| Family First Feature |

At All Costs?

How much do frum weddings really cost? Seven women unveil the hard numbers

Yardsticks was born on a Shabbos walk.

All my ideas are born on Shabbos, to spite me. Or in the middle of the night. I’ll wake up at 3 a.m. with a brainstorm and tell myself, this is fantastic, I’ll write this down first thing in the morning, it’ll win a Nobel Prize in literature.

But by the time I wake up, I’m like, “It was the best idea ever, but what was it?”

With this serial idea, I wasn’t going to risk it. “You serve so many roles in my life,” I told my husband, “I need you to be my paper now.”

So we walked and I talked, and my husband listened closely as my gown boutique vision started taking shape. Things started clicking in my brain. Divided loyalties, a strongly principled and ‘correct’ character, an embittered Russian seamstress.

That’s the beauty of fiction. You can do whatever you want. You create the characters and nobody can blame you for the things they say or do, because A, they’re yours, and B, they’re not real.

But although Yardsticks was a work of fiction, it got very real very fast.


Let me back up for a minute and share who I am. Or rather, who I’m not. I’m not a kallah and I’m not a mechuteneste. (And, for the record, I’m also not a seamstress.) But I live in Boro Park, and I’m familiar with the community’s wedding standards. I knew it was a hot-button issue, I knew there was a problem.

At least I thought I knew. I figured I’d interview some women in the trenches. Research for my project, you know. So innocent.

Let’s just say these interviews were not your standard Q&As.

The women yelled at me. They cried. They defended themselves. They shouted and protested until I wanted to scream, “It’s not my fault, I didn’t create this problem!”

I didn’t create it — and I knew I couldn’t fix it either. (Hey, Mina, you’re my inspiration.) But exposed to the bleeding heart of the problem, I resolved to at least address it. Start a conversation, spread some awareness — and maybe, maybe, empower individuals to make better choices.

A few weeks into the story, I started getting feedback from readers (mainly out-of-towners), expressing incredulity that spending 40K per side would be a takanos plan. They reported spending a fraction of that amount without following any takanos.

Realizing how seriously people were taking the details of the story, I became obsessed with the numbers. (That’s why I stuck Mina into a seminary class in chapter 24, to explain to the girls — and all you readers — where this information was coming from.)

It's important to remember that Yardsticks was set in a heimish, Boro Park-like community, and the numbers in the story reflect this specific community’s reality.

It’s also important to remember that the sum includes all wedding expenses, not only the wedding itself — from paying the shadchan, to gifts, to furnishing the couple’s apartment. Demographics aside, people don’t realize how quickly the little numbers add up.

Now that the numbers became such a big deal, the Lewin-gown price tag came into question. I was undecided. On one hand, I wanted the technical details in the story to reflect reality, but on the other, I wanted to do something absurd, really over-the-top, to make a point.

The point: No, it’s not normal to spend $10,000 on a kallah’s gown.


But that’s the thing with normal. To some Brooklynites, a 200K-total wedding is normal. To Lakewooders, it’s insane.

I did insane for the gown, so that everyone, no matter where you live, could agree on its insanity.

So that when it becomes normal, you’ll be smarter.

Years ago, it wasn’t normal to spend $1,000 on a vort dress. Today, in the Genuth world, $1,000 would be a bargain.

That’s how standards are born. That’s how we measure normal. These realities become our yardsticks, and these yardsticks become our self-inflicted problems.


Before — before the era of COVID-19 — we’d planned a post-Yardsticks feature. We thought readers would appreciate a glimpse into real people’s wedding stories.

In the wake of Shevy Genuth’s wedding, Mina was left with a neat breakdown of wedding expenses — and an astounded readership. Was Mina’s spending normal? Could she — should she — have done things differently?

How do other families do it?

It was obvious that the answer depended on where they lived, which community they were part of, who their mechutanim were, and what was considered “normal” in their circles. I reached out to mechutenstes from various communities to learn about their wedding standards. They shared breakdowns of their wedding expenses, and I marveled at the differences between each list.

