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At All Costs: The Conversation Continues 

As parents, we are role models. If we feed these kids a glutton of materialism before and during the wedding, won’t most kids expect it after the wedding?
Readers from three countries break down their approach to making a wedding, sharing budgets, beliefs, and blunders

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fter our feature and follow-up about wedding costs, the feedback continued to pour in. It’s not just about the numbers: how you make a wedding touches on so many of your values.

Here, readers from three countries break down their approach to making a wedding, sharing budgets, beliefs, and blunders.

 

Name: T.M., Memphis*
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $20,000

We made four weddings in two years, baruch Hashem. We kept it manageable, but there were different expectations based on where the other family was from.

We chose to make takanah weddings in the NJ area to keep costs down, especially because we were making multiple weddings in a short time frame. There were different expectations based on where the other family was from — we found that our Brooklyn mechutanim expected more of the typical chassan/kallah gifts while the out-of-towners said that whatever we could do was fine.

One mechutan felt that it was important that we buy the chassan a specific watch, which all his brothers had received. We hadn’t bought those for any of our other sons-in-law, but if something was important to the other side, we tried to make it happen. A wedding lasts for five hours; the many, many years we will be’ezras Hashem be family for are much more important.


Name: Rivky*, Lakewood
Mother of: Chassan
Total Spent: $35,000

We made a beautiful, baalebatish simchah without breaking the bank. Of course, having meachuatanim on the same page — with similar priorities and without additional expectations — is a brachah that helps keep the cost down for both sides.

Living in Lakewood gave me access to elegant halls at reasonable prices; you can make a takanah wedding in Lakewood in a beautiful venue with tasteful decor and menus. The chassan’s portion of such a wedding costs $15-18,000. We bought the kallah’s gifts as part of a package — a one-carat ring, a diamond bracelet, and a yichud room gift ($5,200).

I catered the aufruf ($2,500) and splurged on a party planner ($1,350) so I could be a “guest” at the aufruf and not have the onus of ordering and setting up. Even with using a high- end makeup artist ($500), renting beautiful gowns ($1,170 for four gowns), buying additional gifts for the kallah such as machzorim ($500) and leichter ($1.500), and then paying for shadchanus and chassan classes ($1,270), our total costs were only about $35,000.

Had our finances allowed for it, I would have considered a second photography crew; our time constraints meant that we didn’t have enough portrait time, and it would have been nice to have a second photographer to capture both the women and mens’ side. But there was nothing lacking in the simchah and leibedig dancing of the chassan and kallah, and that’s what we remember.


Name: Batya*, New Jersey
Mother of: Chassan
Total Spent: $20,000

Our oldest daughter from my husband’s first marriage just got married. We tried to keep the guest list down, which was challenging between my husband, his ex, the chassan’s family, and the chassan and kallah’s friends. Since it was an out-of-town wedding, a lot of people couldn’t or didn’t make the trip, which helped.

While the chassan’s family wasn’t able to contribute much to the costs of the wedding, we split the expenses with my husband’s ex-wife. Since this wedding was for my husband’s child, I let him take the lead and decide what was worth splurging on. We ended up upgrading the band and photographer. Since many people missed the wedding, we made a big local sheva brachos with lots of homemade food from local friends (everything was about cutting costs).

Baruch Hashem, I have a good relationship with my husband’s ex, and we’re generally on the same page about spending. We had some disagreements due to miscommunication, but we laugh about them now. It took time, but eventually we got into the habit of checking in with each other very often to avoid all those misunderstandings. I hope to marry off one of my biological kids soon, and I’m worried about what might crop up when I plan this with my ex-husband — I told my husband’s ex she’ll need to help me when the time comes!

At All Costs?

 

Name: R.G., Tom’s River
Mother of: Chassan
Total Spent: $95,000

Baruch Hashem, my husband’s company does well, and so we were able to make a beautiful wedding without borrowing. The wedding was beautiful but not extravagant; typical for our community.

Being chassidish, we split almost all costs, but since our mechutanim are not well-off, we splurged in the areas where we wanted more. My son wanted great music, for example, so we upgraded without asking the other side to chip in. We also spent extra on the smorgasbord and dessert because our guests were driving to Monsey. We live in a small community so we made the aufruf in our house and put up a minimal number of guests. It was beautiful!

