The Wedding List

Been discussing some wedding traditions on twitter this morning. I started the ball rolling with a question about why a chattan (bridegroom) unties his tie and shoelaces under the Chuppah. There were some interesting answers, but the general consensus of opinion is that bride and groom should be unfettered and knot free when they tie the ultimate knot with each other.

As things do on Twitter, the conversation veered off on a tangent, to the custom of the wife buying the husband a watch as an engagement / wedding gift, originally it was a watch with a chain, to symbolize their bond.

So, those of you in the religious community know that there are aparently unwritten rules for an engaged couple when it comes to gifts for their marriage and all of that. No one sent us the memo so we didn’t do all of this, and guess what, we are still happy. Of course you have to understand this is just based on stuff I have heard, with a little poetic license thrown in.  I will list those I know about, and I would ask that you add to it. Apparently it is bad form to not fulfill these obligations.

  • No flowers are to be given to the girl by the guy until the engagement. And then she is to expect a HUGE arrangement for the Vort.
  • After the engagement there is a nice sized diamond ring expected (ok, check…)
  • With earrings, a bracelet and matching necklace to follow before the wedding. Diamonds of course. (ahem, KoD…..hint hint…just kidding I’d prefer a Harley)
  • The girl has to buy the guy a decent expensive watch and nice set of cufflinks, and a set of Shas. Her family must buy him a tallit. (ok the tallit is the one thing we did….phew)
  • He has to buy her machzorim for all the holidays, and pearls to give her in the yichud room.
  • His family is to buy the expensive sheitels for her.
  • The girl’s Daddy has to buy them a house and a car and pay for son in law to sit in kollel all day.

Anything I missed?

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29 Comments

  1. Frayda says:

    some people do a bracelet at the engagement and a ring later. also, at the badeken, my husband gave me a rose and i have seen that done at only one other chasunah. anyone else ever heard of the rose?

  2. hadassahsabo says:

    i love the rose – seen it done once or twice and it moved me to tears!!

  3. batya says:

    the rose is certainly recession friendly!

  4. Emet says:

    I never heard or seen of the rose, but we are doomed.
    I have been getting flowers before the engagement… oh oh! LOL

  5. Mark says:

    My wife and I don’t do most of the wedding customs and think they are mostly nonsense.

    * No flowers are to be given to the girl by the guy until the engagement. And then she is to expect a HUGE arrangement for the Vort.

    Nonsense. I sent flowers on Pesach while she was at her parent’s house. All the old biddies said “he’s going to ask you to marry him”. They were right. A week or so after Pesach we were engaged.

    * After the engagement there is a nice sized diamond ring expected (ok, check…)

    No diamond ring. She didn’t want it, and we preferred to save for a house instead. Just the halachic wedding ring (and one for me, we got them as a pair, cheap, on Allenby Street in Tel Aviv).

    * With earrings, a bracelet and matching necklace to follow before the wedding. Diamonds of course. (ahem, KoD…..hint hint…just kidding I’d prefer a Harley)

    None of this stuff. No yichud room gift. It’s like a hallmark holiday – just meant to drum up business.

    * The girl has to buy the guy a decent expensive watch and nice set of cufflinks, and a set of Shas. Her family must buy him a tallit. (ok the tallit is the one thing we did….phew)

    None of this. No watch, didn’t need one, had a few old Swatch watches, and an electronic Casio G_shock for miluim. Otherwise never wear a watch.

    * He has to buy her machzorim for all the holidays, and pearls to give her in the yichud room.

    None of that. There are plenty of machzorim in shul and a few sets at home if she needs them there.

    * His family is to buy the expensive sheitels for her.

    No sheitels for my wife. A few hats at the discount store. And, of course, baseball caps galore.

    * The girl’s Daddy has to buy them a house and a car and pay for son in law to sit in kollel all day.

    Ha.

  6. Chanief says:

    Yea, uh, we didn’t do much on the list either.

    I got flowers while we were dating, the diamond engagement ring right before the wedding itself, my parents bought him a shas and tallis but that’s just about it. Good thing I didn’t have my il’s splash out on fancy sheitlach, I wore my sheitel for exactly one week before I tore it off and decided NEVER AGAIN, it is just not for me.

