Nowadays, it is very common for Jewish couples to get artistic and decorative ketubot for their wedding. I understand that the ketubah does not need to be artistic, and the most important factors is that the text is correct according to halacha and that the witnesses are kosher for eidut. However, if a couple gets an artistic ketubah, should they have multiple ketubot? One to keep with their documents and to use under the chuppah, and one to hang on the wall?
Additionally, I have heard that some couples will only travel long distances with the ketubah. In this case I would imagine that it would be hard to travel with a large piece of art? Is it acceptable to have a second ketubah that is more like a plain legal document for traveling?
There is no need to have a second ketuba, in fact it is detrimental to do so. Although a ketuba is commonly recognised as a fond memory of the couple’s wedding, in actuality it is a legal document, of the husbands’s obligations in the event that they get divorced. The main point is that it is a legal document that is used in bais din to demand monies that the husband owes his wife. Writing two ketubas is like signing on two promissory notes for the same loan! Aside from it not being smart it is also not permitted because it can cause theft if both are collected in bais din. The only time a second ketuba is written is when the original one is lost.Then a special, “kesuba dirchisa” is written. This is a special kesuba stating that it is only a copy of the original one because it got lost.
Regarding not traveling long distances without the ketuba, I am not aware of such an idea, and it is not the accepted practice. Even if someone wants to do this, and taking a bulky framed ketuba would be very difficult, nevertheless that is not a reason to make a second ketuba.