I am a twenty-one-year-old single girl. I am writing to Matzav.com about the topic of – surprise, surprise – engagements. There is an issue that I would like to bring to the attention of your readers here Matzav.com. Let me explain what I am referring to by describing just one example:
My good friend informed me about three months ago that she was going to get engaged and that the lechaim would be the following night. Of course, I was very excited for her. The next day, I bought helium balloons for about twenty dollars (in the cheapest place I could find), blew my hair, got dressed up and went over to wish her my best.
The vort was two days later. I called about twelve of her friends, coworkers, etc., and asked for each of them to bring ten dollars to the hall because I would take care of the vort gift. After spending an entire morning picking out a present and laying out my own money, about five girls brought the money I had asked them to bring. Three more sent me the money later on.
My friend’s engagment was wonderful. Whenever she called me, I patiently listened to her descriptions of the beautiful jewelery she got, her adorable sisters-in-law, and the outings with her chosson. I rejoiced with her through it all, I was sympathetic to her when she had to face any disapointments regarding the wedding, and I cheered her on when she got the “wedding nerves.” I even shopped with her for some of the linen. This is despite the fact that she was never available when I called her, and when I did speak to her, I could never share with her anything that troubled me the way I used to because she was already in another world.
I tried collecting money for her bridal shower. I really did. What I collected compared to what it costed was a joke. The truth is, I didn’t try as hard as I could have because sometimes it’s easier to pay for something yourself rather than beg for money. The shower was beautiful. My friend definitely enjoyed herself though I spent the night wondering if she understood how much money, effort, and planning went into it.
The wedding is coming up soon. The shtick is already safely in my basement. It was rented and it’s really beautiful, but I only got her arches and an umbrella because I only had a hundred dollar bill on me and thats what it cost. I’m still trying to find someone who is taking a car to the wedding, being there for the whole thing, and who doesn’t mind picking up the shtick from my house and dropping it off afterwards. I’ll unload it and reload it into the car of course, but since my parents don’t want me to drive to the wedding (it’s an hour’s drive away), I have to find someone for the transportation.
For her Shabbos Kallah, I asked another friend of hers to split the cost of a chocolate platter with me. The cheapest option is about forty dollars. It won’t look like the most gorgeous thing on the table, but I don’t think she’ll have the presence of mind to care, or even notice.
I’ll be leaving work early on the day of her wedding. I have to run to the chuppah-card gemach – you know, those tefillah cards that are passed around by every wedding. For every lost chuppahcard, it’ll cost me $1.50, so I hope none get lost because I’m running out of money. Then I need to get my hair blown, do my makeup, get dressed, and catch my ride to the wedding. Somewhere in between, I’ll take care of putting the shtick into the car of the person who is willing to take it.
Guess what? I just got invited to her Shabbos sheva brachos. She says it’ll mean a lot to her if I go, so I’ll make sure to be there, although I’m not sure what she means by that because she’ll be sitting with her chosson the whole time. I’m sort of broke so I don’t know what to do about the chocolate platter/flowers obligation. Maybe I’ll collect the money, or try to.
I wonder if she’ll call me after the wedding. I’ll definitely miss her and the beautiful relationship we shared that will never be the same again. She’ll be moving to another country, with a completely different time zone, so I don’t think we’ll have much contact.
My question now is, am I wrong to feel resentment? Why are the friends of a kallah, who themselves are dying to get married, and who have mixed feelings as they watch friend after friend walk down the aisle and out out of their lives, obligated to do so much? About the moral support part, I don’t complain – that’s what friends are there for. But what of the money and the effort? Is this fair?
A Girl in Turmoil