I am so excited to be engaged! I’m marrying the man of my dreams and I can’t wait to be married. But there’s so much to do to get there. I think it is very important to stop for a second and be happy when you get engaged. It’s easy to get swept up in all the stressful parts that come with planning the wedding. Honestly, being engaged is overwhelming and it feels like an unstable bridge between dating and being married. It probably feels like this because you want to get married already but you have to take time to plan a wedding and figure everything out. There are so many things that are changing and so many feelings going around like excitement and anticipation.

Planning a wedding is hard enough, but it’s a little extra hard right now because my fiancé is in another country. A few days after we got engaged, we were already going to look at venues because he was leaving the country soon after. In different circumstances, I would have probably waited a little longer to start the whole process of the wedding planning. I then also started thinking about everything I had to do and how I would start to do it. I thought about kallah classes and realized I needed to find a teacher. How am I going to find a kallah teacher that works for me? I didn’t know if there was something specific I should be looking for, or if different people teach kallah classes differently. How do you decide what you need and who is the best teacher? Where can you find someone? How many lessons? How do I know if she taught me everything I need? Should I learn by myself or with my husband?

The first thing I did was sit down and make a list. Actually, I made multiple lists of every thought that came into my mind, so I wouldn’t forget anything later on. Some of the things were simple like a photographer, videographer, also the hall. There were other things like the witnesses for the ketubah, getting a kallah teacher, and collecting all the necessary documents we needed to get a marriage license.

When I first got engaged, right away I started thinking about going to the mikveh before the wedding, until I realized that I had so many other things to think about and plan before that. To me, the mikveh is a big deal that I wanted to plan out, but I know that I am going to learn more about it while speaking with my kallah teacher.

I knew I was excited to start going to a kallah teacher and start learning but I also knew that I wanted to find a mikveh that would treat me respectfully and I wanted to figure out how to do that. Honestly, I wasn’t really sure if going to the mikveh was something that I would do but that’s also why I was eager to learn more about it.

Once I found my kallah teacher, I got excited about learning everything related to marriage. I began to think about questions I wanted to ask her, and other things I wanted to speak to her about. I was also debating whether or not all my questions were valid or even okay to ask. Which halachot would I feel connected to? What would I do if there were some I didn’t connect to? How much am I willing to take upon myself? There were just so many questions I was asking myself in preparation for my kallah classes. Since I really never learned about mikveh and the laws of niddah before, it was hard to predict what I would learn and, naturally, I also asked myself what I would do with everything I was taught. I know that each and every person has their own boundaries about what they are comfortable with taking upon themselves. It is sometimes overwhelming to learn all of these halachot all of a sudden and having to implement them into your life. Especially when thinking about the fact that there is another person who will be involved in all the decisions you make and that it will impact them as well. Is my future husband learning the same things I am? How are we going to find out what works for us as a married couple? I have heard of some engaged couples doing a few of their classes together and I wonder if that is something I should be doing. There are so many questions and thoughts that come up!

Once you get engaged, I think everyone has questions that come up and a flood of emotions. But really it is a very happy and exciting time. I’m looking forward to kallah classes and going to the mikveh, even if the process is pressuring at times. There is a lot to get done, but with the countdown to my wedding having begun, the excitement is taking over. I know everything I was worried about will get figured out! 

Elana Schefras is currently a psychology student at Reichman University in Herzliya. She is an intern at the Eden Center and is engaged to be married.