Last month I officiated a ceremony at The Boston Harbor Hotel for Scott and Irit. Irit is from Israel and wanted to incorporate some Jewish traditions in her wedding ceremony. One of the things they chose was a ketubah.
Wikpedia defines a ketubah (pronounced keh-TOO-buh) as “a special type of Jewish prenuptial agreement. It is considered an integral part of a traditional Jewish marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom, in relation to the bride.
“In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, the ketubah is signed by two witnesses and traditionally read out loud under the chuppah. Close family, friends or distant relatives are invited to witness the ketubah, which is considered an honour. The witnesses must be halakhically competent witnesses, and so cannot be a blood relative of the couple. “
Today, a ketubah is usually a work of art signed by the Bride, Groom, Officiant and two witnesses stating the couples’ vows to each other. Scott and Irit had me read their ketubah and it was prominently displayed during the wedding ceremony.
When the ceremony is over, the ketubah is prominently displayed in the Bride and Groom’s home. While the ketubah has its roots as a Jewish wedding tradition, it has become embraced by couples from all different religions and cultures.
My fellow Justice of the Peace, Carol J. Merletti (www.WeddingofYourDesire.com), created a ceremony she calls the “Wine, Box, and Love Letter Ceremony” As Carol says “Basically the JP or officiant asks the couple getting married to find a strong wooden box that will hold a bottle of wine and two wine glasses. The couple is then asked to each write a letter to one another, expressing their thoughts about the good qualities that they found in their future partner and their reasons for falling in love with each other. Under no condition can they read each others letter. They are to seal them and put them in the box with the wine and glasses. Upon finalizing the wedding ceremony, the officiant will announce to the guests that he / she had asked the couple to write letters to each other and put them in the box with the wine and glasses. The officiant will explain that should the couple ever find their marriage in serious trouble, before making any irrational decisions, they must open the box, drink wine together, and read the letter that they wrote to one another to reflect on why they fell in love with each other in the first place. The hope is that there will never be a reason to have to open the box, unless of course, it is for a 10th year anniversary!”
In May, I officiated Adam and Ashley’s wedding ceremony at the Sculpture Park at DeCordova Museum in Lincoln. Adam has a wicked sense of humour and instead of using the traditional wooden box as Carol suggests, chose to use the metal and glass box that typically contains a fire extinguisher.
Choose to make your ceremony unique by adding your own creative touches!
One of my favorite free outdoor wedding venues is the Gazebo on Lake Quanapowitt in neighboring Wakefield, Mass. Ornately detailed, the gazebo is reminiscent of the Victorian era. One of the other advantages of using the Gazebo is that is has a roof to protect you from the elements in case of rain or even snow.
Although the Town of Wakefield does not charge a rental fee for the Gazebo, it's a popular spot located in a busy park. I strongly suggest you call the Town Clerk's office at (781) 246-6383 to see if any events are being held on the Lake on your wedding date. Also, please bear in mind that you can't reserve the Gazebo so it's "first come, first served". If another wedding party is using the Gazebo be prepared to wait until they leave.
Having said that, the Gazebo is a beautiful spot for your outdoor wedding ceremony and best of all, free.
This past week I officiated a ceremony at The Hawthorne Hotel in Salem, Mass. that included a handfasting ceremony. Brad and Christina chose to incorporate this ancient Celtic ritual in their ceremony. In this handfasting ceremony, a tartan scarf was draped over the couples' hands and a series of questions where they promised to share the joys and pains of marriage were directed to the couple. After each answer the scarf was folded around their hands and finally tied in a knot after the last question. This is where the expression "tying the knot" comes from. It made for a great visual presentation and added to the uniqueness of their ceremony.
Photo courtesy Amorephotography.com
Unity Ceremonies are not only for a joining together of two individuals but may also depict a merger of families, cultures and traditions. Our Bride Peggy hails from Newfoundland where the drink of choice is SCREECH, a dark and flavourful rum (you can imagine how it got it's name) and so it is most appropriate that what is also called "Newfie Holy Water" was included as part of their wedding ceremony!