In most synagogues, a kiddush usually follows. The kiddush is a light but festive meal, sponsored by the parents of the groom and sometimes by the parents of the bride or both families together. The kiddush can be a good way to celebrate with and include members of the host congregation that the bride or groom's family may have connections with but are unable to invite to the ceremony and reception. The joy of this communal celebration is a good prologue to the wedding itself.
The kiddush can be cake and drinks or it can be an entire meal, depending on when the wedding is, the custom of the congregation, and how many out-of-town guests you have to feed. It is good to make a l'chaim at the kiddush toasting the bride and groom and offering them berachot, blessings, for a joyous wedding and a fulfilling life together. A l'chaim is the Jewish word for a toast over an alcoholic beverage, and it literally means “to life.” After offering words of blessing to the bride and groom one says “l'chaim” loudly and drinks.
The kiddush gets its name from the Hebrew word for sanctity and refers to the blessing made on a cup of wine prior to the Sabbath meal. Interestingly, wedding ceremonies are also called kiddushin, from the same Hebrew root word, and begin with a blessing on a cup of wine. In some synagogues, this blessing over the wine to sanctify the Shabbat is made by the rabbi or cantor, but if this is not necessarily the practice, the bride or groom's family may be allowed to choose who will make the kiddush blessing and the hamotzie at this meal. The hamotzie is the blessing over bread that begins each Sabbath meal. If they allow you to do so, you can use the opportunity to give this honor to someone in the synagogue that you or your family is close to but will not be able to honor at the wedding itself. In addition, there is usually a bentching, a grace after meals blessing, and said after the kiddush and after every meal, and this can additionally be led by someone you would like to honor who is familiar with the blessing.
The kiddush blessing that is made over a cup of wine before the Shabbat meal is one of the ways in which Sabbath meals are made special and by which we fulfill the biblical commandment in Exodus to “Remember the Shabbat day and make it holy,” which is the fourth of the ten commandments.
If the congregation at which the ufruf is to be held is not your regular congregation or your parents' congregation, be sure to arrange the ufruf and kiddush far in advance. In some larger synagogues there can be many celebrations, such as weddings or bar mitzvahs, and your kiddush date could already be booked by another family far in advance.
It is acceptable to have more than one ufruf. If the groom lives in one city and the bride in another and both families would like to participate, consider having an ufruf two weeks before the wedding in the groom's home town and one the weekend before the wedding in the bride's home synagogue or wherever you will both be for the wedding weekend. If the one partner is being called to the Torah in a synagogue that her fiancé does not feel comfortable having a Torah honor in, she could suggest coming up to the bimah together for a blessing of good wishes from the rabbi.