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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