Weddings will require you to wear the same suit that you would wear to any other wedding. However, in different parts of the world (like in Israel), weddings can be more casual, requiring only a nice shirt and slacks. When in doubt, ask, or wear something that can be modified by removing the jacket or tie. Jewish men always wear little round hats called a “yarmulka” or “kippah”. Most of the male guests will arrive wearing their own, but usually the wedding will also provide kippahs near the front for those that don’t have. If you can’t find one, ask someone if he has one you can borrow. Most guests will be happy to help locate an extra (and might even have one in their pocket!) so don’t be shy.

 

 

For the ladies, a modest outfit is key. The bride’s dress will be the expected white, but will cover a lot more skin than we see in most weddings today. The general principal is to wear something that covers your knees, elbows, and comes up to your collarbone. This does not mean that you have to look frumpy…au contraire! Take a look in your closet and you’ll be surprised to discover that you probably have something that works and will make you feel beautiful and elegant. Most dresses are perfect (so long as they are not too short) if you add a cardigan and a pretty scarf. Feel free to play with colour, but keep in mind that a simple dark sheath dress with beautiful accessories and heels can go a long way. Some sects of Orthodox Jews tend to shy away from very bright colours (think bright red or hot pink), but this is generally not something you will have to worry about as a wedding guest. Don’t fret too much if your outfit doesn’t follow the modesty guidelines completely. Orthodox Jews will notice that you made an effort and appreciate it (hey, we struggle to find everyday clothing that follows these guidelines while still looking beautiful.
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During this time you may also see either the mothers of the bride and groom or the fathers breaking a plate and handing out the pieces. It is a “segulah” (merit) for single guests to take a bit of the broken plate to help them in finding their own soul mates. This breaking of the plate by the two in-laws teaches us the depth and seriousness of the commitment that is about to be made; a broken plate can never be mended. The irony and beauty of this custom is that in the breaking of a physical object, two separate units (the two families) come to understand that they are now spiritually bonded and no longer separate On the men’s side, there is also a lot going on. This is the time that the groom will be signing the “ketuba”, which is a contract in which he vows to give to his wife and fulfill her needs emotionally, spiritually, and physically for the rest of his days. Often the men will also “daven” (pray) together, depending on what time of day it is. Use this reception time to take a look around and meet people. I would highly suggest finding a friendly Orthodox Jew and telling her (or him, if you’re a man) that this is your first time at a wedding like this and would love to hear some explanations. Most Orthodox Jews will be glad to share with you the history and meaning of our customs.

weddings will require you to wear the same suit that you would wear to any other wedding. However, in different parts of the world (like in Israel), weddings can be more casual, requiring only a nice shirt and slacks. When in doubt, ask, or wear something that can be modified by removing the jacket or tie. Jewish men always wear little round hats called a “yarmulka” or “kippah”. Most of the male guests will arrive wearing their own, but usually the wedding will also provide kippahs near the front for those that don’t have. If you can’t find one, ask someone if he has one you can borrow. Most guests will be happy to help locate an extra (and might even have one in their pocket!) so don’t be shy.

For the ladies, a modest outfit is key. The bride’s dress will be the expected white, but will cover a lot more skin than we see in most weddings today. The general principal is to wear something that covers your knees, elbows, and comes up to your collarbone. This does not mean that you have to look frumpy…au contraire! Take a look in your closet and you’ll be surprised to discover that you probably have something that works and will make you feel beautiful and elegant. Most dresses are perfect (so long as they are not too short) if you add a cardigan and a pretty scarf. Feel free to play with colour, but keep in mind that a simple dark sheath dress with beautiful accessories and heels can go a long way. Some sects of Orthodox Jews tend to shy away from very bright colours (think bright red or hot pink), but this is generally not something you will have to worry about as a wedding guest. Don’t fret too much if your outfit doesn’t follow the modesty guidelines completely. Orthodox Jews will notice that you made an effort and appreciate it (hey, we struggle to find everyday clothing that follows these guidelines while still looking beautiful – we know how hard it is!)