According to an ancient tradition attributed to Maseches Soferim and explicated in the works of the Ge’onim, Rishonim, and Acharonim, the wedding is divided into two chuppah (marriage canopy) ceremonies. The first chuppah is referred to as Chuppas Main and the second, in which kiddushin is performed and sheva berachos (seven nisuin blessings) recited, is called Chuppas Tallis. In earlier times the Chuppas Main was held before Shacharis and the Chuppas Tallis was held after Shacharis or after Minchah. According to the Rokei’ach, the reason for holding the wedding so early in the morning is because of the conceptual similarity to the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai, which took place in the morning. Since the Chuppas Main was held very early in the morning, the assembly would bear torches and candles to light the way. It is also reminiscent of the lightning flashes that were seen on Mount Sinai. As it became more and more difficult to gather participants so early in the morning, the two chuppah ceremonies were held before and after Minchah or before and after Ma’ariv. Some performed the two chuppah ceremonies one immediately after the other with no intervening services. The Chuppas Main ceremony proceeds as follows: The assembly accompanies the groom to the entrance to the synagogue courtyard (in Mainz and its hamlets) or to the door of the wedding house (in Worms and its hamlets). If the rabbi is to officiate at the ceremony, he escorts the groom to the chuppah with the groom leading, the rabbi following, and the rest of the assembly behind or ahead of them. The assembly escorting the bride and groom to the chuppah carries lit torches at the Chuppas Main only, and not at the Chuppas Tallis. The children are usually given the task to bear the candles and torches simply because they enjoy such activities. Musicians play the ancient Chuppas Main melody (the same triumphant melody is used on Purim when reading the verse Vayislu es Haman in the Scroll of Esther).
When the groom arrives at the chuppah area, the officiating rabbi takes him by the hand (not the arm) to the Chuppas Main bench, where he waits for the bride. The groom sits down and his escorts flank him on both sides. The torch bearers, musicians, and the bride’s friends accompany the bride from her home to the chuppah area, accompanied by a separate retinue of women. The bride’s face remains covered with a cloth veil while walking to and from the chuppah. Two women or the two mothers walk beside her. Since the bride’s face is covered, her attendants support her by holding her arms. Since the groom’s face is not covered, his arms are not held. When the bride reaches the entrance to the synagogue courtyard, the rabbi takes the groom by the hand and leads him to his bride, accompanied by distinguished members of the community. The groom takes the bride’s hand and thereby effects the nisuin stage of the marriage (Kesuvos 48b), while the rabbi continues holding his other hand. All three walk in this fashion to the Mein bench, which is considered the official chuppah. During this procession the participants throw wheat kernels upon the couple and call out “Peru urvu!” If the participants are likely to take offense at the bride and groom holding hands, he may hold on to part of her bouquet instead. The bride and groom sit together for a short time on a bench or platform. The bride’s attendants escort her home and then young boys lead the groom to prayer services in synagogue. The rabbi and the rest of the assembly follow them. Chuppas Main is held only for a woman’s first marriage. (Source Madrich Ashkenaz 2009)