The Chuppah, or wedding canopy, is a covering, often cloth, held aloft on four poles. The chuppah is symbolic of the first roof the bride and groom share together, representing their new home. That there are no walls in this new home, encourages the couple to follow in the ways of Abraham and Sarah, whose tent was always open to guests.
Following a brief family processional, the groom precedes to the Chuppah. He is traditionally welcomed by the song Baruch HaBah (Blessed is he who comes). An Ashkenazi groom will often don a simple white robe, known as a kittel. The bride and groom’s white attire is symbolic of purity and creates the imagery of angels. Sephardic grooms are wrapped in a new talit (prayer shawl) and recite a sheh’heh’cheh’yanu blessing, thanking G-d for sustaining him to this occasion.
The bride enters last and is escorted to the Chuppah where she meets her groom. In most Ashkenazi traditions, the bride circles the groom seven times under the Chuppah and then stands to his right. In many Sephardic traditions, the bride is escorted almost all the way to the Chuppah, at which point the groom comes out to meet her and escorts her the rest of the way.