35 Chuppah Ideas to Decorate Your Jewish Wedding Ceremony
Whether to honor their religion or celebrate a shared heritage, many couples choose to incorporate religious and cultural elements into their wedding ceremonies. If you're planning a Jewish wedding ceremony, one of the elements you and your partner are likely considering including is a chuppah. To help make your wedding planning easier we've gathered need-to-know expert advice straight from the professionals. Plus, to inspire you should you decide to include a chuppah in your wedding decor, you'll find examples of creative chuppahs from real weddings to match every wedding theme below.
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Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Chuppahs
What is a chuppah?
Chuppah is a Hebrew word whose English translation means "canopy" or "covering." Simply put, a chuppah is a wedding canopy that is part of Jewish tradition and is commonly incorporated in Jewish wedding ceremonies.
"A chuppah is a square ceremony space that has four poles and a top. It is usually required by the Rabbi that the opening between the four poles is covered," explains Laura Maddox, owner of Magnolia Celebrates. "The chuppah is supposed to represent the couple's first home together. Since most ceremonies were originally held outdoors this structure was supposed to create a sacred space. They were originally carried in by family members and held in place during the ceremony but that portion of the tradition is rarely carried out today as chuppahs have become far too elaborate to carry anymore."
More specifically, the chuppah refers to the place where nissuin (or nesuin), the second stage of a Jewish marriage ceremony, takes place. With the first stage being kiddushin during which the signing of a ketubah takes place.
While chuppah is the spelling you'll most commonly see in use, chuppa and huppah are alternate spellings that refer to the same four-posted ceremony structure traditionally used at Jewish wedding ceremonies. Additionally, the prayer shawl that frequently hangs above a chuppah is referred to as a tallis (Yiddish spelling) or tallit (Hebrew spelling).
What is the historical significance of having a chuppah in a Jewish wedding ceremony?
"Traditionally Jewish ceremonies were held outdoors. The chuppah created a sanctified space for the couple to get married under," explains Syrie Roman, owner of Social Maven. "Keep in mind that you are incorporating a religious custom into your wedding. If you are not of the Jewish faith, maybe add a similar design to a chuppah; a canopy with two poles would provide a similar look without the religious implications. It's a good practice to seek advice and guidance from your officiant, family, venue and wedding planner. Always make sure you are respecting tradition and taking into consideration that a chuppah is a religious symbol with sacred significance to a lot of people. If you adopt this tradition, do it respectfully and honor its history and significance.
What are the key elements of a chuppah that separate it from a wedding arch?
"While an arch is typically constructed as a single element placed either in front of or behind the couple, a chuppah must have four separate pillars or poles, creating a space that the couple and both sets of parents stand under. All four sides must be open, signifying that the couple's home will be open and welcoming to all visitors," explains Beth Bernstein, owner and creative director of SQN Events.
How can couples personalize their wedding ceremony chuppah?
Bernstein goes on to explain that "most couples personalize their chuppah by incorporating a meaningful heirloom to serve at the top. I've had couples use everything from a tallis worn by a parent or grandparent to their mother's vintage veil. The most special item one of my couples used was a hand-knit tablecloth that the groom's grandparents had brought over from Europe when they fled during the Holocaust."
What are common dos and don'ts regarding Jewish wedding ceremony chuppahs?
"Always be sure to check with your Rabbi if you're thinking outside the box! Most are flexible, but the more observant Rabbis will not accept if the chuppah is suspended instead of coming from the floor for example. Or some require the top to be fully covered whereas others would be fine if you covered them with branches and could still see some holes in the ceiling," advises Maddox.
Floral Chuppah Ideas for a Jewish Wedding Ceremony
A floral-covered chuppah is a great way to set the tone for the rest of your wedding floral design. As you're wedding planning, keep in mind that hearty botanicals like eucalyptus may hold up better than dainty blooms like orchids as part of chuppah's design. Once you've perused the ideas below, consult your florist to come up with the best look for your floral chuppah.
1. Stunning Chuppah for Outdoor Wedding with Greenery and Roses
The combination of greenery with simple white roses will bring an absolutely timeless look to your outdoor wedding ceremony.
2. Colorful Chuppah for Destination Wedding in Colorado
This couple's chuppah added a burst of color to their mountain wedding ceremony.
3. Greenery-Covered Chuppah for Ceremony in the Round
For an outdoor wedding ceremony, leaning into greenery as the base for your ceremony event design will help the whole space complement the surrounding area.
4. Luxe Chuppah Covered with White Hydrangeas and Pink Roses
A pop of pink tied this couple's floral chuppah into the rest of the decor for this pink-and-black wedding in California.
5. Chuppah for Wedding in New York with Greenery and White Hydrangeas
Hydrangeas are a great option for decorating a floral chuppah since they elegantly add fullness to the floral design.
6. Chuppah for Orthodox Jewish Wedding in Florida
Floral accents don't have to be symmetrical, as this chuppah evidences.
7. Colorful Chuppah for Outdoor Wedding Topped with Delphinium
This couple went for a bold look with their floral chuppah. Bright blooms in shades of red, pink and purple caught guests' eyes at this Sarasota, Florida, wedding ceremony.
8. Luxe Chuppah with Large White Flowers
Oversized faux white roses brought drama to this ballroom chuppah.
