Ketubah Texts – How to write your own!

Write your own ketubah textPhoto by Victoria.Salinas

Lately, I’ve had more than a few couples asking me about how to write their own ketubah text, and I couldn’t be happier.

Why?  Because I think more engaged couples should consider this as an option.  My husband and I decided to write our own original ketubah text when we were getting married last fall, and it was an extremely meaningful process.  Sure, it took a good chunk of time (and a few arguments) to decide just how we wanted to word our wedding promises, but it was so worth it in the end.  Now we have a beautiful ketubah text that truly reflects what marriage means to us.  Not to mention that the process of writing it gave us the opportunity to discuss some of the hard stuff.

If you and your partner are thinking about writing your own ketubah text, I have a few pieces of advice.  I hope you’ll find them useful!  We certainly couldn’t have gotten through the process without them.  So, without further ado…

How to write your own ketubah text in 6 steps:

1)     Put it on the calendar

When we were first getting started, we kept trying to squeeze some writing time in after dinner / before the gym / as soon as this episode of Breaking Bad is over / etc.  Here’s the thing.  To do this right, you’ll need a good long chunk of time so that you can really get into the discussion.  If you feel rushed and distracted, you won’t be able to really put your heart into it.

2)     Do some research

Before you sit down to write, each person should do some digging online to see what they like and don’t like in other ketubah texts.  My husband and I both spent some time surfing the internet and reading ketubah texts by artists, Rabbis and individuals.  If a certain phrase or idea caught our eye, we’d right it down.

3)    Brainstorm

When you first sit down together, share the ideas that you’ve each compiled on your own.  Then write down anything and everything else that comes to mind.  It’s important to remember that there are no bad ideas.  If you’re feeling stuck, here are a few questions that you can ask each other to get the conversation going:
•    What do we think are the secrets to a happy marriage?
•    What does partnership and love look like to us?
•    How will we handle obstacles?
•    What values will be important in our home?
•    How do we want to raise our children?

4)     Get organized

After you’ve compiled lists of ideas that are meaningful to you, try organizing them into themed-groups.  Can you tell we’re type-A?  These will later become the paragraphs of your ketubah text.  We found that all our ideas fit into the following themes (though yours might be quite different!):  how we will treat each other in our marriage, how we will overcome obstacles, and the values we want for our home together.

5)    Start writing

Since you now have an outline of ideas, it’s much easier to start writing your ketubah text!  Pick out the most important ideas for each section, and boil them down to a couple simple sentences.  You’ll have a full draft in no time.

6)    Edit and Simplify

At this point, many people find that their ketubah text is super long.  Take a few minutes to remove the unnecessary stuff, and focus in on the most powerful promises you’re making to one another.  Give it a final edit for spelling and grammar, and you’re done!

That wasn’t so hard, was it?  Most ketubah artists, myself included, are happy to arrange to have your custom text translated into Hebrew.  So be sure to ask.

Happy writing!


I'm Adriana Saipe, founder of Ink with Intent. I'm a full-time wedding illustrator who specializes in contemporary ketubahs and unique wedding certificates. Learn more.

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