Topic Wiki

Initiative to lower the standards:   https://simchainitiative.org/

Mishpacha Article link:                     https://mishpacha.com/at-all-costs/
                                                     https://mishpacha.com/at-all-costs-the-conversation-continues-2/

Jewish Pr. Interview W/R Reisman   https://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/interviews-and-profiles/over-1300-sign-pledge-to-hold-simpler-weddings-an-interview-with-rav-yisroel-reisman-rosh-yeshiva-of-torah-vodaath/2020/05/13/

Some interesting articles covering the guidelines from similar efforts 20 years ago

https://agudah.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/JO2002-V35-N06.pdf  page 10 article by Prof. Aaron Twerski
https://agudah.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/JO2006-V39-N041.pdf page 43 article by R Aryeh Zev Ginzberg
https://www.nytimes.com/2002/05/25/us/religion-journal-a-big-wedding-with-a-smaller-bill.html
« Last edited by David61 on May 28, 2020, 06:29:23 PM »

Poll

Wedding expenses in the frum community

Thank G-d for simchas
8 (5.2%)
This has gotten out of hand and a remedy is needed
118 (77.1%)
It's a problem but has always been this way and we'll manage as we have till now
27 (17.6%)

Total Members Voted: 153

Author Topic: POLL: Wedding expenses in the frum Community - BH for simchos? or out of hand?  (Read 43366 times)

Offline moko

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I am not debating that. I am simply pointing out that afaik, nobody here disagrees with all the rest of it, i.e. live within your means, don't borrow (what you can't afford to pay in full every month), etc.
right. it seems many (most?) people cannot do what is advocated on this forum with out getting stuck in the vicious cycle of cc debt.

Offline Iz

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right. it seems many (most?) people cannot do what is advocated on this forum with out getting stuck in the vicious cycle of cc debt.
Glad we agree. :)

Offline David61

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Is this a recent initiative? Can someone translate/explain? My yiddish is rusty.

Offline Denverite

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We can talk all about this and the plans to switch but the reason for all the fancy weddings and everything else we get nicer the we really need is because of Peer pressure period.

The reason why we have so much peer pressure is because only in the frum community do we have really rich people living next door to someone who is broke and canít put food on the table they all go to the same schools a lot are friendly with each other.

Having this creates peer pressure that not other community has and even the not wealthy have to live and look like their neighbor who are millionaires.

Till we fix this which will never happen because it shouldnít the weddings the cars will always stay the same.

People who can afford the real luxuries will not give that up and shouldnít have to because their neighbor gets peer pressure from it.

My two cents.

I never thought of it this way but I think you are spot on.  There is no one in my housekeepersí Catholic Church membership, and in her social circle, who isnít working class.  She has told me all about their quincineras and other events and they also spend thousands but they also help each other with flowers, cooking, etc and the expectations are way lower.  Because sheís worked at so many Simchas and for me for years weíve talked about these things. There are many families in my kidsí school who make less than my housekeeper and her construction worker husband and yet we all (Baruch HaShem) get to enjoy all of each otherís Simchas, including some very fancy ones.  Iím sure that disparity does put huge pressure on many families.

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There is no one in my housekeepersí Catholic Church membership, and in her social circle, who isnít working class.  She has told me all about their quincineras and other events and they also spend thousands but they also help each other with flowers, cooking, etc and the expectations are way lower. 
Is she Hispanic?
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Offline 12HRS

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On topic.

I actually dug into the Kuntrus Sephat Tamim just now. Even talks about weddings.

Offline Denverite

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Is she Hispanic?

Yes. And I do know that many churches have much more diverse populations than hers, which is basically exclusively spanish speaking 1st generation immigrants (many of whom arenít here legally).  She owns her own home but has told me she is the only person amongst her friends who doesnít rent.   Maybe in Brooklyn or Manhattan you would have a synagogue where everyone was a renter but I think anywhere else that would be rare.  I donít think frum people realize how rare it is to have extremely wealthy and poor people on Medicaid and Section 8 constantly socializing together.

Specifically relating to the topic of frum weddings.  One of the things I love most about living in a small Jewish Community is that community expectations are way different. I canít conceive of even the wealthiest frum families in Denver spending thousands of dollars on a Aufruf, Vort or Sheva Brachot and they are almost always put together by the women in the community all working together and making things (although that could also because we donít have a lot of kosher restaurants and caterers...lol). Iíve been a hostess for numerous wedding showers and Sheva Brachot and families just donít spend that much here. It would seem odd and ostentatious to do so.  When I read that original post, the ancillary costs sounded totally insane to me but it seems like many people feel itís generally normal.  The costs of the wedding itself, however, sound very reasonable and now I know why most (non-Chabad) families do their weddings in Lakewood, and then head back here for Sheva Brachot, even if both sides are from Denver!

Offline EliJelly

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Yes. And I do know that many churches have much more diverse populations than hers, which is basically exclusively spanish speaking 1st generation immigrants (many of whom arenít here legally).  She owns her own home but has told me she is the only person amongst her friends who doesnít rent.   Maybe in Brooklyn or Manhattan you would have a synagogue where everyone was a renter but I think anywhere else that would be rare.  I donít think frum people realize how rare it is to have extremely wealthy and poor people on Medicaid and Section 8 constantly socializing together.

