Broke Bochurim Going to Friend’s Weddings

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    I just wanted to point out to the YW readers, that when yeshiva bochurim come to a wedding (and there can be alot to go to, as they and all of their friends are in the parsha), they expect to be compensated for their travel costs. Before everyone starts jumping about this practice, I’m not endorsing it, but I just wanted to bring it to people’s attention, as sometimes the uncomfortable situation arises when a bochur who doesn’t have money expects his expenses to be paid for, and then by the wedding he is told to fly a kite. The matter only gets more complicated if other bochurim hitch a ride from one who is stuck with the bill (and he doesn’t know their names or #s)

    I would like your thoughts


    The cost of a wedding and stressing over planning one is enough they should go through, They shouldn’t have to worry over their guests not having the cash to come. In my experience, whenever there wasn’t a bus providing free transportation, My friends and I would hitch a ride with someone else going, and if that wasn’t possible, then I just wouldn’t go and send my mazal tovs through a phone call. So if the family making the wedding, has the money, and the koyach to rent a bus, and find rides for everyone who rsvp’s then power to them. For the bochurim, and any other individuals who don’t have the means to get to the wedding hall, don’t be upset or hurt when there isn’t free transportation, there is a lot going on when making a wedding, and it costs a lot of money to rent a bus service. Believe me I know, when I got married it was very hectic, and the wedding costs sure do put a dent in our bank accounts.


    I was very disturbed when I first heard of this practice. Even a modest wedding, little or minimal support can stretch the girls’ parents to the limits. (You don’t mention who’s supposed to be reimbursing the boys.) OTOH having made our daughter’s chasunah near the chosson’s yeshiva, we see how much their presence enhanced the simcha. But back to the original hand: I wouldn’t want my son to take some pressured parents’ money to enhance their child’s simcha. I just wouldn’t. Usually there would be a good few months time to start making travel plans, check airfares, etc. to get the best deal.


    Expects it to be paid by whom?


    It;s been the minhag in Lakewood that the chosson pays the expenses for a few cars to come to his wedding. This should be arranged in advance aas to how this money will be allocated and received so as no to “shter” the simcha and to make sure all those who are to be reimbursed are, with any embarassment to anyone.


    money can be tight around children’s simchas and can cause shalom bayis issues, problems between the two sides ect (have heard about from others…not in the parsha yet…) and bochurim- you wouldnt want to be the cause of all that now, would you? be careful!!!


    I think that the chosson and kallah should pay your dry cleaning bills in advance!!


    Are you going for your own enjoyment or to be mesameach Chasan and Kalla? Can you not afford to pay for a bus ride? Are you giving the new couple a sizable check to assist in their expenses? If not, can you not at least sponsor your own ride??

    blue shirt

    Maybe what is irksome about this letter is the stated attitude that yeshiva bochrim…EXPECT to be reimbursed. What a chutzpah!!! A yeshiva boy has the opportunity to make his friend happy, to have the mitzvah of mesameach chosson v’kallah, and to get a (lavish) catered meal to boot. And he says “OK, pay me!”

    Yeshiva bochur, if your time is so precious, and your financial means are inadequate, and you can’t make it, then wish the chosson a mazal tov and stay in the beis medrash. No harm done. Otherwise, go to the wedding without a reimbursement form in your back pocket. Trust me, none of the regular guests ask to pe paid for the pleasure of going to a wedding.


    So the bochrim expect to be paid to do the mitzvah of being m’sameach chasson and kallah? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Should the kallah’s parents be expected to pay for gas for everyone who comes to a wedding? Bochrim could pool their money and travel together. But I think it’s rediculous to ask for a family that’s already paying for a chassunah and perhaps x years of support to pay for guests to come to a wedding.


    Shmerel, when did it become the minhag? I guess I should be grateful it’s the chosson who pays (I have more girls 😉 but who’s to say the chosson’s family isn’t overstressed themselves, even with modest FLOP and their travel expenses?

