Rabbi Paul Glantz officiating Laura and Gio’s wedding
We’ve been hearing that some of our STG Brides Club members have been getting pushback from friends and family when discussing the hard decision to postpone their Jewish wedding due to COVID-19.
You may even be getting messages from well-intentioned loved ones that it’s forbidden by Jewish law to push back your wedding date. But chances are, the people giving you flack about postponing are struggling to give you a solid reason for their objections.
So we wanted to clear things up for you once and for all. We chatted with our resident expert in all things Jewish law, Rabbi Paul Glantz (who has officiated many beautiful STG real weddings), and he says it’s 100% fine to postpone a Jewish wedding.
It’s absolutely fine to postpone a Jewish wedding for Covid-19
Although it’s true that there’s a strong custom not to postpone under normal circumstances, it’s just that: a custom. There’s absolutely nothing in halacha (Jewish law) prohibiting it. While some very strict rabbis are taking the stance that, even amidst the pandemic, Jewish weddings shouldn’t be postponed, it’s important to know that that’s a very strict interpretation.
Rabbis who are advising couples to avoid postponing may be relying on the tradition of not delaying joyous events – which, while a strong theme in Jewish law, absolutely does not override the stronger principle of pikuach nefesh, the idea that the preservation of human life takes priority over just about all other Jewish laws and customs. Given the danger of gatherings at this time, it’s pretty clear that by waiting to hold your wedding until the pandemic has receded, you are honoring pikuach nefesh – and there’s not much more Jewish than that!
In very religiously conservative circles, there may also be a fear that pushing off the wedding date will encourage premarital sex among couples who would otherwise wait until after the chuppah – or that postponing a wedding postpones the mitzvah (commandment) of procreation.
You’ve Got Options
That said, if you and your partner have decided you don’t want to wait to make things official – hopefully for your own reasons, rather than due to pressure from anyone else – there may be ways to make your original wedding date happen, even if it will look different from what you’d originally planned. Depending on where you’re located and what the regulations are in your area, it may be possible to have a micro wedding with just an officiant, witnesses, and maybe a tiny handful of guests if it’s permitted where you are.
A Zoom wedding can also be an option, though of course you’ll need to check with your officiant and on legal regulations where you are to find out if this will be religiously and/or legally binding – even if not, it can still be a beautiful way to honor your relationship and your original date!
What about the ketubah?
Just be mindful that if you opt for something along these lines, the date on your ketubah needs to reflect the date of your actual Jewish ceremony. If you’ve already ordered a ketubah with your original date, and will be postponing, most artists and suppliers are being wonderful about helping you resolve the issue, so don’t hesitate to reach out to yours.
The bottom line is, you’ve got choices – and they’re YOUR choices to make, along with your fiancé(e), not anyone else’s.
If you are facing pressure about postponing – or if you’d just like to be able to vent to other people going through the same weird ordeal of wedding planning in a pandemic – check our members-only Brides Club for Jewish and Jew-ish brides-to-be (we’re currently offering a free 30-day trial!).