Modern Jewish couples increasingly seek to infuse their weddings with meaning. Many are looking to incorporate traditions like an aufruf, Sheva Brachot, the yichud ritual, and having a ketubah, or a Jewish wedding contract, to formalize vows and celebrate their commitments. Beginning in the 1st century BCE, official ketubot have the binding force of Jewish law and were originally intended to provide rights to women inside their marriages. No longer just for those of the Jewish faith, today’s ketubot may be completely customized to reflect the individual nuances of each relationship.
What Is a Ketubah?
A ketubah is a Jewish wedding contract signed before the wedding, typically on the same day, to validate vows and commitments. The important ritual entails the document being read and signed by the couple, the officiant, and witnesses.
Though traditional ketubot contain official text, modern adaptations often include updated versions of couples’ vows reframed as promises to be kept over time—and many couples choose to retain the well-known phrase, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine.” Couples can turn to ketubah artists to incorporate their contracts into permanent pieces of art to be displayed in the family home. Modern ketubot can even be customized to match a wedding paper suite or reflect the tone of a venue, memorializing your special day for years to come.
Check out these beautiful, intricate ketubah designs from real weddings to inspire your own wedding.
Consider a minimal ketubah accentuated by a circle. As is common with modern ketubot, this couple commissioned an artist to incorporate their wedding vows in this document enclosed by a metallic gold foil circle to represent everlasting love.
We can't think of a more suitable flower to adorn your declaration of love and commitment than the forget-me-not. Surround your custom text with the delicate blue flowers for an extra touch of romance like Misha and Aaron.
Keep your wedding design elements cohesive. This couple utilized the paper cutout motif, also seen on the invitations and the bride's dress, and signed the intricate ketubah as guests sang around them. So precious!
Make your ketubah even more special by writing the text together as this couple did. They also included promises to each other and read the ketubah aloud during the ceremony.
Incorporate the skyline of a city that's significant to your relationship on your ketubah like Bryanne and Ryan did with the Boston skyline. This could be where you met, fell in love, live, or are holding your wedding.
Modern ketubot can include a couple's wedding logo and venue references. This couple's customized graphic ketubah incorporated their wedding logo, colors, plus it infused the Aspen landscape, where the wedding was held.
Combine metallic gilded elements with a paper-cut overlay for a unique mix of texture and style like Dana and Jeff's custom ketubah. The matte paper especially pops against the gold during golden hour and makes for some stunning wedding photos.
A simple, gorgeous way to turn your ketubah into a work of art is to write down the vows in white ink on dark paper and house it in a floral-decorated frame with white design details. We love the way the illustrated flowers framed the vows and added contrast in this couple's ketubah. Plus, it's an easy way of prepping the ketubah for displaying at home.
This couple commissioned an artist to paint over their written vows in different shades of blue. It adds a level of intimacy to the vows, like shrouding them under layers of paint means it's a secret reserved for the couple.
Make like this couple and have your wedding location serve as the ketubah design inspiration. Emily and Luke's custom ketubah was decorated with the Whistler mountains that backdropped their ceremony and an illustration of their actual wedding chuppah—and if you look closely, you'll see that even their golden retriever was included!
Oliva and Kyle signed this beautiful laser-cut ketubah following their rustic Italian wedding ceremony in Tuscany. An intricately cut frame with floral and forest elements creates an elegant layer over the text.
If you're using watercolor for your written paraphernalia including invites, place settings, or escort cards, consider incorporating the same dreamy paint technique on your ketubah. This couple, who signed their ketubah outdoor on the patio surrounded by friends and family, had a gorgeous floral design around their vows. You can even match the design for a cohesive scheme.
Brooke and Geoffrey had their friend create their minimal ketubah. “We asked our dear friend, artist Lisa Boumstein-Smalley to design our ketubah,” Brooke says. “[The ketubah] asks that you be equal partners in life, friendship, and love. Signing it felt really momentous!”
Surround the lettering with a botanical-inspired wreath like this couple did for their whimsical Hudson Valley wedding. Michael and Molly remember the signing of their ketubah as one of the best parts of their wedding day, bringing together their closest family and friends.
Monis and Corey signed an elaborately designed ketubah before their multicultural wedding ceremony in New York City. Their colorful ketubah incorporated elements of the bride's Pakistani heritage as well.
This couple had their vows printed on their decorative ketubah instead of reading them aloud. The bride, Jacqueline, cites having her friends and family sign the ketubah after the ceremony as one of her favorite memories of their wedding day.
This couple's simple ketubah kept elements basic but elegant in a minimalist design. In lieu of a multicolor theme, add interest to the ketubah design with geometrically shaped lettering.
Starry Night Inspired
Heather and Adam's city-night-sky ketubah is a work of art. White ink pops against the dark painted sky and a shimmery silver Sharpie to sign goes hand in hand with a twinkling star theme.