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Timing and Location of a Jewish Wedding
Return to the Guide to Wedding Ceremonies for Interfaith Couples.
One of the difficulties of planning a Jewish/interfaith wedding is that, according to traditional Jewish law, weddings are forbidden on the Jewish Sabbath, which lasts from sundown Friday night to nightfall on Saturday night. Even in the more liberal Jewish movements, such as Reform and Reconstructionist, Jewish weddings are not permitted on the Sabbath. However, rabbis and cantors who do officiate at interfaith weddings often are willing to officiate at weddings that begin late Saturday afternoon. Some will officiate any time of the day on Saturday or Friday night. To determine the time that the Jewish Sabbath begins and ends, visit http://www.chabad.org/calendar/location.asp?aid=6226.
Typically, Jewish weddings are held on Saturday night, often beginning with a Jewish ritual service called Havdalah, which marks the end of the Sabbath. Jewish weddings are also often held on Sunday afternoon or any other day of the week.
Jewish weddings are also traditionally forbidden on all the major Jewish holidays, which often begin the evening before they are listed on many calendars. According to tradition, the Jewish day begins at sundown and ends at sundown, so be careful to remember this when consulting a calendar, Jewish or secular. Holidays during which weddings are traditionally forbidden include Rosh Hashanah (two days, typically September or October), Yom Kippur (one day, September or October), and Passover (eight days, March or April). Most rabbis and cantors will also not officiate at a wedding during Shavuot (one day, May or June) and the first and last days of Sukkot (September or October). Also, traditionally, Jewish weddings are not held during the three-week period between the 17th of Tammuz and Tisha B'Av (July or August) and during the 40 days between the second day of Passover and Shavuot, with the exception of the 33rd day in between, although more progressive rabbis will officiate during these periods. For a full schedule of Jewish holidays in any given year, visit www.hebcal.com.
Weddings are separated from joyous holidays so as not to minimize the joy of either the wedding or the holiday by linking two celebrations in one. Weddings are not held on mournful holidays, like Yom Kippur, because the joy of a wedding and the sobriety of the holiday do not mix.
Jewish/interfaith weddings may occur anywhere. Some people hold them in their family's synagogue, and weddings are often held in banquet halls and out of doors. If your ceremony is co-officiated, it is important to clear wedding cites with your officiants prior to contracting for a wedding. Some other traditions will require ceremonies to occur in oors or in a house of worship. Also, some clergy, Jewish and others, will not officiate in another tradition's house of worship or in an interfaith chapel where other tradition's symbol's are present.