Seudat Mitzvah (The Wedding Meal)

banquet tables

The wedding feast, however modest or elaborate, is a requirement of Jewish law. It is a mitzvah par excellence to make the bride and groom rejoice at their wedding. Food, wine, dancing, music, funny jokes, costumes and entertainment for the wedding couple—all of this constitute fulfillment of the mitzvah. The wedding meal concludes with the recital of birkat ha-mazon (grace after meals) and a second recital of the seven blessings. (The nuptial blessings recited earlier under the wedding canopy.) The first six blessings are made over one cup of wine, the seventh over a second, and then the two are mixed together and given to the couple to drink.

It is traditional that for seven nights following the wedding (including the wedding night itself), friends and family gather, and the sheva brakhot are recited. Meals subsequent to the wedding meal are usually held at the homes of friends and family. The only conditions of sheva brakhot is that there be a minyan of ten or more and panim chadashot (a new face)—someone who was not at the wedding ceremony—at the sheva brakhot meal.

Sheva brakhot can be a way of extending the wedding festivities and including guests who could not attend the wedding. It can also be a way for the couple to settle into their new relationship in the supportive presence of community (sort of the opposite of a honeymoon). Couples who celebrate sheva brakhot defer their honeymoon until after the week of feasting is over. For some couples, sheva brakhot can be exhausting, with party after party to attend and little time alone. Such couples may elect to take a few nights off and only have a few sheva b’rakhot or to dispense with the ritual entirely.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email

Ritualwell content is available for free thanks to the generous support of readers like you! Please help us continue to offer meaningful content with a donation today. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Rituals

Shop Ritualwell - Discover unique Judaica products

The Reconstructionist Network

Serving as central organization of the Reconstructionist movement

Training the next generation of groundbreaking rabbis

Modeling respectful conversations on pressing Jewish issues

Curating original, Jewish rituals, and convening Jewish creatives

Count On Telling Your Story: A Ritualwell In-Person Immersion

Join us for Count On Telling Your Story: A Ritualwell In-Person Immersion on Sunday, June 9th. Mix and mingle with old and new friends, enjoy delicious kosher-vegetarian food and engage in a variety of creative, thought-provoking sessions exploring rituals, writing, and art.

Get the latest from Ritualwell

Subscribe for the latest rituals, online learning opportunities, and unique Judaica finds from our store.

The Reconstructionist Network