Sunday, April 13, 2008

The Band

Simply put, as long as the band has done enough jewish weddings before, you have nothing to worry about. Just tell them to do the usual unless you have a particular fetish for klezmer, moshav, or chassidic tunes.

It helps to have a friend designated to be a go-between with the band. This way you can signal him to wrap up the dancing, keep it going longer, or change a song that juse makes you want to vomit.

If you have any musical special requests, send them to the band in writing at least two weeks earlier, and confirm everything special within 48 hours of the wedding. They do tons of weddings, and you don't want them to forget that its uncle harrys 78th birthday!

Kibbudim (Honors)

There are a bunch of roles at an orthodox wedding that are filled by whoever you choose to fill them. Most of those roles will be halachik witnesses, and must therefore fit certain standards of being a kosher witness.

You may have a lot of pressure to honor great (or not so great) Rabbis, Presidents and dignitaries who are attending you wedding, and I'm the last person who's going to tell you to get on the bad side of the Prime Minister of Malaysia. BUT, I found it to be more meaningful to have close friends and family fill all of those roles.

As far as who will serve as witness to the kiddushin, the tanai'I'm or the yichud, just make sure to find people that are kosher and reliable. Close friends ( and even Rabbis) can fill this role well. For more information on witnesses, checkout this chabad page.)

For the sheva brachot, this is when I think it is most meaningful for family members to get involved. The standards are much lower - and even your athiest grandfather can say one if he can handle the hebrew.

Make sure whoever you are giving a kibbud to knows about it. He should feel comfortable with the role, and see it coming. Do not surprise your high school Rebbe with the honor of being your mesader kiddushin! Tell him in advance.

I found it helpful to have an extra witness in mind just in case on flaked out, and in fact we had to resort to one of our bench warmers at our wedding which averted a possible disaster. Make sure your best friend or shamash has a list of kibbudim and will make sure things run smoothly.

Aside from that, sit back, relax, and enjoy the partay!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Birth Control

All I can say is make sure your bride figures this out before the wedding, and make sure you learn how it works too!

Try WebMD.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Her Wedding Dress

The most important thing you must remember is that she is your bride, and she is going to look beautiful to you no matter what she wears on the wedding day. Unfortunately, our kallahs do not see it that way. They will be very concerned with how they look in the dress. Even though they wont let you see it before the wedding, they will kvetch and angst about it with you when it comes time to choosing one.

Here are few things to keep in mind with regards to your relationship to the Wedding Dress:

Tell her how nice she looks
Try and make sure that at the wedding (and for the rest of your lives together) you are saying how good she looks. Make it sincere of course, but don't think you shouldn't mention it even though you did 20 minutes earlier. Whisper it in her ear at the b'deken, say it under the chuppah if you feel comfortable doing that, and say it every chance you get during the dancing. You can't go wrong with this one.

She does NOT look fat!
No matter what she thinks or says, she does not look fat in her dress. She is beautiful, and she is your kallah.

She is uncomfortable in the dress
Her dress is a lot worse than your tux, suit or white khakis and white shirt. She is wearing a 50lbs doily that trails behind her about 6 feet. Be considerate of that at the wedding, and help her with it if that's appropriate.

She will never wear it ever again
There is no question that there is a lot of sentiment and nostalgia attached to a wedding dress, but the reality is that she will never wear it ever again. She spent anywhere from $300-$3000 on it, and it's going to sit in a hermetically-sealed plastic bag until your 25th anniversary where she will take it out and realize how much weight she has put on since you got married. Talk to your kallah about donating her dress to an organization that will loan it out to brides who can't afford a nice dress, but still deserve a nice wedding. It's a great way to spread your simcha and joy to other young couples just starting out.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Wedding Registry

There's no need to be PC about this, you're going to get a butt-load of gifts. And to make getting what you want a whole lot easier, many stores have created something called registries. Basically, you go into the store, select the items you want, and people can then see the things you chose (and buy them!)


Sounds really simple right? Well, almost.

Prepare yourself for Bed, Bath and Beyond. Prepare yourself for oven mitts and place mats and vegetable peelers. Prepare for linens and shower heads and lamps. PREPARE YOURSELF FOR CHINA PATTERNS.

You will survive, but you have to be mentally prepared. Understand that many girls have planned their future home down to the pattern on the paper napkins. They have been dreaming about this, and they take it very seriously. Worst of all, they want you to care as well.

Now is when you are walking on thin ice: you have to care, but you can't disagree too much. The best strategy I've found is three pronged:

1. Pick one item to stand your ground on. Make sure it's something of some value, but also one that is more out of sight. For example, demand a specific napkin ring, sandwich maker, or bath towel.

2. For certain items, select a few that you like and then put the ball in her court. Select the three blankets, bookshelves, or flatware that you like ask her which one she likes.

3. When she asks you what you think about something, don't just give her a "it's nice." Look at the item, analyze it, and come up with a good answer. Isolate a specific detail, design or functionality that makes it appealing.

It will be a long process. A very long process that may take a number of visits. But if you stick to these simple tips, and show (pretend) that you care, you will make it out alright.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Special Edition: Keep Your Wedding Moving

I went to a wedding last night, and it was the longest wedding I've ever been to, and I left before dinner was served!

Kabbalat Panim was called for 5:30 with a Chupa at 6:00 sharp. My wife and I arrived at 5:30 like good yekkis should, and found out that the shmorg was going to take place after the chupa. Sounded alright.

Long story short, for reasons still unclear to me, the chupa didn't start until 7:30. After the chupa there was a break longer than an hour before the dining room was open, and by 10:30, my wife and I decided to leave having just eaten some of our salad.

I was later informed that those who stayed through the end left at 1:30 am.

So please, keep in mind that while your wedding may all that's going on in your life right now, other people have their lives to live. People want to celebrate with you, but it's rude to take advantage of people's time. Stick to the schedule.

The Diamond Ring

I am a traditionalist, and I think the engagement ring is a very important symbol. It is a guarantee to the girl that you won't be stringing her along and then drop her.

Now if you can't afford a ring, maybe you should think about whether you can afford to support a family. If the answer is still yes, hope is not lost and creative alternatives are available. It's also not the worst thing to forgo the diamond ring altogether.

Now I recommend surprising the girl, to an extent. When we knew we were going to get engaged, but that it was a while off, I took my girlfriend (now wife) to jewelry store on 34th street and let her show me what sort of thing she liked. I took notes, and started looking.

I found out that every Jewish person has a connection to a diamond dealer. Ask friends and family what yours is. Basically you can go to the diamond dealer, tell him how much you want to spend, and he finds the right rock. Then you show him what kind of setting you want, and he'll get it ready in about two weeks. Just make sure you have enough money to pay him - he'll want cash!

So how much do you spend on the ring? I went with two months salary which seemed like it made sense to me, and it worked out very well. After all, you don't want the girl to love the ring more than she loves you, right?