5 Steps for Planning Your Same-Sex Jewish Wedding

two grooms breaking glassYou’re engaged! After lots of congratulations, it’s time to get down to business. If organization isn’t exactly your strength, it can be easy to get overwhelmed in the whirlwind of planning and preparation in the upcoming time. The good news? If you break it down with our Wedding Planning Timeline & Checklist (see below), your engagement period is a great opportunity to bring you and your partner together and decide what works best for you as a couple.

[Photo credit: Arielle Doneson Photography]

Not sure where to get started when planning your same-sex Jewish wedding? Below you’ll find our list of the top five aspects of your wedding planning that you’ll want to attend to first:

Step 1: Budget

The earlier you figure out your wedding budget and create a preliminary guest list, the better. For a modern wedding, there is flexibility in the interpretation of traditional roles. Have a conversation with your partner and both of your families to see who can contribute and how much. Setting a realistic budget will lay the groundwork for all of the other areas of planning.

For a Jewish or Jewish-inspired wedding ceremony, there are unique elements to consider which will impact your budget. Your chuppah (wedding arch) can range from the simplicity of a tallis or rented silk canopy held up by four poles, to an extravagant ceremony statement piece embellished with floral arrangements. Beautiful ketubahs (printed artwork personalized with your wedding vows) are available at affordable prices, or with the help of a ketubah artist you can design an original custom piece reflecting your style and relationship.

Ceremony Judaica should also be factored into your budget. While it’s meaningful and sentimental to use a Kiddush cup and tallis that belong to someone special, other Judaica may need to be purchased. Yarmulkes (skullcaps) are typically provided for guests to wear during the service. These can be engraved with the couple’s names and wedding date, a meaningful quote, or even your wedding hashtag! Other Judaica, such as the breaking glass (or glasses), may carry additional costs if you choose to create a wedding keepsake from the shards, such as a menorah or glass bowl.

Finally, many couples choose to incorporate tzedakah, or charity, into their wedding budgets. Whether you donate to an organization that’s meaningful to you as a couple, or contribute to the synagogue or rabbi discretionary fund, a wedding is a wonderful opportunity to benefit others in need.

Step 2: Wedding Vision

Now that you know how much you can spend, think about what a wedding means to the two of you. Think through the rituals that reflect your love as a couple and the Jewish wedding traditions most important to you. It should be a unique and distinctive expression of your love for one another. Gather inspiration for how you want each part of the day to turn out and this will dictate your choices of venue, time of year, time of day, etc.

Step 3: Vendor Selection

Consider the experience these vendors have with same-sex weddings, as well as Jewish weddings. It’s important that the florist knows how to assemble a chuppah, the musicians can play the hora songs, and the photographer understands all of the key details and moments to capture. Secure the vendors you love as soon as you can, to make sure they don’t get booked by other couples!

Step 4: Choose Your Officiant

Consider who it is that you want to preside over your ceremony. This is the most meaningful and emotional part of the whole day. Whether it be a Rabbi or other religious figure, a judge or justice of the peace, or even a close friend or family member, it’s important to take the time to meet and discuss your ceremony, and your lifelong commitment to each other!

Step 5: Determine Your Schedule of Events

Following a timeline and sharing the to do’s with your loved ones will keep your planning process as seamless as possible, in addition to creating cherished memories. Give yourself a head start by downloading the Mazelmoments Wedding Planning Timeline today.

At the end of the day, a wedding is a celebration of love. While it may seem like there are endless tasks between you and the big day, keeping the above in mind will keep you focused and stress-free. Remember to relax and enjoy the process!

Jewish Wedding Planning TimelineFor a complete MazelMoments wedding planning timeline and more tips, download the infographic!

Cigall Goldman is the founder of Mazel Moments, the award-winning website that makes it easy and fun to plan any Jewish-inspired event including a wedding, bar & bat mitzvah or baby celebration. Keep up with them on Twitter (@mazelmoments)!