    OTOH, if abolishing this minhag will even further discourage boys from considering girls outside the tristate area then let it continue.


    The question is, how long has this minhag been around (and what is the mile minimum?)?

    Unfortunately, or bochrim, even the thoughtful, thinking ones, won’t think it odd, if it’s been around long enough. Maybe it’s the same mindset that doesn’t question the ability of parents to be able to support after marriage. It’s accepted, it’s done, it’s doable.


    How about the boys give a gift instead of exercising their outsized sense of entitlement


    I presume these bochurs are of marriagable age. If they can’t even come up with gas money, how are supposed to support a family? Is it also possible that the real minhag is the kollel welfare structure in which the bochurs expect their evry need to be picked up by someone else and they assume no responsibility?


    agree with lesschumras, just more of the same. And the next person who gives someone an air ticket to come to a chassanah, and word gets out-this will be expected by many


    My son’s friend got married in Chicago recently and provided him and 8 other bachurim with tickets to fly in to the wedding. My son said that was the best money that was spent at the wedding; to quote: “Ma, we didn’t stop dancing for a minute. They didn’t need fancy flowers or even food. We bachurim are the ones who made the wedding for the chassan.” So, when you look at it in this way, the car fare for bachurim to come to an out-of-town wedding should be included in the wedding expenses.

    The previous posters hit the nail on the head, though inadvertantly, by asking “do you want to go to the wedding or not?” Of course they want to go, but each chasunah that yeshiva bachurim go to, and, B”H, there are many, takes a toll on them – money, time and lots of energy. (They look like they are having a great time dancing non-stop, and they are, but you gotta admit, it’s exhausting.) If they have to invest $100-200 each week to go to weddings, how many do you think the average bochur will attend.

    And yes, it may be difficult to come up with the gas money on a bachur’s “wages” Don’t forget, they’re dating during this tekufah-i.e. renting cars, paying for drinks, and of course, paying hte dry cleaning bill so the suit they danced in at those weddings is presentable at the date.

    So don’t come down so hard on these boys. They are learning hard and working hard at being mesameyach their married friends. give them a break, please.


    KUDOS to the one who says the Chosson’s family is overstressed with expenses. Yes, FLOP is a litle cheaper than the wedding, but the gifts for the Kallah (ring, bracelet, leichter,sheitel) makes this 10 grand. Then FLOP is another 6000(cheap) to 10000 moderate. Then there could be travel to another town. If the Chosson does not live near the Kallah, less guests will come from the Chosson’s side so his family will pay more per person.


    What is FLOP?







    Oh please,

    Friends EXPECT to be reimbursed for expenses? If they cannot afford it, they should not go.


    okay. so my parents made a wedding a week ago. every bochur who slightly knew the chosson decided to come and be m’samayach. they also sat down and ate. not the cholent and kugel set up for the chosson’s friends, that was hardly touched because the bochurim sat at the regular tables and enjoyed themselves immensely. Now my parents and the chosson’s parents are almost at a din torah with the caterer for 4000 more shekels that the wedding cost. Some of these guys barely knew the chosson, just ‘heard there was a wedding.’ who asked them to come? who gave them permission to sit down and eat like invited guests? this is a seudah she’aino maspekes l’baalah. do these guys have any chinuch? do they have any idea of menchlichkeit? who raised them with such a sense of entitlement?


    Anyway, twelve hours after the wedding, the young couple is left to start their lives together and the parents are left to pay the expenses. All the dancing and carrying on becomes a dim memory and finally is totally forgotten. The wedding album is ready many months later and is hardly looked at years later.

    As was eluded by the other posts, at what point should we stop reimbursing the bochrim for their wedding costs? Will they have more surplus money while in Kollel then they have now?


    What a great idea! I should be compensated every darn hour – hundreds of them that i have wasted over the years in the NYC subways travelling to wedding halls in williamsburg. the toughest places to get to and hike to using public transportation.


