By Mordechai Schmutter

My brother-in-law’s wedding is turning into a real hassle for me. I’ve already mentioned that my wife wants me to lose weight for this wedding, because apparently I am now embarrassing to take out in public. And now she’s dragging me from clothing store to clothing store–in public–to buy clothes for our kids. That’s how desperate she is.

I don’t know this, because I’m a guy, but what we are going to wear to this wedding is apparently a really big deal. If I were in charge of my kids’ clothing, there’s no way I’d start thinking about clothes until, at the earliest, the morning of the wedding. But apparently someone who does think about these things beforehand decided that everyone in the wedding party has to match.

No one knows who decided this. Everyone’s pointing at the kallah, but I don’t think this was her decision. She’s wearing white. And if she’s the kind of person who cares about what everyone wears, she probably wouldn’t be marrying my brother-in-law. My brother-in-law is the kind of guy who started wearing white shirts and dark pants really early in life, because he found that if that was all he owned, he didn’t ever have to think about what to put on in the morning. It’s possible that she thinks that the reason she’s only seen him in white shirts is that she’s only ever seen him in situations where he’d probably be wearing white shirts anyway, such as dates, Shabbosos, and now the wedding.

Whoever’s fault this is, we have to match the kallah’s side, even though we’re not appearing in a single picture with them, unless you include crowd shots. But we are appearing in pictures with my mother-in-law, who’s appearing in pictures with the kallah’s mother, who’s appearing in pictures with her family. So I don’t see what other choice we have.

But when I say we have to match, I mean that we all have to match. I assumed the whole matching thing mainly affected the women, but then I found out that the ties that my sons and I wear are technically supposed to match whatever the women are wearing. And the ties have to match each other–not only in color, but in pattern. What are the chances that I’m going to find a couple of zipper ties that match a couple of regular ties that also match a couple of dresses? You can’t even buy them all in the same store.

The dresses aren’t even coming from a store. Apparently, with dresses, you don’t have to buy them. There’s something called a gown gemach, where you can borrow a gown, and you just have to pay for dry cleaning and to actually make it your size, which involves adding material, taking off material, and basically taking the dress and totally changing it until it’s a completely new dress that is mostly the same color as the old dress. It’s basically like using an old dress as material for a new dress, and then giving it back so the next person can pay to alter it back to the way it was originally.

So my wife went to a gown gemach and found something for our daughter, and now we all have to match it. Despite that I haven’t seen this alleged dress, because it’s still at the gemach, because three other people reserved it before her. So if the dress still exists when it’s our turn, we have a dress.

And then our suits have to match our ties. Or at least not clash violently. And the suits are supposed to match each other, although that’s not hard. The basic plan is to go with black, because there are different shades of blues, but there’s really only one black. At least as far as I know. So we need ties that have both black and whatever color the gowns are.

But all this is notwithstanding our own dramatic suit-buying politics. We used to have a store that we liked. They sold suits that were machine-washable, which is definitely something you want in a kids’ suit. But that store closed down. Apparently, suits are not big sellers anymore. (Though they didn’t sell just suits. So apparently, clothing is not a big seller anymore. Everyone telecommutes.)

There’s also no suit gemach. Though I get it. You wear a suit to a chasunah, no one wants it back. You’d think there’d be a tie gemach though. And this is a pretty big issue for us, because, apparently, not all my boys even have suits in the first place. At least not ones that fit well enough to look good in pictures.

So we need to buy suits for all of them, and we all have to come along. I have to come to help my wife wrangle a herd of boys around a store, and my wife has to come so I don’t accidentally buy dark blue.

It’s not easy to shop for suits with a bunch of little boys. No one wants to try anything on, everyone leaves everything on the floor, and every time you stop to look at suits, everyone disappears.

“Where are they?”

“Inside the racks.”

It’s also my job, as the Totty, to go into the dressing room to check on them. Because you know how long it takes kids to get dressed in the morning? Hand them a pile of suits and send them into a dressing room, and see if you get out of the store in time for the wedding. Definitely not if it’s that day.

In the meantime, we keep going to stores and buying suits we’re not happy with, just because we haven’t seen anything better and we don’t want to come back to these stores to try the same suits on again just to make sure they’re the same suits. So right now, we have one suit from the first store we went to, two suits from store #2 (one of which is for the same kid as the one from store #1), two suits from store #3, two tuxes we borrowed from a fourth store for my four-year-old to try on–the pants from one and the jacket from the other–and we have to figure out what we want so we can make the circuit again to return everything.

And we still need several ties of various sizes that match each other and the gown, which we don’t have and exists only in a picture on my wife’s phone. And at the end of the day, when we return her gown, we’ll have ties we specifically bought to match some gown we no longer have.

Meanwhile, my brother-in-law has no clue that any of this is going on, because he’s not married. All he knows is that he has to wear a suit and a hat and possibly a tie that matches his wife’s gown. And all the shirts in his closet. v

Mordechai Schmutter is a weekly humor columnist for Hamodia and is the author of four books, published by Israel Book Shop. He also does freelance writing for hire. You can send any questions, comments, or ideas to


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