Although this ceremony is traditionally of Jewish origin, many couples choose to incorporate it into traditional and non-traditional ceremonies. When the bride and groom are of different faiths, and one is Jewish, they often will honor the Jewish tradition of breaking a glass toward the end of the wedding ceremony.
One interpretation of this ceremony states that once the glass is shattered, it can never return to its former condition, thus symbolizing the couples wish to never return to the time before they shared their lives.
The breaking of the glass at the conclusion of the wedding also symbolizes that marriage is not always as joyous as the wedding itself. The bad times, when our hearts break, are representative of the shattered glass.
A couple that enters marriage, believing that their married life will always be as blissful as courtship, is in denial and doomed to failure. In this sense, the breaking of the glass causes us to be mindful of the needless barriers that people erect between one another and that we can break down the barriers and build a relationship of respect, unity and peace.
The breaking of the glass also symbolizes the fragility of life, the fact that whatever we see before us as whole can be broken at any moment. It calls our attention for the need to care for one another; for just as glass can be shattered with a single blow, so the grace of a marriage bond can be shattered with a single act of infidelity or repeated acts of emotional irresponsibility.
Its spiritual significance is our reaffirmation of our faith in God. The idea is that the couple’s lives together be longer than it would take to fit the pieces of the broken glass back together again.
In Greece, the custom of breaking plates during the reception symbolizes good luck, happiness and the permanence of marriage.
The breaking of the glass also serves as a separation between the awe of the ceremony and the reception celebration that will follow.
Some say (with tongue in cheek) that the moment the groom smashes the glass symbolizes the last time he gets to “put his foot down.”
This part of the ceremony comes right after the exchanging of rings and just before declaring the couple to be wife and husband.
The “glass” is often a light bulb wrapped in a white napkin or towel. Sometimes a wine glass is difficult to break. The best man hands the minister the glass. The minister will say a few words to explain the significance of the breaking of the glass. He then places the glass on the ground before the groom.
After he declares the bride and groom to be wife and husband he invites the couple to seal their promises with a kiss. The groom then kisses the bride and then breaks the glass with his right foot. Some couples choose to break the glass together. Applause is appropriate in most ceremonies with the breaking of the glass.
What do you do with the broken glass after the wedding? If the “glass” was a delicate wine glass (easy to break), some couples choose to save the glass and preserve it in a velvet pouch or another glass container to serve as a momento of their wedding day. Other creative couples have jewelry made from it.
Photo Credit (left): The Jewish Glass Breaking Pouch – MyDreamWedding.ca
Copyright © 2010 – Larry James. This idea is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 455 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.
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