A Reader Writes: A Friend of the Kallah

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kallahDear Editor,

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


  1. Correct me if I am wrong but isn’t there a Recession out there? Why in the world all this money raised and spend for such “frivolous expenses”-

    If I am preaching to the choir- so be it!!

  2. You are wrong to feel resentment. You should do what you can do financially and emotionally b’simcha. If this is a chesed case and she truly has no other friends, then consider it a tremendous mitzvah. If this is your best friend consider that had the roles been reversed and you got engaged first, she might have done all these things for you.

    You are not obligated to buy flowers/chocolates for a l’chaim, vort, shower, and shabos sheva brochos and you can certainly not attribute the price of blowing your hair to your friend.

    Honestly, if you did all this for me and wrote like this about me I would throw your gifts back in your face.

  3. First of all Mazal Tov to your friend and E”H by you with the right one and may it be soon. It is okay to feel your feelings it is wrong to act on them. It is also worng to give away money that you can’t afford for a friend you care about. It is good to get others involed.
    Tzaddikin of the past purposely went to many people even though they could have gone to just one person. They wanted to give klall yisroel the mitzvah as well. There are ways to do this within your budget.
    Your a loyal friend to have and you will also
    make a great wife. However as far as your friend goes it is normal for her to be this way now. Yes she really does want you and would truly be hurt if you didn’t show up. Both of you are normal with normal emotions. Perhaps you could now have more time to do things you always dreamed about and perhaps try to befriend other girls in the process. With your loyalty you shouldn’t have the challange.
    Hatzlacha rabba and a great year
    Enjoy the wedding appreciate and enjoy the Sheva Brachas as well if you go.

  4. Our value system is to blame. What are we instilling in our children? That a “chocolate” display (and an expensive one at that) must accompany each event? The tehillim booklets are not the responsibility of the friend; there are gemachs that will lend them for free – and if lost, the family should be responsible for the payment. There are also gemachs that will lend shtick – why does the girl have to spend $100 to rent it? JUST SAY NO

  5. About why its ALL the kallahs friends responsibilty:
    You will apreciate when it will be done at your simcha ,it should happen soon for you.

    As far as why its YOUR responsibilty VS other friends of hers, perhaps your just a better and more responsible person and people wrongfully come to rely on you for this stuff.

    It also depends how close you are with this particular kallah,and you happen to be her best friend and closer to her then others.

    But ,NO.you are not obligated to be the one shelling out all the cash.

  6. Thats kind of the way things work. The first one in the grade gets the biggest and most splashy and it dwindles with each person. You are clearly a very special friend and I would probably also feel resentment. Its normal. Remember that she probably has no idea just how much time, work, money and effort you are putting into making her happy even happier.

    FYI, if you do homework (I’m not sure where you’re located) but there are many places that have things (as you mentioned, shtick, chuppah tefillos) for free or for a minimal amount thats given to tzedaka. Check the papers or a Chosson/Kallah guide of some sort.

    IY”H by you SOON!!! Right person, right time.

  7. I am also a 21 yr old single girl and i truly, truly emphasize with you. I’ve done all of the above and shelled out hundreds of dollars for friends l’chaim, vort and shower presents and never heard from them again-not even a thank you note!

    The only difference by me is that i’ve done this for 10 different friends so i’m really broke. In fact, just yesterday, someone called me to ask to chip in for 3 different girls presents. When i asked how much she wanted me to chip in, she said $10 per present!!!!! She explained that since all the married girls (whom we all chipped in for THEIR presents very recently) can’t contribute to the present since their on a tight kollel budget, us single girls have to chip in more!!!! At this rate i’ll be lucky if they get enough money to buy a kitchen knife for me when i get engaged!!!!

    I told this girl that i’m sorry but i’m done giving away my month’s salary for the presents of friends whom i never hear from again after their wedding.

    Stop right now with the presents because it never ends and you’ll never get a thank you; you’ll just get hurt instead.

    Just another chapter in the life of an older single girl……

  8. If you have the energy and the means to do these great chasodim, continue in your virtuos ways.the seforim write the greatest form of tzedakah is chesed,and chesed can be performed. For anyone not just the poor.the doubt that you have is the yetzer hora trying to steal your schar.so ignore the doubt,and there is no doubt that the riboinoi she’ll oilam will repay you many times over.

