It is customary for the chatan and kallah (groom and bride) not to see each other for a week before the wedding. Therefore, before the ceremony the two must be kept in separate rooms until the badeken. At the Kabbalat Panim the kallah sits between her mother and mother-in-law and greets her guests. The chatan sings and shares divrei Torah (words of Torah) with his friends. During this time guests enjoy hors d’oeuvres and refreshments.
The kallah is likened to a queen and is usually seated in a “throne” or a special, decorative chair. Guests approach her and it is at this time that the kallah gives brachot (blessings) to her guests.
The chatan is likened to a king and is seated at a large table, surrounded by friends. The chatan’s reception is usually private while the kallah’s is usually public.
Customarily, it is also at this time that the ketubah is signed. In some circles, a plate is broken at this time, symbolizing the irreversible act of a marriage commitment.