Reader-submitted: An Open Letter about Friday Weddings

Dear Fellow Lakewood Residents, A great big Mazal Tov to Tzviki and Riki Feuer on their marriage! A great applause to them for being the first couple to have their wedding on Erev Shabbos in Lakewood in recent times.

Really, making weddings on Friday is nothing new. In fact, Yaakov Avinu and Leah Emainu’s chupa took place on Erev Shabbos (Ayin Sefer Hanisuin Kehilchosom, Perek 5, footnote 18).

The Erev Shabbos wedding is discussed at length in the Poskim.

There are two phenomenal advantages to making a wedding on Erev Shabbos:

1) Having the Chupa on Erev Shabbos and then having the seuda Friday night (Sheva Berachos) saves the families the big expense of the wedding meal. You can still have a beautiful Chupa, pictures, music and a regular first dance. Shabbos Sheva Berachos are being made anyway. True, there are many details that have to be worked out. But for those who have made weddings, and spent many years paying off Gmach loans (even with Takonos Weddings), it would seem that Friday weddings may relive the financial strain that so many families are under (and have to start supporting the young couple now, too).

2) The second advantage is the untold hours of Limud Torah that would be saved if weddings were moved to Erev Shabbos. How many night seders are cancelled due to weekday weddings? Most people don’t have sedarim on Friday afternoons. So many hours of Torah learning would be gained. What a great zechus for a new couple and their families!

So, what are we proposing? The advantages of Friday weddings are too great to ignore. In previous discussions, we have not met anyone who is against the Friday wedding. The only issue is that “it’s not done”. Well, something worthwhile “should” be done and then we can say “it is done”.

An organization, called Likras Kallah, is forming to explore and promote the possible benefits of Friday weddings. Anyone with a serious interest in this matter is invited to join. Please respond to [email protected]. Inquiries will be kept confidential. Be like Nachshon Ben Aminadav and other great Tzaddikim who saw a need and jumped in! Thank you!

The Likras Kallah Committee

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  1. I remember reading about this in Once Upon a Shtetl by Chaim Shapiro. Friday weddings were very common.
    It sounds like a very nice idea! Hatzlacha Raba!!!!

  2. What a brilliant idea. Everyone will be ready on Thursday night for shabbos because they have a Friday afternoon wedding. And maybe friends/relatives (that aren’t invited to shabbos sheva brachos) from out of town [Brooklyn monsey] will not be able to attend. And the people that aren’t ready for shabbos will not either be able to attend further pushing down the cost of the wedding. No food, no people= no simcha. But hey its cheaper.

  3. I totally disagree. Most people work on Friday, Women are busy getting ready for shabbos. I was at this wedding but I had to take the day off. I personally know close relatives that did not make it because it was held on Friday.

  4. Not practical at all.. Good comparison to our Avos – halivai! When our weddings look like theirs we’ll do it on Friday. There are many other ways to save $ without canceling the wedding! This organization is being created without taking the chosson & kallah into consideration. Hope you reconsider this and spend your time and creating an advantageous solution. Hatzlacha!

  5. i think this is a fantastic idea. to member of the public: currently weddings have hundreds of couples because every friend and relative “HAS” to attend. make it during business hours and you will get only immediate/very very close mishpacha coming. and suddenly we will find out who TRULY is needed at a wedding and whose presence is and is not essential. Chasunas have gotten out of hand and so has the expense. A couple can marry and have a happy life together without 100s of friends, neighbors and distant relatives at their wedding. Lets make them smaller and simpler.

  6. As a few of the posters have inferred, there are certainly disadvantages to this process. Would someone please present the full picture of this type of chasuna so an uninformed public can make educated decisions?

    In short, what is an extensive, if not exhaustive, list of probable issues that erev shabbos chasunas present?

    Thank you for taking on a great task to be mechazeik the rabbim! Hatzlacha, Likras Kallah Committee!

  7. The American way of life precludes having an Erev Shabbos chasunah. My husband and I both work (now that we’ve married off our children, B”H) and would find it very difficult to attend such chasunahs on a regular basis. And what about families with children still at home? Who would babysit on a Friday? I’m so happy for this young couple who was able to pull this off and I wish them only the best. But I can’t see this happening too often.

