rehearsals, and also pre-marital counseling sessions take between 60 and 90 minutes. My hourly fee for these services is $120, payable at the time the service is rendered.

My honorarium for performing a wedding ceremony is $750. The honorarium for co-officiating depends on which clergy is taking the lead.

If your venue is out of town, some reimbursement for travel time and expenses will also be added to the honorarium.

Should we also hire a cantor?

Since I am also a trained cantor, I am able to handle both aspects of your ceremony. Of course, if you have a beloved rabbi or cantor of your own, I am happy to take on just one of these roles and co-officiate!

Do you require a deposit?

Yes, I do ask for a small, non-refundable deposit to hold your date on my calendar.

What if we need to change our date?

I will do my very best to work with you, but can’t guarantee that I will be able to make the switch. If that is the case, I can help you find other available officiants.

Still have questions? Please feel free call me at [916] 442-7315,
or email me at info@rabbishulastevens.net.
Or, visit my CONTACT page.
I would love to hear from you.
Midtown Sacramento | info@rabbishulastevens.net | [916] 442-7315