9. Greenery Chuppah at Waterfront Wedding Venue
Since the waterfront backdrop of this ceremony was so eye-catching, the couple kept their chuppah decor to a minimum by opting for simple greenery decor.
10. Chuppah Covered in Dramatic Flowering Branches
The outdoors came inside this industrial loft wedding with the help of a dramatic branch chuppah.
11. Asymmetrical Chuppah Surrounded by Modern White Wedding Decorations
Asymmetrical floral accents gave this white chuppah a modern feel that befits the sleek ceremony space.
Boho Chuppah Wedding Ideas
Boho weddings are having a moment right now and we're here for it. If you're planning a boho wedding, let these ideas inspire you, in addition to the boho chuppahs below.
12. Copper Chuppah at Outdoor Wedding in Palm Springs, California
Peach roses and a copper frame ensured this chuppah felt right at home at this boho SoCal wedding.
13. Wood Chuppah with Jewel-Tone Fabric Ceremony Decor
Since the backdrop of this ceremony space was a plain concrete wall, the couple chose to create a layered fabric installation to further demarcate their altar space.
14. Copper Chuppah with Palm Frond Accents for Boho California Nuptials
To match the colorful aesthetic of this couple's wedding, some of the palm fronds used in their altar decor were painted bright hues.
15. Wood Chuppah Decorated with Orange Wedding Flowers
A sprinkling of orange flower petals mirrored the orange floral vines entwining this couple's wood chuppah.
16. Stunning Chuppah Covered in Greenery
A variety of types of foliage brought ample texture to this chuppah design without the inclusion of any fresh flowers.
17. Boho Event Design with Greenery-Covered Chuppah
Gauzy fabric added to the boho feel that pampas grass and greenery brought to this rustic-yet-boho chuppah.
18. Wood Chuppah with Pampas Grass Accents
Pampas grass added dramatic movement to the chuppah at this wedding in Spain.
Modern Chuppah Wedding Ceremony Ideas
If the modern ideas below pique your interest, let these other modern real weddings help inform the event design for your own wedding.
19. Modern Wedding Day with Patterned White Chuppah
The white chuppah at this wedding in Santa Fe, New Mexico, featured a laser-cut lace-inspired pattern.
20. Copper Chuppah for Modern Wedding in Los Angeles, California
A copper frame and colorful floral arrangements made this chuppah feel totally fresh and modern.
21. Lucite Chuppah for Rooftop Ceremony Overlooking New York City
Acrylic pillars ensured guests were able to enjoy the city skyline behind this couple as they exchanged vows.
22. Modern Wedding Decor with Copper Chuppah
So as not to overwhelm the ballroom space, this couple chose a chuppah with a minimal metal frame guests could see through.
23. Round Chuppah as Part of Glam Wedding Day
While this chuppah included the all-important four leg posts, the top of it was a creative circular shape.
Rustic Wedding Chuppah Inspiration
Since chuppahs are frequently constructed out of wood, the structures lend themselves well to a rustic wedding theme. To get inspired by even more rustic wedding ideas, we've gathered these ideas for you.
24. Wood Chuppah with Colorful Floral Arrangements
Dark wood brought a rustic feel to this chuppah at a Jewish wedding ceremony in Alabama.
25. Birch Chuppah Decorated with Colorful Dahlia and Peony Blooms
Dramatic dahlia blooms are a great way to pack a punch visually with your chuppah.
26. Black Chuppah Surrounded by Colorful Floral Arrangements
Instead of attaching flowers to the chuppah structure, this couple chose to decorate the entire altar space with groupings of floral arrangements.
27. Rustic Chuppah Covered in Greenery and Leaves
Loose vines covered in leaves helped this rustic chuppah blend into the landscape.
28. Burgundy-and-White Floral Design Covering Birch Chuppah
A few burgundy blooms made the corners of this chuppah pop.
Tropical Chuppah Ideas for a Jewish Wedding Ceremony
From structures built out of driftwood to wedding canopies covered in monstera leaves, the options are almost limitless when it comes to bringing a tropical vibe to your chuppah design.
29. Large Palm Frond Adoring Chuppah
An oversized palm frond added a tropical vibe to this otherwise industrial, urban Jewish wedding ceremony.
30. Protea-Covered Chuppah at Oceanview Beach Wedding
Protea blooms are hearty and work well as part of floral installations, like chuppahs.
31. Palm-Covered Tropical Chuppah Beneath Ornate Chandelier
Although this Jewish wedding ceremony took place in an industrial loft, the inclusion of palm fronds brought a tropical feel to the setup.
32. Greenery Decorating Modern White Chuppah at Rooftop Wedding Day
A white frame allowed the greenery accents on this chuppah to pop visually.
33. Oceanview Chuppah with Tropical Leaves at Beach Wedding
Monstera leaves felt right at home atop this beachfront chuppah.
Simple Chuppah Wedding Ceremony Inspiration
If you prefer a less-is-more look for your chuppah, consider a DIY approach. A simple wedding canopy made out of wood will bring an elegant touch to your ceremony event design.
34. Birch Chuppah at Outdoor Wedding Ceremony in Texas
This simple birch chuppah is a great reminder that sometimes less is more.
35. Wood Chuppah at Oceanview Wedding Ceremony
By keeping their chuppah decor to a minimum, this couple ensured the ocean view remained unobstructed.