Over the many years of working with couples I have come to realize that premarital counseling is vital. I ask to meet with the couple three times as part of my services officiating your Jewish wedding ceremony. At each of the meetings we focus on a different set of topics in order to prepare for the wedding ceremony.
Meeting 1: Premarital Counseling
The first meeting is an opportunity for us to sit down and learn a little about each other. This is a good time for you to decide if you want me to do your ceremony. I will answer any questions you have about me; and I will explain how I work with couples and organize a wedding ceremony.
At this first meeting, I will let you know if I am able to officiate at your wedding. I will ask you, if you have not made up your minds about me, to get in touch with me within a week to let me know your decision. I will hold your wedding date on my calendar for that time and if I don’t hear from you, I will consider that you have decided not to have me officiate at you ceremony: no hard feelings on my part; you need to be as comfortable as possible with the person who officiates.
Meeting 2: Getting to Know You
The second meeting is devoted to you. I will ask you to tell me about your partner and I will guide the meeting so that hopefully two things will happen: You will hear from your partner what they treasure about you and the reasons they want to make a lifelong covenant with you. Additionally, I will be taking notes while you speak so to enable me to create a portrait of you for the ceremony, where each you will hear what you treasure about each other, and, as well, your family and friends will hopefully have a greater insight into why they are present at your wedding.
Meeting 3: Wedding Ceremony Preparation
My wife, Silvia, tells me that I spoil surprises by not being able to keep a secret. It may be true! However, there should never be a surprise for the couple about what is going to be done and said at the wedding ceremony. That is the reason that I spend the third session explaining some of the Jewish wedding traditions, the various parts of the wedding ceremony and what they mean, and at this point I discuss with you how much you want to participate by writing your own vows and reading parts of the ceremony text in English.
I do all of this by giving you a copy of the wedding ceremony in English so that you will know what you going to say and when. In addition, I help you with staging the ceremony: where are parents going to stand, where the rest of the wedding party will be situated. While I explain what tradition teaches, I am not Orthodox so that I am able to adapt to your circumstances and particular needs, as long as my own integrity as a representative of the Jewish people is not compromised. To put just in a few words: when we end our third session we are ready to have the ceremony without the need for surprises on my part.
Additional Premarital Counseling
If the couple desires more counseling, I am available for additional premarital counseling and wedding ceremony preparation sessions for an additional fee.