    Can I be compensated for all the time wasted when I show up for a simcha that says the time and adds promptly. Once for a Bar Mitzvah, I was there before the family showed up by close to 1 hour and the affair did not start for at least another 30-45 minutes. The next time they made an simcha, when I responded I asked them what time should I show up as the time on the invite was not relevant – I was told if I show up ~2 hours after the called for start, i would be just about right.


    I’m not sure I understand this entire thread. I would LOVE to go to Eretz Yisroel, I cant afford it, so I dont go. I would LOVE to fly to Vienna to be at my nephews wedding. I dont have the money for the ticket, I dont go. I understand bachurim want to go to their friends wedding, but sometimes, it just isnt meant to be, whether it is due to finances, time constraints or other obligations. Does someone have a right to expect to be reimbursed for attending ANY function?


    this is being taken in the wrong way. this was started to help make sure there was an oilam at the chasuna. there was a misunderstanding that the chosson was sponsoring .


    I’ve been to a few weddings where “almost nobody” came and it was a pleasure not being pushed to the 3rd (or 4th) circle by over energetic bochrim.

    Just dancing for the sake of making the Chosson [and Kalla] happy.

    When did rowdy and mesameach become synonyms?

    The nicest wedding I went to had a keyboard with a single loudspeaker and only friends who really knew the couple. It was an amazing affair with EVERYBODY dancing and being happy.

    As to “The Wedding Customs”; the list of things that MUST be bought/done grows all the time… yet many of us married for a mere 20+ years never heard of any of them.

    – Danny


    thats ridiculous if its to expensive then you just…. cant go

    just me

    Cherrybim, I guess we don’t travel in the same circles. I got married in the 70s and 99% of the weddings I went to had a machitza. They were different from todays weddings. All the women wore colorful dresses. Wearing black was considered strange and incorect. People didn’t stand up as the chosson and kallah walked down the aisle. I once heard Rabbi Moshe Mayer Weiss say on a tape that he has no idea where that came from.

    My nephew had a friend who was getting married far away. The chosson’s friends chipped in and sent a few boys as a wedding gift. My son also raised money once to get a few boys to a wedding on the other side of the country.

    The chosson shouldn’t be expected to pay for others. If he’d like to, that is another story. I paid for my daughter’s best friend to come to the wedding. She came 2 weeks before hand. I was glad I could afford that. I couldn’t have paid for all her friends to make it. Good thing they didn’t expect it.

    Think BIG

    There can possibly be a simple approach here. In many cases, it is well known if the family making the simcha is struggling or obviously wealthy, and we can act accordingly. (NOT THAT WE EVER REALLY KNOW HOW MUCH MONEY SOMEONE HAS IN THE BANK FOR REAL—sometimes those that appear wealthy are actually in debt, nevertheless,)For example, if the family does not spare any expense to make the wedding as lavish as possible, eg,fancy invitations, live flowers, eight-piece band, custom made gowns for everyone and two photography crews, etc), then they can consider bringing boys/girls in to be part of the wedding expenses. (often, these weddings are held in a luxury hotel with not-so-convenient access). For these families, the extra expense this will entail is so minor, as to almost be inconsequetial. To these weddings, for the ba’al simcha to arrange transportation would be mentchlich and generous, being that these expenses do add up for the bochurim.

    On the other hand, for those families that are obviously struggling (and its no secret when they are!) the young friends should have the sensitivity not to ask for transportation accomadations. They need to remember that it is the parents paying for the wedding, and as much as the chosson/kallah would love to bring the friends in, it may not be up to them. a sense of entitlement would be entirely innapropriate here. At the same time, they should make the effort to come whenever possible to wholeheartedly share in the simcha, despite it costing them money.

    Then there’s the case where the bochur or girl guest comes from a well-to-do family, and does not NEED to accept the money offered by the family. Someone, who comes from a very well to do family once told me that he flew in several friends from yeshiva for his wedding. However, what he resented was when a certain bachur who could very well have afforded to come on his own, asked to be reimbursed. The chassan was too aidel to argue, but he felt the friend was just taking advantage of his generosity, and that it was not mentchlich.

