A Ketubah is a legal marriage document between the couple, signed by two witnesses before the marriage ceremony.
It is usually read under the Chuppah-Wedding Canopy during the ceremony by the Officiant. It is displayed for the guests to see.
Today Ketubot are beautiful pieces of Art. Many couples will frame their ketubah and display it in their home to remind them of the new and wonderful life they will share together as a married couple.
Orthodox Ketuvot are invariably written in Aramaic.
Although the terminology used by various communities is very similar, there can be differences depending on several factors, such as a community’s customs, whether this is a first or second marriage, and suchlike.
For instance, Ashkenazim are accustomed to simply write 100 or 200 Zuz, an ancient Babylonian currency, in the Ketuvah, whereas the Sephardic custom is to cite an additional monetary sum in the national currency. However, the groom always commits himself therein to honor, feed and support his wife.
A Ketuvah also grants a lien to the wife on any real estate and other property belonging to the groom, which can be claimed against in cases of divorce. A husband, though, is entitled to benefit from any property that his wife owns or gets from her father, although she retains ownership.
One should consult with the officiating Rabbi about the terminology he requires in each case. The officiating Rabbi should also be consulted about whether he is particular about anything else.
Apart from that, though, Judaism is not particular about design or artwork used in a Ketuvah, and we have many designs for you to choose from.
It is debateable whether a Ketuvah is required by the Torah, or whether that is only required by the Torah for a virgin bride, whereas divorced and other women are required by Rabbinical decree to have a Ketuvah, so that a husband will think twice before divorcing his wife. Were it to be cheap and easy to get divorced, a woman would not feel secure, and she would be constantly worried about divorce.