The Time Honored Tradition of the Ketubah

When my friend, Jill invited me to her wedding and asked me to create a collage with her flowers and her ketubah, I was intrigued. Ooooh! I’ve never done anything like that before!

​A ketubah is a beautiful and essential part of a Jewish wedding that dates back about 2,000 years. It describes a husband’s responsibilities and a wife’s rights within their marriage and it’s a whole lot lovelier than your run-of-the-mill modern-day prenup. Couples will often choose to have their ketubahs done in calligraphy or painted and hang them in their homes as a beautiful reminder of the sanctity of their commitment.

Jill and David’s idea to adorn their ketubah with their preserved wedding flowers is a modern, personal approach to this time-honored tradition.  Their ‘blank’ ketubah was purchased from MPArtworks.

They were married under a tree on an idyllic college campus surrounded by blue hydrangeas and local, organically grown flowers from Old Friends Farm. After the reception, I gathered up all the flowers (even the sweet little sprgs of rosemary and lavender that had adorned the dinner napkins) and brought everything back to the studio.

​I wanted to get them into the presses straightaway!

Because I had witnessed the signing of the ketubah, I knew I’d be a creating a circular design, so I carefully guided the flower stems into a gentle curve before pressing them. I envisioned an elegant circle of flowers and I hoped that curved flower stems would create an effortless, natural flow to the piece.

jewish wedding ketubah flowers 2 orig
With all the pressed petals laid out, the art of design is as much in choosing what won’t be included as what will.
save your wedding flowers ketubah orig

I auditioned different blooms for feature roles in the piece. The yellow Gerbera Daisy at the bottom center of the circle was only partially reconstructed before I realized it wasn’t the direction I wanted to go in.

​It’s important to hold space for all the possibilities and move on when something isn’t coming together!

wedding flower preservation orig

I fell in love with the balance of the three rich dark pink Peonies that formed a triangular balance while off-setting the unbroken symmetry of the circle.

​Nothing is predictable right? Not love, not life, not marriage! So I love to throw some unexpected elements into a design as a visual metaphor that even the bumps in the road can be beautiful!

I also opted for a less-dense, more open feel to the flowers in the circle. Allowing for the beauty of the white spaces gives oxygen to the finished piece. Like the space between two people gives them room to grow together…(I can come up with relationship and flower metaphors aaaaaalllll day. Because, you know, LOVE and FLOWERS, gah!)

preserve wedding flowers art orig
Jill and David came into the studio mid-way through the process to choose their frame. They look pretty pleased with it, I think!
keep your wedding flowers ketubah art 1 orig

I think one of my favorite things about this collage is the way, when viewed from a distance, that little bloom on the left, near the top, looks like an exuberant dancer who just MIGHT NOT be contained, and could, at any moment, leap out of formation to spin and whirl in their own little solo before rejoining the chorus.

Ah. life. Love. Flowers.

ketubah art from wedding flowers orig

Are you looking for ideas for your ketubah? Get in touch! Let’s make something amazing!