Jewish Weddings

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Where to Get a Huppa?

November 2002

I'm not a very religious or observant Jew, but my partner & I are having a commitment ceremony next summer, and I want to have a huppa. Okay, where do I find one? So far, I?ve only found one place online, and they cost $600-$800. Alternatively, does anyone know of quilters or craftspeople who work with fabric who could make a huppa?

If you are having the ceremony at a synogogue they will have the 4 poles to use and may even have a ''huppa'' but I think you can really use any blanket, fabric that you find beautiful or meaningful to you and your partner- something old and sentimental or something new for your new home together! It symbolizes a home afterall! LSG

I had my friends make quilt squares (approx 12x12 ''). I bought some coordinating fabric and stitched it together. It was not quilted, but someday I will at least have some one 'tie' it for me. I specified a color family. some people glued and beaded, others linoleum printed, appliqued, embroidered, or quilted, Fabric paint would have been acceptable to me too. Another idea is to go to China town and find a table cloth. They have embroidered ones and ones with nice 'cut work' (for lack of a better name). Then your huppa becomes your holiday/special occasion table cloth, an heirloom (albeit stained). you could also fabric paint a meaningful scene or invite friends in for crafts (potatoe prints? leaf reliefs?)on white muslin. I like the angle of having friends contribute. For supports we bought dowls (essentially broom handles) at the hardware store, inserted hooks in the end and spray painted them white. We also did a may pole thing w/ ribbons. My friend's florist took care of her huppa. It was made of branches, light chiffony/lacey fabric, flowers and greens. Mazel Tov! The huppa is a lovely metaphor for commitment. Jessica

A few thoughts: You may have a friend who can sew a huppa, as a wedding gift. Or if you're using a florist, some have huppas to rent, too. You may also be able to borrow a huppa from someone, which is what I did. Mazel Tov. Jessica

When my partner and I had our wedding (we consciously chose not to call it a committment ceremony), I designed a huppah using an antique tablecloth as the base. I strip-pieced fabric and then cut triangle which were then made into the shape of a jewish star. I did the same type of thing with other material which was than made into a celtic know (my sweetie's not jewish by birth). They were appliqued onto the tablecloth, the celtic knot inside the jewish star. I had the help and talent of a dear friend who is a much better seamstress than me. The hardest part was deciding how to attach it to the poles - we worked it out, I think we used uphostersterly(sp) tacks and we careful with it so as to impart as little damage as possible to the material. We really should find a place to display more permanently. It mostly sits in a closet for the last 7 years. Samantha

When my wife and I got married, we rented a chupa from Afikomen on Claremont in Berkeley. I can't remember what it cost, but I'm pretty sure it was under $100. Good luck! Michael

I purchased a beautiful piece of golden silk at one of the Indian stores on University where saris are sold. They have great selection of fabirc by the yard in rich colors and wonderful textures. My florist, Barbara Erfani (on San Pablo) had beautiful chuppah poles made of tree branches that I rented for a fee. Perhaps she would rent them to you without using her floral services. You should also try Afikomen on Claremont, the JCC or one of the local synagogues to see if they rent chuppahs. Good luck! Leah

My brother and sister-in-law got married with a HUPPA made by a friend. If you have anyone mildly artistic in your midst, try suggesting it as a wedding present-- I'm sure it'll be a boon both to you and the person creating it! As to design and religious considerations, I'm sure it's not too hard to find out the specs. Good luck-- Noa

We made our own huppa for next to nothing. We borrowed 4 wooden posts from a friend. I'm sure you can buy them at a wood supply store. They were round and smooth and about 7 or 8 feet tall. It helps if they are long so the holders can rest them on the floor- otherwise, it gets heavy and someone is sure to start drooping a pole- not great for the photos! The width should be comfortable for holding- not too bulky. We decorated the poles with wide ribbons wrapped around them at an angle. The huppa material was just a piece of pretty cloth. I wish I could remember how we attached the cloth (obviosuly most important), but I'm sure there are several options: velcro would probably work well. We then had our florist make 4 little bouquets that attached at the top of the poles where the cloth was attached. It was beautiful! Hope this helps. Ariel