    On the other hand, when a family is not offering to bring in guests, and the boys arrange their own rides, it is sometimes in place for the chassan/family to offer reimbursement to a bachur (or more–depending on their means and the need) who really cannot afford it but should really be at the wedding, being that he is a close friend or whatever. his may be the families choice, but should not signal to the others that they should expect the same.

    My point here (in case its not obvious) is that there does not need to be a one-size-fits -all solution. What works for some families, may not work for all. People can try to use their judgement and sensitivity to assess the situation properly. Once the different aspects and problems are known, each bochur and family can apply their own common sense.

    As an aside, to all you bochurim: If the chassan does not offer, DO NOT ASK or expect to be reimbursed. Just do the best you can. It can be extremely uncomfortable for the chassan when he knows his parents will not pay for it, but his friends are expecting it.


    Here’s a great idea – to solve this crisis and the shidduch crisis. Since girls are working to eventually support their husbands in yeshiva, have the girls donate the money to get these bochrim to the wedding. In turn, those girls should get the dates with the guys they’re already “supporting”!!


    It just seems that over the last 20+ years, people keep coming up with new ideas to spend other peoples money and make weddings much more expensive. When I and my friends were getting married 35 years ago, you gave the chasan and kallah an engagement gift and a wedding gift and that was it. Sheva brachos was a simple affair, in the home mainly entailing having a minyan for benching. When we made a Shabbos sheva brachos for our daughter 12 years ago, we kept the cost down and never dreamt of asking our guests to pay for their meal.

    Over time, parents began paying for lechaims, then elaborate vorts , and now hachnasat kallas. After the wedding, chas vesholom you should have a low-cost sheva brochos in the house. Now they have to be elaborate, costly affairs themselves that guests are asked to pay for. When you add the costs of the “freebies”( the choson & kallah, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles etc ) , it can run $50-$75 a person. If you have to pay, you are not a guest. For this reason, we now politely decline invitations to sheva brochos.

    The latest imposition is this latest shtus of asking the parents to pay for transportation. Why stop there? Why not aslk the parents to pay to have my suit dry-cleaned, to have my wife’s sheitel done up, and even pay for baby-sitting? Where does it end?


    HaMagnat: hilarious!


    im assuming u mean flying in 4 a wedding bec if your not then what everyonr who comes should be payed back for the gas? you invite your good friends who are poor are u expected to pay 4 there gas? girls who fly for a friends wedding pay for it themself and they think long and hard before going to an outoftown weddding that they have to fly in for….also the bocher’s parents are going to end up paying for there ticket….and if a bocher gets married out of town he doesnt expect alot of guys to come and most of them have friend everywhere so i doubt that anyone is going to have noone there


    I’m not saying bochrim should demand payment, but many times their presence is a lifesaver. I got married “out-of-town” and even offered to pay for a van to bring my friends, but no one was able to come. In the end I had only about 10 bochrim at my chasuna, and only knew 3 of them. It was very disappointing and the chasuna was very quiet. Certainly under some circumstances bringing bochrim to a chasuna is part of the intrinsic expensed like hiring a band.


    Bochrim make the Chasunah period!


    all you people are being silly. the same bochur who gets reimbursed by the chosson (hopefuly) will eventually become a chosson himself and pick up the tab.its just like the bridal shower, only in reverse. so please stop bashing yeshiva boys, and making this a major societal problem


    I like Cherrybim’s post. A wedding is only a couple of hours, we have to keep that in mind when making a simcha and to be considerate of the chosson and kallah’s families, especially in this day and age when there is a financial crisis going on.

    Can I ask a stupid question, why can’t girls be reimbursed for their expenses? The kallah wants all her friends to come, plus the friends come to the vort and get an expensive gift for the vort to display (stardust anyone?). Some girls are working but a lot are in college.

