How to Have an Outdoor Wedding or Bar Mitzvah

August 20, 2020

6 min read


People now just stare at each other awkwardly. Get used to that weird look. It means “Mazel Tov.”

The next step in Simchas is here. Thanks to loosening restrictions, we have moved from Zoomchas, to Outdoorschas. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue, does it?

My brother and sister-in-law ran a beautiful outdoor Bat Mitzvah. It got me thinking how great it is to use a backyard. The backyard has been overlooked for many generations as the perfect place for a Simcha. Other than cutting the grass or the odd trampoline most people never use their backyard. Well thanks to COVID, backyards are making a comeback.

Let me help you navigate your Outdoor Simchas during these times where you’re forced to not be allowed to spend $20,000 on a hall.

Save on the Beautician

The humidity is going to frizz up the hair and the makeup is going to run, so don’t bother. I also suggest that you not bother showering. It’s not that bad, as you will be six feet apart. Regarding the makeup, it’s not that bad as you should be standing far away from most people. As for the photographer, get him to focus on taking pictures of your beautiful backyard.

Enjoy the Air Outdoors

My niece’s Bat Mitzvah was the first Simcha where there wasn’t a family fight about the thermostat. This time, family fights were relegated to yelling about frizzy hair.

Phase Three Means You Can Come Close, But Not Interact

Nobody kissed or hugged. They just stared at each other awkwardly. Get used to that weird look. It means “Mazel Tov.”

Build a Huge Tent on Your Lawn

This way you’re complying with the rules and it is outdoors, but it is really indoors.

I went to one Simcha where they put all of their money into the food and there was nothing left for the tent rental. Big mistake. Most of the food got wet and the rest of it was brought inside. But nobody could come inside so they just stared at the food longingly through the window as the Bar Mitzvah boy tried to give his speech.

Rained Out

One Simcha I went to without tents had a rain delay. They told everybody that they were going to continue in an hour. I have never seen a Bat Mitzvah speech rain delayed. I thought it was a baseball game. One guy even said, “We’re calling it off for now. Come back later. She’s going to give two speeches.” He thought that coming back to the party enforced the double header rule. At least the Bat Mitzvah girl had a good attitude – she told me that she felt like she was at Yankee Stadium.

The Shmorg

The smorgasbord is about trying to look classy, eating while standing, with a slab of mustard on your tie, while engulfing pigs in a blankets and licking your fingers for the comprehensive taste experience. Now, you can look classier, standing outside, sweating and yelling at your friends from a safe distance.

Social Distancing at Hors d'oeuvres Table

Jewish people, this is impossible. Everybody likes the pigs in the blanket too much. There is no six feet rule for hands attacking decent food.

Food Must Be Individually Packed

For safety, the food must be covered. Otherwise, all of the spittle from those taking the food while yelling at their friends across the yard, will land into the food you’re eating.

This whole social distancing makes me question why I ever went to a food court. It’s disgusting. All the sudden, now that we know of one virus, people sneezing around my dinner is finally considered wrong??!!

Finally the Grill is being Used

This worked real well for eight of the guests. The other two hundred did not get a burger.

Pictures at a Distance

Friendship pictures were taken of the girls standing six-feet apart. To note, social distance does not always look very friendly. I think when the Bat Mitzvah girl looks back at her pictures many years from now she’s going to wonder why her friends don’t really like her.

Speech Won’t be Heard

It’s outside. That’s fine. Nobody really wants to listen to a twelve or thirteen year old thank her parents while trying to connect it to the weekly Torah portion.

The Pictures Played on Screen

The most important tradition of the Jewish simcha is taking a photo album and then playing it on a projector to music from the eighties. It’s the middle of the day and it’s light outside? Don’t worry no one wanted to see those pictures anyway.

Hora Dance Around the House

Making a circle around the house can be a great way to celebrate. The bringing of the hands to the middle of the circle move might be hindered by the brick, but it can still be meaningful. Somebody lifted my niece on a chair but nobody could see it, as she was in the middle of the circle, inside the home.

Family Comes from Far

This is so thoughtful. Especially when you have family from Florida who have to quarantine for 14 days. Finally, when your kids go back to school Cousin Irene can pop her head out of the basement and say, “We just came to wish you a ‘Mazel Tov’.”

Organizing Tables is Easier

You don’t have to figure out who will sit next to who. You just sit families together and now everybody is mad.

You Can Save on Floral Arrangements

Your backyard is an actual floral arrangement!

I was at one outdoor Simcha where they brought in lilies to match the flower patch in their backyard. They insisted that external floral arrangements are a necessary part of all Simchas. They even said their florist insisted in its importance. In the end, it was rained out.

My favorite part of the outdoor Simcha is that you can’t give gifts because of Coronavirus. At least, that’s the excuse I use. Some people gave gifts, but they clearly didn’t care about the health of the poor Bat Mitzvah girl. There is no way to sanitize cash enough for it to be correctly socially distanced.

As far as I am concerned, during Coronavirus, the saying couldn’t be more true, “Your presence is your present.”


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