Tisha B'What? The Jewish Calendar & Choosing a Wedding Date
You and your partner are finally engaged and you can't wait to set your date! Your favorite wedding venue is only available one day all summer long and its Saturday, August 6th, 2022. You find an awesome rabbi you really want to work with on knot.com but she tells you over email - "I'm sorry, I'm not available that day! It's Tisha B'av!"
It can happen to the best of us. Lots of details go into planning for a life together, often starting with selecting a wedding date. But the Jewish calendar - a lunar/solar calendar - can be confusing. Jewish holidays start at night and lots of digital and paper calendars don't properly reflect the Jewish calendar. (Don't even remind me about the time that I booked flights to spend Passover with family on the... wrong dates. Yes, even a rabbi got the Jewish calendar wrong!)
So - avoid disappointment and take a look at the Jewish calendar before you sign your vendor contracts. I love www.hebcal.com! Even if your favorite wedding venue is ONLY available on specific days, if you have Jewish family or friends - or are hoping to have Jewish clergy officiate your wedding - certain days may be difficult for your loved ones to gather to celebrate. (Consider when out of town guests would need to book travel, too!)
Many important holidays in the Jewish calendar are called Chag - which means "festival day." These days often fall on the first and last days of certain holidays like Passover and Sukkot, and Shavuot, too. Avoiding Passover is an especially good idea because who wants a Kosher-for-Passover wedding cake anyways? Excited for a fall wedding? The intermediary days of Sukkot can be beautiful to get married because a Sukkah and a Chuppah have a lot symbolism in common!
THE HIGH HOLY DAYS
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, the Jewish New Year and the Day of Atonement, typically fall in September or October. These are considered the holiest days in the Jewish calendar. Consider spending them celebrating the newness and joy of a New Year. Dip apples in honey, get outside in nature, and spend some time reflecting on how you want to be a better person and partner.
Tisha B’av, the 9th of Av, is considered the most grief filled day in the Jewish calendar. It commemorates the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and many other catastrophes that have befallen the Jewish people throughout history.
And what about Shabbat?! It seems like a wedding would be beautiful to have on Shabbat, right? Rest, family, good food and wine, what could be better?! Most Jewish clergy won’t officiate a wedding during the daytime on a Saturday, especially in the summer. However, Saturday at 4 p.m. in December is totally fine because its already dark out. Some clergy have personal rules like - after 6 p.m. in the summer. It all depends, but best to ask first!
SO, WHEN CAN WE GET MARRIED?
It may seem like there are lots of ‘off limits’ dates (and in truth, there are more than what is detailed here). But really, the Jewish calendar is vast and joyful! Get married during the Hebrew month of Elul, amid the lights of Chanukah, on Tu B’av - the day of Love or Tu Bishvat, the New Year for Trees. As you plant seeds for your future together, your best bet is to figure out all of these details - before putting a deposit down on a venue.