This signals the groom's commitment to clothe and protect his wife.
The wedding ceremony takes place under the chuppah (canopy), a symbol of the home that the new couple will build together.
This day is considered a personal Yom Kippur for the chatan (Hebrew for groom) and kallah (bride), for on this day all their past mistakes are forgiven as they merge into a new, complete soul.
As on Yom Kippur, both the chatan and kallah fast (in this case, from dawn until after the completion of the marriage ceremony).
The reason is to show the seriousness of the commitment -- just as a plate can never be fully repaired, so too a broken relationship can never be fully repaired.
Next comes the badeken, the veiling of the kallah by the chatan.
The bride lived with her parents until the actual marriage ceremony (nissuin), which would take place in a room or tent that the groom had set up for her.
The dawning wedding day heralds the happiest and holiest day of one's life.
Jewish wedding traditions, however, tend to keep betrothed lovers grounded and focused on the commitment they're about to make to each other and to God, not on the frivolities surrounding the ceremony itself.
That's not to say, however, that Jewish nuptials aren't fun.
The kallah will be seated on a "throne" to receive her guests, while the chatan is surrounded by guests who sing and toast him.