Specifically relating to the topic of frum weddings.  One of the things I love most about living in a small Jewish Community is that community expectations are way different. I canít conceive of even the wealthiest frum families in Denver spending thousands of dollars on a Aufruf, Vort or Sheva Brachot and they are almost always put together by the women in the community all working together and making things (although that could also because we donít have a lot of kosher restaurants and caterers...lol). Iíve been a hostess for numerous wedding showers and Sheva Brachot and families just donít spend that much here. It would seem odd and ostentatious to do so.  When I read that original post, the ancillary costs sounded totally insane to me but it seems like many people feel itís generally normal.  The costs of the wedding itself, however, sound very reasonable and now I know why most (non-Chabad) families do their weddings in Lakewood, and then head back here for Sheva Brachot, even if both sides are from Denver!
Doing these things like they used to do it in the small shtetel inderheim is what everyone yearns and wishes, but will very unlikely happen. We've become real New Yorkers. Pay $$$ for a party planner and caterer and get the aufruf/sheva bruchos off my head.

Offline shmaya

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This is really eye opening.

I was always aware that simchas were out of hand,
What's fascinating is that focusing on the party itself seems to be misguided.

The major gap between all 7 weddings were in side expenses.

$16k for wedding gifts, $10k for gowns, $15k to setup a house.

Cut out Shabbos sheva brachos and the Vort/Lchaim, you are still saving less than the cost of a 5.5k gown.

Does anyone know what would be similar side costs for Bar Mitzvahs?

(Much more pertinent to me for the next few years.)


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This is really eye opening.

I was always aware that simchas were out of hand,
What's fascinating is that focusing on the party itself seems to be misguided.

The major gap between all 7 weddings were in side expenses.

$16k for wedding gifts, $10k for gowns, $15k to setup a house.

Cut out Shabbos sheva brachos and the Vort/Lchaim, you are still saving less than the cost of a 5.5k gown.

Does anyone know what would be similar side costs for Bar Mitzvahs?

(Much more pertinent to me for the next few years.)
Yes. I have been saying that for quite some time.
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Offline David61

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Doing these things like they used to do it in the small shtetel inderheim is what everyone yearns and wishes, but will very unlikely happen.

I highly doubt weddings will return to anywhere near their prior size at least through the end of 2020 and probably longer, given residual social distancing efforts.

I assume a gradual easing of social distancing over the coming year (minyanim resume by the summer with certain density constraints, schools resume in September etc), but that  there is no handshaking, no tight crowds, no hand-in-hand dancing, mask wearing in public, etc. at least into 2021.

At that point the norms will have been effectively disrupted and there is a realistic option for this communal behavior to permanently reset . . . . . . providing there is a genuine will and concerted effort from both those who can and cannot comfortably afford these expenses. (BTW - There are many affluent families signed on to that simchinitiative.org list).

One might even argue that remedying this is among highest forms of tzedoko/chesed as it maintains the dignity of the beneficiary (more dignified than offering loans or grants for hachnosos kallah so that every family can keep up).

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I have told people discussing the points game that it is great until the first time you don't pay a bill in full. If that happens even once then you need to go full save Ramsey

Being in a tough financial situation (which caused carrying a balance) will make it more difficult to cut up the CCs. Also, when you know that credit cards are not an option, you'll be a lot more likely to have a proper emergency fund.

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wedding
12000
vort
$3,000
shaitels
4000
basic furniture
5000
kallah clothing
2000
shabbos sheva brachos
4000
gowns
3000
gifts
1000
Simcha clothing
1500
set up house
5000
40500

In Chabad we don't do Vorts (although with time, many lechaims have become on the same level)

I got second hand furniture, and bought whatever else I needed from Ikea.

Does the kallah need a whole new wardrobe to get married? What's wrong with her "Kallah maidel" wardrobe?

Setting up the house seems steep to me.

Offline Dan

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In Chabad we don't do Vorts (although with time, many lechaims have become on the same level)

I got second hand furniture, and bought whatever else I needed from Ikea.

Does the kallah need a whole new wardrobe to get married? What's wrong with her "Kallah maidel" wardrobe?

Setting up the house seems steep to me.
+1.
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Offline Denverite

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I highly doubt weddings will return to anywhere near their prior size at least through the end of 2020 and probably longer, given residual social distancing efforts.

I assume a gradual easing of social distancing over the coming year (minyanim resume by the summer with certain density constraints, schools resume in September etc), but that  there is no handshaking, no tight crowds, no hand-in-hand dancing, mask wearing in public, etc. at least into 2021.

At that point the norms will have been effectively disrupted and there is a realistic option for this communal behavior to permanently reset . . . . . . providing there is a genuine will and concerted effort from both those who can and cannot comfortably afford these expenses. (BTW - There are many affluent families signed on to that simchinitiative.org list).