I thank Hashem every day that we could make a simchah without overextending ourselves. We definitely do not take it for granted.

 

Name: Chani*, Dallas
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $18,000

Making an out-of-town wedding required more leg work than the NYC “package” wedding we made in the past, but was beautiful, and in a unique venue. We could have spent more or even less, but we agreed on a budget beforehand, discussing what was important to the chassan and kallah as well as the families, and what they thought they could forgo.

I’m an RN and my husband works in kiruv; this was the third wedding we made. Below is the total breakdown of our wedding costs, which we split 50-50 with the chassan’s parents:

We hired a wedding planner ($1,000) just to take some of the pressure off of me and keep everything running smoothly the day of. We paid $8,000 for the venue and liquor, and $10,000 for catering. We paid $5,000 for the band but needed to spend another $450 on hotels and transportation (no local band!).We spent $3,000 on photography (we used a local non-Jewish photographer, who was much cheaper than a Jewish one we’d have had to bring in), $2,100 on sheitels, $450 on invitations and stamps, and $250 on bentshers.

We bought the chassan gifts —– a watch, talleiisim, tallis and tefillin bags, kittel, and a silver kiddush cup — for a total of $900. We also paid $1,000 in shadchanus.

My daughter found an absolutely stunning dress in a gemach in New York, which cost only $250, including alterations. We borrowed several gowns, but I paid for my gown (Macy’s!), younger son’s suits, and one daughter’s dress, which, believe it or not, came from Amazon and was extremely inexpensive. This was approximately $500 total. We had someone do hair and makeup, but we used two younger women just getting started and paid about $400 for me, the kallah, and one daughter.

We absolutely could have made this a less expensive wedding. In our case, the chassan and kallah didn’t care if they had a band, DJ, or even just an iPod with Jewish music. In the end, we had a five5-piece Jewish band we brought in from Chicago because, well, “expectations.” Liquor? My husband and I care not at all but every male under 30 seemed to have a strong opinion. We negotiated with the venue so instead of having an open bar, we could have a limited menu, which saved us thousands of dollars.

We used a very upscale florist who will give you a proposal based on what you want to spend. I went in and said, “This is the venue. I need a chuppah and a bouquet. We need to make the place look nice, but we don’t need flowers on every table or a crazy floral chuppah.” He came back with a proposal using votives, lights, silk flowering trees, and real flowers only for the bride’s bouquet for $3,000. It sounds crazy but it was stunning.

Compared to a NYC package, yes, the catering was pricey and I think this is where OOT families need to spend much more. We worked with the caterers to save money on things we didn’t care about (we served buffet style, for example) so we could spend elsewhere.

I’m lucky that I have creative friends and family, so we had a number of “Instagram hacks” to make up for things like not having centerpieces. The vort/l’chayim and sheva brachos were all in homes and made by family and friends, which is generally the norm in our community.

 

Name: Tova, Beachwood, Ohio
Mother of: Chassan
Total Spent: $20,000

I’ve married off four kids, baruch Hashem, and I firmly believe that if your children understand your economic standing they should be mature enough to understand your wedding budget. I did my research, set a budget of 20K, and we stuck with it!

I gave each of my five girls a budget of $250 per gown. I bought all the kallah’s jewelry—a bracelet, ring, and necklace—in the same store, so they gave me a good deal. It’s also worth remembering that the stone doesn’t need to be perfect; once it’s set in the ring you can’t tell. We did a takanah wedding hall with no upgrades. It was beautiful.

I’ve told my kids—Mrs. X didn’t get engaged with her 4-carat ring, she got it as a gift later on!

Name: Shimon*, Lakewood
Father of: Chassan
Total Spent: $50,000

We made a simple wedding, but we splurged on real flowers and a nice aufruf, which were important to the chassan. We also upgraded the music, but we not the photography/video. We’d do the same again.

Everyone rails against weddings, but the real spending is on everything else that goes into marrying off a child. Lakewood has set up many very successful packages for weddings—maybe we should be making packages for our other expenses.

Name: Judy Schwartz, Brooklyn
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $100,000+

Everyone should spend according to their needs. It was my greatest pleasure and privilege to be able to make beautiful simchos for my children. Baruch Hashem, we worked very hard, scrimping and saving for years without splurging on vacations, lavish clothing, or Bugaboos, and we were able to give our children a wedding that to me was within the norm (albeit much more expensive than what your out-of-town readers spend).

