At what point is a man allowed to touch a woman that he has just married. Can they touch after he has placed the ring on her finger and said "harei at..." before the 7 blessings are completed? Are they allowed to hold hands on the way to the yichud room? Can they touch after having yichud even if the marriage has not yet been consummated?

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    If the answer to your last question was "no," they'd be in a bit of a Catch-22, wouldn't they?
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:04
  • What does married have to do with touching?
    – Double AA
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:08

Shulchan Aruch (EH 20:1) rules that it is biblically forbidden to receive pleasure from bodily contact with anyone who is an Ervah (ie. forbidden to marry).

So, if the bride is a Niddah, than no one may receive pleasure from bodily contact with her. If the bride is not a Niddah, than until she accepts the ring anyone in the room can receive pleasure from bodily contact with her. Once she accepts the ring, she becomes Erva (אשת איש) to everyone aside from the groom and thus everyone else is forbidden to receive pleasure from bodily contact with her, while the groom is not.

Independent of this biblical prohibition, there are general issues of Tzniut/Hirhur (avoiding licentious thoughts) which have to be adhered to always by all (see for example EH 21).

  • +1 for making clear what the issues are. You could improve this answer by expanding on your last point to directly address the part of the question specifically about holding hands on the way to the yichud room.
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:42
  • @IsaacMoses Tzniut issues are always community subjective. Some might say that tapping her on the shoulder, shaking her hand, giving a mazel tov hug, or taking 'intimate' pictures are not an issue. Some will probably differ on any or all of those. There aren't rules.
    – Double AA
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:44
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    @DoubleAA perhaps what you mean to say is that there are not universal rules accepted by klal Yisrael.
    – yoel
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:46
  • @yoel I guess I meant there aren't precise and specific legal rules. There are general rules which I think are universally accepted.
    – Double AA
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:47
  • @DoubleAA Why not say that in your answer?
    – Isaac Moses
    Feb 14 '13 at 17:47

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