One of my friends is getting married, and she just told me a tentative date for her wedding. It’s Rosh Hashanah. She’s clearly started planning, but it’s not set in stone. Do I say anything, or keep my mouth shut?
New Year Nuptials
Say something, and do it as soon as possible and as gently and kindly as possible. Start with, “I’m so happy for you and excited for your wedding.” Then try something like, “After you told me your tentative date, I checked my calendar and realized that that date next year is Rosh Hashanah.”
Now here’s my question for you: Does that mean you won’t attend? Does that mean it’s likely that other friends of hers won’t be able to attend? Would you rather not attend, and this gives you an out? Regardless of your answers to my questions, she should know about the potential for conflict, but how you continue the conversation depends on your plans and the implications for her wedding.
Letting her know that you are genuinely happy for her but won’t be able to attend if she sticks with the date is a reasonable way for the conversation to go. Letting her know that you hope she can change the date is also potentially reasonable, if she hasn’t booked anything yet or told too many people, and if she’s flexible enough to consider an alternative.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah are all on weekends this year. While some people are super thrilled not to have to miss a lot of school/work in 2020, if your friend has her heart set on getting married in the fall, and she starts trying to avoid Jewish holidays, well, it’s likely going to be impossible.
Before you start the conversation with her, have a strong handle on the dates. Decide for yourself whether there are weekends this fall where you would be comfortable and able to attend a wedding. Keep in mind that her Jewish friends all probably have differing observance levels, and what works for one person may not work for another.
Do your best to raise her awareness while speaking only for yourself regarding attendance. Please note that if you write to me in a couple months and say, “Should I attend a wedding on Rosh Hashanah,” my answer will be, “No, you should politely decline.”