Then coronavirus hit, and suddenly everything changed. The world paused — in caution, fear and uncertainty.

And weddings?

Weddings took place, on schedule. In backyards. In driveways. On porches and in dining rooms. First with a 50-guest attendance and eventually with just ten. No bands. No photographers. No contact-dancing.

This situation was so sad, yet at the same time, there was a level of sweetness. There was a purity in the weddings’ joy, celebrated by the families’ nearest and dearest.

We all pray for this pandemic to end swiftly and for our lives to return to normal. (Normal-normal. Not Lewin-gown normal.) And when the wedding halls reopen, maybe our perspectives will have shifted as we (glovelessly) embrace true happiness.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!

Chaya Suri, Kiryas Joel
Wedding took place in Boro Park, where our mechutanim live.
Mother of: Chassan
Wedding number: 3
Total cost of wedding: $94,000

When my first son got engaged, I kept hearing it: “Make whatever plans you want. At the end of the day, no matter how you slice it, a wedding will cost you $100,000.” I didn’t believe them and I vowed it wouldn’t happen to me. We live from paycheck to paycheck, and I wasn’t going to spend above my means to conform to communal standards.

And then I did.

I learned that as much as we think we can control a situation, we must rely on Hashem to lead us where we need to go. A wedding is a two-sided simchah and there are many sensitivities at play. We have to try our best and work with the circumstances we face.

Dollars and Sense

With both my husband and I holding down jobs, we Baruch Hashem make ends meet. But that’s about it. We don’t have money for extras, and we live a budgeted lifestyle.

When it comes to finances, our goal has always been to stay out of debt. Thankfully, we’ve been able to achieve this, but it definitely comes along with sacrifice. We never go on vacation or splurge on luxuries. We chose to avoid unnecessary expenses so that we wouldn’t have to borrow money when it came to marrying off our children. And now that we’ve reached this stage in life, we thank our younger selves for this foresight and are so happy that we did not have to borrow money to make a wedding. For us, it’s a relief to know that we don’t owe any money. We’re happy to live with less to maintain this sense of freedom.


Shadchan: $2,000

I actually sent money to this shadchan several times before my son got engaged as a token of appreciation for constantly redting shidduchim.

Clothing for chassan: $3,100

Shtreimel: $6,000 (two shtreimels)

Mother-of-bride gown: N/A

I used the gown I wore at previous weddings.

Boys’ clothing: $780

Makeup: $210 (3 faces)

Mother’s sheitel: $1,100

Chassan shiurim: $1,000

Aufruf: $4,800

This included a meal, Kiddush, and a nuts-and-chocolate gathering Friday night after the seudah.

Sheva brachos: $2,500


Flowers for Shabbos of engagement: $150

Cake for vort: $125

Flowers for vort: $425

Bracelet: $2,600

Ring: $3,000

Watch: $3,000

Pearl necklace: $400

Pendant for necklace: $2,000

Earrings: $2,700

Gift certificate: $200

Cosmetic bag: $40

Joint expenses:

We split wedding day and furnishing expenses with our mechutanim. These numbers reflect our share of the spending.

Hall/catering: $13,750

Photographer: $2,800

Flowers: $2,500

Music: $2,425

Badchan: $900

Drinks: $250

Housewares: $2,650

Furniture: $9,000 (dining room and bedroom)

Dinette furniture: $1,050 (includes closet and small sofa)

Linen: $2,150

One month rent, plus security, plus brokerage: $2,550

Invitations: $400 plus $750 postage

Apartment set-up: $2,700

This includes small/large appliances, home insurance, and groceries.

My big splurge:

I got a beautiful new diamond bracelet in honor of the simchah ($3,000). I haven’t gotten any real jewelry in years, and my husband chose this occasion to treat me. My husband got a new shtreimel ($2,000).

Next time:

I will not send a “mechutenste cake” for a vort again. It’s a waste of money. Nobody eats that fancy thing, it may as well be made of clay.

