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Frequently Asked Questions and Answers

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< Q8.16 TOC Q8.18 >

Question 8.17:
Weddings: What happens after a Jewish wedding?


The following are some common customs after a Jewish Wedding:

Yichud: Seclusion

The couple will, for the first time, be alone together as husband and wife. They will break their fast and prepare for the rest of the wedding celebration. Yichud is important; some rabbinic sources suggest that the marriage is not complete until the bride and groom have had the opportunity to be alone together. Originally, it was an opportunity for the couple to consummate the marriage. Typically, Yichud occurs in a room set aside for the couple for at least ten or fifteen minutes. In this room, the couple is provided with some food for them to break their fast.

The First Dance:

The couple will enter the banquet room, to be greeted with joyous dancing and singing. At traditional weddings, the men and women dance separately (see 8.8). If you don't know the words (Hebrew, Aramaic, or a combination) to the songs, don't be concerned; just sing along. While some of the dances have formal "steps," you will be able to participate in most of them even if you've never tried before; spirit and enthusiasm will usually get you through. Entertaining the bride and groom and increasing their joy is an integral part of the celebration, and all the guests are expected to join.

Se'udat Mitzvah: The Dinner:

A reception follows Yichud. This permits everyone to entertain the new couple and make them happy. The new couple is treated as another first couple (Adam and Eve); thus, the community is celebrating not only this wedding, but the first wedding of the first couple. The first meal as a couple is called Se'udat Mitzvah (a meal in fulfillment of a commandment). This is typically celebrated together with family and friends The dinner--with intervening episodes of dancing--is sanctified from beginning to end. The blessings at the end of the meal have special additions in honor of the bride and groom. The seven blessings first recited under the chuppah are repeated at the end of the dinner.

The Bridal Week:

The bridal celebrations continue for the entire week following the wedding. Only at the end of the week will life begin to settle down to a more conventional routine. In some communities, the couple is invited to a different home each night at which the Sheva Berachot are recited and their wedding is celebrated. Even so, the bride and groom retain the status of queen and king for the entire first year of marriage.

The FAQ is a collection of documents that is an attempt to answer questions that are continually asked on the soc.culture.jewish family of newsgroups. It was written by cooperating laypeople from the various Judaic movements. You should not make any assumption as to accuracy and/or authoritativeness of the answers provided herein. In all cases, it is always best to consult a competent authority--your local rabbi is a good place to start.

[Got Questions?]Hopefully, the FAQ will provide the answer to your questions. If it doesn't, please drop Email to The FAQ maintainer will endeavor to direct your query to an appropriate individual that can answer it. If you would like to be part of the group to which the maintainer directs questions, please drop a note to the FAQ maintainer at

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© (c) 1993-2002 Daniel P. Faigin <>