Non-Religious Jewish Wine Ceremony

Non-Religious Jewish Wine Ceremony

Non-Religious Jewish Wine Ceremony

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A secular (non-religious) Jewish wine ceremony described by  A Sweet Start , a Maine wedding officiant | Photo from my wedding by  Amy Wilton Photography

A secular (non-religious) Jewish wine ceremony described by A Sweet Start, a Maine wedding officiant | Photo from my wedding by Amy Wilton Photography

Wine Ceremony in My  Wedding

When I got married, before I was a professional wedding officiant, my husband incorporated a non-religious version of the traditional Jewish wine ceremony into our wedding. He and I both drank from the same glass of red wine. The first sip symbolized the sorrows and bitterness of life, of which we were sure to experience. The second sip symbolized the joys and happiness of life, of which we were sure to experience. My sister wrote our ceremony and this is how she put it:

As in the Jewish tradition, Maria and Nick will each sip twice from this shared cup of wine. One sip will symbolize the joys and one will symbolize the sorrows that lie before them in their shared life together. 

It may seem like a downer to talk about sorrows at a wedding, but we didn’t feel that way. When we agreed to marry each other we knew we were committing to everything life and marriage has to offer. Sorrow, pain, and disappointment are all part of it. It’s sort of saying the same things as “in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health…” You get the idea. We were committing to all of it: joy and sorrow, and this was a way for us to symbolize that during our wedding ceremony.

Wine Ceremony in Your Wedding

Now this wine ceremony is something I offer any of my couples. I can modify the language in the ceremony to be more about your first shared drink as a married couple and how it represents your new family. Either way, it’s a wonderful element to add into your wedding ceremony, especially if you’re wine lovers! 

I often include this language in the wine ceremony: 

It is a wise couple which enters marriage by acknowledging and accepting both [the joys as well as the sorrows]. Let this ritual signify that the inevitable bitterness in life will become less bitter, and the inevitable sweetness of life will be doubled because there is someone with whom to share it.

Isn’t that lovely and meaningful? So, what do you think? Is this something you’d like to include in your ceremony? 

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