    I did have a hearty laugh at the last item on the list. As if!

  7. Z! says:

    I did get flowers before the engagment, but both my chatan and his family bought me three huge stunning flower arrangements for the Vort.

    The ring- duh! I got to choose the setting and his side got the center stone.
    The diamond bracelet- a lovely addition and the first piece of jewelery I received from him.
    The earrings- a huge surprise! Given to me in the Yichud room.

    My dad did get my chatan a gold watch. He was offered either the watch or cufflinks.

    The machzorim thing would explain why my husband insists on buying them for me. I did not know it was traddition- I thought he was being very sweet!

    He bought me pearl earrings while we were just vacationing in Bermuda. And I wear the pearl necklace my Bubbie left to me.

    My dad got stuck with the bill for the expensive sheitel. All the rest are either on me, or on US.

    Well, we are hardly a Kollel family! And nowadays, it’s the girls nearly alone supporting their men in Kollel. Alot has changed and still more needs to change with that respect!

  8. Z! says:

    I bought my chatan 2 talleisim with the approriate embroidered bags. Those came from my pocket as a special gift.

    My dad still owes him a Shas and did mention purchasing one for him once. He wanted to get it on CD. My husband politely reminded him that it would be practical to study with them on Shabbos.

  9. Yisroel says:

    There’s an important benefit in getting the high-end family sponsored wedding gifts during the engagement period, (if they can afford them, of course) and that is that after the wedding it’s all out the couple’s pocket and so the ‘rose’ is pretty much the traditional gift, while splurging on big-time luxuries loses its excitement – after all it’s still coming out of the couple’s bank account, and they know what’s in there.

  10. rabbifink says:

    Cool post.

    You need to do more research, there are even more gifts going around these days… ;)

    We did some, not others but always because we wanted to. We are not sheep… or sheepish…

  11. hadassahsabo says:

    rabbi fink – do i even want to know what else is on the list? come on, what do you know that i don’t?

  12. Mark says:

    Well, I heard of a tradition of giving ones wife a gift after the birth of a child, and a special gift after the birth of a first child.

    My gift for our first child? Driving 25 miles in super-heavy rain to exchange the car seat (that was already exchanged twice before) the morning of the day I was picking wife and baby from the hospital. Do you know that it rained (mostly heavily) here in South Florida every single day of June 1999? Our eldest daughter just turned 10 earlier this week!

  13. JewishBride says:

    I can’t tell if this post is serious or if you are kidding! :)

  14. hadassahsabo says:

    JewishBride – unfortunately only the last entry on my list was a joke, these are real expectations in some religious communities.

  15. le7 says:

    I got a huge flower arrangement by my L’Chaim and a gorgeous (non diamond thank you very much) necklace from my future mother-in-law. Lubavitch doesn’t give a diamond ring until the yichud room because a ring is too similar to kiddushin I guess?

    I know you buy him a tallis, and I’ve heard of a becher but not so much a watch? Oh yeah and a shas.

    Guys buy the girl usually a leather Tehillim and Siddur Korbon Mincha.

    (I’m talking from a rather inexperience Lubavitch standpoint here).

  16. frumgoth says:

    My ex-husband did something original – a white rose and a clear balloon with silvery ribbons, glitter, and a chasan & kallah thing in it at the badeken

  17. rabbifink says:

    First of all he gets 2 talleisim.

    Next he can expect a set of Shulchan Aruch to go with the Shas.

    Also a Chanukah menorah is becoming en vogue.

    She also gets a watch, should be diamond of course.

    There are more but I am too tired to call my mother to find out the latest craziness. (She is very well informed)

  18. le7 says:

    What the heck does he need two for?

  19. hadassahsabo says:

    one for shabbos with silver on the collar (right, rabbifink?) and one for weekday.

  20. le7 says:

    Wow. Trippy. Everyone I know has one tallis. One black and white tallis… and those are expensive enough!

  21. Mark says:

    Yes, that would be called a silver atara. No, I don’t have one. I have one plain blue striped tallit. But my tallit bag is handmade by my grandfather A”H, one of the last ones he made (or maybe actually the last one he made) before he couldn’t do things like that anymore.

