Opinion: It’s A Wedding, Not A Club | Avi Gutfreund

I must be getting old. I don’t remember my sensitivities changing, but perhaps the transition is occurring so slowly that I don’t even realize it. But I’m not that old and I’m not so sure I’ve become more sensitive. But it does seem to me that things have changed; things seem to be different. This goes for many things, but specifically in regards to weddings.

As a child I loved going to weddings. A colossal (in a child’s eyes) hall, a massive amount of people, the singing and dancing, and the festive atmosphere made attending weddings something that I looked forward to. But things were different then. Weddings just don’t have the same excitement to me anymore. And it’s not because I’m older or due to having attended so many weddings. It’s because the average wedding has changed.

I feel like when I attended weddings when I was younger, the celebration was about those that were supposed to be celebrated – the chosson and kallah. Nowadays, it sometimes seems unclear. Is it the new couple, the band, the singer? Is it the DJ playing music that can’t be danced to? Or are we just dancing for the sake of dancing?

I know, I’m old and out of touch. But really, I’m not. I believe it has truly gotten more difficult, upon attending the average wedding, to know what is being celebrated. If a stranger walked in, would they know it was a wedding and not a nightclub? With the amount of techno/trap/new age music blaring, couple with disco balls and whatever other lighting insanities they have these days, I’m not quite sure someone could make out the difference without knowing beforehand that it’s a wedding.

But of course you can tell it’s a wedding, right? Right, you can, because there’s a girl in a white dress and a beaming young man. But that shouldn’t be how you know the difference. It should be evident from the celebration itself, and the fact that it isn’t, is quite sad.

When did things become this way? When did we lose the sensitivity regarding our most holy of institutions, marriage? Matrimony is supposed to be a time of holiness, of tasteful celebration. We cover the kallah’s face to hide it from all but her husband – it’s a matter of tznius. Yet, moments after her face is uncovered, we throw it all away by way of blasting hip-hop loud enough to bust eardrums.

I just don’t get it.

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  1. 100000000000%
    Couldn’t agree more!!

    Thank you for pointing this out, although unfortunately, I don’t think it will change anything. But it’s still good to bring up this awareness. Plant the realization in people’s minds.

  2. My parents did not understand why I wanted a DJ at my 1972 wedding, playing “modern” music when I could have opted for a “big band” sound. They said “people can’t dance to that noise”. James Taylor, Elton John, Roberta Flack, The Temptations……versus Sinatra, the lindy hop. I heard “it won’t be a wedding”. It was a wedding.

  3. I agree.. it seems like a disco sometimes and in reality I would never go to one but somehow I find myself with disco lights and blaring music for hours when I just wanted to go to a wedding

  4. Hi there. The writer is correct but incorrect. let me explain. As with everything else that is man made, things have progressed. Torah Orah (the song) just doesn’t cut it anymore.Thirty years ago there were complaints that things were getting to rocky. Despite a few cherems (which were since recinded), nothing much was done. The chussan wants his freinds to come and dance. They are not interested is music for 40, 50, 60, 70 or 80 year olds. So the chussan oblidges. Also, even though there are many bachurum in yeshiva wearing black and white, that does not mean that they are yishivish. They just folow the crowd for the time being. Wheather the older generation approves or not, lighting is the next new wave. Either develop a plan to change it, or accept reality and move on. Kvetching nostalgic won’t accomplish anything except fulfill your need to vent

  5. On another note, this music nullifies any rhythm with circle dancing which is, in my opinion, a beautiful minhag and gesture as it promotes achdus and shalom which is an unspoken brocha for the chosson and kallah for years to come!

  6. I also agree more that 100% . for reason mentioned above and for more reasons. Sometimes parents spend for a child ‘s wedding much more that they can afford , they even borrow money. The reason maybe a friend had a fancy shmency wedding, And they have to keep up , I knew a family in N. Y. that had twin daughters . For the first wedding they made a wedding that cost them a fortune, When their other daughter was getting married she told her parents Pl make a small wedding just for the immediate family and instead give me the money that it would cost you for the wedding and I will have a for a deposit to buy a house, That I believe was a very smart decision, But of course it also has to work for the other side [the grooms parents, ] Our wedding we had in a small place, Just immediate family and Baruch HASHEM we were married for 62 years . Till my husband ALAV HASHOLEM was niftar in 2015 Now if you are an account like me you can figure out how old I am, [more or less. ] thats fine with me, Whenever somebody gets married I wish you a very happy and long life together. Amein, P. S. By the way the best thing I like about a wedding are the pix, or the videos. The party is over in a few hours but the pix, last forever ‘ and the next generations can always enjoy them Enough for now this MEGILE is long enough,

  7. The fault lays entirely with the mechutanim.
    When I made chasunas I included in the musicians contract that (1) they can only play heimishe music, and (b) to keep the decibels down – regardless of what the chosson/kallah and their friends may request. I made it clear that I was paying the bill and that if they violate the contract they will NOT get paid.
    It works !!!
    Try it………..

  8. Dear concerned parent,
    I think you are missing the boat, just going along with whims and fads does not teach our younger generation anything. Let’s do a study of rate of divorce after the over the top jazzy, rocky weddings vs the couples who accept a little direction from parents and grandparents; while Torah Orah may be too antiquated, maybe we can find something in between, the weddings these days, even in Lakewood have gotten much too much and are bordering on lihyos kichol hagoyim (in my humble opinion), I doubt the length, tempo and volume of the intro correlate positively with happy marriages, isn’t that what building batim neemanim is about?
    Let’s find a happy medium!
    More concerned

  9. I completely disagree. Make your weddings how you want it and others will make their wedding how they want. Who are you to say all weddings should be the way you feel connected? Maybe that’s how they feel it would be special for them.

