Friday, January 28, 2011


First, let me make a happy announcement: Shiksa Girlfriend is now Shiksa Fiancee!

The proposal went very nicely, she is happy, and so am I.


I put off being engaged because of the assorted stress and bullshit I anticipated it would bring, assuming (correctly), that these things were not things we were perhaps not best equipped to deal with in the midst of finishing grad school or slogging through first years of employment.

That said, SG (SF?) was right in smacking me down a peg over dinner several weeks ago (right before my proposal) when she said that life is rarely convenient, and you don't always get to plan things like you want. So here we are.

Now the troubles begin. SF, having waited five-plus years of dating to be engaged, is good and ready to be married. Given that her siblings are still in school, she decided that summer would be a good time. Except Abbot and Mother Superior Yid and I have a family trip to Poland planned in July, and since I don't know what school I'll be at in the fall, my August is one big question mark. This leaves June, specifically mid-June, to avoid conflicting with school ending and other relative misheggos.

So, we have a date. Next problem- venue and food. SF and my tastes and expectations tend to skew low, as Abbot Yid has said, we have "beer tastes on a beer budget."

Mama Yid, on the other hand, does not. As part of her ongoing quest to reincarnate into her mother before age 60, Mama Yid continues to offer lots of advice (some even solicited!) about how to make sure the wedding is "elegant."

One area where this has come up again and again is over food. We like food. Our friends and family like food. We don't like it when food is bad, or when a lack of thoughtfulness about people's dietary restrictions prevents them from enjoying said food. We want good food at the wedding. We also want to be able to accommodate:

- People who are lactose-intolerant (Abbot Yid and me)
- People who are gluten-intolerant (Abboy Yid and Granny Yid)
- People who are vegetarian (three or four college friends)

So there's a need for some creativity. So far epic verbal duels have been fought over Mama Yid's first idea- "Get everything catered", which got a fiery riposte from SF, "How about ordering a large take-out selection from the Sandwich Shoppe?" Things have slowly improved from there.

Another area of contention is the venue. We have decided to go with a lovely building near our apartment that is meaningful for us (local blog readers will know it as the lair of Evil Minion). This, however, has proven to be a big issue with the Yids, who think we should have it in the neighborhood association clubhouse behind their house. Yes, it is a nice place, and yes, there is a discount, but it is somewhat marred by the fact that it is directly behind my parents' house. SF has told them over and over that she doesn't want to do it there, but for some reason they can't let it go. We're hoping this will stop once we finally sign a contract with the Lair.

Another odd phenomenon we're running into is SF's parents slowly coming around to the idea that this is going to be a Jewish wedding, inasmuch as any religious content will be Jewish. I think they've finally accepted that SF is not coming back to the Protestant fold, though this has manifested itself in surprising ways, to wit:

- Habakkuk checked a coffee-table book out from the library entitled Planning Your Jewish Wedding.

- He emailed us a list of suggested Israeli songs and nigguns to consider adding to our playlist.

Oddly enough, Habakkuk is very strongly convinced of the importance of music at this event. When he asked me what hymns were traditional at weddings, I responded, "Hava Negila?" He was not amused.

Then, in our most recent conversation, this happened:

Habakkuk: You know, part of making special memories is having live music. You should hire a band. I'll even pay for it.
Me: Ok, what kind of band? (Assuming, like my mother, Habakkuk has some strange esoteric interest in ballroom dancing. Because why not.)
Habakkuk: This book says Klezmer is traditional. How about that?
Me: Um, ok. I'll write that down in the suggestion notebook!

One hour later:

Me: Hi Mom, so the latest from Habakkuk is that he thinks we should have live music.
Mama Yid: I couldn't agree more. That way we can have some dancing. People will expect it, after all.
Me: Yeah, funny thing is, he thinks it should be a Klezmer band.
Mama Yid:.........
Me: Hello? Are you there?
Mama Yid (strained): You go ahead and decide what you're doing, and then I'll decide if I'm coming.

Man, you try to please some people and it gets you nowhere. Poor us Habakkuk.

More to come, I'm sure.

1 comment:

Conservative apikoris said...


Mazal tov!


The tradition is that the parents of the bride pay for the wedding. Your mother is not your mother-in-law. If she wants a fancy wedding, she needs to talk to your in-laws to be and figure out how to arrange this. (I'm presuming that while your tastes may be modest, you don't have any objections to an upgrade if someone else is footing the bill.

Third, the food.

I will have to go on record as being in favor of hiring a caterer. The last thing you want to do on your wedding day is have to be involved with preparing and serving food. I think that a good caterer is quite capable of meeting your diverse menu needs

If you're not going to hire a caterer, then I might suggest a barbecue. Barbecues tend not to feature foods containing lactose and gluten, and one can always grill lots of veggies and polenta for the vegetarians. However, if you're going to do it yourself, make sure you have the labor lined up to do the actual work of cooking and serving, and cleaning up.

Next, the venue:

Sounds like you have to have a heart-to-heart with your parents and point-blank tell them that the clubhouse is a non-starter.

Finally, the music:

I'm sure your Mom isn't the only person in the world who can't handle all klezmer all the time at a wedding. Which means that any klezmer band worth its salt will be able to play more conventional music. You find such a band, and tell your Mom that you hired a "band" that will play wonderful music for the wedding. There's really not need to tell her the type of music the band likes to play best. She'll find out at the wedding. (I hope she was joking that her attendance at her son's wedding was contingent on the type of music being played.)

Anyway, sounds like your issues are par for the course. At my wedding, the big conflicts were over the invitation list (always a minefield) and whether or not to hire a kosher caterer. (We ended up switching rabbis over the issue.) And as to the other stuff, I didn't make to big a deal about it, I let my wife and mother in law pick out the place settings and floral arrangements, and I'm not to particular about food, as long as it's well prepared. (My wife was a pescatarian at the time, so we had fish.)

And as for the term "beer budget," that might be obsolete. Ever seen the prices of some of the microbrews?

Anyway, these should be the least of your problems with your wedding and your marriage. Good luch!