By Mordechai Schmutter for COLlive.com
So you’re getting married this month! Mazel tov!
Unfortunately, everyone’s getting married this month, baruch Hashem, except for the people who are already married, and all the halls are booked. So you have to get creative.
Fortunately, I’ve come across a lot of stories of people getting married in very unusual venues, and there’s no reason that you can’t as well, except for the reasons we might point out. But you can if you’re really determined, you’re willing to make some compromises, and you find out that these might be cheaper than booking a hall. Whichever venue you choose, make sure to ask your LOR whether there are any issues, making it clear that if he says there aren’t, you’re going to ask him to come along and officiate.
1. 99-Cent Store
This is great for weddings on a budget.
This classy venue was actually chosen for nine lucky couples who won some kind of promotional lottery for a store in L.A., which hosted the weddings on 09/09/09 at 9:09 in the morning.
This is called discount humor.
Who’s waking up for a 9-o’clock wedding in a 99-cents store? What time did they have to get up to get ready? What time was pictures?
The short pre-wedding fast might make it all worth it, though. But fair warning: If you get married there, you know where all your gifts are coming from.
“Wait. Where did you get this ring?”
Antique Store – People have done this, though I can’t see how without everything breaking.
“Can we stop the backwards dancing?”
“What did I just blow my nose on?”
On the bright side, you can go with the theme and use your grandmother’s wedding ring! Or someone’s grandmother’s.
You could do it in the flower section.
Plus you can get married by the mashgiach, and there’s already food there. Though it might be hard for your guests to tell which foods are for the wedding and which just belong to the store. Especially in the produce aisle.
One couple that did this was the Aronsons, who got married in a Whole Foods in North Carolina in February.
“We got really kind words from shoppers walking around,” the kallah told reporters. “Someone said they hope our refrigerator is always full.”
And after the chasunah, the chosson and kallah can go around buying staples for their home.
“Do you remember if we have flour?”
“No, we don’t have anything.”
3. Home Depot
This is also very convenient, because they have a lot of what you need. You can build your own chuppah! You also have a choice of which section to get married in – garden, lighting, plumbing supplies… The downside is that every speech will be about building a bayis ne’eman.
One Home Depot wedding I read about happened a couple of years ago, between a woman who worked in plumbing supplies and a man who worked in the lumber department. They chose to have their wedding in the garden section, attended by all the employees as well as several customers looking for someone to ask questions to.
“Oh, that’s where everyone is.”
4. Bowling Alley
They already have plenty of makeshift aisles to walk down, and you don’t have to worry about knocking anything over. In fact, it’s encouraged. On the other hand, the seating is weird, and they make you rent shoes. Also, one of the chosson’s friends is going to try juggling bowling balls.
No, scratch that. ALL of the chosson’s friends are going to try juggling bowling balls.
This would have to be a very quiet wedding, so you get to save on a band. And on mechitzos.
This is a good venue if you want to set a precedent for a quiet marriage filled with a lot of reading and a slight musty smell. The people who’ve done this absolutely love to read, and want to get married surrounded by everything they love – books, family, friends, and cheapskates reading newspapers on those big sticks.
But overall, this is a great idea. In fact, if you love to learn, why not get married in a seforim store? Then you don’t have to give out benchers.
6. The Zoo
We go to the zoo all the time and say, “Oh, those two are on a date!” Just once we’d like to say, “I think those two are getting married!… What’s that smell?”
If you don’t feel like there’s any point to getting married in the zoo proper, seeing as the animals are all in enclosures anyway, except for the random chicken that’s always casually walking around and doesn’t realize it’s a zoo (“Hey, what’s everyone eating?”) then you can do it in the petting zoo, if you don’t mind the very real danger that your kesubah will be eaten by a goat.
“Can we get another glass? The llamas keep breaking them.”
7. Sports Stadium
This is great if you’ve lost a handle on your guest list and are looking at an upwards of 10,000 people. And you can shoot mini hot dogs into the stands! This kind of venue would be perfect if, say, the rebbeh marries off a grandson. If you’ve chosen an ice hockey stadium, make sure Bubby and Zaidy know this before they start down the aisle.
8. Maid of the Mist
This is a nice destination wedding, if you’re interested in intentionally simulating rain. Everyone’s sheitels are going to get ruined. But at least they’ll all be matching for the pictures, thanks to those raincoats.
9. Death Valley
Hey, you’re already in a kittel.
This might not be a great time of the year for it, though. Let’s put it this way: A few years ago, park rangers in this desert valley located in Eastern California had to make a rule that people stop cracking eggs on the ground just to see if they could fry in the heat. No one was eating them, and the whole place smelled like eggs.
Apparently, it’s really beautiful in the winter, though. Or you can do it in the summer and have a nice omelet bar.
10. The Top of Mount Everest
If you’re not into Death Valley, why not go for the polar opposite? A couple of mountain guides did this in 2005, but they only had enough oxygen for a ten-minute ceremony, not that anyone was complaining. Other couples attempted the feat, but in all cases either the chosson or kallah was not able to make the climb. In their chasunah clothes. Or they got up there all out of breath.
“That was some aisle. I think I lost my candle back there.”
“What happened to the rabbi?”
This is how you have to do it if you don’t want anyone to leave before bentching. The aisle’s kind of thin, though. Your parents have to walk you down sideways. And this is all assuming that the airline lets you bring candles on a flight.
What location do you even write on the kesubah? Shomayim?
The seudah will be six pretzels and a tiny meal in shrink wrap, and dancing will be a train dance that goes nowhere.
“We’re at the end of the plane. Everyone back up!”
And then you have all the guests at your destination when the wedding is over.
“Where do we go now?”
“Not our problem. Call your babysitter.”
This is pretty scary, but it’s great if you can get your parents to agree to walk you down.
I’ve only heard of one instance of this – last month, in Germany. And the chosson and kallah were both tightrope performers, which might be a prerequisite. Why do all these people get married at work? Is this about vacation days?
More than 3,000 people watched, because that’s the kind of thing that happens when you’re 50 feet up.
On the bright side, it would be very easy to break the glass.
13. Roller coaster
I’ve heard of several instances of people doing this – going screaming down the aisle – as marriage is pretty much like a roller coaster anyway: it’s full of ups and downs, twists and turns, and occasionally vomit.
The downside is that the mesader and eidim would have to sit behind you, unless you don’t mind sitting in the back. So the eidim can only see you from behind. Not that a Rochel-Leah switch would be easy when you’re moving that fast while strapped into a shoulder harness.
The other downside is that there’s a limited number of guests that can even fit onto the roller coaster, especially once you factor in the people who are definitely going to be there, like the grandmother of the kallah. And it’s hard to hear the ceremony if people keep screaming.
“Would you all be quiet back there? I’m going to turn this roller coaster around and we are not going to have a wedding.”
“You too, Bubby.”
Also, you might have to go around seven times before you can even start. But on the bright side, you’ll probably save money on the meal, because no one’s going to eat.
If this is the venue that you choose, though, there are some complications that you’d have to work out. For example, it might be hard to bring a chuppah along. And when everyone puts their hands up, you’ll probably lose the flowers. You might also lose your hat, and every single sheitel. And the wine situation is going to be very awkward, especially if the roller coaster goes upside down. You’d also have to find a very nimble photographer. Otherwise you’d just stuck with that one picture that the park tries to sell you at the end, of everyone about to go down the big drop.
“That’s how much the picture costs? I’d rather pay insurance on a photographer!”
-Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He also has 6 books out and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected]