Green Wedding Chuppah Construction?

Nov
09
2009

Question:

Hi Kate,

Do you have any directions for constructing a chuppah with birch poles? Thank you.

Marilyn

Answer:

Hi Marilyn,

The answer to your question really depends on where you are having the ceremony and what you want it to look like.

Let me begin by saying that there is no requirement to have a chuppah at a Jewish wedding, nor is there a certain way it must be constructed under Jewish law. The chuppah represents the home the couple will create together and usually has four open sides and a covering of some kind. Other than that, the look and feel is up to your imagination and aesthetic.

In terms of construction, there are two parts to consider: anchoring and securing the canopy.

Anchoring

There are several ways to anchor a chuppah. The easiest (for you) is to have friends or family members hold the poles during the ceremony.

However, I think it is more relaxing for everyone if you have your chuppah planted in the ground or create one that is free-standing. Options include:
- Renting chuppah pole bases (like the ones below which were rented from Afikomen).  
white lace chuppah
- Building the canopy right into the design to create a mini free-standing gazebo.  
birch chuppah
- Placing the polls into flower pots or planters. 
simple green chuppah
- Fixing the poles into buckets of poured cement. This is NOT the greenest option, but if you decide to do this, fill the container about 1/3 of the way up and hold the pole in place until it is dry. Leave for 24 hours before moving. 
DIY chuppah poles
For a greener - and lighter - version, you can make hypertufa cement, which incorporates peet moss and pearlite or sand and can grow moss on the outside. 

 

Securing the canopy
The next step is deciding how you will secure the canopy to the poles. With birch, you can nail support beams together like this couple did.
colorful chuppah canopy
Or taper the poles at the top and add loops to the chuppah cover. 
handmade chuppah poles
Or add a cross beam and use it to anchor rope or chord that is tied to the corners of your cover. 
crochet chuppah cover

What style chuppah makes the most sense for you will depend on the location, season, and aesthetic of your ceremony. The more complicated the design the more logistics will be involved, which is why many couples choose to rent a chuppah (another green option). However, handmade or family heirloom chuppahs and chuppah covers are particularly beautiful and meaningful and are certainly worth the effort. I look forward to seeing what you and your fiance create. 

Good luck!

~Kate