My husband and I had a very nice chuppah constructed from four long bamboo poles, held by each of our four siblings. We tied a large tallit at the corners to form the canopy. A friend did the flowers for us and attached bouquets and gauzy bows to each bamboo pole. Cost, probably about $100 including the tallit. Like the commercial says, ''Memories, priceless.'' Congratulations on your upcoming marriage. Kathryn and Leo Levenson,Congregation Netivot Shalom

I have two suggestions - one, Nancy Katz, a fabric artist, her company is Eye of the Needle, does beautiful silk painted huppas. She can also make your huppa so it divides in half afterwards into two tallitot for you and your partner. Her studio number is 510-843-5280. The second possibility is to contact Celebrations, the wedding store that is connected to Afikomen. They rent out huppas. Afikomen's number is 510-655- 1977. One thought, you say you are not a ''very religious or observant Jew'' well, join the crowd! If you and your partner are considering joining a community in the east bay, just know that there are lots of Jews just like you in the synagogues that will simply say, welcome! a member of Temple Sinai

We rented a chupa from Afikomen on Claremont. They have a few to choose from, ranging from the simple to the ornate. We had it for the weekend, and the price was reasonable. You could also make your own. A friend of mine made one by sewing together two table cloths, one from her mother and one from the groom's mother. Mazel Tov. Mara

There's no reason a chuppah should be so expensive. A chuppah can be any fabric. My advice is, find something beautiful and use it. Make sure it's big enough for both of you to fit under it. Some Jews like to use a tallit (a prayer shawl), but this is optional. My information comes from Isaac Stein's ''A Guide to Jewish Religious Practise'' which is guidebook for the Conservative movement of Judaism, p 402. Other movements have other customs. And finally: congratulations. Jim D

My husband and I used a lace tablecloth that had belonged to my grandmother. Our florist attached it to 4 posts covered with flowers and ribbons and voila! It was beautiful and filled with sentimental value. Jill Fallick

This may not even be close to what you're thinking, but here's what we did. We are an interfaith couple, married by a rabbi in Golden Gate Park. We bought 4 bamboo poles at OSH, attached a lovely table cloth of my mother-in-law's (the Jewish side) and had our siblings and 2 close friends carry it and hold it during the ceremony. It was quite moving actually, and memorable when it first got stuck in the trees coming down the ''aisle''. Good luck! T. Joe

We used a large tallit, held by four people who where important to us. Ours was extremely simple, but a number of friends have made them using a tallit and poles. You could talk to the people at Afikomen, or the rabbi who's doing the ceremony for ideas. Mazel tov! Carol Dorf

This site is what you're looking for: Click on ''Chuppot & Floral Arrangements'' under ''#14 Simchas & Celebrations'' Helena

For our wedding, we used the tallit my father gave us, and four birch poles we got at the SF flower mart. You then decorate the corners with flowers (also from the flower mart). We have used the tallit for our daughter's naming, and will use it for our son's bris...and so on. Julie Katz

hi. i had a VERY reformed jewish ceremony a number of years ago and i made my huppa. i bought four wooden poles and knobs to go on top at Home Depot. then i got an appropriate length of white cloth and i painted designs and symbols that were important to us and which represented our home and future together. i decorated the poles and put secured openings in the huppa cloth that could be attached by screwing the knobs down into the ends of the wooden poles. it was a hit at the wedding. and a lovely and unique memory. good luck!

You can rent or buy a huppah at Afikomen, on Claremont Ave (near Ashby) in Berkeley. I'm not sure what the cost is, but my sister rented a huppah from them last July and didn't mention the cost being staggering. Catherine Scholar

Hello, if you have time to make your own chuppa, it's very inexpensive and brings a much more personal element to the ceremony. It was very easy for us once we found the right supplies and neither of us is very handy or creative. We made it by filling four galvanized buckets with cement. We inserted a piece of PVC pipe in the centers for the poles to fit into. We decorated the buckets with artificial flowers and ivy using a hot glue gun. We used sturdy wooden poles to insert in the buckets and had the florist decorate the poles with vines. We attached a large tablecloth to the tops of the poles. Some people use a prayer shawl or some type of tapestry that is meaningful to them. The only problem we had was that our wedding happened to be on a blustery day and we had to have people steadying the poles every once in a while. Have fun if you decide to create your own! Amanda