I didn’t anticipate:

The mechutanim insisted on booking a singer for the chuppah. We didn’t feel up to it, but they put a lot of pressure on us until we gave in.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!


Elisheva, Chicago
Wedding took place in Lakewood where our mechutanim live.
Mother of: Kallah
Wedding number: 1
Total cost of wedding: $67,000

At the start of our daughter’s engagement, we tried recording every expense, but at a certain point we gave up and stopped recording any transactions under $1,000. Living out of town meant a lot of travel for getting things done, which added a significant expense.

When our daughter got engaged, I told my husband, “I don’t need a fancy wedding, but I want this simchah to be all about the kallah. Kallahs are in a certain vulnerable position, transitioning from singlehood to marriage, and I want our daughter to feel pampered, special and beautiful.” So between clothing, shoes, sheitels and makeup, we spent a pretty penny. I have no regrets because for me this was a priority.

With the unique “corona weddings” we’ve seen these past few weeks, I got interesting comments from people. “You must feel bad having spent all that money a month ago when you could’ve held the wedding in your backyard,” a few said.

But no, I don’t feel that way. I feel bad for all the people whose wedding celebrations were curtailed, and grateful that we were able to make such a beautiful chasunah, even with all the bills we had to pay.

Dollars and Sense

Our family is solidly middle class, with everything that implies. We usually carry credit card debt from month to month, trying our best not to get lost in it. We’re not big spenders, but we do like to provide our kids with the things that are important to them, like summer camp and decent clothing.

Living out of town definitely means a lower standard of living. Still, we needed to borrow a significant sum to cover this simchah. We have our regular expenses figured out, but with this huge additional expense, there was no other way for us to pull it off.


Shadchan: $2,500

When we asked around, we were told that balabatish people pay a shadchan $5,000 or more, and people in chinuch will give around $1,800. My husband isn’t in chinuch, but we’re not wealthy by any stretch. We gave within the average range.

Vort: $4,000

Clothing: $5,500

Sheitels: $7,350

Linen: $550

Housewares: We bought very few, since the couple moved to Eretz Yisrael right after their wedding, so we didn’t save receipts.

Kallah’s gown: $3,155

This included the headpiece, veil, and deck-tichel.

Mother-of-the-bride gown: $1,800

Sister-of-the-bride gowns: $1,200 for my teenaged daughter, $150 for our little girl

Hair: $1,250

Makeup: $1,220

Kallah classes: $700

I was surprised by this price at first, but then I realized that it’s fair and definitely well deserved.

Shabbos sheva brachos: $7,600

This event felt like we were making a bar mitzvah a few days after the wedding. We hosted this Shabbos in our hometown and it was a tremendous expense.



We didn’t buy the chassan a set of Shas or other seforim yet — we’ll do so either when they return from Eretz Yisrael or decide to settle there more permanently.

Watch: $2,500

Silver kos: $700

Joint expenses:

As the parents of the kallah, we paid for the wedding and our mechutanim did FLOP — flowers, liquor, orchestra, photographer.

Hall/catering: $24,000

Smorgasbord: $2,500

We followed a takanos plan for the wedding, but we upgraded the smorg. With so many guests making the long trip to the wedding, we felt it was only fair to greet them with hot food.

Badchan: $500

Mitzvah tanz is a minhag in our family, so we paid for the badchan.

I’m grateful that:

Our mechutanim were such easy and generous people. They aren’t wealthy, but they were so eager to give, and matched our spending.

I didn’t anticipate:

Tipping the wedding hall manager. But the guy was so kind and helpful, we were happy to offer him a gratuity.

Money well spent:

Outfitting the kallah. It cost a fortune, but I feel like the wedding is all about the kallah — it’s her moment in the spotlight, and it’s important that she looks and feels beautiful.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!

Dini, Boro Park

Mother of: Kallah

Wedding number: 1

Total cost of wedding: $151,000

This was our first wedding — and our only daughter. We were overly excited and quite clueless, falling for the “this is how it’s done” we kept hearing from people. In addition, we had a medical crisis during the engagement and went with more expensive options on many purchases to save time and headspace. Looking back, I see where I overspent. I definitely plan on doing things differently when I marry off my next child.

