Prior to our wedding ceremony on our wedding day, we had a ketubah signing ceremony (with a Washington, DC ketubah chosen by Adam) with friends and family—as in all 37 of our closest loved ones who were in attendance at the wedding. For those who haven’t attended a Jewish wedding, the ketubah is a Jewish wedding contract that spells out the rights and responsibilities of husband and wife within a marriage. Typically, the ketubah is signed prior to the wedding ceremony and serves later as a piece of art that is displayed in the home as a representation of your marriage and partnership.
OUR KETUBAH SIGNING CEREMONY
As we were planning our wedding, one of the pieces we may have put too much thought into was choosing the ketubah. Actually signing the ketubah? Well, that was a bit of an afterthought. I knew it had to be signed before the ceremony and knew we needed to build a bit of time into our schedule for it—30 minutes before the ceremony.
Oftentimes, the ketubah signing is a smaller affair, but we had all of our guests arriving before the signing, along with our witnesses who were in tow. We decided that since we had such a small group, we would just have everyone gather together for it. And, no, I wasn’t worried about people seeing me before I walked down the aisle—I was basically there to greet them as they got off the bus. The wedding may have been formal, but we were keeping it casual.
The morning of the wedding, we asked our brother-in-law to officiate the ketubah signing ceremony and fortunately, he was able to find the prayers online for both the officiant and each set of parents. Our witnesses were 2 of my close friends from college who met the non-family and Jewish requirement. And, while we didn’t have much of a plan for the ceremony when the day began, we found a perfect spot out front of the Farmhouse and it was a lighthearted, meaningful moment.
WHERE WE GOT OUR WASHINGTON, DC THEMED KETUBAH
We deliberated for months over choosing our ketubah. I wanted something gorgeous, minimal, and gold. I also didn’t want to spend $500. I chose multiple modern, abstract, and graphic options which were vetoed one-by-one by Adam.
So, I scoured Etsy for ideas and found this Washington, DC-themed ketubah which fit my requirements of modern and clean-lined, happens to go with our navy bedroom decor, and that Adam absolutely loved because it is so quintessentially DC. I mean, really, this is reminiscent our engagement photos saga with Adam wanting to do photos by the monuments, while I wanted to do our shoot in an edgier part of town.
DECIDING ON THE LANGUAGE FOR OUR KETUBAH
As a writer, I obsessed over the language on our ketubah. Perhaps it’s because we didn’t write vows, but I took this as the opportunity to put everything we want our marriage to represent into words. I chose a Conservative text and then took pieces from other texts, as well as my own sentiments, to craft something that I felt embodied our relationship. Of course, I approved it with Adam (I’m the writer, not him!).
In a mishap that we decided to let slide, there was some miscommunication and, while we paid to have custom text on our ketubah, we ended up without Hebrew to match the English. We both figured it doesn’t really matter in the end (it’s not like either of us can read it for meaning) and we just went with it.
HOW WE’VE DISPLAYED OUR KETUBAH IN OUR HOME
Currently, our ketubah is displayed in a crisp, white frame right as you walk in our bedroom. We actually had displayed an engagement print in that same spot previously, and, due to minimal wall space in our tiny apartment, we had to pick one or the other. But, the bedroom is a wonderfully intimate spot to display a symbol of our marriage and it’s a lovely thing to see every morning and every evening as we start and end our days.
All photos are by the talented Lauren Miller of Lauren Louise Collective.