  8. Just like some people prefer one weekday night over another so too not everyone has to do Friday.
    If it works it’s great !!!!
    I do think that Rav Hutner made his only daughter’s, Reb Beruria David, wedding on a Friday.

    Many of use need to leave work early now as well to get to Lakewood for 7 PM chupa.

  9. there was an incident in cracow during times of the ramah where people wouldnt stop music at onset of shabbos and buildilng caved in killing guests at the wedding.ramah was goizer no more friday chasunahs in cracow.

  10. Hi.
    Just a quick comment.
    Just because there is no sedorim on Friday afternoon does not minimize the potential, halachacly corret, bitul Torah.
    One is supposed to learn weather there is a Seder or not.
    So you’ll tell me it’s the Seder that gets upset not the butyl Torah. For that the mitzvah of Simcha’s chosen/ kallah halachcly cancels out that issue.

  11. The concept of an afternoon Chupa and an evening Seuda is still done regularly in London. Some make it to the Chupa, some to the Seuda, some to both and some just cannot make it. So what? Is this all about what works for others?

    The Mitzva is to be Mesamayach Choson Vkallah – this means it is an obligation ON ME to figure out how to be Mesaymayach them. It is not an obligation on them to figure out a way to accommodate me. Yes it is menchlech to think about your guests and try to make it as best you can for them, but if you can save thousands of dollars (especially if you are borrowing or collecting funds) shouldn’t we all embrace such a concept? If you agree, then stop kvetching and be happy to join in a Friday Chasuna

  12. This wedding was packed! If there r people that can’t make it so what’s wrong ? During the week also not everyone is able to be at a wedding on any given day. There r always reasons that prevent people from being able to be at a family/friend/ simcha.
    However there is something to take in to consideration.
    Currently since Friday weddings are not the norm I would imagine that the cost is cheaper since its a extra job ($$) for the caterer. If Friday weddings become a norm then u can be sure that the prices will go up and then there isn’t a savings

  13. All chassunos and events are scripted. Every bria has the same menu, every chassuna has the same schedule. Nobodybis allowed to even think about changing the script.
    The job now is jot to add a new option, but to tell parents and chassanim/kallos that they should think about themselves what they want, what is best for them. If they want lots of relative, go for it. If they want a small intimate wedding, go for that. If they want lots of dancung or little dancing, morning wedding or afternoon wedding, white dress or blue dress, white tie or red tie, whatever works for them. That will lower expenses more than anything.

  14. A very interesting idea. Opening up this possibility is good. It may not be right for everyone. Taking off work or babysitting is only an issue if you are not close enough to the family.

    I think Friday weddings should be small/closer-family by definition – families doing so should make this expectation clear. Instead, invite cousins and good friends for Sheva Brochos instead of the wedding itself.

    Intimate, small weddings should be an option of choice, not only budget. We have a way of locking ourselves into a corner as a community because ‘this is how it’s done’ and ‘what will the other side think’, so we can’t change the reality. By creating a new wedding option – a private and intimate-style wedding – could become a new trend. It could even even spill over to weeknight weddings.

    I heard of a very wealthy family that recently married off a child and the chosson and kallah wanted a small private affair. Even first cousins did not go to the wedding, but a lavish sheva brochos was held at their home and everyone was happy – including the chosson and kallah who could also feel good about doing something low key despite their family’s renown and wealth.

    • Generally what people do (at least here in Israel) is have a “bar” which is like the shmorg, but after the chuppah and during dancing- like a simchas choson v’kallah. That’s the only food. No formal meal served which is much more expensive. As far as this couple making Shabbos sheva brachos in a hotel- far fewer people were invited to this than would have been invited to the meal at the wedding- so probably still a savings.

  15. #1 in very poor taste to discuss it now! What do those ppl feel like having the whole town analyse their decision on a public forum???
    #2 there are pros and cons like every other decision in life! If you feel it’s right for you go ahead! Why convince other ppl to do the same?
    #3 it can obviously work only for ppl who are not expecting a large from out of town!! To find a place to host everyone would cancel any benefit to a Friday wedding!!
    MAZAL TOV!!!!!

