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What do I need to make a Jewish wedding?

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3 Answers

up vote 6 down vote accepted

A marriage license from your state.

Two witnesses. They must be mitzva-observant, adult Jewish men, not related to each other or the bride or groom, nor otherwise disqualified due to incapacity or unsavory conduct.

A rabbi who knows what he's doing. While in theory, all that's needed is two witnesses, a rabbi should be there to make sure everything's done correctly. He also is needed (in the USA) to sign your state marriage paperwork. (The state's definition of rabbi varies from state to state, by the way.) The rabbi can be one of the witnesses.

A ring. (Could actually be another item of intrinsic value, but usually a ring). Usually gold, can be platinum (or even silver?) if necessary, but make sure everyone understands what it is and what it's worth. Should be plain and unengraved (well often they have a small engraving inside, something like "14K", that's not a problem.) A simple design that doesn't cost any more and they can mass-produce is okay (so it can be plain-plain, or have a milgrain edge or the like). (Heard from Rabbi Bleich.)

A Ketubah. Need to have the right names and such to fill it out. Here's one you can download; here are some others. Oh, and a pen. Preferably a permanent, fade-resistant one.

A Tenaim document is optional, though traditional. While the couple can determine asset allocation any way they see fit, a specialized prenup regarding Halachic divorce is strongly recommended (and required by many rabbis).

A cup of wine, for making blessings. White wine is increasingly popular as it's less likely to stain. Mevushal is popular as that's one less thing that can go wrong. A book containing the blessings -- the rabbi should have that.

The rabbi, groom, best man (if you have one, or any buddy of the groom's who's handy), or someone else nearby should have a handkerchief.

A chupa. The easiest version is just a Tallis and 4 poles.

Whenever possible, ten adult, Jewish men to be present for the event.

A cup (for breaking), a plate (for breaking), and some ashes (for putting on the groom's head).

Oh yeah; it would be nice if you had a groom (for putting ashes on), and a bride (for putting a ring on). Details, details ...

Anything else I'm forgetting?

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Yeah, you've forgotten the actual bride and groom! :) –  Alex Jun 22 '10 at 19:09
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What about the requirements of the witnesses: Not just Jewish, but observant as well. –  Yahu Jun 22 '10 at 23:43
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Hagaos YS

Two witnesses-And not people who are related, who eat in the street,or gamble and all the other laws of witnesses list of disqaulifications

A ring- Shava Prutah

A Ketuba- Reb Moshe Feistein text is the perfered in America

A cup of wine, for making blessings. White wine is increasingly popular- Some people want only red speak to your Rabbi

rabbi- That knows Gittn and Kiddushin (yodeah Tiv Gittin Ukiddushin)

"Best MAN"- IS NOT NEEDED MIGHT EVEN BE CHUKAS HAGOYIM

The tradition of a best man has its origin with the Germanic Goths, when it was customary and preferable for a man to marry a woman from within his own community. When women came into short supply "locally," eligible bachelors would have to seek out and capture a bride from a neighboring community. As you might guess, this was not a one-person operation, and so the future bridegroom would be accompanied by a male companion who would help. Our custom of the best man is a throwback to that two-man, strong-armed tactic, for, of course the future groom would select only the best man he knew to come along for such an important task

and while i am at it I think the Tux is too (now I have started something let the commenting begin)

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and back to the tux makes everyone look like a Penguin way more that Yeshivsh dreesing. –  SimchasTorah Jun 23 '10 at 3:43
    
YS -- the Gemara talks about the bride and groom having "shushbinim", close friends who attend to them. The bride and groom also each have a "shomer", a good friend who escorts them. When I said "best man", I simply meant a good friend's of the groom who's likely to be nearby. You can call him whatever you like. As far as chukas hagoyim, see mi.yodeya.com/questions/537/… and mi.yodeya.com/questions/535/what-makes-something-chukat-goyim ; a tux is decorative and not pagan, I don't see how R' Moshe would prohibit it. –  Shalom Jun 23 '10 at 12:10
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Here is another answer from the Yediot I am not sure if he is self hating or just doing satire but an interesting read:

Unofficial guide to haredi wedding

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