The Secular Ketubah – How One Couple Is Planning Their Secular Wedding

I recently met a woman named Elise who is in the process of planning a secular Jewish wedding. I was fascinated to hear about her plans and how she and her fiancé are walking a fine line between celebrating their Jewish heritage and also crafting a ceremony that reflects their spiritual beliefs. She was kind enough to stop by my blog to tell us a little bit about the process!

You and your fiancé were both raised in Jewish households, and very much see yourself as Jewish, but you also both identify as secular, and don’t plan on having a lot of religious components to your wedding. Tell me a little bit about how you put together your wedding ceremony and what that will look like.

Sure! My fiancé and I met in college. After college, as things started to get serious, we were happy to discover how aligned our cultural and spiritual beliefs are. Growing up, both of our families attended a Reform synagogue (mine regularly, his mostly just for the holidays), and being Jewish was a huge part of both of our identities. But as I got older, I began to question the spiritual aspects more and more. I’m still very much questioning, but I’m finding myself increasingly drawn to Secular Humanism. My fiancé feels the same way, but spends less time than I do thinking about it!

When we got engaged and began to plan our wedding, we both very much wanted to include the ceremonies that were important to our families and that we had seen in other weddings in our Jewish communities. But we wanted to find a way to incorporate them without the religious overtones that didn’t feel authentic to us. It was a challenge at first! But then we found a great Secular Humanistic Rabbi to officiate who helped us through some of those decisions.

In the end, we’re choosing to be married under the traditional Huppah by a Rabbi, have a Secular Humanisitc version of the seven Jewish wedding blessings recited, and my fiancé will smash the glass at the end. We’ve also decided to sign a secular ketubah before the wedding, as is traditional.

As you may have guessed, I’m pretty interested in the tradition of the ketubah, and how it can be a part of a wide range of weddings. Why did you choose to include a secular ketubah signing in your ceremony? Was it difficult finding a secular ketubah?

We decided to include a ketubah signing for a couple of reasons. The first is that we both love the fact that this tradition has been a part of the Jewish wedding for literally thousands of years. But we also felt as though it would have a lot of personal significance to us. We love the idea of having a document that captures our wedding promises hanging in our home. And since we’re looking for a secular ketubah, we have a lot more flexibility in picking or writing a text that speaks to us personally. We’re probably going to select some version of the Secular Humanistic ketubah text, but we’ve been talking about writing our own as well.

Thanks so much Elise for stopping by my blog this week! Are you interested in having a Secular Jewish wedding ceremony or finding a Secular ketubah?

Here are a few secular ketubah resources for you:

Association of Humanistic Rabbis
Seven Jewish Wedding Blessings – A Secular Humanistic Version
Secular and Secular Humanistic Ketubah texts


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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