Thursday, December 16, 2010

DIY Week: Our AMC

This is a post I've been really scared about writing, mainly because of the major discussion that APW had recently about appropriating Jewish traditions.  I asked a number of Jewish folks that I know about whether they were offended by our having a secular version of a Ketubah, and the general consensus was that as long as there was no Hebrew and we didn't call it a Ketubah, it was okay.

I looked around at a lot of Ketubah sites and even the secular versions had some Hebrew - our options were simple: go custom, or go DIY.  I think you can tell where this is going.  Our options were to draw our own, get one made on Etsy, or figure something else out.  I checked out some ideas for DIY Ketubahs but ultimately the inspiration for our Artistic/Alternative Marriage Contract (AMC) came from the absolutely stunning Ketubahs by Daniel Sroka at Modern Ketubah.  So we decided to go for our own DIY fine art AMC.

I took a picture of one of the plants in our planting box, added the text in GIMP, played with fonts until I found one that made both of us happy, and borrowed liberally from the secular humanist II language I had found on several websites.  Then we looked into printing - we needed the printing to be matte enough to sign, which ruled out photo printing websites - and finally I just looked into Giclee printing in the area.  I was thrilled to find Archival Arts, a local artistic print shop, who printed the whole thing for about $50, and was incredibly nice to work with the week before the wedding.  A friend is matting and framing it, so we just have to pay for supplies.

The finished result?
Signed and on display at our reception
We signed it before the ceremony but chose not to sign it together.  It turns out when you make up your own traditions, you can do whatever you want:
Waiting to be signed

The guys signed it, and then they brought it in.

We had a terrible time finding a pen and I was disappointed that the white pen we wound up using didn't flow as well on the paper as I had hoped.  

Since we were making up our own rules, we had my sister and the best man acted as witnesses.  

We're still waiting for it to be done being framed, but for the most part, everyone was supportive and understanding of our choice to have a marriage contract of this type.  I love it, not because of the aesthetics, but because of what it says.   The promises that we made in our marriage contract are as meaningful, if not more meaningful, than our vows were.  Our vows talk about our commitment to each other, but our AMC talks about our values and how we will build our life together.  This, to me, was a crucial part of getting married. 


  1. I think your AMC turned out beautiful. I love the sentiments expressed in it that speak to the values you want in your marriage. I love that you refer to your marriage as a covenant because a covenant is stronger than law. It's the strongest promise there is and it's a beautiful thing.

  2. So lovely! I like that it included slightly different tone and values than your vows, and helps to create a partnership and covenant within your marriage. Also, Daniel Sroka's ketubahs are just beautiful.

  3. This are gorgeous and the result feels right. You didn't use Hebrew or Jewish legal language, you created a piece of art to honor your commitment and marriage and I think that's a sentiment that can cross all religious boundaries. Thank you for sharing.