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In the times of the Gemara, a person would do the Kiddushin and then a year later would do the Nisuin (see Mishnah on Kesuvos 57a). Today we do Erusin and Nissuin at once under the Chupah.

  • Why did they do it like this, why didn't they do it one after the other as we do nowadays?

  • What prompted the change?

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One reason for the one year difference between irusin/kiddushin and nisu'in was to give the groom time to find a trade and prepare a home so that he could support his family, or to continue his Torah learning.

One reason for the change to how it's done nowadays(with nisu'in right after irusin under the chuppa) was because there were a few cases where the bride failed to remain faithful during the one-year break. Another reason was because of the poverty that prevailed in most Jewish communities and they couldn't afford to undertake two ceremonies.

These are some explanations I heard that made sense to me when studying the sugya.

See here for more info:http://www.chaburas.org/erusin.html and http://www.chaburas.org/erusin2.html.

  • 3
    " they couldn't afford to undertake two ceremonies." Nowadays, even people that can't afford to make one ceremony are making at least 3 - Lechayim, vort, and wedding. Add possibly a bridal shower and a sheva brachot, and perhaps, with all this, we should go back to the year wait, the way it was. – DanF Feb 12 at 14:15
  • To build the house (בית חתנות), they didn't have spare houses, so everyone was building a new house for his son. – Al Berko Feb 12 at 15:37

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