85. The time period between the engagement and the wedding is most precious — “Yokor Mikol Yokor”, as the preparations made at this time can affect one’s entire life.1

86. These preparations should primarily be of a spiritual nature with an increase in the diligence in Torah study,2 especially chitas,3 chassidus,4 tefillah,5 tzedakah,6 and additional hiddur in the performance of mitzvos.7 It is also a time for introspection andTeshuvah and correction of any past misdeeds.8

87. The Rebbe’s opinion is that the shorter the period between the engagement and the wedding, the better.9

88. As regards fixing the date for the wedding, this is a matter that should be decided between the parents of both sides.10

89. When the chosson and kallah meet between the engagement and the wedding, they need to be most strict in all matters of Tznius and aware of the issues of Yichud.11 Inappropriate conduct or closeness before the wedding can lead to emotional distance after the wedding.12

90. As regards the frequency of their meeting — the Rebbe’s opinion was that the less they meet the better, and they should not meet or speak on the telephone more than once a week.13

91. The Rebbe was not in favor of taking a flight to a different country to meet between the engagement and the wedding.14

92. Before the wedding it is customary that the kallah or her family gives a Shas to the chosson, and the custom of Chassidim is that she should also buy him chassidisher seforim. The purpose of these seforim is not that they sit on the shelf and gather dust, but as it states in Pirkei Avos (5:21), “Go over it and over it, for everything is inside it,” meaning that he should learn so much from the seforim that in the course of time it will be necessary to replace them with new ones.15 It is also correct that since in a new home there should be acts of tzedakah, a Tzedakah pushka/box should be acquired.16

93. The custom used to be to give the kallah a gift of a Siddur Korban Minchah which is a Siddur with the Yiddish translation of the prayers and a collection of halachos pertinent to women. Today however, when women are more familiar with the translation of the prayers it is appropriate that the chosson should give the kallah works of halachah which explain in a clear way the halachos of running a household.17 The custom is that the chosson or his family buys the kallah a set of Shabbos candlesticks, and the kallah or her family purchases a Tallis for the chosson.18

94. Thechosson and kallah should, as much as possible, not be involved in the details of the wedding, such as the venue, caterer, pictures, flowers etc. Rather, they should primarily focus on the spiritual preparations for the day, and the arrangements for the wedding should be left to others. 19

95. Even the parents of the chosson and kallah who have the responsibility to arrange the wedding should bear in mind that; a) the preparations should not only be in those areas that lehavdil non-Jews also prepare, but also, and primarily in the Jewish aspect of the wedding (in the veniflinu), and b) even in the material preparations they should be done without “hiddurim”, and without investing emotional energy in these preliminaries (kalterheit), which will ultimately be better for them and better for the participants.20

96. Hafotzas Hayahadus and Mayonos are certainly good preparations for the wedding.21

97. During this period, both the chosson and kallah need to learn all the halachos pertinent to a wedding and establishment of a true Jewish home, especially the laws of Taharas Hamishpochoh. This involves not only learning halachah but also hashkafah from qualified teachers of Anash in this area.22

98. The kallah should during this time purchase a shaitel to be worn immediately after the wedding. It is well known the Rebbe’s opinion that wearing a shaitel to cover the hair is preferable to wearing a tichel or hat.23

99. In the days before the wedding the chosson should learn from the sefer Reishis Chochmah, Shaar Hakedushah Ch. 15, 16, 17 which speak of Kedushas Achilah and Kedushas Hazivug.24 The chosson should also learn at least one chapter of Tanya by heart.25 The Rebbe also instructed one chosson to study the directives and customs of a wedding that the Rebbe’s father Rabbi Levi Yitzchok Schneerson wrote to the Rebbe on the occasion of his wedding.26 To another chosson the Rebbe instructed that he should read from the sefer Sippurim Noraim as those stories increase one’s Yiras Shomayim and a chosson needs to enhance his Yiras Shomayim.27

100. Upon marriage, and even whilst engaged, one takes upon oneself the responsibility for another Jewish soul,28 and therefore one needs to make sure that one’s conduct is one which is “wet to the touch” meaning that one is so imbued with Yiras Shomayim, Torah and mitzvos that this will have an immediate effect on another.29

Breaking an Engagement

101. On occasion, certain issues arise after an engagement, that bring the whole question of the proposed marriage into question. Sometimes very serious issues surface that had the parties been aware of beforehand they would not have agreed to get married,30 and sometimes, minor issues become abrasive. What is paramount is to maintain at all times one’s dignity, honor and respect for all parties.31 Advice of Rabbonim and Mashpiim should be sought and if for whatever reason a decision be made to break the engagement, then it must be done in a way that nobody’s honor is compromised unnecessarily. When one of the parties is offended by the break, one should ask for forgiveness from the other party.32 A Rav should be consulted for guidance regarding any financial issues.

