Photographing A Jewish Wedding Tradition | The Art Of The Ketubah

By, March 27, 2013

A traditional Jewish wedding encompasses many traditions and practices from centuries ago. Typically, the marriage ceremony is held underneath a wedding canopy, which is called a Chuppah. Other traditions include reciting of the Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings), breaking of the glass underneath the groom’s foot, and the bride and groom being lifted up in chairs on the shoulders of their guests for the “Horah.”

But before any of these festivities can begin, the Ketubah, or Jewish wedding contract, is signed. The Ketubah is an integral part of the a traditional Jewish marriage because it spells out the groom’s responsibilities to his bride. Ketubot are ceremonial pieces of artwork, and often include colorful, hand painted designs chosen by the couple or their families.


The Ketubah is signed by the bride and groom, two witnesses, and often the rabbi, while close family and friends gather around to observe.

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Ketubot are designed by artists in a wide range of shapes and designs, and range in style from minimalist modern to very traditional.

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One aspect that many Ketubot have in common is color! The intricate artwork often intermixes all colors of the rainbow, creating an eye-catching statement piece. Take a look at a few Ketubot we have photographed at recent weddings!

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Ketubot are works of art, and often include meticulous hand cutting, shimmery paint and intricate details.

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In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, like this one at Estancia, the Ketubah is signed by two witnesses and read out loud under the Chuppah.


During the ceremony, a Rabbi typically states that “a marriage license is a requirement of secular law, and the Ketubah is the requirement of Jewish law.”


The same basic text has been used for several thousand years. Written in either Aramaic or Hebrew, the Ketubah features important information, such as the date, the couple’s English and Hebrew names and the ceremony location, all blended in with the artistic layout.

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The Ketubah is presented to the bride, and is later matted, framed, and displayed in a place of honor in the couple’s home. It is likely the first piece of art that the newlyweds own together!

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A La Valencia Wedding Coordinated by Cynthia Zatkin Events

By, November 27, 2012

As a La Jolla native, I adore the La Valencia Hotel, or “La V,” as we call it here. It is such a wonderful location with a historic 1920’s feel to it. With its landmark pink color and Spanish elements, the La V feels very old California. And since it also boasts an updated interior, and amazing food and service, it feels very modern at the same time.

When it came time to decide on a destination wedding venue, Debi and Scott decided on the La Valencia, and they couldn’t have picked a better location. The couple decided to do the majority of the planning themselves, and brought my company in for day-of coordination. Whether we are hired for day-of or full service, we always put the same energy and dedication into planning the wedding day, and we produce the best results possible within the time given.

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I met with Debi and Scott about eight weeks prior to their big day to do a walkthrough at the venue. After going through questions regarding the set-up and timeline for their event, I created a detailed timeline, to serve as the master document for all the vendors.

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Since the La V is so close to the ocean, the pair were able to jet down to the waterfront with their wedding party for a few photos. The green huts shown here line the walkway along La Jolla Cove park, and make for an adorable backdrop.

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Debi and Scott both come from Jewish families, and it was very important for them to have Jewish traditions incorporated into their wedding. For example, The chuppah (wedding canopy), was crafted from the prayer shawls of the couple’s respective bar and bat mitzvahs. The prayer shawls were sewn together to represent the union of families. Very creative and so personal! The day’s events included a formal Ketubah signing prior to the ceremony, as well as traditional Jewish customs interwoven into the ceremony itself.

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The reception took place in the Veranda room, where Debi and Scott chose to begin the evening with the Hora! The idea was to have the guests up and dancing before dinner even began. I love these photos of Debi and Scott surrounded by family and friends – and their expressions are priceless!

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Rather than a traditional wedding cake, this couple opted for a small cutting cake, and a table of fantastic finger desserts from the amazing Michele Coulon. Lately, I have had a lot of couples opting for dessert displays, and a small ceremonial cake to cut. I love the idea and the look!

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Debi and Scott made use of the La Valencia’s white linens, brought in gold Chivari chairs with matching chargers, and had very minimalist white flower centerpieces. It was classy but simple – and purposely so. I love planning according to the tastes and personalities of my individual clients.

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I really enjoyed working with Debi and Scott! They were great decision makers and really enjoyable people, and I love that they just wanted a super fun party. Since my dad and his family are all Jewish, I appreciated the traditions, and really enjoyed the energy of this Jewish wedding. Mazel Tov!

La Valencia Wedding with Cynthia Zatkin Events

Coordinator: CZ Events
Photographer: True Photography Wedding
Venue: La Valencia
Bakery: Michele Coulon Dessertier
Linens and Rental: Raphael’s Party Rentals
Disc Jockey: Tim Altbaum Productions

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