Sunday, 6 March 2011


My wife Diane and I thought we would have a clear out of the garage this week. The first box we came across was marked “Barmitzvahs, Weddings, Anniversaries, Special Birthdays etc”.

In it was all the details from our 3 sons barmitzvahs, their weddings, birth announcements, engagement announcements, our first grandsons Pidyon Haben, our 25th, our 40th, my 60th and 70th and Diane’s 70th. Diane’s 21st birthday cards. Also the menu from our wedding in 1962.

We also found a copy of our Synagogue magazine from when our youngest son Stephen was married at Northwood United Synagogue in 1998. Northwood is on the North West outskirts of London, bordering onto Hertfordshire.

In the magazine was an article we wrote following Stephen’s wedding, which I think still holds true so far as we are concerned. So I thought I would share it with my readers:


The Wedding from a different perspective

Our youngest son Stephen married Michelle Waxman on Sunday 1st November in Northwood Synagogue, following in the footsteps of his brothers Richard and Robert.

When it comes to a wedding, the general assumption seems to be that the boy’s parents don’t have the same feelings as the girl’s parents.


What is the difference. We are all parents and I am sure don’t love our children any less. Do we not all stand together under the Chupa and participate in the joining together of our children. So, why do people apparently feel this way?

The pleasures and emotions of seeing your child standing under the Chupa are the same for all parents.

When the couple get engaged, the talk very soon turns to what the Bride and the Bride’s mother will wear, and how important it is they both look their best on the day. Which obviously it is. In addition, we hear how proud the Bride’s father will be when walking her into Shul. Again this is obvious.

What needs to be remembered is that this is the joining together of two families, and everyone wants and needs to look their best, especially under the Chupa. All the parents will be proud to see their child married in Shul under a Chupa.

We were very lucky when it came to the arrangements for each of our sons’ weddings. Each of our daughters’-in-law parents has involved us in the arrangements from day one.

Generally, however, people tend to forget, when it comes to organising a Wedding that the Bridegroom’s parents have had previous experience in organising a function – the barmitzvah.

Well the Bridegroom’s parents don’t have to organise the Wedding reception and dinner, but they do have to rely on others to let them know how many they can invite. Something you don’t have to worry about when organising a Barmitzvah. Luckily again this was not a problem for us, but you do hear horror stories.

So what do the Bridegroom’s parents do?


Firstly there’s the Shul to organise, and the officiants – Rabbi, Chazan, Choir etc. Then there are the cars, photography, video and flowers for the Shul.

Then there’s the Aufruf. Kosher catering can be arranged at home on a Shabbat, but it takes a lot of organising and a lot of moving of furniture. Who do we call up in Shul without upsetting the family – not always easy.

What about the men. Well there are morning suits to hire for bridegroom, ushers, best man, brothers, nephews, father of the bride and to pay for it all – the father of the bridegroom. In our case there were 12 suits to organise – make sure everyone went for a fitting, collect the suits, sort them out after the Wedding and then return them.

Comes the big day! Will everything go to plan?

Will the caretaker remember all the instructions from the Wardens on how to lay out the seating in Shul and erect the Chupa? The cars, photographer, florist – will they all turn up on time? Will the ushers and best man be on time? No worry about the best man Richard, Stephen’s oldest brother, or his other brother Robert who is an usher. They have both been through it before.

You still worry.

All the careful planning, however, means that the answer to all these questions is yes.

We arrive at Shul. Rabbi Brawer takes charge, everything goes like a dream and two families become one.

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