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Under a Chupah, a Baal Simcha (in today's times) has a number of Honors (כיבודים) to give out. Here's a list of them (possibly not complete):

  1. מסדר קידושין
  2. 2 עדים (witnesses)
  3. קריאת כתובה (reading of the Kesubah)
  4. First 2 ברכות
  5. 3rd ברכה
  6. 4th ברכה
  7. 5th ברכה
  8. 6th ברכה
  9. Last Bracha

My question is, what is the correct order of importance* of these positions? In other words, sort the above 9 items in order of which should be given to the most important person.

* By "importance" I specifically mean in terms of how much of an honor it's considered to give it to someone.

  • Do you want us to edit in more options to the list? (which you say is incomplete) – Double AA Apr 8 '14 at 17:25
  • Is this limited to "under a chuppa"? I would consider Eidei Ketuba, Eidei Bedekin and Eidei Yichud to be "big" kibbudim too. (Eidei Tenaim and reader of Tenaim exist too, but I don't think it's really such an honor to do something irrelevant.) (Note some actually have the Eidei Ketuba sign under the chuppah and still others have them come up and properly witness the passing of the Ketuba to the bride) – Double AA Apr 8 '14 at 17:26
  • Some split Brachot 1 and 2 between two honorees, and others give all 7 to the same honoree. Some also have more than 2 witnesses for any given witnessing. – Double AA Apr 8 '14 at 17:30
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    @BruceJames, I haven't seen his ruling, but from your paraphrase of it all I can see is (perhaps) that reading the k'suba is neither halachically necessary nor status-changing, not that it's not honorable. For someone to read the m'gila on Purim is halachically necessary whereas for someone to be the president of a synagogue is not, but the latter position is more of an honor (and more work, but that's besides the point). – msh210 Apr 9 '14 at 4:16
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After decades after observing what goes on, it seems that the order of Kibudim varies by community.

While most people treat מסדר קידושין as the top Kibbud, sometimes it belongs to the local Rabbi, irrelevant of who else is in attendance.

Spot number 2 has 3 contenders: קריאת כתובה, First 2 ברכות and Last Bracha.

There's another Kibud (location dependent) that is parallel (or replaces) קריאת כתובה: The Speech - which also usually belongs to the local Rabbi.

As already mentioned in the comments, קריאת כתובה is often given as an important Kibud to a VIP one rather no have involved in the Halachic parts of the ceremony.

Other times it is given to just anybody whose sole qualification is that he understands what is written so that he can read it fast and sensibly. (That's how I once got the Kibud, even though I was merely one of many work-colleges in attendance.)

BTW: In some communities all 7 Brachot are given to the same person, typically the Chazzan.

Witnesses are often chosen on technicalities rather than merit, as you don't want them - or their spouses - related [even remotely] to each other or to the bride or groom's families. Even though remotely related witnesses may be Kosher, most מסדר קידושין prefer not to deal with it.

And don't forget Common-Sense. Keep the short brachot for those who will have trouble with the longer ones: A frail grandfather, an non-scholarly uncle or a shy brother, for example.

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    I must mention about witnesses. The chasidim give it to what they consider great rabbis. This according to many is wrong. (See avnai miluim). The eidim have to look at the kallah or know who she is if she is fully covered, otherwise how can they say witness. Best to take neighbours of the kallah who are not relations. – preferred May 13 '14 at 11:38

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