First Mike and some buddies (witnesses) signed the kettuba (marriage contract). From what I understand, since I was not there, shots were taken, high fives were given, and a general boy-good-time was had, amidst the seriousness.
The bedeken, in short, is the veiling ceremony. There are many reasons behind why this tradition exists, and I enjoy this one the most: In the Hebrew Bible, Jacob was fooled into marrying Leah who was completely veiled before and during the ceremony, instead of his intended bride Rachel. Jewish grooms today carry out this tradition to symbolically acknowledge that the bride is indeed one's beloved.
Mike came upstairs to the library (bridal ready room) with the kettuba & his boys literally cheering him on!
I then signed our kettuba. Even though our contract was signed we were not yet officially bound to each other. That takes place under the chuppah.
Isn't it beautiful? I'm so in love with our kettuba. Naomi Broudo of Etsy made it for us. Side-note: shipping something from Canada can take awhile and even get lost in customs. Always leave extra time!
Then our Rabbi said some official stuff & prayers (very technical, I know), and Mike placed my veil over me.
While blessing us, our Rabbi asked family and friends who were there to think of a special moment they shared with the two of us. We had yet to even begin the marriage ceremony and tears were flowing already!
Mike kissed me one last time.
Everyone else headed downstairs.
I remained at the top of the stairs, ready to walk down the aisle!