  9. Yes its perfectly understandable that you feel resentment… i was one of the first from my friends to get married and i got the full treatment which i definitely appreciated then and still try to thank them now but not expensive chocolate platters, myriad balloons and flowers… while i try to recipricate now, its obviously not as feasible because i live so far and i am so busy. I am sure your friend appreciates all the hard work and money you invested – but i dont think it was all necessary! a cheaper gift sent with love and friendship is much more appreciated than an expensive chocolate platter given begrudgingly. i dont know where you are from but in my circle of friends $10-20 for a shower gift and picking up the shtick from the grades gemach and baking something nice for the shabbos kallah is pretty much the standard for a friend. personal shtick is also appreciated but you can definitely keep the cost down there. dont overextend yourself and then feel resentment, be a devoted friend and be there for her.. with a full heart. that is definitely the greatest a true friend can ask for! Hatzlacha and may you join the kalla club very soon!

  10. Perhaps there ought to be a pre-agreed upon standard within the class for how things work when somone gets engaged and who should take care of shopping for it, and how much to spend and gift types etc.

    If one girl takes on herself to spend a certain amount for gifts , shtick etc and the other girls were not on board from the begining , then she will obviously have dificulty later getting back her money from everyone, never mind the time.


  11. Don’t feel obligated to purchase something for every event and only handle the shower/shtick of your closest friend(s). But understand that this is your friend’s time where you should be available for her. She is going through changes in her life and she has a lot to deal with and yes it will be a different relationship than when you were both single. I’m 26 and single and bh my best friend who is married was mature enough to realize the value of our friendship and I was mature enough to realize that based on life situations friendships change.

  12. I can’t imagine paying $100 to rent shtick. As for the rest of it… I can’t imagine that your friend really wanted you to impoverish yourself over her simcha. There’s nothing wrong with giving only what you can afford.

  13. wants i asked a gadol
    that it is hard to let meshulochim in my house
    it is a yoke ,but i can do it
    he ansered only do it if it is with full simcha
    if not dont do it
    same to you young girl
    if you cant do it bsimcha dont do it

  14. i’m pretty sure i got engaged and married without balloons at my l’chaim and who said you need to send a fancy chocolate arrangement to the shabbos kallah? whatever happened to baking something nice? you’re doing this to yourself by accepting unnecessary standards ….

  15. im also a 21 yr old single girl and i totaly can relate to your situation.. i dont have many of my close friends married but my best friend did get married recently and it was a big change that i had to get used to.. i collected money for a vort present and then money for a shower present and shtick and it was quite difficult to do because it was annoying to have to keep nudging ppl to pay u back for the money that i laid out.. eventhough i didnt get a big acknowledgment for it i know that she appreciated it.. it is alittle hard because i know that it wont b the same when i iyh get married because she is already married and the excitement cant b the same but i am still so happy for her.. the relationship does change and it was hard in the beginning but we both try hard to stay in touch and bh its working.. iyh simchas

  16. to all the people who are castigating this girl and saying she shouldn’t have done it or to just say no, please be aware that everything she has done is considered standard and the kallah who does not receive these things feels as if she is friendless. Would you want your daughter/sister/granddaughter to be the one who doesn’t get it? Unfortunately this has become the norm in our society. Another shame is look at the amount of waste is going on. Hundreds of dollars have been spent on things that will end up in the garbage. This is all part of the bigger conversation of the things that have become neccessities in our world that are just plain stupid! It’s time for the schools to discuss these things ad nauseum in high school until priorities are inculcated into our youth.

  17. To #24: “Standard”? Thank goodness I don’t live in YOUR world! I would be appalled if my daughters’ friends DID these things; they show their love and friendship in other ways. And no, it is NOT the schools’ obligations to discuss these things– it is the PARENTS who can and must put a stop to these grossly distorted priorities.

  18. I understand the feeling of shelling out a lot of cash for friends who probably will never reciprocate, and I will have barely anything to do with after their marrige.
    A best friend, however, is a different scenario. I would gladly spend the money for such a good friend, whom I probably will remain close with.
    However, the amount you spent was unneccessary. Vort present, yes. Shower, of course. Shtick, sure. But the tefilah cards? that job is usually left to her family. Food at showers and shabbos kallahs are usually homemade.
    At your next friends engagment realize what is the norm and what is excessive. And leave one of her other friends to be in charge, then you wont doll out more than your share towards the shower/shtick.

  19. My daughter and all her friends are graduate students so they are all on tight budgets. They buy ONE present and everyone chips in for the wedding gift,no more than $10.00 each. for the shower, everyone buys a kitchen utensil for less than $5.00. And for the shower, everyone who comes brings a plate of something, coordinating with the girls “throwing the shower” from cake to soda to paper goods.
    That is it !!!
    When my daughter goes to someones house for a simcha, she brings a bakery cake and a thank you note.
    Who says you have to spend so much money and who says you have to put your life on hold for a kallah? Her mother and sister/s and future mother-in-law are the ones who should be shopping with her and buying her what she needs and what they can afford to spend.

