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Who escorts the bride and groom down the aisle?

by Mrs. Dinka Kumer

  

Library » Intimacy » Marriage | Subscribe | What is RSS?


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A Jewish married couple should escort both the bride and groom to and under the Chupah. The most prevalent custom is that this be the couple’s parents. Either the two mothers accompany the bride and the two fathers accompany the groom OR the bride’s parents accompany her and the groom’s parents accompany him.1

If the bride and/or groom’s parents cannot do the escorting, then any other Jewish married couple may have the honor (grandparents, aunt and uncle, close friends, Rabbi and Rebbetzin, etc.).2 Many also have the custom that the female escort should not be pregnant at the time.

(In some cases, an exception may be made where a non-married but closely related duo—such a father and sister of the bride/groom—may do the escorting, but a Rabbi should be consulted.)

While only four people total officially escort the couple, others may be allowed follow and join these escorts under the chupah. In fact, in many communities it is customary for all the grandparents of the bride and groom to join the escorting entourage.

While “walking down the aisle” is a beautiful part of the wedding, the great spiritual affect of having the couple escorted actually takes place during the ceremony under the chupah while the bride makes her seven circles around the groom—when all four escorts join her in circling the groom.3

Footnotes

  • 1. The escorting couple must be married, and therefore, if the parents of the bride or groom are divorced, or if, G-d forbid, one of the parents is widowed, another couple must be the official escorts. This, however, does not prevent the parents from joining the entourage, thus it will be practically imperceptible to the audience who the real escorts are.
  • 2. If this case the husbands should escort the groom, and the wives the bride.
  • 3. Source: Nitei Gavriel laws of Marriage chapter 14

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RELATED CATEGORIES

Life Cycle » Marriage » The Wedding

Chupah
Wedding canopy. Under this canopy, the groom betroths the bride with the customary ring, and the traditional marriage benedictions are recited.
Rebbetzin
Rabbi's wife.