I insisted on giving my daughter the custom-made, self-designed wedding gown ($5,000). It was money very well spent—she looked like a dream. Her dream come true. Her sheitels were $12,000, also money well spent; they should be good for a few years.

I wanted fresh flowers, but minimal. The photography had to be the top of the line, since that was so important to her. The menu I didn’t upgrade because that’s not important.

We believe in starting our couples with new furniture, or they’ll wait many years until they will have it. There’s nothing like waking up shanah rishonah to stunning furniture! We didn’t buy the most expensive but a normal chassan-kallah package; some furniture was from frum stores, some was IKEA.

Every family needs to do their best. I’ve been to all kinds of weddings. Nothing is written in stone. I know many people that spend within their means no matter what. To each their own.

But I also see selfish parents who spend on themselves, justifying that they worked hard for the money. To me, that’s not what life is about. Life is about having a family and starting our kids off on the right foot to the best of my ability.

We are very grateful to be able to do this. Our children are gems. They are worth every penny because they are what we live for.

I have never been on a cruise. I don’t go to hotels for Pesach. I’ve never been to Switzerland or Thailand or China. Nor do I want to go…seeing my children happy is the gift I give myself every day.

Name: Ephraim*, UK
Father of: Chassan
Total Spent: £13,900 (About $17,000)

It was important to us that we stick to our budget; this was our first wedding and we wanted to set a limit from the get-go!

We split the cost of the wedding itself—the hall, flowers, music, photographer, videographer—fifty-fifty with our mechutanim. Our share came to £8,000 (about $9,800).

Our mechutanim invited more guests than we were comfortable with, so we broke it down by having each side paying for the number of guests invited. (The ratio was 1:3) Since they have chassidish roots, they brought in a badchan, whom they paid for in full. We spent a further £4,900 (about $6,000) on clothes, sheva brachos, gifts, hair, makeup, etc.

I believe our expenses were slightly above typical — we could have had a combined chuppah and dinner in the same place, but our mechuteineste didn’t like the place and since their other two daughter had gotten married in a nicer hall, we didn’t think the kallah should miss out on what her sisters had had.

Name: Leah, Flatbush
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $40,000

We’re a chinuch family and tried to balance spending as little as possible with making the kallah (and chassan!) feel dignified and special.

We made a takanah wedding in Lakewood even though we live in Brooklyn and most people I know didn’t make takanah weddings. Happens to be, the hall was so beautiful and they did such a magnificent job, it didn’t feel like a takanah wedding at all.

We splurged on the things that were important to the kallah. The biggest splurge was for a top makeup artist. Personally, I thought it was a waste of money, but my daughter felt differently. We cut back by getting a kallah gown from a gemach. I would have liked to save money and get second-hand furniture but my daughter wasn’t comfortable with that.

I worked hard to convey to my daughter that the wedding is just one night and it’s not worth investing more than the minimum in it; I’ve always tried to raise my children with the attitude that it’s unnecessary to keep up with the Schwartzes. To a degree I was successful, and my daughter’s expenses overall were far lower than those of her friends, but ultimately, in certain areas, peer pressure won out.

My goal was not to ruin the excellent relationship I had with my daughter over money. We cut wherever we could, but avoiding fights, tension, and bad feelings was a priority.

Name: Michelle*, Long Branch, NJ
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: About $45,000

As Syrian Jews we have a lot of different expenses than listed in your previous articles. We spend more on gifts for the couple but less on wigs and gowns. We live in an affluent community, yet our girls understand the benefits of getting their beautiful wedding gowns at a local gemach.

Prior to making this wedding we fell on hard times but Hashem sent us miracles. We were able to spend what we did without going into debt only because of Hashem’s blessings. We set up a “wedding bank account” and tried to stick to our budget (but we did slightly exceed it), and I kept a Google Docs spreadsheet.

We splurged on gifts for the chattan and we cut back by making a smaller vort in the house. We send what is called “swaney,” a sephardic custom where the boy’s family sends gifts to the kallah and the girl’s family sends to the chattan. This “swaney” is usually another party. Like anything else, this can be a big affair or a smaller one. We personally made a small intimate dinner with parents, grandparents, and siblings. The gifts we gave included machzorim, a chassan Shas, other sefarim, tallit, sterling wine cup, and a watch.

