If you are a temple member and would like to hold your wedding in one of Emanu-El’s sacred spaces, then contact our Events Manager in the Temple Office. Once a date has been secured, you will be asked to arrange a preliminary meeting that will last a little more than an hour, at which we will begin addressing the many details required to plan your wedding. (A meeting with the couple and one of our rabbis to discuss the ceremony also must be set up well in advance of the wedding.)

Following is a list of the main topics to be discussed at your preliminary wedding meeting:

• Location — Fifth Avenue Sanctuary or Beth-El Chapel
• Rehearsal date and alternate
• Number of guests (estimated)
• Members of the wedding party (number, relationships and responsibilities)
• Special seating requirements
• Where the couple will dress
• Transportation to and from the synagogue
• Wedding-day logistics and schedule
• To see or not to see each other before the wedding
• Photo-session scheduling
• Location of reception
• Names of witnesses
• Traditions — chuppah, ketubah, Kiddush cup, breaking of glass
• Musical choices

Also, please note:

• Temple Emanu-El requires that at least one member of the couple or either set of parents (if those to be wed are under age 25) be members of the congregation in good standing.

• One of our temple organists will play at your wedding and rehearsal unless other musical arrangements are made. The fee for Fiscal Year 2017-2018 is $550.

• There is never any charge for rabbinic or cantorial services for members of our congregation. However, it is appropriate after the wedding to express your thanks to the officiating rabbi by making a donation to the temple in honor of your joyous event.

Everything you need to host your wedding:


It may seem obvious what information should be included on your wedding invitation, but here are some guidelines to help you with the specifics of spelling and address.

Before you print your invitation, please check the following:

Name of the temple — Please list the location of the ceremony as either
Temple Emanu-El or Congregation Emanu-El of the City of New York.

If you choose the shorter name, make sure to include “New York City” or “Manhattan” after Temple Emanu-El. (There are two dozen synagogues of the same name in the tri-state area, and you’ll want to help out-of-town guests reach the proper destination.) Please be sure to spell “Emanu-El” as it appears above.

Street Address — Please specify Fifth Avenue and Sixty-fifth Street or Fifth Avenue at Sixty-fifth Street, spelled out as indicated.

You do not need to specify Fifth Avenue Sanctuary or Beth-El Chapel, as your guests will use the same entrance no matter which you choose. To make sure guests enter in the right place, please do NOT list our other address, One East 65th Street.

We would appreciate seeing the proof of your invitation before it is printed. This will help ensure that all are in agreement over details of time and place.


Because we want your day to go as smoothly as possible and because we know that setting the time of your wedding can seem a daunting task, we offer the schedule below to help answer your questions and assist you in planning your wedding day.

Ceremony Schedule — Please note that “TIME” refers to the hour printed on your wedding invitations. The ceremony will start 15 minutes after the time stated on the invitation.

  • One hour before TIME: Bridal party arrives at One East 65th Street
  • One-half hour before TIME: Doors on Fifth Avenue open to admit guests.
  • Fifteen minutes before TIME: Organ prelude begins.
  • ON TIME: Marriage license signed in rabbis’ robing room.
  • Fifteen minutes after TIME: Wedding processional begins.

Here is an example of how this works: Time printed on invitation is 5:00 PM.

  • 4:00 PM — Bridal party arrives.
  • 4:30 PM — Guests start to enter.
  • 4:45 PM — Organ prelude begins.
  • 5:00 PM — License is signed and witnessed.
  • 5:15 PM — Wedding procession begins.

Length of Ceremony — Your wedding will last between 20 and 30 minutes.

Reception Time — If your reception is in the area, plan on it starting one hour after TIME.


In addition to personal flowers, you may wish to have other floral decorations. Your florist may suggest various bouquets, arrangements or pew markers; it is important that you meet with the temple staff before making final decisions about these decorations.

We would be pleased to meet with you and your florist so that he or she may get a better idea of the proportions and design of our sanctuaries.

For your safety and that of your guests, and to protect fragile surfaces within the temple, please note the following:

  • Ribbon, string or rubber bands may be used to attach floral decorations to the pews. Nothing may be attached to walls or columns.
  • Flower petals, confetti, rice, candy, birdseed, bubbles or other substances may not be thrown in the sanctuaries or in front of the building.
  • Candles and aisle runners are not permitted.
  • At least 14 days before the wedding, your florist will be required to provide certificates to the Temple Office with evidence of insurance coverage for workers’ compensation, public liability and property damage.
  • While chuppahs are not required, should you decide to use one, please consult with us before placing your order with a florist. It is a good idea to consider the size of the chuppah when you look at the Fifth Avenue Sanctuary. In the Beth-El Chapel, the configuration of the bimah sometimes makes it difficult to find a chuppah the fits. We will be glad to provide you with the name and address of a place where you may find a chuppah custom-designed for the space.


In order to be married at Temple Emanu-El you must provide a valid marriage license from any borough, town, county or city in New York State.

It is not necessary to obtain a marriage license in New York City, but please be aware that each county has slightly different rules about obtaining one. You must have the license on the day of the wedding, or the rabbi will not be able to legally marry you. You can give it to the rabbi ahead of time. Wherever you choose to obtain the license, remember to check for how long it will be valid. Do not get the license too early, or it may expire before the wedding date!

Here are some general facts:

• No blood tests are required.
• The license usually is valid for 60 days.
• The couple must obtain the license together and must wait a full 24 hours before getting married.
• You must bring documentary proof of age — driver’s license, passport, birth certificate.
• The license costs $35 (New York City), payable by credit card or money order.
• You cay go to the Municipal Building in any of the five boroughs or to any county courthouse in the state of New York to obtain a license

For more information from the NYC Marriage Bureau, click here.


As the largest synagogue organ in the world, Emanu-El’s organ features 8,000 pipes ranging in size from that of a pencil to nearly 35 feet tall. In the spring of 2000, Emanu-El began a 2½-year restoration of the organ that involved the dismantling of the entire instrument so that each component could be evaluated carefully, repaired or remade as needed.

The following musical selections are performed by our temple organists. All links are MP3 files that may be downloaded to a personal listening device. Wedding music may be classical or Jewish; if you do not find a selection you like, then please contact Events.

The following songs are most suitable for processionals:

The following songs are most suited for recessionals:

Your Reception at Emanu-El…

We are pleased to be able to offer our magnificent spaces to temple members, not only for religious services and life-cycle events but also for the celebrations associated with them. We want your event to be memorable and are here to help you and your guests enjoy the experience free of stress and worry.