I love weddings. The beginning of a new life together, a couple full of dreams and hopes, excited and nervous about the new phase of life they are entering into. And the dancing, oh, the dancing!
Two Sundays ago, there was a wedding. I hadn’t received an invitation to said wedding, but one of my friends, who was coming into town for it (her husband was officiating the wedding), said,
“You should come!”
“Hmmm,” I thought. “I *did* meet the kallah in May. She was nice. We shmoozed a little. Why not?”
So I decided to crash the wedding.
With my three kids in tow, and no husband (he had to work).
Why, you may ask, would I do such a thing? I’m a grown woman, not an impulsive young adult! Isn’t it rude? And what kind of example am I setting for my children??!!???!
- It’s a huge mitzvah to make the bride and groom happy.
- When the bride and groom are standing under the chuppah, it’s a tremendously auspicious time to daven because the Divine Presence is right there in the chuppah. That’s pretty close.
- I really didn’t think the bride would mind if we popped in.
Note: As ima2seven pointed out below, not all frum brides welcome unexpected guests. If you are unsure of how the wedding party would react to your presence, have a friend who is invited ask them. It’s no mitzvah if you make the bride and groom unhappy!
Now, when crashing a wedding, I have a rule that I don’t eat the food. Wedding food is not cheap, my friends, and I don’t know how the caterer is charging, and I certainly don’t want to incur any expense for the new couple. No way. Also, I bring a present.
Since we won’t be eating there, this requires some strategizing on the part of my kids’ tummies. It was an afternoon wedding, so I fed them a late lunch, and really encouraged them to eat. Also, since I wouldn’t be able to bring food into the hall, I packed snacks for the trip there and the trip back. Plus lollipops, because incentive might be necessary. Anyways, here’s a pictorial explanation of the day:
Giant canvas bag, to be filled with diapers (cloth and disposable), wipes, change of clothes for the kids, bibs (for the car), and my fancy dancing shoes
Reading material for the chuppah. It’s not a long service, but anything over five minutes can seem long to a 2- and 4-year-old
My sefer Tehillim. I doubted that I would have a chance to use it, but better to be prepared!
The filling lunch for the kiddos (No, it’s not a lot of food. Yes, they were full).
Snacks for the car.
The view from the cooler (it was a hot day, and, remember, the food had to stay in the car).
The End Result?
It was a resounding success. I got a chance to teach my kids about the mitzvah of making the bride and groom happy. I was able to daven during the chuppah (at which I cried copiously, as usual). Not from my sefer Tehillim, but from my heart. My children were amazing during the chuppah, and I praised them considerably for their excellent behavior. They enjoyed watching the bride and groom walk to the chuppah, and while the service was going on, they read nicely. They even answered “amen” to the brachos!
While we were waiting for the dancing to start (the wedding party usually takes pictures in between the chuppah and the dancing/meal), the boys ran around with the other children and I was able to shmooze with my friend (as much as I was able to as I was also supervising my children). As a bonus, I was able to connect with an acquaintance who is becoming a friend. Yay!
When is was nearly time for the bride and groom to start dancing, my oldest son got to help hold up one of the arches the couple runs under (it’s a shticky thing a lot of people do), and he felt SO BIG. We had a blast dancing, and we even got a chance to dance for the bride as she sat on her chair. Towards the end, I thought we would go, but my son asked to stay because he “wanted to see the kallah!” Excellent.
How did I manage with all my kids? The boys were with me, and the baby fell asleep in the stroller. It worked out nicely.
And how did the bride feel about our crashing? She was thrilled to see us! We got an ear-to-ear smile, a big hug and a thank you.
We piled into the car, passed out the snacks, and headed home, full of smiles and a great mitzvah.