  10. In my very humble opinion this whole discussion is a little childish. The important thing in a marriage the couple should live happily ever . after, After the few hours spent at the fancy or not so fancy wedding after the bill is paid Thats when life begins for the new couple, They should have a very fruitful and successful life together, This whole discussion is about what music should be played at the wedding, Arent there more important things in life? Ask any parent or grandparent that survived the second world war and see what the answer will be.

  11. You’re right, priorities! Let’s hope that we have nailed the most important issues in marriage and life in general. So where does lavishness of the wedding, choice of honeymoon and creativity of the marriage proposal fit in there? Hmmmm

  12. Weddings have always been over the top, and most of it is unnecessary. I had a DJ, my brother had live music, a nicer venue, over double the price. But in a few years no one really remembered what made his nicer.

    The kallah is too caught up in everything to enjoy her day. And everyone else just remembers having a good time, but not why. I remember watching my friend’s grandmother (in her 80’s) getting up to dance. I remember my cousin’s cake collapsing. Of the other 10 I’ve attended in the past few years, I can’t tell you what made the dinner special or what made the hall beautiful, whether it cost $400 per person or a $100 hall and catering.

    Everyone I speak to wants a gorgeous wedding, but after a few years, they all admit that they wish they had a cheaper wedding and used the money to start their marriage.

  13. I got married 3 years ago, and I agree 100%.

    The thing is, that my wedding was very much NOT similar to a club.

    Probably 80% of my friends weddings weren’t either.

    The fact is, if you raise your children correctly, they will Iy”h have the right outlook and appreciations.

    I did not grow up in a yeshivish home. I grew up in Lakewood, my father drove a Lexus, and we went to Florida for mid winter most years.

    My wedding was not ostentatious, and we had a heimish singer who only sang heimish songs.

    My point is that all is not lost. Raise your kids correctly, and just feel bad for those who don’t.

    I had a chosson friend who had such a ‘club wedding’, and when he asked me for my name to daven, I gave it to him, but didn’t expect much. If you think of your own wedding that way, I don’t expect much from you too be honest.

    Instead of complaining on a public forum, to change NOTHING, just focus on your own family and daven that your kids won’t want such a wedding.

    I’m here to tell you that is still very much a possibility.

  14. to more concerned. You need to read what i wrote again. I said that you should come up with a solution. Telling me i missed the boat is not a solution. Parents who pay for the band, have a right to lay down the law with the band.As far as music at a chasuna leading to divorce.. what planet are you on or what did you drink for kiddush?
    the parents paid for the chasuna, not the chussan/kallah. are these the parents the younger generation should look to for guidance? as I said again just because they are dressed yeshivish does not mean they are yeshivish. a person who is really genuinely yeshivish won’t want such things. if his parents do want them then they are not the role models that can fix the issue.

  15. There’s a lot to say on this topic but I won’t get into it here. The one thing that I would like to point out and I think it brings out the point of Mr. Gutfreund, when I got married, my friends and I had a “chasuna”. A “chasuna” is a jewish wedding with all the special meanings and feelings that come with it.But that is being lost today unfortunately to the “wedding” with all the trimmings. It can still be preserved, but as others have commented it takes a lot of work to raise your kids with the right sensitivities. I myself try to gently point out things to my kids that I see are lacking in the “Yiddish taam”. It’s not easy to constantly be on the forefront but it’s worth it.

  16. It seems that at least some people agree with me, Like my husband ALAV HASHOLEM used to say CASE CLOSED, If anybody is interested I will gladly teach them a little about LIFE,

  17. Trigger alert: Not politically-correct comment. Proceed with caution.
    For millennia, we had a relationship with the descendents of Yefes – for better or for worst. Throught history, we immigrated iinto their countries and established our commmunities among them. Some of us have even adopted their names for professional purposes One of their characteristics we adopted was their music, whether classical or similar music which is associated with the Europeans.
    When it comes to B’nei Cham, that was never the case. Jews by large didn’t immigrate to sub-Saharan Africa, and we haven’t adopted any part of their culture. Here in the U.S., we see inner city people not as the people we should emulate, to say the least.
    Then please, someone tell me, why is it that we’re copying their musical styles? The new musical style is nothing but influenced by that sector of the population. What’s with the over-the-top bass and bass drum, the R&B/Gospel-style vocals? What’s with the “hi hat rolls” which sound like a taser going off? That’s the “music” that you hear blaring from certain cars as the pass you by. That’s what we want to hear and emulate? What happened to OUR Jewish pride?
    We have our own music, our own style, and it’s beautiful and wholesome. We don’t need to copy our music from the inner city!
    I apologize in advance to those who misunderstand my comment. I don’t mean to put anyone down. Just saying that we have ou own identity, and should take pride in that. Our music reflects who we are.
    *Ducking for cover*

  18. As a musician, I think the onus is on us. When asked to play more heimish music, some musicians say “well, that’s what the chassanim want nowadays”.
    Really? So the chosson went into a club, or listened to this style of music, and told the musician “kazeh r’ei v’kadeish”?
    The musicians (DJs, one-man-bands, and musical producers who produce this sort of music) introduced this style into our circles as a way to break in and “be original” (ha). Many Chosson bochurim are pretty immature when it comes to these matters, but the musicians feed into that. It’s not good.

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