Symbolism of the Wedding Canopy
In a spiritual sense, the canopy represents the presence of God over the covenant of marriage. As a man's skull cap served as a reminder of the Creator above all, (also a symbol of separation from God), so the canopy was erected to signify that the ceremony and institution of marriage has divine origins. The canopy may also represent the home of Abraham and serve as a reminder that he was a foreigner in a strange land, looking for the place God had promised to him. Before going under the canopy the groom covers the bride's face with a veil. There are opinions that the canopy means covering the bride's face, and that by this covering the couple is getting married. Thus, some are strict to make sure that the witnesses will see the covering, for them to actually be considered as witnessing the marriage. The groom enters the canopy first to represent that it is like his home or garment. When the bride then enters the canopy it is as though the groom is providing her with shelter or clothing, and he thus publicly demonstrates his new responsibilities toward her.