5 Things to Consider When Choosing Your Wedding Date
Choosing your wedding date is not always easy and Jewish weddings come with their own set of date considerations. Consider both your families’ cultural and faith backgrounds: Are there calendar considerations that are relevant for you, your families, and/or your guests? Not sure? Ask them! Whatever you decide, they’re sure to appreciate your thoughtfulness.
Here are five things to keep in mind for choosing a date for your wedding.
1. Remember the Sabbath.
Customarily, Jewish weddings do not take place on Shabbat, which begins shortly before sundown on Friday evening and concludes about an hour after sundown on Saturday evening. The actual time will vary depending on the season. Although some Reform clergy may officiate at weddings before Shabbat has ended, you will have more options if you plan for the ceremony to begin after Shabbat.
Many Jewish weddings, therefore, are held on Sundays.
It’s also a good idea to avoid scheduling weddings on Friday afternoons, when Jewish clergy, busy making Shabbat preparations for themselves, their families and their congregations, are likely to be unavailable to perform weddings. Clergy schedules fill up far in advance, so if you have a specific rabbi or cantor you would like to officiate at your wedding, be sure to speak to that person before you finalize your wedding date.
2. Avoid major Jewish holidays.
Avoid scheduling your wedding or wedding-related events on these Jewish holidays: Passover, Sukkot, Shavuot, Purim, Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur (and the 10 days between them). (Find a list of these Jewish holidays and their dates on our downloadable Jewish holiday calendar.) In some communities, weddings also may not be held during the Omer (the 49 days between Passover and Shavuot), with the exception of the 33rd day, known as Lag BaOmer, a day of festivity in the midst of a period of semi-mourning.
On these holidays, we’re encouraged to focus on the special meanings and observances unique to the days. In addition, you’ll have a better chance that the rabbi or cantor you wish to have officiate will be available to conduct your wedding. What’s more, you won’t put your Jewishly observant guests in an awkward position.
3. Schedule your wedding on a “doubly good” day.
Certain days, for example, Tuesdays, are said to enhance the experience of a Jewish wedding. In Genesis 1:9-13, we are told twice that on the third day of Creation (that is, Tuesday), “God saw that it was good.” Many understand the repetition to mean that this day is doubly good, and what better day for a wedding than a doubly good one?
4. Have a romantic Festival of Lights.
Hanukkah (and, in fact, the entire Hebrew month of Kislev, in which Hanukkah is celebrated) is a great time of year for Jewish weddings, due to the symbolism of adding light to the world. After all, light, like love, grows when shared. Considering how popular Hanukkah has become, it is an especially great time to get married due to the inherent celebratory nature we’ve come to anticipate at that time of year. In addition, in North America, sundown is earlier than at other seasons, so Saturday evening weddings need not conflict with Shabbat.
If you get married during this time, don’t be shy about incorporating elements from the holiday into your wedding. Include a hanukkiyah (a Hanukkah menorah), latkes, and sufganiyot (jelly doughnuts), as well as dreidels, gelt, and other toys for children – and for your adult guests!
5. Consider these other auspicious days fit for weddings.
Rosh Chodesh (the beginning of each Jewish month) and the 14 days that follow are considered particularly favorable for Jewish weddings because during those days the moon appears larger each day, symbolizing increasing abundance.
Tu BiShvat, the Jewish new year of the trees, is ideal for a wedding because while the trees celebrate their new year, couples can also celebrate their personal new year as spouses.
Tu B’Av, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Av celebrates love and joy, and historically has been associated with Jewish weddings.
Not sure when the Jewish holidays land on the secular calendar? View and download a list of Jewish holidays.