Thursday, December 22, 2011

They Sat in the Sun

Tonight we finally got in touch with Ken Chasen, who we are planning to have as our official officiant at our wedding.  We discussed the date issue briefly with him, just to see where his feelings are on it being on a Saturday versus a Sunday (see previous blog footnote for more details).

Basically, his feeling is that it should not be during Shabbat, but waiting till sundown on a Saturday is difficult, as that means the wedding would start around 9pm, which is ridiculous.  Furthermore, we have Shabbat services at a fixed time (at least Rabbi Chasen's and my shared congregation does) rather than expecting everyone to show up precisely at sundown each week.  So, as far as Rabbi Chasen is concerned, the wedding could be on a Saturday evening before sundown, so long as it's clearly "evening" and not afternoon or midday.  6pm is generally considered evening, even if the three stars that officially designate Jewish nighttime are not out.  3pm is not.  Of course, if the wedding were to be held on a Sunday, we'd be able to go for any time we wanted.

Later this evening, my dad called with his thoughts on the matter.  He stressed to me several times that he will support whichever choice I make and most of the people who I love and who love me will make it work no matter what, but there are some points that he would like me to consider, and so I am considering them.  In fact, they were mostly points that I was considering anyway, but opinions are helpful.  So, here they are:

  1. Even if we decide with Rabbi Chasen that 6pm on a Saturday is evening enough, and we hang three stars in the chuppah* and have a Havdallah** service before the wedding starts (which I was considering), there are some who would really be stretching their religious beliefs by going along with it.  This is true.  Just because I decide to invoke my favorite Hannah Senesh quote*** and call it "close enough" does not mean that I can ask everyone to do the same.  This is a wonderful point.  However, as I pointed out to my father, I think it only affects approximately 1-3 people on the guest list.  This does not make it a moot point.  As it turns out, those 1-3 are some of Joey's and my closest friends.  At any rate, it is worth considering, though certainly not an insurmountable obstacle.  
  2. Things are cheaper and more available on Sunday.  Just like getting married in the off-season, getting married on an off-day means that we will be competing against fewer people for any given venue/caterer/florist/cat juggler.  This could be a lovely stress reducer, as we will then theoretically be more able to get what we want and also not pay through the nose for it.  Well, maybe at least get it down to one nostril.  Bonus: Flying on a Saturday/Monday is cheaper than flying on a Friday/Sunday.  You're welcome, out-of-towners.  
  3. There's a lot of pre-wedding stuff that people will want/need to be at.  If we get married on a Saturday and want to have a rehearsal dinner or a family gathering or any other type of event the day or days before the wedding, people will most likely have to miss work all day Friday, instead of just a half day or none at all if they can get a late flight.  And listen, how often do I get to see all my family and friends at once?  I know I'll want to have at least one smaller gathering of folk before the big day.  
  4. Weddings are fun!  We will want to stay and enjoy ourselves for as long as possible.  At some point, however, say midnight, most people have to cut things off, no matter how much fun they're having.  If the wedding starts at 6pm, that gives us 6 hours for ceremony and reception, closer to 3 or 4 for most people.  That may be plenty, but wouldn't you rather have the option of partying and hanging out and talking for longer if you were having a good time?  If we plan this thing right, we could get married in the afternoon and then spend the rest of the day and night celebrating with those we love.  I know 6 hours sounds like a lot, but think back to the last time you and I just met up for a quick chat, or I paused on my way somewhere to say hi to you.  Even if we didn't sit down, we were probably there for an hour.  If the party dies down around 8, that's fine.  I'll be glad everyone had a good time and enjoy a relaxing evening with my new husband.  If, on the other hand, people want to stick around for hours and hours, I want to let them!  
That may have been it.  Dad, if you figured out how to read this, and I forgot anything, I apologize.  Feel free to admonish me in the comments.  At any rate, the long-story-short version is that Sunday is probably better for all involved than Saturday.  Thoughts?

p.s.  Did anyone besides me think this title was clever?

*Jewish wedding canopy
**Jewish ceremony of separation, usually between the sabbath and the rest of the week, but in this case also between single and married life.  
***"There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct. There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living. These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”  (this is particularly handy when Yom Kippur services end before sundown and the break-fast buffet is calling your name)


  1. Although maybe not ideal, getting married in the middle of winter gave us the option of getting married on a Saturday evening, which felt more like a Saturday afternoon. The ceremony started at 5 something, and the reception started at 6-ish. There was no debate as to whether or not it was past sundown, and we still had the entire next day for people to "recover" from the open bar before flying home.

  2. As much as I loved your title, "we will be competing against fewer people for any given venue/caterer/florist/cat juggler" was my favorite line. The cat juggler made me giggle. If I am piecing the information together correctly it is looks like you are leaning towards having the wedding on a Sunday during Summer? You sound like your taking lots of factors into consideration, which is a really good thing.

  3. If anyone can figure out this logistical puzzle, it's you! And since this is my first comment, I just want to say how weirdly delightful this blog is (I never thought I'd be a regular reader of a wedding blog!)


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