Friday, January 25, 2008

It’s January 2008 – do you know where your Ketubah is?

My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on December 30, 2007. Everyone knows about the gifts that are “traditional” for some milestone anniversaries, such as silver for the 25th anniversary and gold for the 50th wedding anniversary. But you may not be aware that there are lists of traditional and modern gifts for nearly every wedding anniversary.

The traditional gift for the first wedding anniversary is paper, so a piece of paper-based art is a most appropriate gift. It’s a great time to frame your own wedding invitation, if you haven’t done so already. But for many couples, there is another piece of paper to frame and display as a wedding keepsake: a marriage contract.

As part of most Jewish wedding ceremonies, the husband gives his wife such a contract, known as a Ketubah. Ketubahs can be beautiful pieces of artwork - decorative statements celebrating a couple’s relationship and commitment.

The ketubah was designed as a practical document to protect a Jewish bride’s legal and financial rights in the event of their husband’s death or a divorce. But ketubahs aren’t just for Jewish weddings anymore. All kinds of couples have embraced the custom of creating a marriage celebration document or “contract”.

Ketubahs come in sizes, styles, language and price points to suit everyone – check out for some examples of what is available. These contracts may be signed as part of a wedding ceremony, when a couple renews their vows, or to mark a milestone anniversary.

In Jewish marriages, the safekeeping of the Ketubah traditionally is the bride’s responsibility. When my husband and I got married, our rabbi told me that I should always know where our ketubah is. Our wedding was arranged and held within two weeks (that’s a story for another time) and we never thought about what our Ketubah would look like – the rabbi said he would provide it. We signed it and had it witnessed and filed it away. I didn’t even really remember what it looked like; in fact, I remember thinking that I didn’t love it and wished we could have done something different.

But recently, a Purple Raincoat client asked us to create a collage based on her Ketubah as an anniversary gift for her husband (well after their first anniversary). Despite the fact that the Ketubah was in only fair condition – it was faded with many creases and ragged edges – the collage turned out to be beautiful. That got me thinking about our own Ketubah. Fortunately, I knew where it was. I used it in a collage which I gave to my husband for our anniversary. Now our framed ketubah is hanging in our bedroom and I have a whole new perspective on our Ketubah – I absolutely love it.

The ketubah is layered on violet, cream-and-gold flowered, silver, black and gold textured papers. The collage's background is the same grey parchment print as the background of the ketubah. Silver and gold ribbon, violet skeleton leaves, and gold mesh accent the design. A beautifully textured black frame completes the design.

So when you’re thinking about an anniversary gift, think about having Purple Raincoat create a beautiful showcase for your own marriage contract, if you have one. If you don’t, consider having one made for you and your significant other – it’s a great way to reaffirm your commitment and celebrate any anniversary.

Purple Raincoat is the expert at creating wonderful one-of-a-kind gifts for weddings, anniversaries, and other special occasions. See samples of our work and get inspired by visiting our portfolio.