Dollars and Sense

My husband started a business five years ago, and while the business is doing well, we still have some debt to pay off. Compared to our community, we don’t live on a high standard. I don’t buy designer clothing and we live in a simple house.

Throughout life, we constantly see Yad Hashem, with money coming in just when we need it. My husband has an extremely generous personality — he’ll give the shirt off his back to a friend in need. Just before our daughter got engaged, he gave my brother $20,000 to help him marry off his daughter.

We didn’t have any money in savings when our daughter got engaged. But from the moment the need arose, the money appeared. A person who owed my husband a large sum of money returned it shortly after the engagement; a client paid up a $50,000 balance a month later. I feel like Hashem sees how eager my husband is to give, and in return, He gives us all we need.

A chunk of this wedding’s spending reflects my husband’s generous nature; he just loves to give. We didn’t borrow any money for this wedding. Still, even if we can afford it, we intend to curb the spending next time — so much of it really wasn’t necessary.


Shadchan: $2,500

We asked our mechutanim how much they’re giving and matched the amount.

Vort: $16,000

This amount includes everything  flowers, hair, makeup, photography, drinks, the kallah’s dress (the dress cost $1,500 and she never wore it again, it didn’t fit).

Sheitels: $8,500

Kallah’s gown: $5,000 (rental, brand new)

Mother-of-the-bride: $2,200 (rental) plus lost $700 deposit on a different gown

Mother’s sheitel: $1,100

Kallah’s clothing shopping: $9,000 (approximately)

Cosmetics plus odds and ends: $640

Linen/towels: $6,500

Housewares: $2,820

Toiletries & groceries to stock couple’s apartment: $200

The wedding took place a week before Pesach, so we didn’t buy much food.

Cake for aufruf: $100

Hair for wedding: $1,100

This was for the kallah’s hair and to set my own sheitel.

Makeup for wedding: $1,500

Shabbos sheva brachos: $15,000

Drinks for Shabbos sheva brachos: $850

Stamps for invitations: $550

One month’s rent before wedding: $1,300

The couple started out in a furnished basement apartment.

Kallah classes plus various shiurim for mother/daughter: $1,900


Travel package: $800

The chassan returned to yeshivah in Eretz Yisrael right after the engagement. We were so excited, we went all out. This professionally wrapped package included a designer suitcase, a Tehillim, and a wallet with $200 inside.

Chassan’s watch: $1,500

Esrog box: $1,250

Silver kos: $2,350

This was an extravagant gift, and we bought it knowing this is our only daughter and we’ll never have to do this again.

Menorah: $3,000

Gift certificate for seforim: $1,000

Megillah: $2,500

Megillah holder: $230

Machzorim: $400

Pesach set: $600

Rabbeinu Tam tefillin: $850

Weekday watch: $600

This was a birthday gift.

Mishloach manos: $100

Aufruf package (talleisim/kittel): $2,000

Joint expenses:

We split the cost of the wedding day plus many large engagement purchases. The following numbers are how much we paid, which is half of the actual cost.

Hall/catering: $17,000

Photographer: $3,700

Flowers: $2,300

Music: $2,500

Badchan: $1,250

Singer: $4,000

We had a “brand-name” singer. $8,000 for one night at the mic — a complete waste of money.

Drinks: $300

Dining room furniture: $7,500

Bedroom furniture: $4,000

Invitations: $1,000

My one splurge:

My husband got a new shtreimel in honor of the wedding, which cost $3,800, and he bought me a new piece of jewelry for $10,000.

My one regret:

We should have done more homework before booking a hall for Shabbos sheva brachos. The hall was prohibitively expensive and very basic, with no upgrades — no flowers or centerpieces, a standard menu, and a very simple sweet table.

A waste of money:

Dining room furniture! I can’t believe we spent so much money on that.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!

