Are Weddings for Kids?

Why I want to elope (or at least have a backyard barbecue wedding).

Is it just me, or do older singles look more bored at their weddings? It’s like they’ve realized that the wedding is empty pageantry, paying homage to social norms, and they want to finish this minor step and move on to the important business of being married.

Or maybe they just have boring weddings because all their friends are sitting on the side, highly pregnant, or have already left because their babysitters were waiting and their husbands were bored, and the only people dancing are the uninvited 19-year-old girls who came because they heard it was a chesed wedding for nebach an older single who didn’t have anyone to dance with her.

Sigh. It is just a tad nebach

Myself: I never liked dancing. And I don’t like crowds. And being stared at. In fact, I can’t think of any particular aspect of the traditional Jewish wedding that sounds appealing.

Here’s my idea of a great wedding:

Buy a kesuba. Walk into a random OOT shul after Mincha one day and perform a quick ceremony. Then call home to let your parents know. (Or you could let them know before you elope. It’s kind of antithetical to the idea of eloping, but your parents would probably appreciate it. They can be in cahoots, and feign dismay at not having a wedding to plan. Nobody has to know.)

Then you can organize sheva brochos with all the people you want to celebrate with: the friends, the family, the parents’ friends, whatever.  It’s just supper, so nobody has to dash out early, and there’s no dancing to get pathetic, and no do-gooders waving pagan symbols of fertility at you. (Seriously. What’s up with that?!)  You get to spend time with the people you like, instead of just 30 seconds swapping brochos at the reception and another 30 seconds dancing.  Plus, even if you sponsor every sheva brochos meal yourself, you still can put a healthy remainder toward your mortgage.

NMF#19 said she always wanted a block party wedding. Some hot dogs in the back yard, everyone milling around licking mustard off their fingers. The mesader kedushin with sauerkraut in his beard. Bride in a white shirtwaist dress. A happy, relaxed event to the sound of laughter and the clang of barbecue tongs on grill. I was really looking forward to it. But then her mother-in-law happened.

It’s always the mother-in-law, isn’t it?

That is the thing about marriage. It involves other people. Getting along with them and compromising and so on. And somehow, everyone winds up compromising in favor of the jello-mold wedding, not the barbecue. Go figger.

Does anyone want to elope with me? Or, better yet, does anyone have a mother who wants them to elope with me?

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17 thoughts on “Are Weddings for Kids?

  1. if you invest in sheva brachot instead of the wedding you also get to divide up your circles. hope you find someone good with your plan. actually i have a son who would love the plan but he is 23 and we live in israel

  2. I just went to an outdoor wedding- very friendly for everyone, and yes, there was less crazy dancing without it feeling lacking. I think that anything you do to make the wedding match who you and your (G-d willing) Choson are will make it more fun and a better wedding for both you two and for your very pregnant friends.

    Also, thank you for showing me I’m not the only one to be weirded out by the pagan fertility symbols at frum weddings. (The liberal Jewish world doesn’t usually use them.)

  3. You can have a small outdoor wedding with minimal or no dancing. If you don’t want to conform to your circle’s norms, you really don’t have to. Here in Israel a couple can go to the rabbanut and get halachically married, similar to going to City Hall in the US. No pageantry required.

  4. There you go, Bad4: Get married in Israel. To begin with, the weddings are on a smaller scale, and only the nearest and dearest will make the flight. Then you can wed in some romantic green field with the smallest crowd, then only have a sheva brachos if you happen to be in a room with ten men any night that week.

    SaraK provided a perfectly viable alternative.

    In terms of older singles weddings, those are actually the most fun. I haven’t seen any bored kallahs there, but what is fun is that the dance crowd is smaller and there is less of a chance of my getting clobbered by an inept 19-year-old who hasn’t realized yet that jumping is not dancing.

    I like to dance . . . but not to be in the center of attention.

  5. I actually know of more than one couple from ch”ul who got married here for that reason. Very few people came and they had a beautiful, small, outdoor wedding.
    PM me when the time comes and I’ll give you all the details ;-)

  6. Having had two sisters (younger) get married within the same year, it just reinforced my desire for a very small wedding in my own backyard. Little to no dancing. Friends, family, food, fun. Period. Heck, I don’t even need a guy for that? Who’s up for a BBQ?

  7. I am 30 and just got engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world. And I am very excited to get married. And I barely agree with a word in this article.

    I want my friends to be there, and to be excited for me. I want their support; I want to see how what I am doing is important; I want to see how my bit of society sees this as significant. So that I’ll understand that much more how significant it is.

    Sure, my friends will all leave after the soup, and will go home to their 4 kids, and pack them lunches for school, and sign their homework or whatever. But I’ll know, and I’ll see, that they are excited for me fit to burst.

  8. I told my mother i want a friday afternoon chuppah like way back in the shtetl. no dancing, no photographers (ok, there will be some pictures taken on friday, but not at the seudah) no earsplitting music, just a meal with people close enough to spend a friday night meal away from home. and mass zemiros.

  9. I’m not sure I want to elope, as I still want some friends there and to be happy with me and celebrate and have fun, like Ben said.
    I agree with Princess Lea, that the later weddings are more intimate, which I would rather anyway.. Who wants to host a high school Reunion and dance when you aren’t in touch with 89% of the class? I much rather dance and have fun and spend time with the 11% (its probably less) 3 times over then spend the time on randoms.
    However, with the children and husbands… I think I’m going to hire 3 babysitters to babysit in one place so my friends can all be there til a decent time. (They will all be asked to pay… but the hassle and being home at a certain time is eased ) Husbands will invited too,as they at that point will know me.. and so there will be people at kesad merakdim ;-)
    Pregnant-… still working on that solution… but I’ll have company in the middle when I’m taking a break.. or we’ll do a slow (part of) waltz (without the bends) or whatever…. after all, dancing doesn’t have to be crazy jumping or fast…

  10. The one nice thing about having my parents oppose my marriage with every ounce of their fiber was that I got to plan my wedding all by myself. No one made me do anything! We couldn’t do it outdoors cuz it was in January, and I wasn’t mature enough to have it completely low-key, but it was definitely inexpensive compared to the wedding my parents would have made.

    Oh, and my in-laws are non-Jewish, so they didn’t interfere at all, just bought plane tickets and showed up.

  11. As for the pagan fertility rites, I’m glad to see that some people realize that that’s what most of the stuff is. I didn’t have them, and neither did my daughters. I hope my DIL’s to be will be on the same page on that. (Knowing my guys, I suspect they will be…)

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