Tourist Tip #87 / Israeli Wedding Gifts

If you’re heading to Israel to celebrate with a bride and groom, don’t bother asking where they’ve registered for gifts. They haven’t.

Are you attending an Israeli wedding, and searching high and low for the perfect gift for the bride and groom? Stop right there.

In many countries, engaged couples create a gift registry for their guests, whiling away their weekends selecting the ideal dust ruffle and ice-cream maker at Bed, Bath and Beyond Boring. Israelis, however, keep the gift process simple: In the Holy Land, cash is king, so if someone you love here is heading to the chuppah, abandon the registry search and instead start looking for your checkbook.

When you enter an Israeli wedding hall, somewhere between picking up your place card and snapping up a glass of champagne, you will see a large safe, guarded by a staff member and bearing the name of the happy couple. This, dear readers, is the treasure trove of Israeli nuptials. Conveniently located at a table alongside the safe you’ll find envelopes and pens, so you need only slip your cash or check inside, sign your name on the envelope, and then wander off in search of the canapes.  

Of course, should you feel uncomfortable with a gift of cold, hard cash, it’s perfectly appropriate to bring a physical gift or inquire about the couple’s address and then have it delivered. Be aware, though, that very few venues will have a gift table and even fewer couples will make a gift registry in advance. While there are a few online companies that are picking up on the trend of American-style gift registries, most Israelis are still very unfamiliar with the concept. If you have your heart set on buying Sarit and Shlomo a serving platter, you’re likely going to be on your own when it comes to choosing the style, brand and color.

For the final tip in our three-part installment on Israeli wedding etiquette, check back tomorrow.