What Elements Make a Ketubah Beautiful?
A Ketubah is, of its most fundamental nature, a beautiful object: what is more powerful than two souls, before the world, their tradition, and their law, choosing to join into one forever?
There are, however, a few ways in which we can make this beauty even more beautiful.
One element is by following the Mitzvah of Hiddur Mitzvah, and artistically designing the Ketubah to be an amazing and even luxurious piece of art. We are commanded in Hiddur Mitzvah to make our Jewish ceremonial art as magnificent as we reasonably can (without going overboard!) and the Ketubah is a great opportunity to do so. In an era when it is so easy to hire cheap artists, and there are also really cheap but very pretty and elegant Ketubot being sold everywhere, there is no reason (budgetary nor otherwise) not get a beautiful Ketubah. Beautiful does not necessarily mean expensive!
Another element is the act of signing the Ketubah. Lets start with the easiest: on the superficial level, we need to make sure we use a great pen, one that doesn’t smudge! Smudging is such an issue, that some couples order two copies of a Ketubah, so that they have an extra one, in case the first one gets smudged while signing!
But more subtly, we need to make sure we savor and enjoy every moment of actually signing it. You’ll be nervous so it will be hard to calm down. The most powerful way to make something beautiful is to enjoy it, to enjoy it every moment.
These various approaches, taken together, will create a beautiful Ketubah — and an even more beautiful, even prettier, Ketubah-signing experience.