Chuppah: It’s Beauty & Tradition

Elegance at the Walters Art Gallery By Wicked Willow
Elegance at the Walters Art Gallery By Wicked Willow


One of the most beautiful wedding traditions is the Jewish chuppah. The chuppah, a Hebrew term, is a tapestry canopy that was first identified somewhere in the sixteenth century by Rabbi Moses Issereles. Legend has it that it was actually the groom’s home or an addition to his father’s home for the couple to live. The Bible says in Psalm 19:6 “the bridegroom emerging from his chuppah; however, in Joel 2:16 it says, “let the bridegroom emerge from his chamber [Chedro] and the bride from her chuppah.”

Whichever is true, today the chuppah is not merely a charming folk custom but a touching ceremonial object carried over from ancient times; it serves as the legal conclusion of the marriage process that began with betrothal. And, no matter the exact origin, this ancient tradition is in fact required for marriage and its concept, a tent with four posts with four open sides and a canopy is absolutely beautiful.

As far as the legal aspect, the chuppah constitutes a private domain in regard to the laws of the Sabbath, and it transforms the chuppah, technically, into the groom’s private home and during the service the bride and groom must stand under the chuppah. Please note that it is not necessary for rabbi, cantor, witnesses, or parents to be under the canopy.


This symbol teaches us that this simple, fragile roof, which is now common to both partners, launches the marriage. As William Henry Channing once said, “it teaches them to live contently with small means, to seek elegance rather than luxury, and refinement rather than fashion, to be worthy not respectable, and wealthy not rich” and that marriage is the establishment of a home, an island of sanity, peace and serenity.

We have seen quite a few personalized chuppahs decorated to reflect the bride’s and family’s traditions and personal taste—from simple to elegant, some with extreme floral arrangements, exquisite fabrics and trims, extraordinary wedding themes, color palette, and others with delicate memorable touches to honor loved ones.

In Baltimore, for those brides that prefer to design their own, we refer them to our dear friend, designer Randy Woods and the team at Wicked Willow, art with flowers. Wicked Willow has an incredible eye for design and style, particularly when it comes to chuppahs. These four distinctly different chuppahs are indeed one of a kind and a mere sampling from this designer and company. From whimsical birch pole chuppah at the beach, satin covered chuppah at the elegant Walters Art Gallery, or Birch pole chuppah at the Grand Lodge, aims to please.

Wicked Willow At The Grand Lodge

Whatever you choose to do to for your chuppah–keep it personal, original and romantic. Remember, under this beautiful adornment is where you stand with the traditions of your ancestors, surrounded by your family and friends in anticipation of your future! How elegant and memorable that the symbol of a tallit (Jewish Prayer Cloth) is attached to the top of four portable poles and supported during your ceremony by your four best friends! “Tradition!”

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