We were still in the throes of absorbing the news of our daughter’s engagement and her plans to get married in Jerusalem.
We decided to approach a friend, Miriam Miller (not her real name), who had made weddings for two of her children already and was in the midst of preparations to marry off her youngest son, to seek her advice.
While her husband, who is my chavruta, Mordechai (not his real name either), is a full partner in the work of the weddings, he readily points to his Aishes Chayil as the mastermind and chief party planner at each simcha. We know she is a strategic thinker and well organized.
We made a pilgrimage to her house one Shabbat afternoon, And she offered a few gems indeed.
Plan to Bring an ‘Everything Bag’ to the Wedding
What’s an everything bag? It’s the one source for simple solutions to unexpected wardrobe malfunctions and other wedding-day disappointments. As Miriam explained, it should contain “bandages of various sizes, Tylenol, Advil, Benadryl, Pepto-Bismol, small packs of tissues, Hollywood tape, Q-Tips, bobby pins, deodorant, safety pins of various sizes, needle and thread, contact lens solution, rewetting drops, Visine eye drops and extra contact lenses. And I also take my own makeup, just in case the makeup person is late.” In other words, think like a Boy Scout and “always be prepared.”
Expect Some Family Drama
Wedding plans can bring out the best in people. Occasionally, however, they have the unintended effect of dredging up unresolved tensions in a family. The person coordinating the wedding should be prepared to hear a family member explain, heatedly, that they feel estranged from this one, couldn’t possibly walk down the aisle with that person, or insist that they cannot sit at a table with him, her or them.
Mind you, it’s unlikely that you can resolve any of these long-simmering resentments. At best, you can listen sympathetically and find some solution that will mollify the sensitive party. Expecting such a call, though, is half the battle in handling it as well as possible.
Consider Who Will be the ‘Glue’ at Each Table
When you make the seating arrangements, your best hope is that the people at each table find some things in common and are able to make pleasant conversation. This is no small matter, as they will be seated together for hours.
To realize that hope, it helps a lot to think ahead, to consciously plan which person at each table is the “glue”—the one who is linked to or can connect easily with others at the table. You’re looking for the person (or people) who can most effortlessly make conversation, draw on common experiences, and generally serve as the “life of the party” at their table. If you can find the glue at each table, chances are good that everyone will have a better time.
Think Ahead to Create a Plan for ‘Simple’ Things
Women in the wedding party may get emotional and tears will ruin makeup, yet women’s formal outfits don’t have room for many accessories. What to do? Designate one of the men, or a friend who’s not in the wedding party, to stay close and serve as a tissue bearer.
Often the couple likes to save the glass crushed by the groom and use it to create a keepsake. Yet that glass can get lost or obliterated in the excitement after the chuppah or, worse, swept up by the cleaning crew. What to do? Make a plan for someone to grab the glass shards in the napkin right after the glass is crushed under the groom’s heel, and put it in a safe place.
The bouquets the bridesmaids and/or relatives hold as they walk down the aisle are lovely and they ain’t cheap. Why let them go to waste? Develop a plan to put those arrangements in water right after the ceremony and divvy them up to appreciative parties at the end of the simcha.
Do you have ideas on how to make a simcha run smoother? I’d like to hear them!
If you couldn’t tell already, Harry Glazer is very excited about his daughter’s upcoming wedding. You can email him a ‘mazel tov,’ or share your tips on wedding planning, at [email protected]