A ketubah is more than just an item in the Jewish wedding culture. It’s a work of art that will stay with you forever; a prominent decor item in your home. For this reason, you need to get yourself a breathtakingly gorgeous ketubah that brings to life who you are and how you feel as a couple. Your ketubah also needs to exemplify your Jewish heritage and illuminate your cultural and spiritual beliefs.
That being said, how can you create a one-of-a-kind, personalized ketubah that captures your lifestyle and aesthetic sensibilities? The surest way is to customize your ketubah with the help of a ketubah artist. This is how you can use a ketubah artist to bring your vision to life:
Have a budget
Most artists charge anything between $500 and $7000 for a custom ketubah, with a few outliers going for up to $10000. The cost mostly depends on your personalization needs, the artist’s rates, and the kind of ketubah you order. If you need the artist to write customized ketubah text for you, that can raise the cost a little bit. So, do your due diligence and find a ketubah artist for your budget. If your budget is tight, don’t fret! You can shop in a wedding ketubah store for a Ketubah that, on top of being affordable, is also artistic and meaningful. Tech advancement has made it possible for ketubah stores to create intricate and personalized ketubah designs for almost every budget.
Do your due diligence
Before trusting an artist with one of the most iconic parts of your wedding, be sure to ask them some of these questions:
How much time do they need to bring your vision to life?
It’s not uncommon for artists to take up to 6 months to finish all the required artwork, especially for hand-painted designs. However, most artists require between 3-4 weeks to get the job done. You can also pay a little extra for rush translation, printing, and shipping, which can effectively reduce the timeline to under 2 weeks. Don’t make any assumptions though. Confirm from the artist.
How much personalization can you do to their standard texts?
Normally, you’ll get standard texts from the artist, so all you have to do is hand-write your and your partner’s names, wedding date & location, and other personal details. If you want the artist to pre-customize those personal details in either English or Hebrew text, or both, then you have to make that request beforehand. Some artists will even allow you to write your vows (or any other personal phrases) and they’ll translate them into Hebrew for you at a small fee.
Can they allow you to add your creative touch?
You may want to tweak your ketubah design to add your creative touch and make the design a little more unique. That will take more time to do and the artist might charge you extra for his time. Be sure to discuss that beforehand.
Would they be open to sending you a full proof of the design before finalizing it?
Most artists who hand-paint or hand-write ketubahs prefer to hold onto the ketubah until it’s finalized. This means you only get to see the final product, which may leave you susceptible to last-minute disappointments. That’s why you may want to work with an artist who’s open to sending you the full proof of their work before they can print it. They should at the very least be willing to send you a picture of the ketubah to allow you and your rabbi to go over the whole thing and make the necessary inputs or approvals.
Their shipping methods: Are they foolproof?
You don’t want your ketubah to get lost or damaged in transit. Only work with an artist whose packaging and shipping methods guarantee that the package will arrive at your doorstep in perfect condition.
And Now the Fun Part: Wording the Ketubah
For this part, allow your and your partner’s creative juices to flow. You should do most of the work and only bring in the ketubah artist or rabbi for guidance and inspiration. To get the best words for your ketubah:
- Don’t be afraid of deep, honest, uncomfortable, and sometimes infuriating conversations with your partner. You will be talking about sensitive and emotive topics such as finances, sexual satisfaction, spirituality, marital obligations, gender roles, etc. Walking on eggshells around these topics will only lead to dishonest and shallow vows. Deep, infuriating conversations yield the most beautiful, honest, and meaningful vows.
- Don’t rush. You can even take up to 6 months or more to complete this process. You can use this time to vet the best artist for the job.
- Seek guidance from your rabbi or officiant, just in case of specific ideas or phrases that the rabbi may require you to include in the ketubah.
- Remember: You’ll need gorgeous artwork as the icing on your ketubah. Be very careful when picking your ketubah artist. As we already discussed, pick an artist who involves you throughout the creative process.
Bringing your vision to life requires time, funds, dedication, and artistic vision. And because so many couples have done it over the last 2000+ years, you better believe you can do it too. You can create a ketubah that’s unique in every way. Just remember to work with the right professionals at every step of the creative process.