Affordable Events?

There’s something about going to weddings that makes one think — about one’s own place in society, about the future, about the past. Or maybe that’s just me.

I am not very old. But perhaps that gives me the excuse to be idealistic and to imagine that the world can be simple if we say it is. Chalk it up to my youthful naivete.

Anyone who went to kindergarten could tell you that you cannot give more than you have. That’s simple arithmetic. So why is it that adults, grown men and women with adult children, are expected to bankrupt themselves and go into debt to pay for a single wedding? I thought these were supposed to be simchos. Perhaps they are, but they are not gantze simchos. How could they be under circumstances like these?

This is not to say that weddings should not be beautiful. But as has been proven over the last months, a wedding does not need hundreds of attendees to be beautiful. A wedding almost cannot help but be beautiful, regardless of the length of the guest list or the simplicity of the venue. It is a time that is ripe for tefillah; the presence of the Shechinah is almost palpable. How could it be anything but beautiful?

Though none of us would have chosen a lethal pandemic as the mode to learn this lesson, the lesson has been learned nonetheless: We do not need huge, expensive weddings. Extravagant flowers, full bands, opulent halls — these are all window dressing. They do not matter to the main event, and their presence often is an impediment to the simchah of those who made the wedding.

Sara Ayala Baum