Chuppahs are typically a Jewish wedding tradition and look a lot like a small gazebo. However, if you are getting married and want a traditional Jewish wedding, you have probably asked yourself if a gazebo can act like a chuppah.
A gazebo does not always qualify as a chuppa. A chuppah is a cloth covering the top with four open sides. It is also typically a square cloth held up by four poles seven and a half feet high. So, whether or not a gazebo will qualify as a chuppa will depend on the type of gazebo you have.
Thankfully, some gazebos can qualify as a chuppah. However, there are some things to consider. Specifically, what the Jewish priest deems is appropriate to act as a chuppah and how the family feels about a gazebo being the chuppah.
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Here’s a Quick Pro Tip!
If you plan to use a chuppah, you can use a more traditional family cloth or purchase a new one, or if you want a few different options, we’ve got you covered.
Here are our picks for a covering for your wedding, whether it’s a Jewish, another denomination, or non-denominational wedding ceremony:
1. DJBM Sheer Fabric: This is a solid-colored fabric at 59 inches and 25 yards. This is perfect for draping fabric around a wedding arch, gazebo, canopy, or chuppah. You can also use it for dresses and wedding veils.
2. Balsa Chuppah Poles and Hardware Kit: Weighted steel makes these poles heavy-duty. They are also adjustable and are suitable for chuppahs, canopies, and backdrops for parties and weddings.
3. Doingart Gold Toned Metal Wedding Arch: This is 7.8 ft. in width and height. This arch is durable and easy to assemble. Plus, it’s perfect for a wedding arch and for a photo backdrop for any event you have.
You can make a chuppah out of many things, including a gazebo, but it can get complicated.
In this section, we will go over what you should first consider before using a gazebo as a chuppah, including its differences, the requirements of a chuppah, and other things you can use for a chuppah.
What is the Difference Between a Gazebo and a Chuppah?
A gazebo is usually a permanent or semi-permanent structure that varies in size, material, and design. A chuppah is not a permanent structure and has more specific requirements and traditions in its design.
A chuppah is also a religious tradition and is often picked out by the priest or the family. The only other specification is that it’s about seven and a half feet tall on four poles or posts, a cloth is stretched out over it in a square, and it is open on four sides.
Can I Turn a Gazebo into a Chuppah?
Depending on how strict you, your family, and the priest are about a chuppah’s standards will depend on whether you can use a gazebo. However, some gazebos are designed with the specifications of a chuppah.
The main idea of a chuppah in Jewish tradition is that the couple is covered with a cloth representing the time when Abraham traveled in a tent, and the four open walls symbolize his hospitality.
In addition, the space underneath the chuppah is representative of the family’s new home.
What are the Requirements For a Chuppah?
A chuppah is typically a cloth or tapestry held by four poles. However, the main idea is that the chuppah has four open sides and a cloth over the heads of the bride and groom. Some families will hold up the four sides during the ceremony.
A gazebo can qualify if it is made of cloth and has four open sides. However, some families may prefer using a specific piece of cloth.
For example, some families make a cloth or quilt specifically for the wedding, and then the couple can keep it for their new home.
What Qualifies as a Chuppah?
A chuppah is a piece of cloth a bride and groom stand under during their wedding. The cloth is generally held by four poles, but it is a requirement that the chuppah is open on all four sides.
The chuppah is sometimes made with a family cloth, quilt, or tapestry. It signifies the home they will have together.
William Henry Channing states that the chuppah should be made with a simple cloth to signify being content with a simple life.
How Big Should a Chuppah Be?
A chuppah only needs to be as big as to fit the bride and groom under it during the wedding ceremony. For this reason, they are often seven and a half feet tall, but for taller couples, they can be taller.
Families sometimes like to join the couple under the chuppah; if this is their plan or tradition, the chuppah will be wider.
If you have any questions regarding the chuppah, the best person to ask is your family to see what traditions or expectations they have. Just keep in mind you cannot always please everyone.
What Can I Use Instead of a Wedding Arch?
If you do not have any religious traditions you are following, there are a multitude of options. You can use a gazebo or a canopy, and a popular option today is to find a gorgeous rod iron gate.
If you are Jewish or planning a Jewish wedding, you will need a chuppah. This is a specific canopy made of cloth and four poles. It is tall and wide enough that you and your future spouse can comfortably fit under.
You might also enjoy our post on Can A Pergola Have A Solid Roof?
Chuppahs have requirements, but you still have options. In this section, we will go over those options and give you some good ideas for what you can use as your chuppah. If you are intrigued, read on.
Can an Arch Be a Chuppah?
An arch can be a chuppah if it carries a cloth and is open on four sides. However, you should talk to your priest first to see if he has a spiritual preference. It’s also good to ask your family, but use caution because you may not be able to please everyone.
In the Jewish faith, the priest’s word is superior, so if he says it’s ok to use an arch, any concerned family can rest assured. However, there may be a tradition you are unaware of, and the whole family expects that instead.
Does a Chuppah Have to Be Wood?
A chuppah does not have to be wood. Today, most chuppahs are made out of metal rods. Even in early Jewish tradition, families would hold the chuppah themselves during the ceremony rather than using wooden posts.
The only requirements for a chuppah are that the cloth is above the couple during the ceremony and that there be four open sides.
