Do I Have To Spend A Lot Of Money To Have A Warm And Wonderful Wedding?

Some thoughts and reflections from Rabbi Wendy Spears.

My goal in working with couples is to increase the joy that they already enjoy with each other. Jewish tradition teaches that the guests at a wedding have the mitzvah (a Jewish way of doing and being) of "rejoicing the bride and groom." What does this mean?

Rejoicing the bride and groom involves making them even happier than they already are. The fact of the matter is that planning a wedding can be extremely stressful. How much the more so after paying attention to all the various details, does any couple want to be able to relax and have a great time at their wedding. Many times though, the stress of the planning spills over onto the wedding day. It can seem that no matter what you do to please others, someone isn't happy.

I believe that on your wedding day, your goal should be your own happiness and enjoyment. You can give your guests the opportunity to rejoice you. Invite them in advance to prepare a toast, a silly song, or a funny story to share with you. Have someone lead the dancing. Delegate some of your responsibilities so you can relax more. These simple activities also encourage guests to interact with each other and create a warm, memorable, and distinctive experience for everyone involved.

I believe that the amount of money you spend has very little to do with the experience you have on the day of your wedding. I have celebrated with couples in all types of places, from elegantly elaborate to elegantly simple, and have heard them share the same sentiment many times: "The ceremony was so heartfelt, spiritual, warm, and easy to understand that it set the tone for the entire party." This can be your experience as well.

I was reading recently that the average wedding in Southern California costs $60,000. Bridal magazines are filled with gorgeous images of high-end products such as clothes, venues, flowers, and invitations. Their goal is for you to buy those products. The products themselves are not insurance against mishaps on the day of your wedding. Your planning and attitude is what counts. The more you can relax and let your wedding day unfold, the more fun and wonderful memories you will have. If you have the resources to have a magazine photo type of wedding, by all means, revel in your good fortune. If you have lesser means, you can still have a picture-perfect wedding. It all depends on your point of view and your priorities. What do you want to experience on that day? How is it going to set the tone for your beautiful life together? The words spoken, feelings expressed, and happiness shared are the most important aspects of your wedding day and for the many years of your marriage.