    Another silly question….do bochurim get letters in the mail asking for tzaddoka? Since my daughter got home from seminary she has been getting letters in the mail addressed to her, apparently she got on someone’s list. My daughter is not working, she is in school so she can support a talmid chochum when she gets married. What are they thinking, sending letters to single girls? She doesn’t know them and has no maaser to give them.

    Just Smile

    Broke Bochurim Going to Friend’s Weddings

    shindy –

    Another silly question….do bochurim get letters in the mail asking for tzaddoka?

    Yea that was a silly question. Uh, yea, boys do also. Your daughter isn’t the only single person out there getting tzedokah mailings. I’m a 22 year old single boy and have been getting tons of them ever since I was in high school. That’s what happens when any one thinks you might have some ma’aser (like from babysitting or what not).

    Oh… and BTW, the organizations that send them, as you said, don’t know her. So how can you say in the same sentence that What are they thinking, sending letters to single girls? uhhh…. They don’t know she is a non-working single! You answered your own question. They don’t have a profile of her that says what she does and how old she is.


    These organizations obviously are getting the seminary lists and addresses, they know EXACTLY who they are sending to. I think it is a chutzpah to ask money from a single girl or a yeshivah boy. So tell me, just smile, what do you do with all these mailings? I have to admit I throw them out, I know she has no money to give them. and i feel bad doing so, I know they need but I am overwhelmed with the amount of Tzaddokos I have to give and I can’t take on any more.

    Just Smile

    Do you really think that it is financially smart for a organization to waste their money going after seminary girls and yeshiva boys?

    What must have happened was that she probably gave money to someplace or signed up for something like a shiur or went to a seminar and she was put on a list, as he same that happens to everybody else. If you really want to figure it out, tell her to ask the other girls in her class if they receive the EXACT SAME mailings at the same time – if they all do then you know it’s from seminary – but if not then you know it’s from somewhere else.

    And just remember, there is absolutely no chiuv to give money to a place just because they sent you something in the mail.

    What do I do? I throw them out also. Occasionally, when I have some ma’aser money, and I feel that one of them is a deserving organization I might send them a few dollars. But before I throw them out, I try to open them and look at them so at least I know that klal yisroel is suffering and there are so many organizations and Yeshivos out there that are so desperate for money. That way when I am able to and when I’m ready to give tzedakah it makes it much easier to give.

    I also feel bad, but there isn’t much more I can do financially. It is for that reason that over the past years, ever since I was in high school, I volunteered to help Yeshivos out if they need work done. That way they don’t have to hire someone. It’s the best I’m able to do.

    Remember, while it might just be a drop in the bucket, when the bucket is empty you see every drop.


    Krunch, what an appalling post – you expect to be compensated…. Good heavens! please just stay away if you feel that way. I agree with the many replies here, it’s a simcha for goodness sakes, you participate because you want to not because, and only if, you get your expenses paid.

    We all have simchas, in town, out of town and beyond our ability or finacial capacity to attend so we don’t. We send a card or call and send best wishes.

    With your attitude, I wouldn’t want you as a friend at my simchas


    Some of the posts are asking-Why only boys, and not the girls?

    The answer is, that the wedding is usually in the city where the girl lives, and therefore most of her friends only have to drive across town. However the boys, most of whom are in Lakewood, must travel all over to the various cities where their friends wife lives. That means that a Bochur may have to go twice a week to Brooklyn, and then once every month or so to Cleveland, Detroit, LA, Toronto, etc. Also, most girls live at home, and have easy access to a car. The Bocherim however are away from home (in Yeshiva) and have no means of transportation.

    Others are saying- ‘So just don’t go!’

    This is usually a gesture from the Chosson, who isn’t too thrilled that some may ‘not go’, because HE WANTS THEM to come. Knowing that the expenses can add up with so many of their age group getting married around the same time, he offers to pay, so that he can enjoy dancing with his friends at his wedding. Keep in mind what sammyjoe said, that eventually those who received $, end up paying it back at their own wedding!