We got my daughter a gown from the local gemach. (Deal’s bridal gemach is a beautiful experience, and they make it really easy to find gorgeous gowns!). We did buy my teenage daughter a gown ($500) because we found that harder to find in the gemachs and it was important that she also feel special.

There’s a wide range of financial statuses in the Syrian community and the types of wedding that are made. Weddings can range from very over-the-top weddings to takanah weddings.We made a more modest wedding, which was typical for our circles. Also, our consueogros (Syrian for mechutanim) helped pay for the flowers, photographer, liquor and music.

Overall, I can’t think of anything I wish I’d done differently. Baruch Hashem, we were very grateful for the entire experience of marrying off our daughter. When Hashem sends a gift—whether it’s a special son-in-law or the money to make a wedding—we must appreciate it all and never stop thanking Him.

And that became our motto.

Name: Hanna Green, Far Rockaway
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $21,000

My daughter married a long-term learner. We didn’t push her into kollel life—it was her decision—but we’re proud of her and help support her. I supported my own husband in kollel, but today in our circles, support is expected. Times have changed. Maybe it’s today’s economics. (How can barely educated young people support themselves?) Maybe it’s today’s parenting. (These kids know nothing — they aren’t capable of balancing a checkbook!) Agree or disagree, this is the program.

While my husband and I are high-paid professionals, I can hardly understand how people can make these grandiose weddings, and then support their children for years on end. Am I missing something? It was not an agonizing decision to buck the trend. It was a practical reality that shot us right in the face: takanah wedding.

Neither the chassan nor kallah had any expectations. Maybe I’m a cynic, but if you’re going to live the kollel life, there needs to be sacrifice. I’m glad she married a boy with a family that shared the same views. (I do want to note that we paid for my daughter’s education in full so she and her husband were not saddled with any student debt. We could have spent $75,000+ dollars on a wedding, but we paid for her education instead.)

Since the chassan is from Lakewood, where there are many takanah wedding packages, we made the wedding there. There isn’t much to choose in a takanah wedding — it’s all part of the package — which saves a lot of time. We did feel bad making our rav and rebbetzin, as well as my mother-in-law, travel.

Another downside was that 75 percent of the friends we invited did not attend. All I could say to that is, “Oh, well.” To be honest, none of the people who opted out of joining our simchah were worth the extra 8-12 thousand dollars that it would have cost to make the wedding in Brooklyn. All my daughter’s friends, though, did show up—and isn’t that who the wedding is all about? The chassan’s side was a robust crowd, since most came from Lakewood. We gladly gave our extra seats to our mechatunim.

I can honestly say that my son-in-law had no expectations. We gave the kids our credit card (with no limit), they went to Macy’s, and they picked out an $800 watch. We did a basic chassan package, but since the kids were running off to Israel, we told the chassan we’d get the Shas when they return (or in Israel, if they stay there).

They got engaged right after the Three Weeks, when clothes were on sale, and we hunted bargains online and in the mall. We spent about $500 (for clothing she never wore again, since baruch Hashem she had a baby within the year).

We hosted the l’chaim/vort in our home ($1,000), buying kugel, cholent, candy, soda, and a big cake. Our wonderful neighbors sent platters of cakes and novelties.

I buy my own sheitels second hand, so it was no revelation that my daughter’s sheitels would be secondhand too. (We gave her a choice: cheap new ones, or fancy old ones.) I bought her two beautiful second-hand sheitels ($2000 total). My mother found a wedding dress her size in a thrift shop ($90). It was exquisite! My mother took it to a seamstress, and we got it cleaned ($150 total).

My girls’ dresses came from a gemach ($150), and I borrowed an evening dress from my sister-in-law. Any shoes and sheva brachos clothes we bought really were shoes and clothes we should have bought for Rosh Hashanah, but pushed off until the wedding. I didn’t get or expect any new jewelry. The wedding was a gift. Hashem answered our tefillos for our daughter to marry a good, solid, strong boy who’s a mensch.

All the girls had their hair and makeup done ($400), even my little girls. The wedding is a time for children to shine and feel the excitement. A little makeup will do that more for them than a violin and orchestra. I wanted my children to feel the wow of a chasunah; that was more important than wowing my guests.

