Monday, June 1, 2009

Whose Wedding is it Again???

Over yom tov we had a kallah, a few singles and a few married women sitting around the table Shabbos afternoon. The talk turned to weddings--what else?--and I found it interesting to see how the conversation was going. Almost without exception each of the young women present said that there was only one item that is "traditional" today that they would insist on or did insist on for their wedding.

One young woman said she wouldn't care if the meal was a variety of cold cereals served buffet style, but she wants flowers, lots and lots of flowers. Another young woman, married, said that the only thing she cared about at her wedding was having a dream bridal dress--the rest could have been hot dogs on the grill as far as she was concerned. The kallah didn't much care about any of the wedding items except wanting all her friends to be able to be there. Each of the young women mentioned the one thing that would make them happy at their weddings, or that did make them happy. But now to the strange part.

Each of the married women and the kallah (getting married in a few weeks) got or are getting the one thing they wanted above all else---and a whole lot more as well. Why? Just look at the title of this posting for an answer: whose wedding is it? The majority of frum weddings today involve a lot more people than just the kallah. There's the choson, for one thing, and he, too, may have a preference for "one" thing that he wants. And then there are the kallah's parents and the choson's parents--EACH of them may have a "one" thing that they want at the wedding. And yes, there are instances where the grandparents are also in the mix, particularly if they are also helping to fund the wedding, a practice that is oh too common today. And if each of these people whose wedding it is want a different "one" thing at the wedding? Could explain some of the elaborateness that goes on with weddings.

And what happens when one, some or all of these people have only "two" things that must be at the wedding? The kallah is from LA and is having a wedding that she would not necessarily have made if only she were involved in the planning and decision making. But she's an only daughter and her mom has dreamed of this wedding for years (and mom and dad are paying for it as well). And the choson is the last of his siblings to get married and his mom also has dreams. It's really easy to sit smugly and say: "I wouldn't let anyone else tell me what is going to be at MY wedding" or "My husband and I made our own wedding and we didn't take input from anyone else." Most people who get married answer the question of "Whose wedding is it?" with "ours," and that ours includes a whole lot of people. And therein begin the problems that can lead to wedding making as we know it today.


Trudy said...

Agreed that there is more then one person to consider when making a wedding. But as long as we buy into all the things that have to be at a wedding, even if we are only chosing one thing, then the answer to you question is easy. Whose wedding is it? The caterers, the photographers, the florists, the printers and the bands wedding.

Zev said...

Think you got the question wrong. Honestly? I didn't care what was at my wedding as long as they made it fast and let the craziness end. But the bigger problem was whose marriage is it? Along with planning the wedding a lot of people in the family got involved with where we were going to live and how we were going to live. That's where my kallah and I said enough. I know for a fact that a lot of people aren't happy with the choices we made. So what? It's not their marriage!!

Anonymously said...

Absolutely true that a wedding belongs to a whole bunch of people. Trying to make all of them happy isn't always possible, and if you're talking spending big bucks it isn't always desireable either. Just try and decide who the chief is and who the indians are as to who comes first in getting what they want and you can end up with a war not a wedding.

And it changes from wedding to wedding. With one set of mechutanim they basically said we'll go along with whatever you want. The other set made middle east politics look simple by comparison to trying to make a wedding with them.

Anonymous said...

there is just so much involved in planning a wedding, from the guest list(we felt like the biggest losers when we saw how many more friends our parents had than we did :-) ) to the location (especially tricky when the families don't live close to each other) to the food. then there was the matter of the date- we changed it about five times (though all the possibilities were within a two-week period) in order to accommodate various relatives. we finally said enough, here is the date; as long as parents grandparents and siblings can make it, excellent, and for everyone else, if you really want to be there that badly, you'll find a way to make it work.
after the wedding, we got a lot of comments along the lines of, it was beautiful, but so not you, to which we responded, well, it wasn't ours really. it was a show for our parents to put on for their friends. at the end of the day though, i don't mind so much. we were very young, both the oldest and first to get married (not only for our parents but also for our grandparents) and nobody went into debt for it. our parents may have "hijacked" the wedding, but they never hijacked our marriage, which, as stated above by another commenter, is way more important at the end of the day; if the parents are going to control something, better it should be the details of the wedding than the details of the marriage.

Rae said...

Even perfectly normal people can turn into something else when it comes to weddings. One of our sets of machatonim are people we knew for years before our kids got engaged. Perfectly lovely people. And then we had to plan a wedding together. Like Jekyll and Hyde.

I have to agree with Trudy that at least some of the wedding, a big part of it, belongs to the people providing the services for the wedding. You think you are choosing the menu but you get to choose only what the caterer will offer, and cheap or less expensive doesn't seem to be in their vocabularies.

A Living Nadneyda said...

A neighbor of ours just got married (second time around), and they chose a small (20 guests) chuppah at the beach, one guitarist, and an exceedingly simple meal afterwards. Her bouquet consisted of three large, sunny flowers. I wasn't there, but I saw the photos, and the whole thing looked just beautiful.

Yes, there's a huge difference the second time around, financially and emotionally. They've had plenty of time to understand what they can reasonably afford, and they just want to settle into their new life without too much hoo-ha. Yes, I'm sorry I wasn't able to be there with them, but I completely understand their rationale for wanting such a small, simple wedding.