Mazel tov on your upcoming commitment ceremony! I made a huppah for my sister that did involve a fair amount of work but not too much money or skill that maybe a friend would do for you. I asked (by email) my sister's friends and family for words that they would like to give them (ie blessings, family, joy, an ocean of petals, etc. whatever they wanted). Then I took 100% cotton muslin fabric and painted on (with different color fabric paints) the words in a spiral. We also painted a grapevine (in a spiral under the words) but I don't think you'd need to do that. Then I sewed on a fringe edge by hand (because I don't know how to work a machine! but you could also pay someone). I attached 4 plastic rings to the corners and voila, a chuppah! For our chuppah, we had a friendship quilt but if you don't have a quilting friend, it seems to be fairly expensive to pay someone. Also synagogues and Afikomen in Berkeley/Oakland will rent huppahs for a day and I think that's fairly inexpensive. Good luck and again, mazel tov. Katya

The florist we used for our wedding, Barbara Erfani, provided a lovely chuppa for our wedding for much less money than any other option we investigated. She's on San Pablo in Berkeley, phone # is 525-3523. We found her a bit brusque on the phone, but not in person, and we were very happy with the price and quality of her work. Nomi Harris

Hi. Here's my perspective - I'm Jewish and my husband isn't but we had a Jewish wedding ceremony and made our own. We felt it had so much more connection to us and the meaning of the chuppah as a symbol of the extension of our home. There is no need to rent one for $600 that has been used by others when you can create a personally unique one yourself - that has way more meaning to you and everyone who comes to the ceremony!! In our case, I was fortunate, I had a sister-in-law who could sew so she bought some white material. Cut it into a large rectangle, sewed on a simple 2-3 in ruffle around the edge. We then had her write some portion of the 'on friendship' segment from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran. And did some other designs in the corners. Here are some thoughts for you: 1. Buy a talit and connect it to 4 poles. 2. Buy some cloth (like I mentioned above) and perhaps you have a friend with good handwriting. They can buy this handwriting pens/paint at Michaels. If you want more religious type cloth I'm sure you could find it. 3. Talk to a tailor or seamstress about how they could help you. 4. To soften it up you could connect some flowers/vines to the corners. Hope that helps. Hilary

Yes, there is a HUPPAH place! You can rent Huppa's from Afikomen on Claremont Avenue in Berkeley. joy

Try some of the major florists in the East Bay and SF. Many do elaborate weddings and have huppas in their rental inventory. You can also try a place in Richmond called Hartmann Studios/Green Valley Plant Rental. Kim

Stonemountain & Daughter Discount Quality Fabrics at 2518 Shattuck Ave in Berkeley (tel: 845-6106) has a book of local seamstress recommendations. I was just there today and saw a couple of listings of people who specialize in ceremonial and/or religious quilting/sewing. Just ask one of the salespeople for the binder which is kept behind the counter. Denise

Well, if you are having your ceremony outside, you do not need a huppa, as being under the heavens is all you need! If you are having your ceremony indoors, or really want a huppa, I don't believe that it needs to be of any particular material. But for better advice, we were married by the head of the Jewish Humanistic Society in Berkeley( I've forgotten her name off hand), but they would be a fabulous resource for you! Mazel Tov! fl

I love the meaning and beauty of a Chuppah, Since I wanted something unique and one that didn't look commercial I made my own. It was lot's of fun and easy. When we put it up some of our friends helped. It was one of the added benefits and felt like a community barn raising. I made the Chuppah out of 8 foot bamboo poles; 4 vertical and 4 horizontal around the top. We tied them together with rope in the corners and place each of the vertical posts in a pretty flower pot filled with sand. In advance I wrapped each pole with ribbon and then we wrapped long branches of leaves around each of the posts. We placed more leaves around the base of the poles. For the ''roof'' we tied sheer and opaque ribbons across the top, rows and rows of pastel yellow, green and white. It was incredible. And best of all probably spent under $200. After the wedding I planted flowers in the vases and for more that a year following the wedding I used the ribbons to tie gifts, reminding each person that the ribbon came from my chuppah and symbolized love . If you want more detail please email me and I can direct you to my sources for ribbons, bamboo and leaves. Congratulations! gail

We just bought a beautiful piece of fabric and used that for a chuppah. I have two friends who each had gorgeous handmade chuppahs - friends and family made squares for a quilt and then the squares were sewn together. Afterwards, the chuppah was hung on the wall in their home. Really beautiful and very special. Congratulations on your commitment ceremony! Lori