Our Wedding Day: The Ketubah-Signing Ceremony

Friday, June 22, 2018

Our wedding ceremony began at 4:30pm because, for whatever reason, my mother insisted that it was good luck to start on the half-hour. Before the ceremony itself, though, we had our ketubah-signing ceremony, which began at 4pm in a private room in the wedding venue. It was attended by only our parents, our rabbi, & our bridal party, along with a couple other relatives.

What's a ketubah, you ask? 

A ketubah is the Jewish wedding contract, signed by the couple, their rabbi, & two Jewish witnesses. Because we're an interfaith couple & our Jewish friends are all originally my friends, our rabbi suggested that we actually have four friends sign the ketubah - two of my Jewish friends, & two of Mike's friends, who aren't Jewish. That way, it felt truly representative of our love & our friendships & the balance of our relationship.

The bridal party arrived at the wedding venue on a converted school bus, listening to "The Finaal Countdown" the whole ride there. We took a few quick photos at this gorgeous orange wall next door, then headed into the venue for the evening to officially begin.

Our rabbi was my friend & colleague, Rabbi Michael Namath, who hired me for my first job at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism back in 2007. It was such an honor to have Michael officiate our ceremony - & then join in the fun as a regular old guest. This rav's got some killer dance moves!

He started out the ketubah ceremony by explaining it to everyone in the room & by having Mike & me sign our (non-Jewish) marriage certificate - the one issued by the State of Ohio.

Then, Michael led us in the ketubah ceremony itself.

It included readings from him, from Mike & me, & from each of our parents. I am so grateful that Mike's parents, who are Catholic, were willing to participate in our Jewish ceremony in this way. It meant a lot to us to have everyone in one room, taking a few deep breaths together before moving into the full wedding ceremony & reception.

And then came the signing. Mike & I both signed, & then Michael invited up our witnesses up. 

Mike chose his best men, Kevin & Jeremy, with whom he attended Catholic school; this was definitely their first time signing a ketubah!

My witnesses were my friend Rebecca, who was my only Jewish bridesmaid, & my friend Cara, who I first met in 2007 at the same job where I met Michael (& Rebecca, actually - can you tell I got along well with my coworkers at that job?!) The rest of our bridal party was on hand to watch & to celebrate with us.

After we'd all signed the ketubah, there was a lot of hugging & celebrating... & Michael announced that Mike & I were officially married! 

No matter what came next during the ceremony, he said, we were already married in the eyes of Judaism & the law. It was such a relief to hear that; it actually took away a ton of my anxiety as we prepared to walk down the aisle.

I am overwhelmed by the emotion in these sweet, intimate photos of Mike & me & our parents. You can just see so much love & happiness in our faces.

This ceremony was the perfect start to the day, & now our gorgeous ketubah hangs in our living room as an original piece of art that reminds us of our big day & our enduring love - of each other and our city!

To be continued...

All photos copyright The Oberports, our wonderful wedding photographers based out of Charleston, WV. 

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