On your best friend’s big day, you want to show him/her how much you care, how happy you are, and you also want to play a huge role in making wedding really really special.
When I got married, the caterers made a huge mistake, and arranged the tables so that the all our guests were sitting opposite from where we had placed them. That means that the old people – who we placed away from the speakers – were placed virtually on top of the speakers, and the band, camera and video crew – who we had placed on the edge of the seating plan were right next to the main table. Do you think I was aware of this? NO, in fact, I only found out about this about 6 years later, when it came up in conversation. Why? Because my best friend Rachel, rushed around with the original lists, racing the guests to the tables, to fix the situation as quickly as possible. No one knew- and it was an incredibly well guarded secret for a long long time!
Of course if you are invited to speak at the wedding then “the best friends’ speech” is a great opportunity to reminisce, laugh, and also touch your best friend and their new partner’s heart with some meaningful and heartfelt words.
But perhaps the most fun thing about being a best friend (or even a very good friend) at a Jewish wedding is what is called in some circles – the shtick! “Shtick” refers to the fun extras that you bring a long to the wedding to use in the dancing, to enhance the enjoyment of the chatan and kallah.
Here is a list of 20 shtick ideas that you can use at your friends wedding. Remember to think about the “shtick” and prepare in advance, as you may need to purchase, collect or get together with friends and practise ahead of time.
1. Balloons stuffed with confetti to throw around, and a pin or toothpick to help the bride/groom pop them
2. Pint T-shirts, caps or bandanna’s with inside joke/fave saying of bride and groom
3. Dress up in the “hobby” of bride/groom- like their sports team, or any sort of activity
4. Bring whistles, playing with tambourines, bells or other musical instruments to use during the dancing
5. Bring bubbles for people to blow to create a fun atmosphere
6. Come in wearing wigs, glasses or funny hats
7. Wave flags of the country where come from (if getting married in foreign country)
8. Using napkins from the tables, make a skipping rope for the bride and groom to jump together
9. Prepare an umbrella with long ribbons attached to it. Help the bride on to a chair and let her hold it while her friends grab a ribbon and dance around her – like a maypole
10. Prepare a skit, a short play, a dance or a song for entertainment
11. Bring sparklers and dance around the bride and groom with them
12. Prepare a “just married sign” for the end of wedding
13. When the couple comes into the wedding hall, stand in pairs and make a tunnel of arches for them to come through together
14. Bring blow up animals, characters or balls which you can dance with or throw around
15. Help the Bride and Groom on to a table, and lift them up together.
16. Bring your juggling things, magic tricks or fire swallowing routine
17. The Third Leg Dance- Make a stuffed fake leg from a pair of old pants, attach a sock and shoe, attach it to yourself with some pins, wear an overcoat and dance for the bride and groom. You can add more leges but be sure to practice!
18. Hire an outrageous costume like a gorilla or something like that, no one will know who you are
19. Encourage a group of friends to bring roller blades for the dancing
20. Bring glow sticks to dance with and turn down the lights
Enjoy and Mazal Tov (and thanks to Carmi Kaplinski who is a real expert on Shtick and provided us with most of these ideas!)