The cloth can be anything, and some families have traditional cloth they use or make special cloth for the occasion.
Does a Chuppah Have to Be Square?
A chuppah does not have to be square, but it often is because it must have four open sides. However, a rectangle is fine; some couples have used an open arch with four sides.
Talk to the priest performing the ceremony if you have any concerns about your specific wedding. He may have a more specific guideline. It may also be that your family has an expectation for the chuppah.
Can a Chuppah Be Round?
A chuppah cannot be round because it must have four sides open and four corners. Although the chuppah can be a rectangle, some even arch their chuppah over a structure with four open sides.
They can place the cloth over the gazebo structure if they have a gazebo with four corners and four open sides.
However, it’s best to check with the priest before deciding on something a little different if you are of a Jewish religion.
What’s The Difference Between a Chuppah and an Arch?
A chuppah is typically a flat, square cloth, and an arch is at least two rods or posts that connect a top piece, usually in an arch form. Arches can have more than two posts and run much longer than one post length.
Arches and chuppahs can be made extravagant with lights and greenery, or they can be simple. If you want a simple wedding, you can buy a wire arch and drape white tulle or fabric around it.
You can also pin a few of the wedding flowers to it as well.
Can You Make Your Own Chuppah?
You can absolutely make your own chuppah. Many Jewish families will make a quilt or tapestry just for the occasion. The chuppah started as a cloth held over the bride and groom during the ceremony.
Other specifications include the cloth being held up on four sides and it being open on four sides. However, the purpose of it is to represent the couple’s new home together. It also is a way to keep Jewish weddings of the Bible alive.
Decor and Decorum
When it comes to your wedding, you want options, but you also want to look your best. In this section, we will discuss ways to decorate your chuppah or other wedding backdrops and canopies.
What Do You Cover a Chuppah With?
A chuppah is covered with a cloth that is typically hoisted by four rods or posts. You can also place the cloth over an arch or gazebo. The main point of a chuppah is that it is covered by a cloth and open on four sides.
The four open sides signify the open generosity of the couple, and the cloth signifies the home they will have together.
It’s a tradition that the cloth is made of simple cloth to signify being content even with the simple things in life. However, today, many chuppahs are more extravagant.
Can a Chuppah Be Made of Flowers?
A chuppah is made with a cloth in Jewish tradition, but many have changed that tradition to match the rest of the decor. If you want to stick with tradition, you can have a cloth over your head and add flowers.
A chuppah cloth is usually held by four poles. You can wrap flowers around the side poles as well. Some even use an arch of flowers and place their cloth over it.
You can do the same with a gazebo that is open on four sides.
Do You Have to Cover Your Shoulders While Under the Chuppah?
If you want to follow strict Orthodox Jewish tradition, you should consider covering your shoulders under the chuppah. However, this tradition is no longer followed in most Jewish weddings.
Jewish tradition today is also more relaxed on other aspects of the chuppah. For example, you can use any cloth to cover the chuppah and add other things to the chuppah – like flowers or other decor pieces.
Who Can Hold a Chuppah?
Many chuppahs are a piece of cloth held by four poles with four open sides, but Jewish tradition also says four family members can hold up the cloth to make the chuppah as the couple gets married.
The chuppah cloth can also follow a family’s tradition. Some Jewish families pass down a cloth for the chuppah, and some families will make a cloth specific for the wedding day.
Having the family make the chuppah is a great way to involve the family in the wedding.
Do Parents Have to Stand Under the Chuppah?
Parents can stand under the chuppah, and they can hold up the chuppah. Both have been done traditionally. However, many Jewish weddings have the family come under the chuppah after the ceremony.
Jewish priests also encourage other young unmarried people to go under the chuppah to feel how it will be when they gate married and to feel God’s presence in the home.
Additionally, the four open sides represent the couple’s generous open door.
What is a Wedding Gazebo Called?
A wedding gazebo is simply a gazebo that the couple stands under or in front of during the wedding ceremony. They are also decorated with flowers, tulle, and other decorative items.
If you are Jewish or want a Jewish wedding, you can turn a gazebo into a Jewish chuppah. The definition of a chuppah is a cloth that covers the couple during the wedding ceremony.
You can use a cloth covering over a gazebo, and if the gazebo is open on four sides, it qualifies as a chuppah.
Can I Have a Chuppah at my Wedding if I’m Not Religious?
A chuppah is a canopy with four open sides. If you think chuppahs are pretty but you are not Jewish, you can still have a chuppah at your wedding – it will just act like a wedding canopy. However, some may find it offensive if you call it a chuppah.
There are many gorgeous canopies and arches made for weddings or that you can use to create a one-of-a-kind canopy or arch.
Gazebos also make a beautiful backdrop when you add flowers, candles, tulle, and other decorations.
What Do People Get Married Under Outside?
There are many options and traditions. For example, the Orthodox Jewish tradition is to get married under a chuppah or a cloth covering with four open sides. Couples also use gazebos, arches, and canopies.
If you are planning your wedding outside, look at your venue first. They might have a gazebo or arch already on the property. Or, you can see the wedding site to decide which may be best for the space.
If you are planning a Jewish Wedding, mazel tov – and we hope this article helps you in your wedding planning.
If you just learned about chuppahs and think they are an interesting tradition, we hope you enjoyed learning about them.