One might even argue that remedying this is among highest forms of tzedoko/chesed as it maintains the dignity of the beneficiary (more dignified than offering loans or grants for hachnosos kallah so that every family can keep up).

Couldnít agree more. Also, marrying off one child in the backyard (and watching others do it) will probably affect parents view of whatís ďnecessaryĒ for future weddings.

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-1 people forget very quickly. As soon as life goes back to normal , even if it takes a yr or 2, people will ( unfortunately) go back to doing the same chasunas.
Same with Pesach hotels, people here think that industry is over, I think thatís laughable. Too big of a a need ( real for some, imagined for most)  for so many people, and too much money to be made...

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In Chabad we don't do Vorts (although with time, many lechaims have become on the same level)

I got second hand furniture, and bought whatever else I needed from Ikea.

Does the kallah need a whole new wardrobe to get married? What's wrong with her "Kallah maidel" wardrobe?

Setting up the house seems steep to me.
These were very of the top of my head numbers.
Feelings don't care about your facts

Offline Denverite

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Doing these things like they used to do it in the small shtetel inderheim is what everyone yearns and wishes, but will very unlikely happen. We've become real New Yorkers. Pay $$$ for a party planner and caterer and get the aufruf/sheva bruchos off my head.

-1 people forget very quickly. As soon as life goes back to normal , even if it takes a yr or 2, people will ( unfortunately) go back to doing the same chasunas.
Same with Pesach hotels, people here think that industry is over, I think thatís laughable. Too big of a a need ( real for some, imagined for most)  for so many people, and too much money to be made...


Your are for sure correct about Pesach programs because of the trauma of this year!! :P And maybe Iím being naive about future Simchas.

I also think that what you are saying just shows how all the ďaccompanimentsĒ to weddings have gotten out of hand. Even in Denver, people use party planners and caterers for weddings and bar mitzvahs but do so for any of those others parties/dinners before and after wedding would just look totally ridiculous here. Just like people donít want to look cheap, they also donít want to come off as obnoxious and ostentatious and maybe Iím naive but I think standards can be reset. On the other hand maybe itís self selecting, and instead of fighting their local trends, people who donít like that showy NY and LA culture often purposely move OOT (it was one of my main reasons for leaving LA) which may be why the expectations of the people who choose to stay get worse and worse.

I also see why people from small communities often seek shiduchim for their children from families in other small communities because they have more culturally in common. Iíve been a shadchanit for a few couples and also helped make ďresearchĒ calls with rebbeim I know in Los Angeles. Now I routinely make sure to ask if the boy (itís usually the girl from here) and his family would be embarrassed by a small Vort in the home or relieved to find a more simple girl.  I personally feel itís as important as discussing religious hashkafa, as expectations can be so wildly different.

I truly hope Iím not offending anyone, just giving the perspective of someone who left and has now ďgone nativeĒ as a real OOTowner.  :)

Offline Dan

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Your are for sure correct about Pesach programs because of the trauma of this year!! :P And maybe Iím being naive about future Simchas.

I also think that what you are saying just shows how all the ďaccompanimentsĒ to weddings have gotten out of hand. Even in Denver, people use party planners and caterers for weddings and bar mitzvahs but do so for any of those others parties/dinners before and after wedding would just look totally ridiculous here. Just like people donít want to look cheap, they also donít want to come off as obnoxious and ostentatious and maybe Iím naive but I think standards can be reset. On the other hand maybe itís self selecting, and instead of fighting their local trends, people who donít like that showy NY and LA culture often purposely move OOT (it was one of my main reasons for leaving LA) which may be why the expectations of the people who choose to stay get worse and worse.

I also see why people from small communities often seek shiduchim for their children from families in other small communities because they have more culturally in common. Iíve been a shadchanit for a few couples and also helped make ďresearchĒ calls with rebbeim I know in Los Angeles. Now I routinely make sure to ask if the boy (itís usually the girl from here) and his family would be embarrassed by a small Vort in the home or relieved to find a more simple girl.  I personally feel itís as important as discussing religious hashkafa, as expectations can be so wildly different.

I truly hope Iím not offending anyone, just giving the perspective of someone who left and has now ďgone nativeĒ as a real OOTowner.  :)
After I shidduch dated some girls from NY/LA I asked my parents to focus on smaller communities. The cultural differences and their unwillingness to move no matter the circumstance were too much for me.

My KC raised wife wore a gown from a gmach and our wedding had a one man band+singer and no shmorg. The L'chaim in CH was $1,000. Our furniture came from garage sales and Ikea. And the rent including utilities for our 2BR/2BA apt was $800.
And we survived to tell the tale!
« Last Edit: April 24, 2020, 03:20:14 PM by Dan »
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After I shidduch dated some girls from NY/LA I asked my parents to focus on smaller communities. The cultural differences and their unwillingness to move no matter the circumstance were too much for me.

My KC raised wife wore a gown from a gmach and our wedding had a one man band+singer and no shmorg. The L'chaim in CH was $1,000. Our furniture came from garage sales and Ikea. And the rent including utilities for our 2BR/2BA apt was $800.
And we survived to tell the tale!
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