Lavish weddings featuring guest lists upward of 500 people were seemingly de rigueur in Southern California's Iranian-Jewish community just five years ago. But the growth of six-figure simchas strained middle-class families, leading some couples to either call off a wedding or divorce a few months after getting married.
The situation couldn't be more stressful: convince your ex-boyfriend to sing at your sister's wedding after the band quits; keep the groom's sister from making it "her" day; assure the groom's mother that it is OK to have a store-bought wedding cake; make sure the bride's divorced parents don't kill each other; don't let the bride know the groom had a stripper at his bachelor party; and above all, keep the bride calm.
Making a toast at an event is a touching way to let friends and family know how much you value them and wish them well. I still get misty-eyed when I think of the beautiful toast that my brother-in-law gave at my wedding welcoming me to the family. But public speaking doesn't come easily to everyone. We've all been to big affairs where the toasts were embarrassing and in bad taste, leaving a pall over the entire day -- and beyond.
Getting married is a balancing act. I never quite understood this until my guy proposed.
What's the big deal in wedding planning? I always thought. You set a date, pick a place, settle on a band, choose a few of your favorite flowers and do a dinner and cake tasting. What's difficult about that?
It's not difficult. In fact, that part's been rather fun. However, the part that I am complaining about is the negotiations between family and friends. Trying to please everyone is proving impossible.
At some point between "Will you marry me?" and "You may kiss the bride," a happy couple must devote some time to the gift registry, which will help fill the shelves and drawers of their new home.
But the first time a couple walks into a store to register for their wedding gifts can be overwhelming. Myriad appliances, gadgets, pots, dishes and sheets seem to loom large, and the choices are dizzying.
It's the marriage that's important, not the wedding.
When planning my wedding, I repeated that mantra each time wedding details began to overwhelm me. Hors d'oeuvres, centerpieces, flowers, music, cake -- the to-do list kept growing.
For Israeli immigrants like Giladi, 27, and Shachar, 30, there are a variety of reasons why saying "I do" so far from their birthplace is preferable. Financial and logistical considerations can play a major role in the decision, but another important factor is the immigration status of the couple. Some Israelis work and live in Los Angeles without proper government authorization from the United States.
In this season of "I dos," it's the rare bride who goes down the aisle without having absorbed information from ad-packed bridal magazines, Web sites and TV programs advising her on every facet of her wedding day and honeymoon.
Bridal emergency kits are a great way to handle problems as they happen, especially at destination weddings where you can't exactly run out to the nearest drug store.