Wedding Information and Frequently Asked Questions

Is Rabbi Sarah officiating during Covid? How does that work?

Currently, Rabbi Sarah is performing ceremonies for life cycle events over Zoom. Events booked for spring/summer/fall 2021 are tentatively planned to take place online or in person, pending CDC guidelines and safety concerns about public gatherings.

All meetings are conducted over Zoom until further notice.

For Zoom wedding ceremonies, Rabbi Sarah is available for a "tech rehearsal" to test out the audio/visual for the ceremony.

If any events do take place in person during the pandemic, all CDC guidelines and precautions must be followed including wearing masks, outdoor ceremonies where possible and social distancing.

How many wedding meetings are they? Where are the wedding meetings?

Rabbi Sarah usually does 5 pre-wedding planning meetings which cover a combination of premarital counseling and ceremony planning. Rabbi Sarah will review all aspects and rituals that are part of a wedding ceremony and provide options for personalizing the readings and blessings or other ritual aspects. Rabbi Sarah will also lead the couple in pre-marital counseling exercises (these are fun!) on topics such as communication, conflict resolution, and interfaith decisions and family dynamics.

The meetings are approximately 1 hour long and will take over Zoom video conference due to Covid-19 precations. Meetings are scheduled via Rabbi Sarah's online calendar scheduling platform. The meetings are wonderful way for Rabbi Sarah to get to know the couple and support them throughout this process.

Does Rabbi Sarah attend the rehearsal? Will we have a chance to practice the different rituals for the ceremony?

  • The details for the ceremony will be discussed and confirmed on a shared wedding script. All information will also be provided to the Wedding Coordinator after the final wedding prep meeting so that the coordinator has all information for the rehearsal.
  • Rabbi Sarah does not usually attend the rehearsal which is mostly for the wedding party to practice the processional and recessional and/or any 7 Blessing readers to practice. The last wedding prep meeting is usually a final run through so the couple can practice the processional, circling, ring exchange and recessional with Rabbi Sarah.
  • Please also share the information below regarding the items needed for the ceremony.

What rituals items are needed for the wedding? Who provides these?

These items are provided by the couple or wedding coordinator:

  • Ketubah in Temporary Frame, with pen - Ketubah should be ordered at least a month before the wedding. Many come with a pen or can use a fine tip sharpie Ketubah can be matted or temporarily framed but be sure that the glass/plastic is removable for signing. If Ketubah arrives rolled in a tube, be sure to unroll and lay flat weeks prior to the wedding.

  • Chuppah - 4 poles and cloth cover, open on the sides. Can be built, bought or rented by the couple or done by the florist. Cover can be any fabric of significance (e.g. a quilt, talis/prayer shawl, or table cloth from the family) or any simple cloth. If you want a special one, look on Etsy. If you're in DC, MD or VA, check out http://chuppahpoles.com/ to rent. For more info about putting one up yourself, check out The Creative Jewish Wedding Book: A Hands-on Guide to New & Old Traditions By Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer for the chapter on building a chuppah (see pages 95-105).

  • Wine Glasses - there are two times in the ceremony when we lift the wine cup so you may choose to use glasses. Can be a kiddush cup or any special glass or drinking vessel, perhaps one from each side or one from the past and one you buy together for the future. Please let Rabbi Sarah know if there is special significance.

  • Glass to stomp on - Can be an old fashioned light bulb which makes a good pop, wrapped in cloth bag or cloth napkin. Can also order special glass to break and be remolded into a ritual object. Look online.

  • Rings - place both in a ring box for safe keeping to hand to Rabbi Sarah in the ceremony. Can be given to a member of wedding party or to Rabbi Sarah prior to ceremony.

  • Kippot/Yarmulkes (Optional) - look online or discuss with Rabbi Sarah with questions

*Wedding coordinator or venue should provide:

  • Small table under the chuppah for the ritual items w/white table cloth to cover.

  • Optional: easel for displaying Ketubah near chuppah during the ceremony. Often the venue can provide.

  • Coordinator should place table and ritual objects under the chuppah prior to the Ketubah signing and ensure cups are filled with white wine or grape juice.

*Wedding Coordinator should put the marriage license and Ketubah in the Ketubah signing room prior to Ketubah signing for Rabbi Sarah to review/fill in.

These items are provided by Rabbi Sarah

  • Talis/prayer shawl for wrapping the couple during the ceremony unless the couple has one they want to use.

  • A copy of the ceremony for the Wedding Planner/Coordinator

  • If you do not have any of the items above, please discuss with Rabbi Sarah to provide.

What other information do I need to know for the ceremony?

  • Microphones - If possible, a lapel mic is preferred so that Rabbi Sarah can be hands-free during the ceremony. An additional handheld mic or standing mic can be used for the 7 Blessing readers or additional readers during the ceremony.
  • 7 Wedding Blessings - At the time in the ceremony, Rabbi Sarah will invite all 7 Blessing participants to come up to offer the blessings. Rabbi Sarah will provide a copy of the readings for them to use. Please notify participants in advance what they are reading and what number reader they are. Once 7 Blessings are complete Rabbi Sarah will thank them and they will return to their positions or their seats. Option to use a standing mic or handheld mic for readers. May have more than one reader for each blessing. Other options: to have a standing microphone placed in from or to the side of the chuppah for readers to go up to.
  • Circling: Once escorted down the aisle, partner 1 will wait for partner 2 in front of the chuppah until partner 2 arrives. Then each partner will circle the other partner counterclockwise. This is an ancient tradition symbolic of sealing protection around another person. Circling is done in front of the chuppah as an extension of the processional. Options to for circling 7 times or 3, 3, and 1 (each circling 3 times with 1 as a “do-si-do” or around the interior or exterior of the chuppah together). Rabbi Sarah will review these options and how to do it. Once the couple has completed the circles they will come under the chuppah and stand in front of Rabbi Sarah. Music should continue through the circling. Rabbi Sarah will wait for the music to fade out before inviting guests to be seated and offering the opening remarks.
  • Sides for the Wedding Couple - In a Jewish Wedding the groom is on the left and the bride is on the right (when facing the chuppah) which is different from most weddings in movies and most Christian weddings. However, it is up to the couple where they would like to stand during the ceremony.
  • Standing at the Chuppah - some couples choose to stand under the chuppah by themselves with Rabbi Sarah. Some choose to have the wedding party standing to the sides of the chuppah (on a diagonal, facing the audience and slightly inward towards the couple). Some choose to have parents and/or family members stand at the sides of the chuppah (forming the sides of the chuppah). These are options Rabbi Sarah will review with you.