Wedding Traditions in Israel

If you’re attending a wedding in Israel or you are holding a destination wedding, you might be surprised to learn there are many wedding traditions in the country that aren’t found anywhere else. If you’re expecting to see a small wedding take place, you’ll be in for a treat – weddings of large sizes are very common in Israel, typically numbering 400 and more guests!

Weddings are typically held during the evening hours any time of the week. The bride will start getting ready during the mid-morning hours and the wedding will take place around dusk – the ceremony, also known as the huppa, begins around 7 p.m. The ceremony is done under a beautiful white canopy, which is secured up by four posts held by male family members. Throughout the wedding ceremony, there are many blessings and traditional prayers bestowed upon the couple by the Rabbi – it’s typically done in Hebrew.

Traditional elements of an Israeli wedding include:

  • Blessing of the wine
  • Exchanging the wedding contract, known as a Ketubah – the bride might also sign this, depending on the community
  • Placing the wedding ring on the pointing finger
  • Smashing a glass by foot

Once the ceremony is over, there’s a quiet time for the bride and groom to be alone and enjoy a few moments of privacy. This is known as the Yihud – no photographers or family accompany the couple into the private room, which gives the couple a chance to eat a few bites and relax before carrying on with the festivities!

Photo credit: Christy Whitehead Photography

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