    Some people have a shabbat tallit and a weekday tallit.

  22. Z! says:

    Like I said, I got my hubby two. One was for weekday, the other Shabbos. His Shabbos one has the Atara. Thankfully, I did not have to supply that.
    He chose two different styles of tallis bag, and got the tefillin bag to match the weekday tallis bag.

  23. balebusta says:

    Well we are definitely screwed because we have pretty much violated a whole bunch of these!!! Also, we just got our wedding rings yesterday and of course I tried mine on (wanted to make sure it fit) and have gotten tweets from ppl admonishing this telling me it’s bad luck!!! Guess I jinxed us even more! ;-)

  24. Kosher Bride says:

    There’s also a tradition to give the girl a leichter or a set of candlesticks these days. Having a silver kiddush cup to give the groom at shabbos sheva brachot is also getting pretty mainstream.

    The gifts these days are getting crazy. I’ve seen guys getting mountain bikes and laptops and girls being given gucci bags.

    I have seen the gift after the first child thing happen pretty often.

  25. anonymous says:

    hmm i got flowers way before the engagement, got a diamond pendant at the proposal (it was not a part of the Jewish tradition i guess..) a diamond ring (decent) for engagement, a bracelet at the yichud room, 2 shabes candlesticks.. what else? my chosson got a tie bar for the engagement and cufflinks on the wedding day (stam azoy, coz he wanted them. didn’t know there was such a tradition), a kos and 1 tallis (was partially sponsored by friends). I think this whole shas/gold watch/ car and sheitels thing does not apply to BTs – who has the money for that? not all BT’s parents approve of the marriage itself, leave alone the pricy presents..

  26. Z! says:

    All of these wedding gifts are traddition and it seems that every year more things get added on, some get left behind. Pretty basic is the ring. Most of the others are just extras. I will def.say that these gifts help to make a new home. Each item is suffused with love and meaning- but heck, I’m sentimental that way.
    My MIL wanted to get me leichters, but I refused because I have a lovely candelabra that was my alte bubbie’s.(I wanted to be the first to use it again in 2 generations)
    I am a BT who married an FFB. My parents were pretty accepting, and BH so were his family, though it was def. not the norm for them to include BT’s into the family. (the alternative for my parents could have been for me to marry a non-jew and they did prefer a Jew. *Also, my hubby won them over with his good heart and big sense of humour!*)
    The hardest part for my IL’s to accept was my desire to wear synthetic wigs! They thought I was NUTSO!! but, I got them NEWAYZ, and they LOVE THEM! they think they are the cutest styles and look great! I fake out the most seasoned ‘real hair’ wig wearers with my synthetics. My fave is when the sheitel machers ask ME who cut my wig!

    What I am trying to say is that it is nice to be able to follow all the rituals, but that is all they are.

  27. Chanief says:

    Oh I forgot, my IL’s did give me leichter. When offered the choice, I chose my husband’s grandmother’s candlesticks instead of new ones. I like the idea of using a family heirloom when I light candles on Friday night, plus they’re more unique than the typical ornate silver candlesticks everyone has these days.

  28. One of my blog readers was disturbed by the laundry list of gifts and asked me to post a question about it along with a link to this post at http://kallahmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/11/guest-post-on-gifts.html

    I would just say that customs do vary, but the trend has been for an escalation in gifts. I think I’ll add in a very pointed anecdote from Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan’s Made in Heaven on a follow up post.

  29. balebusta , don’t worry and don’t confuse superstition with Torah law. I tried on my wedding band before we bought it. How else could I be sure it would fit? That was nearly 17 years ago. Gold was much cheaper then. My ring was only thirty-something dollars. My then chasson must not have had any money on him because I recall that I paid for the ring purchase. But because, halachically, the ring has to belong to the groom for the kiddushin to work (see http://www.examiner.com/x-18522-NY-Jewish-Bridal-Examiner~y2009m10d29-Aspects-of-the-Jewish-wedding–the-betrothal-and-the-ring) he gave me a check for the purchase price. And, yes, I cashed it.

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