Jewish Wedding Gift

Jewish Wedding Gifts: The Do’s and Don’ts

When giving these gifts at the Jewish wedding, follow these do’s and don’ts to ensure that you don’t step on any toes.

When To Send Gift

Sending a gift for a Jewish wedding is optional, but it is a nice gesture to do so. Many people wait until after Yom Kippur to send their gifts. The reason for waiting until after Yom Kippur is that many of those being married will already be busy with preparing for their life together. They have lots to do before they leave on their honeymoon. Sending gifts after Yom Kippur gives them an opportunity to take care of all of their obligations before they leave town.

What Gift To Send

When it comes to Jewish wedding gifts, there are a few rules of thumb you can follow. First, don’t send anything made from leather or animal hair (like fur). While it might not seem like an obvious thing to bring up, if you know someone who is getting married and you aren’t familiar with their faith, always check! There are many subtle things that go into making sure a gift isn’t offensive.

Also, for those attending a traditional Jewish wedding, remember that some items are considered bad luck. You should never give a knife as a gift at any kind of celebration—it symbolizes severing relationships—and don’t give scissors either because they represent separation.

If You Can’t Attend

If you’re not able to attend your friend or family member’s wedding, sending a gift is a very classy way to show your support. Often, guests are expected to send a gift if they can’t attend (or even if they can). While you don’t have to do it, you may want to send something anyway as a means of honoring their union. You should consult with whoever invited you—for example, email them or ask in person when you meet them—to see what their expectations are. For example, some people would be fine with an evening gift of money, while others expect more expensive gifts like crystal wine glasses.

Personalized Gifts

For most Jewish weddings, guests give gifts to the couple. These gifts often reflect their relationship with both of them. For example, if you’re close friends with both people, a gift for both of them would be appropriate. If you only know one of them well, a gift for that person might be more appropriate. If you know neither person well but want to give a gift to a wedding guest anyway, a small token such as personalized stationery can be an appropriate option that keeps your contribution meaningful but economical.

Be careful when you select a gift. Many people have specific tastes, religions or practices that influence their gift choices. For example, traditional Jewish weddings usually aren’t held on Friday evenings or Saturdays, since those are considered days of rest by many Jews. Unless you’re sure of your guest’s religious practices, it is best to avoid scheduling a gift presentation time that might conflict with Shabbat observance. Also remember that gifts like alcohol aren’t appropriate for Jewish weddings because they violate religious laws about getting married under strict guidelines. If you don’t know how to handle a situation like this one, ask an associate who does celebrate these holidays for help in selecting an appropriate present in accordance with your guest’s beliefs or traditions.

Money As A Gift

In a Jewish wedding, it is tradition to give monetary gifts called machshava. Machshava (which means thought) can be anything from $20-$100 or so. It isn’t uncommon for there to be an envelope with everyone’s name on it that is passed around by someone else at the wedding.

Jewish wedding gifts are often given in multiples of 18, symbolizing the numerical value of the Hebrew word Chai, which means life or living. This reflects the idea that the couple is so tightly intertwined that they will surely live long and happy lives together.

Weddings can be extremely expensive affairs. At times, a guest might not have an extra thousand dollars sitting around to spend on presents. Instead of giving money, consider gifts that don’t cost as much but are still useful to your friend or family member who is getting married.

Consider giving a check that is made out to both of them with a note that says you are wishing them many happy years together. It won’t cost you much but it will still be well received by your friend or family member. Just make sure they have enough money in their bank account to cover it, otherwise you might be unpleasantly surprised when they present you with a check for less than what was given.

A Hallmark card is an easy option as well.

Value-Based Gifts

It’s common to give a monetary gift at a Jewish wedding, but you may want to consider value-based gifts instead. This is especially true if you know that money is tight for your friend. For example, if your loved one loves reading and cooking, you could purchase a set of nice pots and pans or tickets to an upscale restaurant in her area. These gifts are both practical and sentimental, as they can be used frequently while also providing wonderful memories of your friendship with her.

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