  20. will the public listen to our G’dolim and abide by the wedding guidelines they have been publicizing for so long?? Maybe it’s time for a new kol korei! All this is standard?? A kallah feels freindless without a $75 chocolate display? Sanity anyone?

  21. dear girl, think hard about this question:

    do you love your friend or do you love yourself?

    if you feel resentment you don’t really love her anymore

    you feel: “whats in it for me.”

    and now that you realize that your friendship will never be the same and you aren’t getting your needs met, you feel resentment, its that simple.

    if you would only think and come to realize this… then it was worth you posting this letter on the internet

    now I hope you learn the gift of a true friend one day… I hope you get a chosson that will treat you like a queen and you treat hime like a king… giving unconditionally

    then you’ll have a happy marriage!

  22. A girl who gets engaged is so happy (or should be) in finding her bashert that I don’t think all the trimmings that you find necessary are necessary for her.

    I’m sure she appreciates your hard work and effort, but be aware that many kallahs are disoriented over the many changes and things to take care of that she may not have absorbed all that you have done.

    And, as was mentioned previously, a homemade cake really goes a long way. And keep in the mind that the sheva brachos invite was probably meant as a thank you for your efforts, rather than as a request for more flowers.

    Relax! Your reassuring, happy presence is what she needed at that hectic, nerve racking time, not helium and chocolate. Your resentment appears to have been self-made. If you arrived to every occasion truly brimming with joy at her simcha, she would not have faulted you for coming empty handed.

  23. Um, I don’t think anyone has answered this strongly enough.
    Hello! You’re being stupid!

    I’m an aidel Brooklyn maidel who went to Bais Yaakov and has more married friends than I care to think about. And I have *never* heard of this “obligation” to get balloons, chocolate, flowers, paid shtick, tefilla cards, and all that junk.

    Do you seriously think she cares?

    Apparently we keep different circles, which is good, because I would never agree to chip in for pointless nonsense and then you’d feel resentful.

    It’s unimportant. She’s engaged and happy and doesn’t know what to do with those balloons anyway (garbage anyone?). Just be happy without gifts and then you’ll both be happy.

  24. In life, if you let people take advantage of you , they will. There’s nothing wrong to want to be giving to someone else, but if someone is looking forward to free kindly handouts, you have to set the rules to begin with and then it is up to the receiving party if he/she is willing to accept those terms or not. Ultimately, the friend getting married has to realize that the greatest gift she will receive is her bridegroom if she truly loves him.

  25. What you’re saying is definitely true. I know because I am (gasp!) 22 and single. The way I’ve done it is to go semi-cheap: balloons are absolutely not necessary for a lechaim, and you do NOT have to spend $40 on a platter for the Shabbos Kallah – I think she would appreciate it more if you would bake something, and don’t exaggerate the tefillah cards – if you do a good job collecting them, you will return every single one without having to pay a dime. (And usually, the money you give them goes to tzedakah anyway.) It is seriously ridiculous that you spent $100 on shtick – I am not a gemach person for any other matters other than shtick, and I don’t see why you can’t just get shtick from a gemach. $100 is waaaay too much – you were ripped off. Save your money for your REAL friends – then you can splurge all you want. And if you are concerned about being “paid back” when it is your time, your REAL friends will pay you back. The question is – would YOU notice the difference between $100 shtick vs. regular shtick?

  26. What a stupidity of paying so much money out for narashkeit! I am married for many years B’H, have married children etc,Kein yirbu! and where we live everything is from a gemach and home baked and set up by the ourselvelves, i.e. the family, neighbors, friends…
    You have to give what you can afford with kavod and with simcha. It is not up to you to get linen, chocolate, shtick, it is for the family etc. LEARN FROM THIS! BAKE A CAKE/COOKIES and put on a nice disposable platter and bring to the vort…
    May you find your true besherte be karov Amen!

  27. isten, i understand what you are saying, and where you are coming from, but can i explain something to you??
    had your friend who is getting married knew that you are not doing it with a full heart she would have rather you just not do it at all.
    it has happened to me countless of times, that i asked someone for a favor, they did it, and later it backfired, and they told me how much they went out of their way to do it.
    honey, if you are going to look at it as a burden and an obligation, ya know wat?? just don’t do it.
    my bestest friend just got engaged, and i love her dearly, but i am not doing close as much as you are. and guess wat? she still knows how much i love her. you don’thave to do this if your heart is not in it. and actually i think it is a better idea to never do this much for anyone if your heart is not truly in it
    good luck!


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