102. A shidduch should not be broken, nor a wedding delayed, because of a disagreement over financial issues.33

Fixing the Date of the Wedding

103. The custom is that it is the mechutanim from both sides to agree on the date and time for the wedding.34 Wherever possible one should ensure that the kallah is tehorah on the day of the wedding and that it not be a chuppas niddah.35 This should be taken into account when planning the date for the wedding.

104. It is the Rebbe’s opinion that the shorter the time between the engagement and the wedding, the better.36

105. There is much source material — as documented in the footnote37 — detailing when one may or may not schedule a wedding. There are times that are halachically prohibited and there are times that it is customary that we don’t make weddings. However, in our times when postponing the date of a wedding may lead to impropriety and challenges ofTznius it is questionable whether these customary limitations should still apply or they be waived, and there may be good reason to say that they should be waived. Indeed it is becoming increasingly the widespread practice today amongst Anash, for the date of the wedding to be fixed for the earliest convenient halachically permissible date. In all cases of doubt a Rav should be consulted.38

106. Once the date for a wedding has been fixed, the custom is that it is not postponed (and certainly if there is no valid reason to do so).39

107. If for whatever reason both mechutanim agreed to postpone the date of a wedding, then on the day that was originally fixed as the wedding day, they should write Tenaim (in addition to the fact that they had already made a Vort) and the parents from both sides should get together and discuss matters pertaining to the forthcoming wedding. This meeting should be in the form of a simchah gathering with a Seudas Mitzvah, such as a Siyum Masechta or a Melave Malka, and they should farbreng — with simchah.40

108. A wedding date should not be postponed due to financial considerations.41

109. There are halachos in Shulchan Aruch regarding a case r”l of Aveilus before a wedding and whether or not the wedding may be celebrated as originally scheduled. In such a case one must obviously follow the ruling of a Rav. However, in a case where the wedding is halachically permissible then it is incorrect to postpone the date of a wedding due to an Aveilus r”l in the family.42

110. It is permitted to make two weddings for two children in one week, however not on the same day.43

The Place of the Wedding

111. The mechutanim should decide between themselves, where and when the wedding should take place, and the custom (in the majority of cases) is that the wedding is held in the place of the kallah i.e. where the kallah’s parents want the wedding to be held.44

Wedding Expenses

112. The Rambam writes45 that one should not go to extremes but rather one should follow the golden middle path. This was also the chosen path of the Rebbeim of Chabad and of Anash in relation to the financial investment for wedding celebrations.46 Therefore when making a wedding, one should follow the average custom of the place. The emphasis is to make a large spiritual wedding and not to waste money (that could be better spent on other things) on over-lavish material matters.47 It is incorrect to enter into debt just to increase the number of invitees.48

113. It is a mitzvah for both mechutonim to participate in paying for the wedding as arranged and agreed between them.49

114. As regards to relatives and friends, participating in a wedding in which they would incur great travel expense, a mashpia/Rav should be consulted. A Talmid in Yeshivah must receive prior agreement of the Hanhalah to attend the wedding.50

Tznius between Chosson and Kallah Before the Wedding

115. A chosson and kallah must conduct themselves with the utmost Tznius. Although they are already engaged to be married, and are looking forward with great anticipation to their marriage, nevertheless they must ensure that all guidelines of Shulchan Aruch and Tznius are kept.51 This includes all the halachos of Yichud and Negiah (physical contact). Great care must be taken when choosing a venue to visit — it must be a place that is not secluded so that there be no question of Yichud. Furthermore, it is incorrect for a chosson and kallah to discuss matters related to marital intimacy before the wedding.

116. They should not travel on a plane together.52

117. The Rebbe was not in favor of a chosson and kallah making an international trip to see each other during the engagement period.53

118. The Rebbe’s opinion was that a chosson and kallah should not meet each other or speak on the telephone more than once a week.54

119. The Rebbe was not in favor of taking a picture of the chosson and kallah together.55

Wedding Invitations

120. There is a standard text that we use for invitations — this text was used at weddings of the Rebbeim.56 In this text it is written that the chuppah was to take place at 5:00 p.m., whether the wedding was in the winter or summer and whether in fact the chuppah was at that time or later. In practice today, we still write the time of 5:00 p.m. for the chuppah and in a footnote write the real anticipated time for the chuppah. However, the Kabbolas Ponim should, if possible, start at 5:00 p.m.57

121. The invitations should not be written in Sefer Torah writing (Ksav Ashuris).58

The Wedding Ring

122. Thechosson has to buy a ring for the kallah with which he is going to marry her under the chuppah. The ring should be purchased with his own money and should be worth at least a perutah (the value of a small coin).59

123. The custom is that the ring be a plain (yellow)60 gold band61 (without any markings or assay mark), round both inside and outside without any gems.62