I splurged on catering sheva brachos ($2000). Superwoman has to draw the line somewhere.

Even with all these cutbacks our side’s total was about $21,000 — $11,000 for the wedding itself.

I know some people are scrunching up their noses about second-hand sheitels and thrift shop wedding gowns. I think that’s short-sighted. When I read about people earning so much less than us, and making weddings that cost three to four times what we spent, my jaw hits the ground.

What exactly are people trying to prove? That their credit card bill is bigger than mine? Be my guest! That they can keep up with the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Just stop! We all know the truth—you aren’t that rich, and you aren’t that famous.

At the end of the day, what messages are you giving your children?

My family davens at the same shuls you do, and we send our children to the same schools you do. Our rabbis constantly teach us about mesirus nefesh that the “alte heim” had for Torah. As parents, we should show our kids that the choices made before the wedding need to parallel the choices that are made after the wedding. When “children” opt to live a kollel lifestyle, it’s a choice of abstinence, not excess—and making a low-key wedding is a good place to start this mentality.

As parents, we are role models. If we feed these kids a glutton of materialism before and during the wedding, won’t most kids expect it after the wedding?

Our couple is about to celebrate their third anniversary. With the money we saved on the wedding, we are watching their beautiful family grow in Torah and learning in Eretz Yisrael. Seriously, isn’t this all what we want for our children?

At All Costs? The Conversation Continues

Name: Malky*, Monsey
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $60,800

This was my fourth wedding, so I already had my lists. Our wedding and sheva brachos were all very typical for our community, and we used the chasunah mall package.

I wish things were cheaper, but I can’t say that we got anything unnecessary, except for the dining room furniture. My daughter took only the table and chairs from the chasunah mall; the dining room in her rental is too small for the six-door china closet/bookcase we got her. I hope that when she moves into her home, she’ll be able to enjoy it.

I’m not sure parents really need to buy their children all of this furniture, but this is the minhag hamakom, it’s how our parents married us off. I’m grateful that we were able to set our children up with everything they need. If I could cut expenses, it wouldn’t be on the things that the couple will enjoy in the long run (sheitels, furniture, gifts), but on the actual simchah, which is over in a week.

I feel like everything we bought was money well spent. Yes, it was expensive. Yes, we had to borrow from our kehillah (which has a wedding plan in place). But yes, it was very worthwhile.

Name: Debbie*, Yerushalayim
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $10,000

We spent $10,000 on our daughter’s wedding; it’s much less expensive to make a simchah in Israel. Our wedding was very typical for our community. Our wedding in the US may have been fancier, but marrying off our kids here in Yerushalyim is truly special. And the simchah’s not the wedding itself — it’s in celebrating our daughter finding her bashert.

Name: Gitty Heimlich, Boro Park
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $35,000

I’m not the type that cares what’s the norm in my circles, I do what works for me and my family.

I did listen to my daughter, the kallah, and take her opinion into account. This daughter loves nicer things and flowers so we matched up with the person making a chasunah the night before us in the same hall and ordered flowers together, splitting the cost. (so we paid 25% of the cost, since both of us were splitting all expenses with our mechutanim). The result was a win-win! I spent less than I had in the past and got much nicer flowers.

I got the kallah gown from a gemach ($150) and altered and cleaned it for an additional $750. Still a metziah!

These costs were for the night itself only — they don’t include tenaim, engagement gifts, or Shabbos sheva brachos.

Name: Rikki, England
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: £13,750 (about $18,000)

We didn’t set financial goals, per se, because our family already spends wisely and sensibly. We didn’t splurge, but our wedding was very typical for our community.

This was our first wedding, and right after the engagement, my husband announced that we wouldn’t be spending thousands on custom sheitels. We were fortunate enough to buy two sheitels for less than £1000 ($1,200) total.

Our daughter understands the value of every pound and was determined to not feed money into overpriced simchah vendors. For example, she couldn’t understand why people charge an exorbitant amount to have their sheitel done up for the wedding. Why does it cost three times the price to put curls in a kallah’s sheitel than to put curls in someone else’s sheitel? (We didn’t.)

There’s a local organization that supplies you with towels, bedding, plates, cutlery, kitchen appliances, and cookware for a set price of £200 ($245).

My one regret was buying one of those really expensive dresses for the engagement; I think we could have spent less and she’d have looked just as beautiful.

