With the conclusion of Shavuos comes the start of wedding season. After the prohibition of Sefirat HaOmer, the calendar is full of upcoming celebratory events. Yet, this year is a bit different and a bit strange, and that’s saying it mildly! Are the days of impeccably planned, extravagant, and monumental marriage ceremonies returning? Or are they destined to be just memories of a life we once lived?
According to the Associated Press, there’s a new trend in the bridal industry called the “minimony”: a smaller, socially-distant, zoom-friendly, mask-wearing exchange of vows that takes place in someone’s backyard or secluded area. It comes with the promise that the larger celebration will be arranged after the government regulations are lifted.
There is a vast assortment of industries connected and affiliated to the big event, or the “maximony.” We can start with the jewelry and move to dress selection, venues, florists, caterer, rentals, photographers, videographers, and music, just to point out only a few! Its reach is as far as an exotic destination and even Jewish newspaper revenue. Overall, it’s about a $75 billion industry in the United States alone.
Do you believe the future might belong to micro-weddings? Or is the big shindig coming back? I decided to ask my dear friend and premiere wedding planner, Shevy Shanik of Shevy Shanik events.
“Obviously fewer people isn’t ideal, but I don’t think it should be the new norm. For thousands of years people have made large weddings and enjoyed it. There was never an issue with it.” “I just want regular parties to start again!” is the clearly frustrated response that Shevy gave me when I asked her about current restrictions.
Is a smaller wedding a better idea? Is a more intimate wedding a better environment? Are all the bells, whistles, glitter, and gold just big and expensive distractions? I can’t really answer those question with any Torah discussion. There are no halachot on the size of your wedding other than the witnesses and rabbi. As stated on Chabad.org, “According to the Halakhah, the nuptials require a minyan of ten men, which includes the groom and his two witnesses, (the minyan, unlike the witnesses, may be related to the groom). The presence of the minyan during betrothals, considered “desirable” in the Talmud, was made a requirement in the eighth century by Rabbi Ahai, author of She’iltot. If no minyan is present and the betrothals cannot be delayed, the betrothal blessing may be pronounced. The blessing is valid, as the presence of a minyan is only a post-Talmudic precaution.”
Jewish weddings, either with 10 or 1000 attendees, are a paramount part of our lives. They are woven into the fabric of our faith as much as any singular event. In fact, it’s the starting point that leads to all other occasions, as brisim, bar mitzvahs, etc.
By rejoicing with the bride and groom in an atmosphere of holiness as we embrace the presence of the Shechinah, we celebrate the highest unification of the couple’s happiness and future. In addition, a Jewish groom and bride, compared to a King and Queen, is reminiscent to a royal court.
Whatever culture one practices - Sephardic, Ashkenazic, Chasidish, Yeshivish, Persian or Bucharian - a Jewish wedding is a time of complete joy surrounded by family and friends enjoying the moment and blessing new beginnings. Whether this sacred practice is done as an intimate affair or in a lavish hotel ballroom, let’s rejoice in the splendor of the potential of a newlywed man and woman under the chupah and G-d’s watchful and loving eyes.
“Again, there shall be heard in this place…in the town of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem…the sound of mirth and gladness, the voice of bridegroom and bride.” (Jeremiah 33:1)
Tobi Rubinstein is a retired fashion and marketing executive of 35 years who currently produces runway and lifestyle events for NYFW, specializing in Israel’s leading artists and designers. She is the founder of The House of Faith N Fashion, fusing culture and Torah. Tobi was a fashion collaboration and guest expert for ABC, Geraldo Rivera, Huffington Post, Lifetime, NBC, Bravo, and Arise. She hosted her own radio and reality TV series. Tobi is a mother, wife, dog owner, and shoe lover.