Malka, Philadelphia

Mother of: Chassan

Wedding number: 7

Total cost of wedding: $17,700

Our family is yeshivish and we live out of town, where standards are significantly lower. There’s hardly any peer pressure to contend with, and although our wedding was simple, it was within the realm of normal.

I’m a savvy shopper with a nose for bargains, and I also do a lot of things myself, like sewing and cooking. At the end of the day, you need to spend for a simchah — either money or time. Alterations and catering are very time-consuming! I enjoy these things so this worked for us, but it’s obviously not for everyone.

The actual wedding took place in Lakewood, and we did a lot of our shopping there. (Making a wedding out of town is significantly more expensive.) Also, our expenses were lower because we married off a son. When we married off our daughter a year earlier, the total cost of the wedding was $31,000.

Dollars and Sense

We live a no-frills yeshivish lifestyle, scraping by to cover our expenses. Thankfully, we have what we need, and when it comes to making a wedding, we borrow money against our line of credit. But we don’t do this recklessly; we’re aware that whatever we borrow will need to be paid back. We always look to keep costs down.

With one wedding following another, aruch Hashem, we avoid other large expenses. For instance, our carpeted dining room floor urgently needs a makeover. It’s old and awful and in some places ripped dangerously enough to be a tripping hazard. It costs about $2,500 to strip the carpet and scrape the hardwood floor beneath it, but between paying back loans and helping our married children, there’s no $2,500 to spare. So we tape and re-tape the holes, waiting for the right time to redo it — and enjoying the simchahs meanwhile.


Shadchan: $1,000 + $590 value gift for the person who thought of the idea

Clothing: $900 (approximately)

We’re not big spenders on clothing — DSW shoes, that type.

Hat (Borsalino): $350

Mother-of-bride gown: N/A

I used my gown, jewelry, and shoes from previous weddings.

Sister-of-bride gowns: $75

I had only one single girl to clothe. I bought a gown on clearance and did significant alterations. My marrieds took care of buying/renting/borrowing their own gowns. There was no color scheme but everyone looked beautiful.

Boys’ clothing:

I had one younger son who had just gotten a new suit for Yom Tov. So nothing new…

Hair/makeup: $400

I paid for everyone, including the marrieds.

Chassan shiurim: $500

Aufruf: $1,700 (approximately)

This included aliyahs in shul, renting a shul room, waitresses for the seudah, and ingredients. I self-catered the meal, and my relatives each made a salad, cake, or side.

Sheva brachos: $500

I didn’t make a sheva brachos but contributed toward the one my children made.

Postage for invitations $425

The kallah’s side paid for the invitations.

Wedding day: $5,000

We paid for the photographer, flowers, and music. The kallah’s side paid for the hall and caterer.


Flowers for vort: $175

Bracelet: $1,125

Ring: $2,400 plus $110 for wedding ring

Pearl necklace: $325

We gave pearls instead of a diamond pendant, which costs much more.

Earrings: $385

Leichter: $1,150

Siddur: $84

Machzorim: $315

Fruit platter for the mechutanim for Shabbos sheva brachos: $90

Silk flowers for Shabbos Kallah: $150

I’m grateful that:

Our mechutanim were on the same page as us. They lead a similar simple lifestyle, so there was no pressure to impress them. I could handle it if their paper goods were the fancy, reusable variety and ours were not.

My one regret:

I have no regrets! We all enjoyed a beautiful simchah while sticking to our budget.

Money well spent:

Shadchanus. If there’s one thing that matters at a wedding, it’s the person who brought the couple together.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!

Tziporah, Flatbush
Mother of: Kallah
Wedding number: 4
Total cost of wedding: $52,000

This wasn’t my first wedding, but it was the first time I was marrying off a daughter. My sons’ weddings cost around 30 percent less. I was wholly unprepared for the magnitude of expenses, but I can’t point at any particular purchase that wasn’t warranted. It’s all the little expenses — like dressmakers! — which add up to big numbers.

Dollars and Sense

My husband and I are both fortunate to be doing klal work. Naturally, these aren’t the most lucrative occupations, but we love that our work makes a difference, and wouldn’t exchange these opportunities for power careers.

