The husband traditionally seals the marriage pledge by placing a ring on his bride's finger and saying, "Behold, you are committed to me with this ring according to the rules of Moses and Israel." However, because many Jewish couples now have double-ring ceremonies, the bride may also speak the traditional ring words, or a modified version of them.
In addition, the groom may place a band or necklace on her neck as a symbol of their marriage contract. He may also give her a book of prayers, known as a Siddur, which she can read from during the weekdays of her married life.
Finally, the rabbi conducts a brief ceremony where only family members and close friends are present. No clergyperson is involved.
After the vows are spoken, the couple joins hands with their fingers interlaced. The man will often kiss the woman on both cheeks. Then they will be pronounced "husband" and "wife" respectively by their relatives or friends who were there for the wedding. This is called "an aliyah" (a voice proclamation) and it can be either a blessing or a criticism. For example, someone might say "May your home be like Eden... " After which, they would continue with another comment or two about the couple.
Jewish weddings are usually small and private events that take place before a kiddush (sanctification) service.
Traditionally, the groom was obligated to present the bride with a solid (typically gold) ring and recite the Jewish marriage blessing. Nowadays, egalitarian Jewish couples exchange two rings, and both members of the couple take part in the ring exchange ritual and say the marriage blessing.
The groom should give the ring to the best man first, who will then pass it to the mother of the bride or another female relative of the bride. The mother or family member will then give the ring to the bride.
After the ring is given to the bride, she returns it to the groom. He in turn gives it to his best man, who passes it on to the mother of the bride or another female relative of the bride.
The groom does not have to be present for the wedding ceremony to be considered valid. However, in some communities it is customary for the groom to attend the wedding party later held in honor of the couple. This wedding party may be small, informal, and held several days after the wedding ceremony.
The groom can also give a gift that is not a ring. For example, he could give the bride's family money or an object that has special meaning for him and her.
In addition, the groom could say something during the wedding ceremony itself.
Women frequently wear the engagement ring on the right index finger in a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, then the wedding band on the right ring finger once the pair marries. The left hand is used for the'mourner's prayer' at a funeral.
In Orthodox Judaism, men are required to wear their wedding rings on the right hand and put them on before any food is eaten. This is because a blessing is said over the wine that will be drunk during the meal and this requires the presence of the ring finger of the right hand. Women are encouraged but not required to wear their rings on the right hand and can wear them on the left hand if they choose.
In some Conservative synagogues, the groom does not have to wear his ring until after the bris milah (Jewish circumcision). The father gives the son a nick name, and when he grows up, he comes to the synagogue with his wife so that the rabbi can sanctify their marriage by placing a ring on her finger. Then the husband puts his ring on.
In some Reform synagogues, the groom does not have to wear his ring until after the bris milah (Jewish circumcision).