October 2022

Mazel & Mishagoss: Can’t a Jewish Bride Have a Winter Wonderland?

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By Stephanie D Lewis

Announcement time! I’m getting married. Yes, again! It’s actually #3 for me, and my family is less than thrilled about attending my normally elaborate-themed weddings. Hmph…I guess nobody thinks three time’s a charm? “Ever since the pandemic, they do Zoom ceremonies, you know?” This from my mother who hates technology so much she has an outgoing cell message directing callers to dial her landline number so they can leave a message on her home answering machine from Radio Shack. “At the beep” even. Nobody needs a beep anymore!

But I digress. I’ve forever dreamed of a winter wedding in gorgeous Lake Tahoe –glistening snowy mountains, serving guests steaming hot mugs of cocoa, and even a s’mores dessert bar. My first two husbands hated shivering, so we had to say “I do” on a Del Mar Beach in humid August — perspiration drops running down my veiled face as guests wore flower leis and watermelon slushies were served to keep everyone cool and happy.

But this time I’ll get MY way because I’ve acquainted myself with the “Bridezilla” method of wedding planning. Our date is December 18th and I’m already creating my indoor cold weather ambience. (Hot tip: Buy stock in Walmart’s arts n’ crafts section because there’ll be a run on white lace and cotton balls.) I’m using these supplies to sew little yarmulkas on my snowman centerpieces and to fashion a wall mural of faux eggnog out of the cotton. Yay for the Winter Wonderland theme I’ve always wanted. Afterall … it should be the bride’s day, right?

Well, so much for the bride. The Rabbi who’s officiating, (after listening to my decorating plans along with my very Jewish fiancé who backs him up 100%) has nixed the snowman and eggnog as inappropriate for a Jewish affair. So I’m switching to stuffed polar bears and I’ll utilize the bags of cotton for oversized pretend matzo balls on a selfie photo wall-backdrop. In short, I’ll make this winter theme work, even if it kills me. Nobody’s stopping me this time! I even ignore the Rabbi’s chatter about Judah Macabee as I flounce out of synagogue in search of a wooden ski for our friends to sign instead of a guestbook. Clever, yes?

It’s not long before I notice very few RSVP’s trickling in and the ones that do arrive all politely decline. “No thank you! We’re scheduled to do our family laundry on the 18th.” And “Oy! December? So chilly! Your Uncle Irving’s bursitis acts up in winter. How about a lovely beach wedding over summer with those delicious iced-drinks you served last time? Aloha!” Grrrr. Or I should I say “Brrrrrr?” Because guess what? I’m NOT budging!

Meanwhile, I notice my fiancé squirreling away menorahs and Stars of David in his garage workshop as I overhear him whispering to his mother about her secret latke recipe. Honestly, if he thinks we’re holding the annual family Chanukah party this year, he better think again. It’s his sister’s turn to host. Besides, I’ve got my hands full convincing my stubborn flower-girl to throw snowballs (instead of scattering rose petals) as she toddles down the aisle. Plus I’ve gotta train some guy to dress up as Moses to give our guests sleigh rides. There’s only so much one bride can possibly handle. No Chanukah this year. No way. No how.

On the big day, I congratulate myself for pulling off my bridal fantasy. The crowning glory will be the cozy scarves and mittens I’ve obtained for party favors! As I walk down the aisle, (in my flannel gown, tucking my fingers cozily inside a white fur hand-muff!) the scent of fried jelly donuts greets my nose. Why is my groom handing out chocolate gelt to guests seated on each side of me who are spinning dreidels? Upon seeing me enter, people turn to shout “Happy Chanukah!” Nu?? Nobody chants, “Here comes the bride!” anymore?! I look to my future husband with questioning eyes. He shrugs. “People were boycotting our wedding unless it was a Chanukah party!” I shake myself awake; grateful it’s only a bad dream until I check the calendar. Sure enough, Chanukah = Sundown, December 18th. I have a few months to stop this sabotage! One thing’s in my favor…the ballroom prohibits open flames which’ll prevent menorah lighting. But of course – with my luck, there’ll be a Chanukah Miracle! Stay tuned…

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