Image: Two wedding rings. (Pixabay)
Congratulations! You have found the love of your life, and you are looking forward to a wedding!
What’s the first thing to do?
Share the news with family and friends, of course! And they will immediately begin planning your wedding: where you should have it, when you should have it, who might be the caterer, the florist, the planner, and so forth and so on.
That is all fine and good, but for a Jewish wedding, the first thing on your to-do list should be the rabbi or cantor who will officiate.
- Because rabbis and cantors have busy schedules and cannot be in two places at once.
- Because rabbi and cantor calendars get booked up long before “wedding season.”
- Because there are dates in the Jewish calendar when most rabbis do not perform weddings. (Why would anyone want to get married on Yom Kippur? I don’t know, but I know rabbis who have gotten that request.)
- Because the rabbi or cantor may have advice or requirements about things like the ketubah and the rings.
- Because rabbis and cantors can help you plan the wedding service and support you in dealing with family issues.
- Because many rabbis and cantors can provide premarital counseling, which is different from therapy – an opportunity to learn about your beloved, and for them to learn about you.
- Because rabbis and cantors are professionals, trained to assist you in making your wedding day a sacred day.
Once you’ve got the rabbi or cantor, then you will have the date. Then you can call the caterer, and the florist, the wedding planner, the venue, the ketubah artist, Aunt Mildred, the dressmaker…
Even if you are planning a very simple wedding, your officiant is the place to start!
Don’t have a rabbi or cantor? Check out the directory at InterfaithFamily.com. They can help you find a qualified officiant.