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#41 Razie

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:26 PM

I'm not arguing here about whether the community is right or not. I'm just stating the facts - this is what it's like out there. Like it or not. Sure, a person would like to break the cycle and make a modest wedding - but in doing so, he will inevitably be perceived badly and feel badly. About his own wedding - something that happens only once (hopefully) in his life. He will also upset his bride. And cause shame to the family - whether it's justified or not.

And I'm not passing judgement on the guests or requiring them to give gifts. No one is requiring anyone to do anything. All the guests are welcomed and appreciated. My point is that the guests should themselves realize that the wedding costs money, there is no such thing as a free lunch, that the couple did pay alot of $$$ for it out of their own pocket, and that it will only be befitting to help them offset these costs. That's all.

yeah ... ok.

I'm a different animal, I guess. I'd kinda love to throw the shockingly modest wedding in a community that had absurd standards. I might enjoy it too much ... do things tastefully, but almost poking fun at the comunity. Centerpieces would be stalks of leaves in a cleaned out and delabeled gefilte fish jar. Dinner would be PB&J sandwiches. And when the comunity tossed their shame and judgment at me, it would hit them back 10x. Because I'd be proud of my event.

But that's just me and whoever's with me. Fight the insanity!

#42 Pinchas

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:35 PM

yeah ... ok.

I'm a different animal, I guess. I'd kinda love to throw the shockingly modest wedding in a community that had absurd standards. I might enjoy it too much ... do things tastefully, but almost poking fun at the comunity. Centerpieces would be stalks of leaves in a cleaned out and delabeled gefilte fish jar. Dinner would be PB&J sandwiches. And when the comunity tossed their shame and judgment at me, it would hit them back 10x. Because I'd be proud of my event.

But that's just me and whoever's with me. Fight the insanity!


Funny. I thought you'd be the type to do something like this: http://bloghd.blogsp...-her-dress.html
(It's completely for real by the way.)

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#43 Razie

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:40 PM

Funny. I thought you'd be the type to do something like this: http://bloghd.blogsp...-her-dress.html
(It's completely for real by the way.)

IT might just be the picture, but that mechitza seems a little sheer, dontchya think?

#44 Pinchas

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:51 PM

IT might just be the picture, but that mechitza seems a little sheer, dontchya think?


It's not. You can see the other pictures in the album. The mechitza is not what people were talking about.

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#45 Razie

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:03 PM

It's not. You can see the other pictures in the album. The mechitza is not what people were talking about.

Sure sure. Cut em some slack - they were 16 or 17 or so. Why not get married on a pony? :)

#46 U Tarzan me Jane

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:28 PM

Like I said elsewhere, none of the above. They should come FOR THE DANCING ONLY!

If you invite them for a meal, why on earth would they assume they are not genuinely welcome for the meal?

It's not about money, it's about etiquette.

It is about money, when you think a gift is owed as due for the invite.

I thought the whole point of making a wedding was to make money!Otherwise why don't we just do it in the park for a lot less!


And here I thought the point of a wedding was to be misamech chatan v'kallah....I am so naive. :bigcry:

The reality is that with the insanely high cost of today's weddings, you DO need people's gifts to break even. And a newly starting out couple especially needs the money.Etiquette or not, that's a fact of life.


The only people I invite to my smachot, are the ones I can afford to feed. If I didn't want them, they would have never made the guest list. the point is not about supporting the couple for X amount of time, what ever happened to genuinely wanting to share a simcha with friends and family?


Also in the long run doesn't everyone "break even".Most people get married once, and then it's "their turn" to make the simcha for everyone else, and the rest of the time other people pay.Unless you have 15 kids, or are REALLY popular and attend 3 weddings a week, I would think that most people more or less "break even" or even pay LESS than they eat in the course of their lifetimes....

Last time I checked, in frum communities the parents are making the wedding, they are not the ones getting paid by the so called gifts, its the couple getting them. So I really do not see it as an issue of making sure the couple breaks even.

Secondly, Wedding food is not that great usually, If I am expected to pay for my meal, I'd rather go out and spend that time with my husband eating a steak. The reason I go to weddings is because it is a mitzvah to be misameach chattan v' kallah, not because I like sitting at a table of people I barely know, while my husband is on the other side of the mechitza.

I truly do not believe that compensation should be expected when you are a guest at a wedding, what should count is presence, not presents. That doesn't mean that I do not give gifts, but it does mean that people should understand that sometimes guests will not be able to give what is expected. Sometimes its an actual chessed to give someone a free meal.
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#47 lyric

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:33 PM

It has nothing to do with feeling entitled to the same standards as neighbors. It has everything to do though with not being perceived by the community as a nebach case for having a cheap wedding. Or looked down upon. Or being talked about behind your back.

I don't know if I can explain this very simple sentiment any further. To me it's obvious.


Well, in our community, decent people are impressed by a simple wedding. We have something called Simchas Nisuin which is an organisation specially for people who can't afford lavish weddings, and all the suppliers to this wedding undertake to keep costs to a strict preordained budget. There are no exceptions to this and you know what? Everyone enjoys a simchas Nisuin wedding just because it's simple.