  16. Why are you making an example of a Friday wedding that was scheduled as a lasy resort due to double booking? Although we wish the Chosson Kallah mechutonim bshaa tova, it was not their first choice either!

  17. It definitely puts more dates on the calender. Hall might offer discount. Caterer wouldnt care. He has to make huge payroll everyweek. It for sure would give an “old world” touch to the simcha!

    Mazel Tov Choson & Kallah

  18. You guys are forgetting about a very important point.
    The minhag in Poland was to dance on Shabbos . Most people in Lakewood would have a hard time dancing on Shabbos no matter how many of the older poskim were matir (in E”Y they dance on Shemi Atzeres/Simchas Torah on Shabbos as well) .
    The Ramo is very meikel with having goyim playing instruments on Shabbos as well would we have that in Lakewood?
    Please rememebr that the simcha for the Chosson and Kallah should last them a lifetime , let`s not forget about them

  19. This wedding was probably more expensive than most weddings. The Kallah has a large family and needed to invite them all for Shabbos so that they could be included in the wedding meal on Friday night. Therefore, they needed to take out a hotel for a whole Shabbos (day and a half) and either pay for their guests or have their guests pay.
    Friday weddings are tough for people that have day jobs. I guess most of the participants in this wedding don’t have typical 9 to 5 jobs.
    In Europe they used to make weddings on Friday to save on the extra meal since the wedding meal became the Friday night meal. In our community I don’t think this will save us much money.
    There is also the added pressure that people have on Fridays getting ready for Shabbos. A Friday wedding will often just make it more difficult to prepare properly for Shabbos.
    I guess this Friday wedding worked for this couple, or they just wanted to do something different.
    People can and should celebrate their simchas however they wish, but I don’t see Friday weddings as a smart idea for most people in our community.

  20. I don’t know much about the wedding that took place, but if you want to compare to old times you need to compare apples to apples. As far as I know the seuda for the wedding in the olden days were the townspeople’s Friday night meal and they would walk home afterwards, here that option doesn’t really exist. If you are going to invite people to come for a Friday afternoon wedding, it certainly makes getting ready for Shabbos on time that much more challenging, unless everyone that attends is also invited to stay for Shabbos but that would have to include families and not just the adults, so not sure how this would work out.

  21. Firstly- I think this idea would work better in the summer

    # 2- I was at this wedding, it was beautiful. whoever wanted to make the effort, made it there. Midweek weddings have the disadvantage that people run to 2 or 3 weddings that night… the Friday idea will never take off to that level….

    But why does a wedding have to have 300-400 ppl, why cant it just be for family & 10- 20 friends?

    Most chasunas the poor choson & kallah are dragged from one circle to the other & have to use extreme concentration to remember who to dance with first…who didn’t I dance with yet? they cant enjoy the simcha!

    We should downsize the chasunas!

  22. To all those complaining about why Chasunas need some many people, it seems like they are forgetting the point of attending a Chasunah.

    I never heard a Cassandra or Kalahari complain about having too many guests.

  23. If it would become the norm, people would wait many months to get a date in a wedding hall…limiting yourself to Fridays as the norm would pose many obstacles yet still worth exploring

  24. Of course this may not work for everyone for a variety of reasons. – what people were so impressed with, is the ability to buck the trend and be different even if it wasn’t their first choice. – over time things should change. there are ka”h many weddings and we have to simplify things. many have stopped with seating cards, it just wasn’t working anymore, most don’t respond, and those that do don’t all come, and then half don’t bother taking the cards. so you know what people put plaques with general seating and it works for 99% of people just fine.
    The same is with the main meal, I was at a popular mechanech in Lakewood’s wedding and the meal was half empty, later the hall was packed. – most people (who didn’t travel from out of town) do not spend the entire night at a wedding. – They either come for the chupa and stay (maybe) to dance a little, or they come later at the second dance (simchas choson vkalah). only very close relatives and friends are there throughout. we should be making much smaller meals, (which the caterers don’t allow right now – they have a minimum) and put out some food during the dancing and dessert.
    Whatever ideas people think of, we should encourage them all. and lets see what works.

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