I don’t want it to sound like the simchah was low-class. The kallah and her sisters looked gorgeous, and the weather was stunning. Every single guest felt a part of it. Without an undercurrent of competition or a sense of ostentation, there was a great feeling of happiness.

Name: Gabriella Asnes, Brooklyn
We paid for our own wedding
Total Spent: $25,000

My husband and I paid for the vast majority of our wedding. Over three years later, we think back fondly on the beautiful wedding that was simple by most standards but ultimately a reflection of us.

We knew we didn’t want an extravagant wedding, but we also didn’t go into this with an exact budget. We did splurge on the food, Food is very important to us and our families. (We’re both chozer b’teshuvah. His family is Russian and my family is Sefardi.) We went with the classic Russian/Israeli style table that is literally piled high with delicious amazing food.

Funnily, enough, I’m a vegan and my husband is a pescatarian, so the majority of the food couldn’t be eaten by us. (How many couples actually get to eat their own wedding food anyway?) We wanted out guests to have the best experience so we really went all out.

We saved on decor. We had zero flowers! My husband built our chuppah using leftover materials from his family’s window and glass business, and he and a few friends decorated it. (We repurposed it to build our seforim bookcase.) I purchased around 300 succulent plants for table décor, they doubled as party favors, and made some more table décor myself.

I bought my dress on Zappos, borrowed a veil, and had a friend do my makeup for a very fair price. Another friend, a top DJ, gave us a very good deal on the music.

We saw Yad Hashem throughout the process. Our wedding was truly a reflection of us and what we stand for.

Name: Elky*, Flatbush
Mother of: Daughter
Total Spent: $65,000

We’re a regular middle class family; we have eight kids, my husband and I are both working. We didn’t have a specific budget in mind; our attitude was, “Let’s try to do what we have to.” Somehow, Hashem helped us pay for everything without going into debt! My parents also helped us a little, which was a nice bonus.

Everything we did was considered pretty normal for Flatbush standards. Not high end but not very simple. We went to Lakewood for gowns, since it was a bit cheaper there, but did get the kallah’s gown in Brooklyn. I took top-name people for hair and makeup; it was important to me that we look our best, and I felt it was worth a few dollars more.

My second daughter married into a family that was a bit more comfortable, so we gave our mechutanim what we’d paid for our first wedding at a more standard hall, and they made used it on a nicer hall. Other than that, we tried to keep everything as similar as possible for both girls, since they got married within 15 months of each other. They each moved to Eretz Yisrael after their chasunah so we didn’t have to buy furniture—but we did pay for their plane tickets.

Name: M.S., Skver
Mother of: Kallah
Total Spent: $63,000

I was brought up in a home where my parents focused on shalom. My father always said that he married off 13 kids, bli ayin hara, and never had any disagreements with any mechutanim. He kept an escrow fund of “shulem gelt.

“A chasunah costs $40,000,” he’d say. “Let me make it $44,000 and stay on good terms.”

I’ve followed his path. I know my budget and I try to stay within it — but shalom comes first. And the couple are the ones who benefit.

For one of my weddings, our mechutanim hired a much more expensive shpieler, singer, and badchan than we’d had at our previous weddings. I didn’t say a word. So it was $1,000 more than we paid before? Ta-da! We have the shalom fund envelope, no problem.

I’m also a big believer in negotiation. Having a shalom fund doesn’t mean I always give in. If the other side asks for something out of the norm or completely out of my budget, that’s when I’ll negotiate and say something like, “Normally we don’t spend on such things, but I can see it means a lot to you. We can pay up to this amount.”

I think part of negotiation means not insisting that we do things the way we did by our other children. We’re working with different people, how can we stick to the same things? It doesn’t have to be even, life is not even, life is fair.

I won’t ask my mechutanim to upgrade — when one of my daughters wanted a bouquet of real flowers while the hall offers fake flowers, I paid it myself. Same for when my son wanted a nicer singer and music by the chuppah.

We never ask the other side to give because we gave — they give what they can and so do we. Being a good parent doesn’t depend on how much money you give; it’s the relationship you build.

Never involve your kids in these discussions or discuss what your mechutanim gave or how much they should have given. Respect your mechutanim! They’re your children’s in-laws. Help them live beautifully for years to come.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 694)

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