What makes a wedding Jewish?
The rabbis of long ago, who codified Jewish law, made it very easy for Jewish couples to be joined in marriage. Only four things are necessary: the exchange of an item worth more than a few cents (the ring), the recitation of a ritual formula of consecration, two witnesses and the physical consummation of the partnership.
All the rest are traditions! The wedding canopy (chuppah), seven wedding blessings, breaking of the glass, wine, music, shouting "mazel tov!" and the rabbi or cantor leading the blessings are all optional.
The entire legal wedding service would fill only a page or two. The optional traditions are what give the ceremony color and flavor. In many communities, the customs or traditions have become so emotionally meaningful that many assume they are essential.
Our updated booklet, Weddings For The Interfaith Couple, walks you through all of the traditions for the big day, starting with two to think about in advance (choosing a wedding contract known as a ketubah and topics to consider when meeting with your wedding officiant).
A great overview and guide for all couples, interfaith or not, this booklet would make a great handout for introduction to Judaism classes, meeting with newly engaged couples, or helping friends and family understand the customs of a Jewish wedding.