Yesterday I attended a lavish wedding and I was standing at the back of the chuppah hall (indoors) next to a small group of wealthy women who were loudly criticizing the fact that the chuppah wasn't exactly symmetrically placed against the back wall of the hall. I was appalled listening to them.
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#48 greentiger

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 05:46 PM

I would want people to come and enjoy the wedding that I am paying for and enjoy themselves. It would never occur to me people would not come because of a silly thing like a gift and I'd probably be insulted that they declined my invitation.

I couldnt agree more. I think as a bal simcha i would be horrfied if someone were to decline an invitation because they couldnt buy a gift. Also i can only speak for myself but after my wedding, i really wasnt comparing who gave what. Btw, one of the nicest gifts i got was a marriage book from a family friend with a really nice note about how she would love to give me something bigger but can only afford something small and this book changed her life.

My experience in frum weddings pretty much all over has been that as long as the couple is youngish the friends dont usually bring gifts and most of them are from parents friends.
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#49 Razie

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:07 PM

I couldnt agree more. I think as a bal simcha i would be horrfied if someone were to decline an invitation because they couldnt buy a gift. Also i can only speak for myself but after my wedding, i really wasnt comparing who gave what. Btw, one of the nicest gifts i got was a marriage book from a family friend with a really nice note about how she would love to give me something bigger but can only afford something small and this book changed her life.

My experience in frum weddings pretty much all over has been that as long as the couple is youngish the friends dont usually bring gifts and most of them are from parents friends.

ditto.

To add another thing.

I hate weddings in general. In most cases (not all!), it feels like an obligation. I have to figure out clothing, figure out how I'm getting there (why does everyone like New Jersey!), and clear my schedule. Once I'm there I get to sit through boring ceremonial ritual and speeches that fail at their attempted humor, eat mediocre food and get cornered into smalltalk with some people I don't know or particular like.

There have been perhaps a handful of wedding that were the exception. My favorite cousin. A VERY CLOSE friend here or there .... And it was never about how fancy the wedding was, but about how much I was truly happy for the person. Because for me, all things equal, a wedding is a HUGE hassle. Absent the few exceptions and unless it's an absolute obligation, I get out of going to one. So for the ones where I go, I also get the privelege of being obligated in a gift (I always give generous gifts, I believe. That doesn't bother me and is not the point). But a wedding invitation sounds like Lose Lose Lose to me. Weddings are narcissistic. It's all about the bride and groom. And they invite you to come honor them. And if you can't afford to also pay for their day of honor, go through the hassle but just don't eat the mediocre food. Hooray for you. Again, with the few exceptions where I was so happy to see the person getting married and celebrate their happiness vs just another wedding in the pile.

So you know, when it comes to my wedding, I'm making it crystal clear - if someone actually wants to show up? Actually wants to go to the hassle of dressing and attending and all that? And they really in earnest want to be there? I'm amazingly honored by that. The number of my friends who have let me know they want to be at my wedding has made me feel like a million bucks. I worry about inviting anyone who will feel an obligation to come but considers weddings a hassle too.

Just knowing that someone ACTUALLY wants to be at my wedding - like if they actually want to be there to celebrate with me and make me happy to see them and it's not a hassle or obligation - that is something worth everything. How few people did I truly feel that way towards rather than being stressed out about either attending or finding a non-offending excuse? That's amazing to me that anyone would want to be at my wedding ... like, besides my mom.

Someone who would want to come for the free food? That's more foreign to me. No wedding food is worth the hassles of attending a wedding.

I mean it 100% when I say that the very best gift anyone could give me would be the actual desire to be there. I hope I am so lucky to have some of those people in my life. If people attend your wedding - or rather, if people attend my wedding - I consider it a favor to me. Not a favor to them where they owe me payback.

#50 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:29 PM

A couple of points.

For some reason its different, at least in my circles, its more expected for the parents of the chosson/kallah to give gifts than the friends. Usually, at least for the girls, a bunch of them get together and chip in for something nice or do a little shower or whatever. Soon after my wedding, my mother asked how much certain people gave because she wanted to give back a similar amount to their child's wedding. Maybe our parents' generation are wealthier and can give more but this was pretty typical of our wedding gifts. I do think monetary gifts significantly help a young couple when they first start out but its no one's obligation to do so, especially if they can't afford it. I've actually never heard of expecting someone to 'pay their plate'. Does that mean a gift is not good enough?

I agree that weddings are blown way, way out of proportion. Its very hard to stem the tide but if we somehow could, I would recommend several changes to make weddings more enjoyable and less expensive;
1) drastically cut down the invite list. its a vicious cycle of so many people expecting to be invited so people get insulted when they aren't invited even if they don't want to go. Bride, groom and parents; think of the people you are the closest too. Not random coworkers. Not HS classmates from 6 years ago that you have some fond memories of. People that will truly be happy to be sharing this simcha with you. Invite them. Shoin.
2) Make wedding only on Sundays, they are so much easier to get to and from and people don't need to rearranged their whole day to get there.
3) Simplify. This is a little challenging because I do think that everyone deserves to feel like a queen and king on their special day and its hard to keep that elegant and formal feeling if things are too casual. But things like the shmorg probably can go.

