This post is Part VIII of a series on dating and marriage in the religious-Zionist community.
I: Dating Readiness, II: Meeting the One, III: Genetic Testing, IV: Dating Venues, and V: Shidduch Crisis?, VI: Internet Dating, VII: Paying the Shadchan, VIII: Wedding Costs, VIII: Wedding Costs, IX: Planning Tips
Someone explained to me that a plain wedding is not enough anymore. You need to have a cantor, video or other entertainment.
I must not travel in the right circles. Most parents I know want to save on the wedding so the young couple can survive while in school, yeshiva, or the army.
Weddings in Israel start at NIS 70-80/plate with most people expecting to pay at least NIS 100 for a basic wedding. Extras are always on offer.
Here are some common methods of cutting costs:
- No pre-chupah snacks, and certainly not a spread. One wedding hall offered a big pot of soup and some crackers, just in case you traveled a long way and couldn’t wait for the meal.
- Fewer waiters. The staff puts out large plates of appetizers in the center of the table, instead of asking each guest to choose. This works for the main course too. Or they offer a buffet-style dinner, for everyone or just the couple’s friends. The chicken, rice and potatoes, though, are a given.
- A disc-jockey instead of live music. I’ve only seen this once or twice. Live music is still important to most couples.
- Clothes. Brides borrow a dress from a gemach or free-loan society. The other family members buy clothes that can be reworn. I’ve been at weddings where it seemed like the bride and groom were deliberately “dressing down.”
- Centerpieces and flowers. It’s common to borrow these (fake flowers of course) from a gemach.
- Two levels of invitees. In haredi circles it’s common to invite only the family for the wedding meal, which ends early. Friends come for sheva brachot (wedding blessings afterthe meal), cake and dancing.
- Holding the wedding in an out-of-the-way location (at least for us).
One thing I haven’t seen is cutting down the size of weddings. Most have at least 250-300 guests.
So have you been to an inexpensive wedding lately? Or do you get invited to the ones with the cantorial performance?