All our years, we’ve lived month by month, usually covering our monthly expenses with occasional forays into overdraft. We’ve been careful to pay our credit card bills on time and not go into debt, but were unable to put aside any money for chasunahs or retirement. We didn’t want to borrow, but we were aware that my in-laws would help out if need be.

Then, within a span of a few years, I lost both of my parents, each at too young an age. I struggled to overcome my crushing grief. The money I inherited felt unwelcome, tainted, as if I were profiting from their deaths. All I wanted was to have them back, watching my kids grow up and celebrating their milestones with me.

But practicality prompted us to place the money in a special interest-bearing account, earmarked for simchahs, and that’s how I paid for the last four weddings. There probably isn’t enough left for the rest, but we take life one day at a time. Hashem has always taken care of us and will continue to do so. We pray for simchahs, and we’ll work out the finances as the need arises.


Shadchanus: $4,000

There were three shadchanim involved in the shidduch. We paid all three.

L’chayim: $200

Vort: $2,850

Kallah’s dress for vort: $450

Hair/makeup for vort, kallah and girls: $250

Sheitels $5,000 plus Sheitel box: $70

Linen/bedding and towels: $1,000

Clothing for the kallah: $1,400

Sister’s dress: $180

Bridal gown: $500 (including alterations)

Kallah’s headpiece: $18 (gemach)

Mother-of-the-bride gown: $100 (gemach)

I spent another $70 to buy a belt.

Sister-of-the-bride gowns: $260 (gemach)

Housewares: $730

Couch: $975

Bedroom set: $250

The actual furniture was free — someone posted that they were giving it away — and we paid for moving.

Kallah classes: $1,000

Invitations: $975

Hair/makeup for wedding: $650

Wedding hall: $22,000

Shabbos sheva brachos: $4,655


Chassan’s watch: $1,150

Menorah: $1,500

Tallis bag & kittel: $600

Hostess bags & gifts: $350

Expense division with mechutanim:

As the parents of the kallah, we paid for most of the engagement and wedding expenses. The chassan’s parents paid for FLOP as well as a car for the young couple. We had this same arrangement when we married off our sons.

My one splurge:

Gifts! I was told I could “get away” with buying a cheaper watch, menorah, and tallis bag for the chassan, but I didn’t want to “get away” with it. I feel like more generous gifting sends a message to a person that he’s valued, and he’ll always remember that. I did this with my daughters-in-law as well. I spent up on their jewelry and have no regrets. You spend so much on a wedding, a few thousand more doesn’t make it or break it. (At some point, it all feels like monopoly money, anyway.)

Abby, Florida
Mother of: Kallah
Wedding number: 3
Total cost of wedding: $114,100

If you make a wedding in a hotel in Florida, the price for everything is double. You pay an extra $100 per person who walks through the door, on top of the regular cost per person. To cut back on this extra expense, we chose to hold the wedding in a large shul that has a beautiful hall attached.

Dollars and Sense

My husband has owned a business for many years and has Baruch Hashem been successful in building it up, allowing us to live on a comfortable standard. Still, it takes a while to save up money for a wedding. Our previous two weddings took place many years ago, and those children opted for much simpler weddings. If we’d be making a wedding every year, I don’t think we’d have been able to swing it on such a grand scale. Because our children’s weddings were very spaced apart, we had the time to save up for the big day.


Vort: $6,500

Kallah’s gown: $5,500

We told our daughter how much we’d pay and she paid for the rest on her own.

Veil/headpiece: $200

Mother-of-the-bride gown: $2,000

Sister-of-the-bride gowns: $1,800

This includes some of the grandchildren’s gowns.

Boys’ clothing: $1,000

Travel expenses: $9,000

We paid for family to fly in for the wedding.

Shabbos kallah: $7,000

We had lots of out-of-town guests because the wedding took place on Sunday.

Hair/makeup for the wedding: $2,500

Hotel suite: $1,000

My daughter got ready here and we took pictures on the hotel grounds.


