A couple will take many factors into account when scheduling their wedding. Here, we’ll discuss some central halachic considerations.
Ideally, a bride immerses in the mikveh shortly before her wedding. (See here for more about the pre-wedding immersion.) This enables the new couple to initiate their physical relationship as soon as they are married, and avoids the halachic complications of a chuppat niddah (a wedding when the bride is niddah, see more here).
Scheduling to Avoid a Chuppat Niddah
Before she can immerse in the mikveh, a bride needs to confirm that menstrual bleeding has ceased and then count seven clean days. (Please see here for a detailed discussion of the process.)
Therefore, she should plan for her wedding to take place at least eight to ten days after her period is expected to end. Eight days is the minimum interval to plan. Leaving ten days (or more) provides flexibility in case her period arrives later or lasts longer than anticipated.
Additional Scheduling Considerations
If a bride has never had relations, then she will usually want to schedule her wedding for a bit later in her cycle. This is because a bride who has never had relations becomes niddah after first intercourse due to hymenal bleeding (dam betulim, see more here). It is to the couple’s advantage to try to schedule the wedding shortly before she expects her next period, so that her time spent in niddah from her period coincides as much as possible with the separation for dam betulim.
However, a couple often don’t reach the stage of full relations on the wedding night itself, and menstruation can’t be predicted precisely. So it is wise to schedule the wedding for a few days before her period is expected, to allow more time for attempts at relations.
If the bride has previously had sexual relations, then the couple often prefer to have as much time as possible together after the wedding before she gets her period. In that case, eight to ten days after menstrual bleeding is expected to end works well.
A Practical Example: A woman with a 28-day cycle who usually finishes bleeding on day 5 would typically plan a wedding between days 15 and 26 (i.e., between ten days after she expects the bleeding to end and four days before she expects it to return, give or take a day or so on each end).
If she has never had relations, she would likely plan for the end of that range. If she has previously had relations, she would likely plan for the beginning of that range.
The best way for a bride to take halacha into account in scheduling her wedding, or to adjust her menstrual cycle in relation to her wedding, depends on her particular circumstances: her preferences, her cycle history, and her medical history. Below, we detail the main options, natural and hormonal.
We strongly recommend scheduling in consultation with a kallah teacher or Yoetzet Halacha. Even with the best of planning, however, there is no way to guarantee that a bride will be tehorah at her wedding.
If the bride is not using combined hormonal contraceptives for medical or contraceptive purposes, has a regular cycle, and is planning a short engagement, then she and her chatan may simply choose a wedding date when she expects to be tehorah before the wedding. (In practice, from eight to ten days after she expects her bleeding to end, until a few days before her next anticipated period).
This method is completely natural, and works well for many couples. It does have some limitations, however. Small variations over even a few cycles can significantly reduce the range of “safe” days. The stress and excitement surrounding the upcoming wedding can lead to unexpected changes in a bride’s menstrual cycle. And there are often other important considerations in choosing a date. Therefore, many brides choose to regulate their cycles with hormones before the wedding.
Hormonal cycle regulation can be very effective. Hormones should be used only in consultation with a physician. The doctor should understand that all bleeding must stop at least 8-9 days before the wedding so the bride can count seven clean days and immerse on time. (Physicians may find our article for medical professionals on hormonal cycle manipulation for brides helpful.) A bride should be sure to raise any personal or medical considerations with her physician (e.g., eagerness to conceive or concern for a clotting disorder).
If using hormonal cycle regulation, a bride should usually continue to take the hormones until the couple have had full relations, including on the wedding day itself—when it can be easy to forget.
There are two primary medical approaches to manipulating the menstrual cycle with hormones: progesterone only or combined hormonal contraceptives (estrogen and progesterone).
Progesterone-only methods of cycle manipulation are often chosen when a couple does not plan to use combined hormonal contraception after the wedding, when natural scheduling is a little off, or when there is a medical reason for the bride not to take estrogen.
Progesterone is most commonly used to delay menstruation for a few days, until after the wedding. It’s usually given starting from about five days before anticipated menses, to push them off by five days or so, taking it throughout. (Longer adjustments can be made by using it a few months in a row.) When needed, progesterone can also be used to bring on menstruation early, so as to enable immersion before the wedding. (This is not the same formulation of progesterone as is used for contraception.)
If the bride is already using combined hormonal contraceptives for medical reasons or if she plans to use them to prevent pregnancy, then combined hormones—which come as a pill, ring, or patch—are an especially appealing choice.
A bride should ideally start taking the hormones about three or four months before the wedding. This gives maximum flexibility for scheduling while also minimizing the chance of disruptive breakthrough bleeding in the cycle before the wedding. As another precaution against breakthrough bleeding, we also advise against extending active pill cycles by more than a few days immediately before the wedding.
This page was updated on 6 February, 2023.