Canopy and Arches
A wedding canopy along with arches is now widely used to create a focal point for the wedding ceremony. Canopy and arches are also used to cover buffets, seating areas and highlight the honor tables. Historically, canopies have held a significant part in wedding ceremonies and are still considered to be an important part of the ceremony.
Rio Event Design collaborates with brides and grooms, event planners, and wedding stylists, to create a custom Canopy and arches or chuppah that perfectly fit your values, character and dreams.
The word chuppah originally appears in the Hebrew Bible (e.g., Joel 2:16; Psalms 19:5). Abraham P. Bloch traces the connection between the canopies and arches to the wedding ceremony, back to the Bible; however, ‘the physical appearance of the chuppah and its religious significance have undergone many changes since then.
In Biblical times, a couple consummated their marriage in a room. In Talmudic times, the room where the marriage was consummated was called the chuppah. There is however a reference of a wedding canopy in the Babylonian Talmud, Gittin 57a: “It was the custom when a boy was born to plant a cedar tree and when a girl was born to plant a pine tree, and when they married, the tree was cut down and a canopy made of the branches”.
Jewish weddings consist of two separate parts: the betrothal ceremony, known as erusin or kiddushin (canopy) and the actual wedding ceremony, known as nisuin. The first ceremony (the betrothal, which is today accomplished when the groom gives a wedding ring to the bride) prohibits the bride to all other men and cannot be dissolved without a religious divorce (get). The second ceremony permits the bride to her husband. Originally, the two ceremonies usually took place separately. After the initial betrothal, the bride lived with her parents until the day the actual marriage ceremony arrived; the wedding ceremony would then take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her. After the ceremony the bride and groom would spend an hour together in an ordinary room, and then the bride would enter the chuppah and, after gaining her permission, the groom would join her.
In the Middle Ages these two stages were increasingly combined into a single ceremony (which, from the sixteenth-century, became the ‘all but universal Jewish custom’) and the chuppah lost its original meaning, with various other customs replacing it. Indeed, in post-talmudic times the custom that became most common was to ‘perform the whole combined ceremony under a canopy, to which the term Chuppah Canopy was then applied, and to regard the bride’s entry under the canopy as a symbol of the consummation of the marriage’. The canopy ‘created the semblance of a room’.
There are legal varying opinions as to how the chuppah ceremony is to be performed today. Major opinions include standing under the canopy, and secluding the couple together in a room (yichud). The betrothal and chuppah ceremonies are separated by the reading of the ketubah.
This chuppah ceremony is connected to the seven blessings which are recited over a cup of wine at the conclusion of the ceremony (birchat nisuin or sheva brachot).
There were for centuries regional differences in what constituted a ‘huppah.’ Sperber notes that for many communities prior to the 16th Century, the huppah consisted of a veil worn by the bride. In others, it was a cloth spread over the shoulders of the bride and groom (The Jewish Lifecycle, pp. 194–264). Numerous illustrations of Jewish weddings in medieval Europe, North Africa and Italy show no evidence of a huppah as it is known today. Isserles notes that the portable marriage Canopy and arches was widely adopted by Ashkenazi Jews as a symbol of the chamber within which marriages originally took place, in the generation before he composed his commentary to the Shulchan Aruch.
We also provide services for arches in the island of Maui.