Chaya and Schmeryl's Wedding Program
Welcome to Chaya and Schmeryl's wedding. We are delighted that all
of you could be here to gorge yourselves at Chaya's parents' expense.
We have prepared this booklet in order to illustrate the beauty and
deep meaning of the Jewish wedding ceremony, as well as to provide a
means to distract you during the rabbi's endless dreying and deflect
your neighbors' flatulence.
The day's festivities begin with kabbalat panim, an opportunity to
offer a joyous greeting to the bride, who is escorted in by her
friends and family. Chaya is seated on a large, throne-like chair,
where she receives greetings from guests. At this point, it is
customary for the men to attack the smorgasbord like a pack of
It is customary for women to comment aloud about how beautiful the
bride looks, while musing quietly about what she'll look like after
about ten years of childbirth and strudel.
Archaic and incomprehensible legal documents play a very important
role in Judaism. One of the most important such documents is the
ketubah, an ancient document that details Schmeryl's monetary
responsibilities and Chaya's claim to all of his assets, including the
shirt off his back, as security for those obligations in the event of
death or divorce. It is customary to decorate this document with
pretty flowers and other colorful designs and hang it from the wall
of the couple's new home.
At this point in history, the role of the ketubah is important, but
largely symbolic, unlike the shtar tannaim, which is completely useless.
The shtar tannaim is an agreement between the two families that their
children should get married. Duh. Like, if they didn't want them to
get married, why am I, like, wearing a gown?
The Chosson's Tisch
"Tisch" literally means table in Yiddish. At the "chosson's tisch,"
the men gather around a table and serenade Schmeryl with Hebrew
drinking songs. The same table is also used to sign the ketubah and
tannaim. It is considered a fortuitous sign to spill an entire glass
of scotch all over a $1,200 illuminated ketubah. If the groom is a
scholar, he delivers a torah lecture. While he is speaking, it is
customary for the men to discuss the basketball or football game that
they are missing in order to be at the wedding.
An important part of the marriage ceremony is the bedekin, wherein the
bride and groom see each other for the first time after a week of
separation, and prepare for the marriage ceremony. In order to make
this process as noisy and confusing as possible, Schmeryl is danced in
by a large crowd of smelly men. He then lowers the veil down over
Chaya's face, consummating an important part of the marriage process.
Many authorities insist that Chaya's veil remain down from now until
the wedding ceremony. This is because it is funny to watch her bump
During the ceremony, Chaya and Schmeryl will stand under the chuppah,
or wedding canopy. The chuppah is a symbol of the Jewish home, since
most Jewish homes are built to look like large white bedsheets.
Schmeryl is preceded by a procession of his close friends and family:
bubbe and zayde; his brothers, Yonkie and Yitzie; sister Huvie and
friends Chaim Mukapuckapucka, Louis Friedsnickman and Dr. Steven
Putzamulla. Schmeryl will then enter, escorted by his mother and
father, who are carrying lit candles in order to keep away the
Chaya's family and friends are next: bubbe and zayde; sisters Mali,
Rachel and Latifa; brother Duvie and friends Shani Grezputkinoff and
Dani Rulbuggabug. Chaya, together with her parents, will enter next,
at which point it is customary to stand up and take flash pictures
8 inches from her face.
When Chaya has reached the chuppah, she will walk around Schmeryl
seven times. Seven is a very significant number in Judaism, as it
is the smallest positive number that is the sum of a perfect square
and an odd number greater than one.
In ancient times, a man would betroth a woman by hitting her over the
head with a large rock or animal bone and dragging her away. Judaism
sought to bring reverence and sancity to this relationship between
man and woman. We were therefore commanded at Sinai to recite a short
Hebrew formula before hitting the woman on the head with a large rock
or animal bone and dragging her away.
The essence of the wedding ceremony is "kiddushin," wherein Schmeryl
buys Chaya for a nominal sum. Once Schmeryl has bought Chaya, no one
else is allowed to either buy or borrow Chaya and Schmeryl may not sell
Chaya at any point. Any liens, easements or sale-leaseback
arrangements involving Chaya that pre-date Schmeryl's purchase should
not be discussed publicly, except in low tones among cousins and family
friends during the wedding ceremony.
The second half of the wedding ceremony (which is actually the first
half; don't ask) is known as nesuin. This act symbolizes the groom's
removal of the bride from her father's house and her placement in his
own domicile. There are several rituals that are used to fulfill this
Veiling the bride - performed during the bedekin
Standing under the chupah together
Yichud - Complete seclusion in a private room. This is
where the bride and groom traditionally break their
fast, and it affords Schmeryl his first real
opportunity to practice ignoring his wife while eating.
The marriage ceremony is accompanied by seven blessings, praising the
Almighty for creating the joyous institution of marriage. Each blessing
is customarily given out as an honor to a different individual. It is
considered admirable to allocate blessings to rabbis and Torah scholars
with whom the families enjoy close relationships. However, since few
families say more than three words to their rabbis over the course of
a lifetime, it is customary to hire bearded men off the street to
pretend to be rabbis.
Breaking the Glass
At the conclusion of the wedding ceremony, it is customary to sing the
verse from Psalms - "If I forget thee, Jerusalem, may my right hand
forget its cunning." Shortly afterwards, Schmeryl will step on a
glass; the broken glass symbolizes the memory of the destroyed Holy
Temple and our people's exile from Zion, which makes even the joy of
a wedding incomplete. After the glass has been broken, the audience
generally breaks out into applause to demonstrate our joy that the
Messiah has not yet come, and we may therefore continue to live in