Anyway just some ideas for now :)
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#51 agent220

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 07:19 PM

Most Bar Mitzvah's today cost at least $7000. I find it hard to believe you did it for that in any of the well known wedding halls. Did you have photographers? Orchestra?


Well known wedding halls? Not everyone is from NY, you know.

(I got married outside by a golf course, and the meal was in a gym. And FWIW, I do not even know who didn't give me gifts. I didn't keep a cheshbon like that.)
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#52 justbatya

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 08:19 PM

And FWIW, I do not even know who didn't give me gifts. I didn't keep a cheshbon like that.)


How did you write thank you notes, then? :unsure:

ETA: nevermind, I read that you didn't know who gave. Now I get what you mean. Some people keep a master spreadsheet, so they don't have to been keeping a cheshbon to see who gave or didn't, it just sticks out.

My poor SO still thinks that a Batya is a what, and not a who.


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#53 sal

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 08:22 PM

If a person can't afford to give a gift to a wedding, should they:
a) not go to the simcha?
b) make something small/simple that's homemade (i.e. under $5)
c) tell the baal simcha that they're very sorry that they can't afford a gift right now?


Having to give a gift, that sounds more like payment.

#54 Razie

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 08:40 PM

Another just-for-the-record

1. Absent a reason, if you go to a wedding, you should bring a gift. If for you that means a handwritten note or book, great. If it means a check for $100, great. Whatever.
2. Not sure what my 2 is that hasn't been said before

On the whole pay-per-plate thing, I actually do always make sure I pay more than it could have cost for my attendance - usually what I figure the cost to be +$100 or +$150. But this is true for a few reasons:

1. I avoid wedding unless I really want to be there, and so in a weirdish contradiction, I want to make it a complete gift from me to the person. Get rid of monetary considerations, I'm here to celebrate with you and for no other reason.
2. Personal insecurity on my part. The same is often true for people who overtip, which I generally do as well.
3. I have enough financial freedom to do this. Of course not everyone does. And it's no bragging on my part. Had I gotten married and had babies at 22 I surely would not have this "freedom."

#55 NY-LON

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 08:47 AM

I did have a spreadsheet of who gave what so I could be sure no one was insulted by not getting a thank you note.

I never paid attention to who didn't give, though. I might have noticed if extenuating circumstances were involved, but nothing like that happened.
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#56 FYI

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 09:08 AM

Most Bar Mitzvah's today cost at least $7000. I find it hard to believe you did it for that in any of the well known wedding halls. Did you have photographers? Orchestra?

Again, I could be completely mistaken. I'm pretty sure I kept all the pricing information, but unsure of where.

I'm pretty sure I kept it because I remember finding my mothers as a teen and reading through it, so I'm pretty sure I did the same so my kids can have that luxury as well.
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#57 justbatya

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:35 AM

I did have a spreadsheet of who gave what so I could be sure no one was insulted by not getting a thank you note.

I never paid attention to who didn't give, though. I might have noticed if extenuating circumstances were involved, but nothing like that happened.


I'm talking about people who keep a master wedding spreadsheet of all invitees with addresses, RSVP, gifts, and more. Gifts are one column among many, and you don't have to be keeping a cheshbon to notice this on a spreadsheet you look at all the time.

My poor SO still thinks that a Batya is a what, and not a who.


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#58 agent220

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 11:47 AM

I had a printed master list of all the addresses and invitees (still do) and used that to mail the cards, but I had a little notebook of gifts given that I started before I actually had a wedding list (from my shower), so we continued with that.
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#59 LoveToLaugh

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 05:45 PM

I'm talking about people who keep a master wedding spreadsheet of all invitees with addresses, RSVP, gifts, and more. Gifts are one column among many, and you don't have to be keeping a cheshbon to notice this on a spreadsheet you look at all the time.

we did that. it was a big help. We also (i believe I already mentioned this somewhere here and got some flack from it) sent thank you cards back in order of how big / generous the gift was or how much they would appreciate / need the feedback, and went down, just in case we never got to finishing....(i think we did)
God, grant us the...
Serenity to accept things we cannot change,
Courage to change the things we can, and the
Wisdom to know the difference
Patience for the things that take time
Appreciation for all that we have, and
Tolerance for those with different struggles
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of our past ways, the
Ability to feel your love for us and our love for each other and the
Strength to get up and try again even when we feel it is hopeless.

#60 yaldahma

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Posted 06 June 2012 - 11:31 PM

What if it's a bar mitzvah?


Chocolate or simple greeting card can be a good option if you are going at bar mitzvah and if it's a bat mitzvah then subscription of yaldah magazine is the best option because it is totally written for Jewish girls with lots of interesting stuff, they will never put it down. It is the complete hamper of appropriate bat mitzvah gifts.




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