Jewish Weddings 101 | Working with a Rabbi or Cantor
Did you know that under Jewish law and legally in most areas, Cantors are allowed to officiate weddings? This opens up options that many wedding planners may not think about.
Here are a few tips to help the working relationship between the wedding planner and Rabbi/Cantors run smoothly:
1. Before finalizing the wedding date check with the Rabbi/Cantor to make sure they are available. Scheduling conflicts are always a concern; but Jewish law dictates certain days and dates when Jews can’t marry.
2. When booking the Rabbi/Cantor it’s important to know the fee doesn’t include a rehearsal. It’s Jewish tradition not to have wedding rehearsals. Don’t expect the Rabbi/Cantor or couple to adapt to the way you usually do things.
3. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. If there is an element of the ceremony that intrigues you or you want to understand better, ask. The Rabbi/Cantor will appreciate that you are interested in learning.
4. Not all Jews practice the same way or have the same cultural traditions. Learn about the couple’s culture within Judaism, their level of observance and the level of observance practiced by the Rabbi/Cantors congregation before assuming things are the way you read about online.
5. More and more Rabbi’s/Cantors these days are performing interfaith ceremonies. If the couple is interfaith don’t assume immediately you should find a non-denominational officiant. Couples don’t have to hire a Rabbi/Cantor; but they don’t have to rule them out either.
6. Make sure the ceremonial objects needed during the ceremony are easily accessible. A small table under the Chuppah is perfect to put them on.
7. Make sure the table is out of the Rabbi/Cantors way. Placing it near the back of the Chuppah usually works well.
8. Be sure that the wine used during the ceremony is kosher.
9. To take number 8 a step further don’t use kosher for Passover wine. Yes, there is a difference. The Rabbi/Cantor will appreciate that you know this.
10. Give the Rabbi/Cantor a copy of the wedding day schedule. You don’t have to include all aspects of the ceremony; but you should include the names of people he is calling up, the music selections and processional/recessional order.
These are just a few things to help your working relationship with the Rabbi/Cantor. Like with all wedding professionals, listen to the Rabbi/Cantor and ask questions about details you don’t understand. It’s the best way to learn and will help you with future Jewish weddings.
What is your experience working with a Rabbi or Cantor?
This is a guest post by Sandra Aaron. Sandra owns Mindless Sophistication Events based in Toronto, Canada. Sandra has been professionally planning corporate, non-profit and social events since 1994. She has a passion for planning Jewish destination weddings; especially in locations where people wouldn’t expect to see a Jewish wedding.