Judaism is all about celebration.

The frequent festivals, barmitzvahs, batmitzvahs, weddings, sheva brachot, SECOND barmitzvahs… the list is endless.


Now it’s wonderful having so many occasions to grab a pair of heels and a lovely dress, but recently I’ve started to feel like the aim is to try and make it better than anyone else’s.

I understand the idea of trying to make a day, especially weddings, fantastic and memorable but the amount of money that’s being spent is sometimes shocking. The dripping crystal arrangements, thousands of flowers, an endless supply of food and liquor and the fancy attire, all make up one hefty bill. In fact, the amount some people spend can fund 20 occasions other people less fortunate cannot afford. The number of charities that could help people with that wealth is incredible!

Surely, this isn’t what it’s all about?

I’ve attended many weddings in the past as a lot of my friends got married before I did. The guest list alone ranged from 150 people, all the way up to 800! EIGHT HUNDRED! I can’t even physically talk to 800 people in one day, let alone dance with every single one of them. These evenings have turned into a show where people are more focused on how the wedding looks than on who the couple are.

I’ll never forget a wedding I went to which was held in the small hall inside a shul. There was a maximum of maybe 180 people there and yet it has got to be the best wedding I’ve attended. There were no frills; it was plain and simple, and it was beautiful. The couple were genuinely happy and all they wanted was to share that with their closest of friends and family. They didn’t care about the food or the flowers or even the dirt on the bridesmaid’s dress. This was their day, about their union and not about making a big entrance into a room full of acquaintances.

The focus of events needs to shift back to their purpose. People need to strip down the excess and return to basics to remember why they’re celebrating in the first place. 17 different types of lamb is just not necessary to rejoice in a simcha. Materialism isn’t happiness, finding reasons to live is; and there’s no amount of money that can buy you that.

I’m not saying that having some luxuries are wrong – on the contrary! Having a nice day is important. But nice doesn’t mean extravagant. There doesn’t need to be tens of thousands of pounds spent, it’s so superfluous. The fact is, the days are easily forgotten, last approximately 6 – 8 hours and then it’s all over. That’s it, finished. All those different types of meat are eaten, drinks consumed and all that’s left is a headache from the loud music.

Imagine if you saved all that money and started off your life with it. Paying a deposit on a house is more important than 8 hours, isn’t it?

Simplicity is easy – it means fewer appointments, fewer meetings, fewer hassles and fewer worries over the amount of things going wrong. Stay relaxed, keep it easy and be happier than you could have imagined.


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Selena, a recently married 20-something from Manchester, England blogs for The Jewish Press Online under the title, "My Point of Jew." Selena also works for the Jewish Telegraph - Britain's only regional Jewish newspaper.