Planning a function?

Advice from people who’ve done it before…

By Chandrea Serebro

“What I could have done without…”

Efrat Wald

I should have invested the money‬ instead.

Shelley Berman

The insanely loud music. I don’t understand why it has to be so absolutely deafening.‬

Adrienne Bogatie


Lara Baskin

A three-course meal – at least I know my husband Justin would say that!

Audrey Nowitz

All of the above! I have seen elderly people who are only too happy to be out at a simcha, all done up, and leave as soon as they can due to the ridiculously loud music. One can’t talk, can’t enjoy the event, it is a veritable endurance test! And I’ve seen baby chickens being thrown into the bin because of simply too much food. They all died for nothing!‬

Lisa Goodman

There is nothing worse than wasted food!‬

Gill Fransman

The stress, the fuss, the worry – the event was not worth the many sleepless nights!‬ And I would never have worn black high heels to my son’s barmi. I couldn’t walk in them I was so uncomfortable. I don’t know what I was thinking!‬ But, honestly, there is nothing I would have done without at our simcha. The tears of pure joy, blessings, and nachas were worth more than anything in the world.‬

Tamara Lee

Faribles! People need to be happy for the people having a simcha and let them be b’simcha and not have to worry that they couldn’t manage to invite X for whatever reason or that X and Y are sitting together, etc., etc. Life is too short; don’t ruin someone’s simcha with faribles.‬

Esti Woznica

Bentchers. Nobody takes them.‬

Rachael Glass

Planned seating. Just have a few tables reserved for family and take away the stress of figuring out who will go well with whom. Everyone will make new friends and even find it refreshing.

Wendy Richard

Wedding cakes. We had mini-cakes made with our initials for each person to take home as a gift. Such a waste! And my dad’s friend who drove me to the chuppah in his Bentley, who offered to rather take me to O.R. Tambo Airport so I could make a quick getaway!

Shani Smith

Speeches. Or, should I say long (sometimes boring) speeches. Use the time to dance and celebrate! And the moneymaking details…focus on the real deal, what’s the simcha really about – the meaningfulness..

Sharon Melnick Krain

My husband played in a band at weddings for years and he said the biggest mistake was long speeches. Kills the vibe.‬

Kyla Maimon Edinburg

Videographer. Never watched it. The pictures were important though‬. And uncomfortable shoes or clothes.‬

Ian Bogatie ‬

We should have given a time limit for speeches!‬

Rochelle Brenner Rubin

The guests.‬

Shelley Bookatz

Not being able to invite everyone that I wanted to invite.‬

Taryn Getz

Last minute surprise expenses…very stressful in the week before your wedding when you can’t speak to each other in order to sort it out together.‬

Shelley Cobb

Limit the flowers on the tables. They are very expensive and end up being thrown away – money down the drain.‬

Jodi Cannon

Forgetting to make sure that someone needs to perform our civil marriage! My mom (who is a lawyer and was worried about the legal implications) walked across the way in the middle of the function to knock on the rabbi’s door to come and marry us. She missed the speeches – in the video it pans to her and she is missing!

“The most meaningful part was …”

Mushki Denburg

Naming my baby after my special father. So hard, but so special.

Jodi Watkin

To have my family there!‬

Dalene Blackman

The nachas from our children‬.

Gabi Medalie

My chupah.‬

Janice Leibowitz

Definitely our photos. Especially our wedding photos. Looking at them now, almost 24 years later, having those special pictures of family and friends who are no longer with us is absolutely priceless! And being able to share that with our kids is beyond special.‬

Karla Jankelowitz

The chupah. Being surrounded by people who love us. It was in the most gorgeous setting. My mom passed away 9 weeks before I got married and all her friends were there with me, and the rabbis included her in every aspect possible. It was a happy moment for me in such a dark time in my life. I was standing with my husband becoming one. Our chupah ceremony was the first “thing” we had done together with our beliefs and customs. The davening under our chupah was magical, just as I had been taught during my kallah classes…that we were davening for our future together. I truly loved my chupah.

Shelley Berman

Seeing my children happier than they had ever been before, as they stood side by side with their basherts under the chupah. All a mother ever wants is to see her children happy.‬

Ruth Ancer

The personal, warm, and very funny speeches.‬

Marion Zeller

My bedekken…seeing my fiancé for the first time in a week.‬

Shelley Bookatz

My daughter’s joy and excitement as we all celebrated at her bat mitzvah.‬

Michelle Cramer

Blessed to have family and friends help make the simchas ones to remember for ever.‬

Gia Janks

Maybe that everybody wouldn’t bring their faribles to the function…

Expectation vs reality?

Michelle Cohen ‬

The reality was pretty much in line with the expectations. I just was so busy making it match my expectations that the simcha flew by without me enjoying it as much as I could have.‬‬

Marion Sacks ‬

I loved all my simchas in different venues and different caterers. Yes, things are expensive and I would have loved to have invited more people, but with the cost, one just can’t. In Israel one has the chupah and then invites everyone for snacks and finger food. But, in Johannesburg, we have set a precedent and would feel uncomfortable to do it this way.

My simcha wouldn’t have been complete without…

Neil Levy

The stampede at the smoked salmon station‬!

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