Sheva Brachos Etiquette

Ok, be prepared for a rant, because that’s what’s coming!

I was recently at a sheva brachos that was called for 6:30. The unfortunate minhag is to start late, and because of extraneous variables, I too, was late, showing up at 6:55. There were three other people there, including the host. By the time we actually started, I think it was 7:40. Now this was in no way the fault of the hosts, who worked tremendously hard and were actually ready at the appropriate time. It is 100% the guests fault for showing up as late as they did. Them, and the chosson and kallah. What is it about newlyweds that make them late to sheva brachos anyway? My wife and I were on time to every single one of our sheva brachos, coming earlier than most guests. I hate to be blunt, but its not like they’re ‘busy’ so why are they so late? It’s at the point where if you come on time, then people ask, “why are you here already” (as was the case with my wife and I).

I hereby move to make some regulations when it comes to sheva brachos. I think that if you’re hosting a sheva brachos, you have the right to announce when it will happen. Therefore, if we host a sheva brachos called for 6:30, I’m going to tell everyone (including the chosson and kallah) that they are more than welcome to come late, but with them or without them, we’re starting at 6:30. And unless you have a valid excuse, there will be no reheating of food either.

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Posted in Rants. 15 Comments »

15 Responses to “Sheva Brachos Etiquette”

  1. Lanie Says:

    My friends from Frederick and I always joke that you can tell that we all didn’t used to be frum, because we always show up to everything on time. We, too (me and Joel that is, not me and my friends), came on time to all of our Sheva Brachos. I think it’s especially rude and annoying on weeknights when people come so late, because there’s work and school the next morning.

    Also, why do people feel the need to come late to a surprise party? If they call it for a certain time it’s probably for a reason (aka, the guest of honor is supposed to arrive at a certain time). Why people habituatlly show up 40 minutes late is beyond me.

  2. Diana Says:

    Way to go Mr. Blunt!

  3. Sara K Says:

    Great rant. I have not yet experienced sheva brachos of my own yet, but I hate when sheva brachos drag out so I hope I will be on time for my own.

  4. BubbyT Says:

    It’s not only sheva brachos…it’s other things too. My husband and I also usually arrive “on time” to where we are invited. We were once invited to a motzei shabbos melave malka for a few couples at 8:30 pm. The host and hostess were so sure that it would run on “Jewish time” that she answered the door at 8:30 in a robe and tichel. I was brought up by a man who felt and instilled in us that if you are on time, you are late. I also don’t think Chosson and Kallah have to feel they are the objects of a “surprise party” and therefore have to make a late, grand entrance. It’s not like they didn’t know they were having sheva brachos that night. Aishel, as usual, you make sense, and I totally agree with your rant.

  5. dreamer123 Says:

    i agree with you 100%.
    my brother and sis-in-lawcame on time to each sheva brachos, yet waited outside in the car becausse there just weren’t enough guests there yet.
    i think it’s a total lack of kavod habrios to arrive late for no good reason.
    and the thing is, in some communities, everything is SUPPOSED to run late. my friend’s wedding was called for 4:30, and she only started taking pics about then. she actually only walked out after seven, and there weren’t many people there yet.
    i think it’s time for people to start respecting others’ time.

  6. SephardiLady Says:

    My husband isn’t too involved in my blogging. But he has been pushing me to write a post about timeliness after another season of weddings!!! Glad you wrote it. I’m too busy to get to everything I’ve planned. So, I may just link to you. πŸ™‚

    It really doesn’t matter the event. If it is Jewish, it rarely starts on time. And, the cycle is self-perpetuating and it hurts everyone, from the baalei simcha to the guests.

    We were at a chatunah this summer that got going so late that the guests lost interest in the smorg! Knowing how much is paid for the meals, we felt between a rock and a hard place. We were paying for a babysitter (a rarity) and the hosts were paying for a pricy meal. We didn’t want to leave before the main course, but we didn’t want to hold up the babysitter from other plans. Being that this babysitter doesn’t charge what the other neighborhood girls charge, we ended up calling the babysitter to see if she was willing to sit for another hour. But, we felt pretty terrible about doing that because our style is to arrive on time.

    We were surprised how late it started and I think it was because one of the family members of the chatan had showed up extremely late. It was only at the end of the smorg that I spotted this lady in a rather unique outfit (read memorable . . . no more details) and then she was standing next to the chuppah. What a shame! If it was my sister or brother, I would have blown a fuse.

  7. aishel Says:

    Thanks Diana, you know I try πŸ™‚

    I’m glad I’m not by myself. And the sheva brachos story from my post was on a Thursday night. We didn’t get out of there until after 11:00pm. People have to cook, clean, get ready for shabbos, go to work, go to school, do projects, etc. People should not be showing up late for a sheva brachos no matter what.

  8. SephardiLady Says:

    I wish more people would rant more often about this subject. So keep ranting. πŸ™‚

  9. BOTS member Says:

    This is one of those topics where everyone will post about how much they agree and they were never late to their own sheva brachos, but somehow in the real world there is no one like this. Honestly, for my sheva brachos I did show up late one time by over 30 minutes b/c I got lost going to another city. The other’s I treid to be on time for and mostly was.

    The problem is that if you, as the couple, show up on time you’re subjected to a long afternoon or evening. Since many other people will not show up on time, the length of the sheva brachos will drag past when it should end. It’s no fun being forced to make small talk with sheva brachos guests so many people want to come late to lessen this annoyance.

    Case in point, I was at a l’chaim yesterday. It was supposed to run from 3PM to 5PM. But, since many people come late, it was still going strong when I left at 5:15. I’m sure the couple would have liked to be finished with it and leave, but of course they couldn’t. So, if I was in their shoes, sure, I’d show up late and at least cut out 30-45 minutes of annoying small talk and tedious “mazal tov’s.”

  10. LN Says:

    Don’t you know the kallah has to get her sheitel on? πŸ˜‰

  11. aishel Says:

    (SephardiLady, mazel tov on having the 200th comment on my blog!)

    BOTS Member, good points. And thanks for reminding me about the vort I was supposed to go to, but totally forgot about (doh!)

    My out of town vort went from 12-5, I kid you not. By the end, we were so tired, we just wanted to crawl into a hole and go to sleep. So yeah, good point. But if we set a precedent by showing up on time, then people will start to learn to come on time. Thats why I suggested that whether the guests are there or not, you start at the given time and we don’t reheat meals (I know, not practical) for people who come late. As long as you warned people in advance that its starting on time no matter what, people don’t have what to complain about.

  12. BOTS member Says:

    Yes, I completely agree with you about being clear and stating you will start at a certain point and actually doing so. (Off topic, but the same goes for daveing in shul. Start at the time it’s called for and people will stop showing up late b/c they know you’re not going tostart on time anyway.)

  13. aishel Says:

    Yes, thats why I daven at that shul as rarely as possible.

    LN, she should have been practicing with her friends and in front of the mirror πŸ˜›

  14. SephardiLady Says:

    Don’t you know the kallah has to get her sheitel on?

    Now I know why we are so darn timely to everything! πŸ™‚

  15. peninah Says:

    BOTS member, not to toot my own horn (oh what the heck, I am tooting my own horn) but I am one of those people who complain and try to do something about it. My husband and I not only made an effort to be on time for our sheva brachos, but we also came out of the yichud room at our wedding as soon as the edei yichud knocked on the door. Besides not wanting to be matriach the guests (or my father who was NOT going to let the wedding go past 5 hours), we realized we had the rest of our lives to be together and we didn’t need to make other people wait because we wanted to extend a “romantic moment.”


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