Thursday, December 25, 2008

Sephardic Wedding Customs


I am sefardi (persian) however I grew up in a primarily ashkenazik community. What are the halachot as well as minhagim for sefardim as pertaining to weddings (perhaps as a contrast to askenazic halachot/minhagim)?
Thank You,


This seemingly simple question requires a rather complex response. There are several key distinctions between Ashkenazic and Sephardic practices in this regard.

Essentially there are eight differences:

1) There is no "badeqen", or veiling of the bride that is practiced in Ashkenazic circles.

2) We (Sephardim) do not have a "tish" before the wedding. We do not sign "tannaim". Many Sephardic Rabbanim actually perform the ketubah signing under the Huppah as part of the ceremony.

3) The text of the ketubah should be prepared according to Sephardic tradition rather than Ashkenazic wording.

4) The woman does not circle around the man when she arrives under the Huppah. Instead, she stops a few feet before the Huppah, her parents move on, and the groom comes out to walk together with her back under the Huppah.

5) The man puts on a brand new tallit under the Huppah and recites Sheheyanu (and Lehitatef betsitsit if it is daytime).

6) The Tallit is held over the heads of the bride and groom during the recitation of the Sheva Berachot

7) The text of the wedding Berachot is slightly different, using a Sephardic Siddur would solve that problem.

8) Many Sephardim do not practice "yihud", seclusion of the bride and groom after the ceremony. For this you should consult with a local Sephardic rabbi. I know within the Syrian communities there are differences in custom. Rav Ovadyah Yosef is against the seclusion. But some do it anyway.

9) We have much better food - Ghormeh Sabzi, Berengh, Tadigh, etc. :)

Off the top of my head, these are the basic differences. If you have any further questions, please feel free to ask.

Best Regards,

Rabbi Maroof


Anonymous said...

I would like to have a Sephardic wedding, as my fathers family is Persian and I grew up following Sephardi customs. My fiance is Ashkenazi and will do whatever I want. There is a Rabbi who is a family friend who I would like to do the wedding, but he is Ashkenazi. Can I ask him to perform a Sephardic wedding, or do I find a Sephardic Rabbi that I dont know?

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Anonymous said...

what is the prayer said by the rabbi at th jewish wedding. the bride and groom says to each other.

Anonymous said...

what is the prayer said by the rabbi at th jewish wedding. the bride and groom says to each other.

Anonymous said...

why don't sephardic jews wear a veil at the ceremony??

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Anonymous said...

Regarding the tallit, is there such a custom/halacha that the bride gets the tallit for the groom?

Unknown said...

Regarding the tallit, is there such a custom/halacha that the bride's family gets the tallit for the groom?

Anonymous said...

She can. There's no bedeken, thats an Ashkenazic custom. She can veil herself or have someone else do it.

Anonymous said...

Also the bride and groom don't fast and the groom does not wear a kittel. The kittel is of Ashkenazic origin and 100% foreign to the Sephardim wedding. The wedding day is a personal Yom Tob for the bride and groom and so they are forbidden to fast.
As for the seclusion room, this is a fairly new trend and seems to be rooted in Sephardic men studying in Ashkenazic schools or from rabbis with an Ashkenazic education and copying the Ashkenazim. H' Yosef had come out in VERY strong terms against it as it is 100% foreign (traditionally speaking) to the Sephardic culture. The other source seems to be Sephardic men marrying Ashkenazic women who may insist on Ashkenazic customs at the wedding or the groom wanting to include her customs at the wedding. Many of these intercultural issues have to do with recent graduates from Yeshivish and seminaries in Israel where students are often indoctrinated to insist on certain practices and where many Sephardim are acculturated to emulate Ashkenazic customs as somehow preferable to their own. It's not universal and many, many Sephardim still keep Sephardic practices, but the "Yeshiva world" seems to be eroding this.