    So should the Chosson’s friends ‘just not go’? It is hard to attend so many weddings, and come back late at night exhausted. And yet for the Chosson it is his special night. So we put on our suits and dancing shoes, and head out to williamsurg, or Monsey, or Baltimore etc. etc…. and thank our friend the chosson for helping us get there!!


    iluvchulent…you have a point, the girls don’t have as far to travel.


    I have been at chasunah’s where there were many people and were there were few people there. The simcha of the chasan and kallah were not dependent on the amount of people always (sometimes they were flustered when picking who to dance with first) but on how close the people were and the fact they participated (dancing ect). It was heartwarming at a sibling’s chasunah where my friends showed up (were not invited for the meal) just to say mazel tov and see the chuppah. they didnt expect to eat or be compensated (it was a bit far). They only wanted to be there for the baalei simchos. What is your perspective on coming? to make them happy or to have fun? to make them happy- get a part-time job to help pay for transportation costs. Maybe cut back on the amount you spend on eating out! I was in Eretz Yisrael and there were plenty of bochurim eating out in restaurants, pizza shops, bagel places ect. And they werent the cheapest places! Save your money if you think that your presence will enhance the simcha~


    havesomeseichel, the bochurim in Israel who are eating out are undoubtably using their parents money and not their own. So says the vieber over here who are very frustrated at the lack of food at their son’s yeshivos in Israel, hence the big credit card bill!


    I once drove 2 1/2 hours at night out of state just to wish someone mazal tov. This was financially and time wise a great strain and I did not harbour any ill feelings that I was not invited to the whole wedding or that I could not hitch a ride and I would never, ever have accepted payment for the trip.

    I went at great expense because I really wanted to and I wanted to do so personally. I took a flask of coffee and some danishes for the ride there and back and to this day I am still warmly thanked by the family.

    We have had many family weddings all over the world and some of us travel and some don’t or can’t. I would be horrified at having to pay someone to come to one of my simchas. Weddings will always have their own simcha and freichlichkeit whether it is with local guys and girls or just a few out of towners.


    just a comment- once a girl’s class starts “going” (getting married), they inevitably leave, usually to Lakewood, and so they are not in town anymore. plus, there’s the new hubby to consider! that being said, a close friend will do whatever he/she can to get to the chasuna. It is a very nice thing for the chassan’s family to do, to arrange for a bus for the guys (who are usually in the same place), but noone should expect it!! Perhaps another option is to arrange FOR a bus, with a discounted group rate. I often see this on invitations, not just for bochrim, when the wedding in is NY. This is a safe, easy, cheap way to get there and back.


    I just stumbled across this website and topic.

    I am getting married, IYH, in less than a week. My chasan and I would love to have as many friends as possible at our wedding, and to some extent scheduled the wedding so that some friends could be there.

    However, there is a limit. I have planned most of my wedding myself, as my family is out of town and my chasan’s family wanted to be sure I “approved” of whatever they were paying for. I first started dating, I assumed that, given my parents’ financial situation, they would be splitting the cost of a wedding with the chasan’s side. As wonderful as my new in-laws are, they apparently only intended to pay for the FLOPS items- which has now calculated out to about one-half of what my parents will be paying.

    The halls here all have minimum guest lists, so a large simchas chasan v’kallah and small meal was not an option. Therefore, my parents were trapped into an obscene amount of money just for the hall, completely disregarding things like my gown, my mother’s gown, airfare for my parents to come to NY for the wedding, benchers, the week of work my father needs to miss to be here, etc.

    To hear that friends of the chasan and/or kallah would come, ostensibly to be m’sameach their friend, and then “expect” to be reimbursed for their “travel expenses” horrifies me. I have attended 16 friends’ weddings in the last 7 or 8 months, and it comes with the territory- you take public transportation, or split a car service with a few friends, whatever it takes.

    Ultimately, in a case like this, it will be the kallah’s family who is stuck with yet another unnecessary expense. Please keep in mind, not just how “leibedik” the wedding will be, but the health and financial situations of the baalei simcha.

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