Dating a Wedding Date

Every Yenta (not just us) will ask you, “So? When’s the date?” You take another bite of brisket and swallow hard. You’re not sure how to answer. You haven’t picked a date yet.

Every member of your mother’s temple sisterhood is hounding you for the date and you haven’t figured it out, but you’re feeling pressured, and you still need to do more research because once the date is locked in, it’s a done deal, so you reach and reach for an answer to give her but she’s still staring at you, expecting an answer so even though you’re picturing yourself in a strapless, flirty tea-length wedding dress standing under a chuppah adorned with pink and cream peonies, you’re not sure when those flowers are in season, so it really depends on the date you get married, and oh gosh, she’s still waiting and she has a chunk of mascara dangling from her left eyelash and now that’s all you can think about so you just blurt out: “We don’t know yet.”

There it is. That look of disapproval. HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW YET?

There are tons of reasons!

Early on in the site’s young life, we provided you a list of holiday weekends for Sunday night weddings over the next 3 years. But what if you have questions that span outside the no-weddings-on-Shabbat rule? What if there are other holidays or mourning periods that come up while you’re trying to plan your wedding and set a date? Jewish marriages are not to be performed during points throughout a year, and we are here to help explain these calendar crossovers.

RELIGIOUS RESTRICTIONS
There are no weddings on:
The Sabbath (Friday to Saturday 30 minutes after sundown).

The major holidays; you know, the usuals: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Passover, Shavuot, and Sukkot (sundown to sundown). Basically, every holiday you probably celebrated or heavily discussed at Hebrew school (though you may not remember because you were distracted with the happy possibility of being invited to Seth Silverstein’s Bar Mitzvah where you may be able to play Pepsi-7up and sit on his knee).

Orthodox and conservative congregations also don’t permit weddings during The “Three Weeks” (which are the 17th of Tammuz to the 9th of Av, which usually fall in July and August) and the Sefirah period (these are the 7 weeks between Passover and Shavuot, except for the holiday of Lag b’Omer, which is usually in April and May).
These times are actually considered national mourning periods due to historical tragedies such as the destruction of the Temple and a plague that forced its way through the greatest and noblest scholars of the time.

And, this brings us to the reason why June is the most popular time of year for a not-too-hot, not-too-cold wedding.

PERSONAL MOURNING PERIODS
If you and your husband-to-be are in mourning, then you can’t secure a wedding date during the 30 days of mourning that are typically reserved for a brother or sister. Additionally, you can’t plan a wedding date during the 11 months observed for a mother or father. Reform practitioners usually go with the 30 day rule for any kind of mourning period. If you’re unsure, the usual Wedding Yentas disclaimer applies: Ask your rabbi.

However, if the date has already been set, you may not postpone a wedding even if there is a death (pooh pooh) in the family. Rabbis say that a marriage is the highest of mitzvot and even mourning is not allowed to interfere with such a wonderful occasion. The wedding should go on as scheduled, but personal decisions may be made about scaling down the festive atmosphere. Again, can I get a giant bubbie-style “pooh pooh” and 3 spits please? Thank you.

PERSONAL PONDERINGS
Here’s the part where you check your own calendar to make sure you don’t make a big uh-oh on top of the Jewish practices. What kinds of flowers do you want? If you want harvest symbols or chrysanthemums, you might like to be a Fall bride. Tulips and dahlias make you a perfect picture of a Spring bride. Do you have a special date like your dating anniversary or honoring a relative’s wedding date? Do you need to make sure other occasions aren’t close to your wedding date because of your sister’s graduation or your brother-in-law’s leave from the military? Is there another family wedding that might conflict with your ideal date?

Remember this bit of important wedding advice: You won’t be able to please everybody. Follow the Jewish laws as you see fit and steer clear of personal conflicts. As long as your most favorite people are there to witness you and your groom get married, your special day will still be the happiest.