This contract is ordained by Mishnaic law (circa 170 CE) and according to some authorities dates back to Biblical times.
The ketuvah, written in Aramaic, details the husband's obligations to his wife: food, clothing, dwelling and pleasure.
While the bride comes to the chuppah with her parents, a cantor sings a selection from the Song of Songs, and the groom prays that his unmarried friends find their true partners in life.
When the bride arrives at the chuppah she circles the groom seven times with her mother and future mother-in-law, while the groom continues to pray.
One week before the wedding the bride and groom, the chosson and kallah, stop seeing each other, in order to enhance the joy of their wedding through their separation.
In fact, the bride and groom usually fast on the day of the wedding (until the chuppah) since for them it is like Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement.Some families sign a contract, the tenaim, meaning "conditions," that delineates the obligations of each side regarding the wedding and a final date for the wedding.Others do this at the wedding reception an hour or so before the marriage."), the groom does the bedekin, or "veiling." The groom, together with his father and future father-in-law, is accompanied by musicians and the male guests to the room where the bride is receiving her guests.She sits, like a queen, on a throne-like chair surrounded by her family and friends.The blessings are also recited over a full cup of wine.The blessings begin with praising G-d for His creation in general and creation of the human being and proceed with praise for the creation of the human as a "two part creature," woman and man.This symbolizes the idea of the woman being a protective, surrounding light of the household, that illuminates it with understanding and love from within and protects it from harm from the outside.The number seven parallels the seven days of creation, and symbolizes the fact that the bride and groom are about to create their own "new world" together.Under the chuppah, an honored Rabbi or family member then recites a blessing over wine, and a blessing that praises and thanks G-d for giving us laws of sanctity and morality to preserve the sanctity of family life and of the Jewish people. The blessings are recited over wine, since wine is symbolic of life: it begins as grape-juice, goes through fermentation, during which it is sour, but in the end turns into a superior product that brings joy, and has a wonderful taste.The full cup of wine also symbolizes the overflowing of Divine blessing, as in the verse in Psalms, "My cup runneth over." The groom, now takes a plain gold ring and places it on the finger of the bride, and recites in the presence of two witnesses, "Behold you are sanctified (betrothed) to me with this ring, according to the Law of Moses and Israel." The ring symbolizes the concept of the groom encompassing, protecting and providing for his wife.