Chassan’s watch: $7,000

Joint expenses:

We split the cost of the wedding day with our mechutanim. The following numbers reflect our share of the spending.

Hall/catering: $26,000

Photographer/videographer: $10,000

Flowers: $14,000

Music: $8,500

Drinks: $1,125

Invitations: $2,500

Rental of floors and table drapery: $8,500

My one regret:

We used a family acquaintance, a top-of-the-line florist, to do the flowers for the wedding. This was a bad idea and we learned our lesson: Never mix friends and business. We gladly would’ve paid top dollar to avoid this heartache.

Another lesson we learned was about the party planning industry. We hired a party planner, expecting to feel confident that everything would get done. But the reality is that wedding planners feel that your wedding is a reflection of them and their work. As a result, nothing is cheap. You can’t use the caterer’s tablecloths, which are included in the price, you need to spend an extra $2,000 on fancier tablecloths. And so on.

Money well spent:

The singer we flew in from New York was absolutely fantastic and worth every penny.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!

Sarah, Cleveland
Wedding took place in Lakewood.
Mother of: Kallah
Wedding number: 1
Total cost of wedding: $43,500

Out-of-town weddings cost a fortune, and so, like many other out-of-towners, we opted to make our wedding in Lakewood. We went with the wedding hall’s standard package and split the cost with our mechutanim 50/50. Our mechutanim live on a higher standard than we do and wanted upgrades. Although they paid for all the extras, we asked them not to go overboard. We didn’t want our simchah to contradict the image of our family lifestyle. Thankfully, they understood our position, and the wedding was beautiful but modest.

Dollars and Sense

Together, my husband and I earn a comfortable income, Baruch Hashem. Still, life is expensive and we’re always careful with our spending. Our children have everything they need and some of the things they want, and we work hard to instill pride in our simple lifestyle.

We’re friends with people who live on a much higher standard than us, and we’re totally fine with that. It doesn’t stand between us.

When we made this wedding, we were careful with our spending and fortunately did not need to borrow any money. We’re also happy to support the couple, which we feel is more appreciated than extravagant partying.


Shadchan: $2,500

Vort: $3,000

We held a joint l’chayim and vort.

Kallah’s dress for vort: $300

Hair/makeup for vort: $75

Sheitels: $2,600

The kallah got an additional sheitel as a gift from her mother-in-law, which cost $2,000.

Kallah’s gown: $1,400

This was a rental and included the veil and headpiece.

Mother-of-the-bride gown: $1,200

Sister-of-the-bride gown: $175

Boys’ clothing: $1,275

Kallah’s shopping: $2,500 (approximately)

This includes clothing, shoes, cosmetics…

Kallah classes: $600

Target order to stock apartment: $500

Furniture: $7,000

This includes bedroom furniture, a table and chairs, a couch and a high-riser.

Housewares: $300

The kallah got many essentials at her bridal shower.

Linen: $1,300

Invitations: $1,000 plus $350 postage

Hair/makeup for the wedding: $550

Shabbos sheva brachos: $2,500

We hosted Shabbos sheva brachos in Cleveland. Our parents and in-laws paid for the Friday night meal.


Chassan’s watch: $1,400

Shas and other seforim: $1,200

Menorah: $1,000

Cufflinks: $1,000

Our daughter bought a silver kos for her chassan as a wedding gift.

Hagaddah: $40

Aufruf package: $1,500

This included talleisim, tallis bag and kittel. The chassan/kallah chose these together.

Flowers for aufruf: $200

Joint expenses

We split the cost of the wedding with our mechutanim 50/50. Our share was $8,000. This included everything — the hall/catering, flowers, photography, music, and drinks.

Money well spent:

Renting brand-new gowns for everyone and using the hairdresser and makeup artist the kallah preferred. I wanted everyone to feel festive and beautiful at the wedding.

My one regret:

Buying a menorah. The chassan owned three of them, but we had no idea!

Next time:

I would make the vort in-house. If you have the space, a hall is an unnecessary expense.

Join the Wedding Costs Conversation!

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 688)

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