Mazel Tov, You’re Engaged! (Now What???)

Dear Links Family Chassan/Kallah,

Mazel tov! I’m so excited you’re engaged — and excited for this journey we’re going to take together!

It’s both an exciting and overwhelming time, and I get that. So here’s what we’re going to do to make it a bit easier for you. We’re going to simplify the contacts and what they offer so you know what to do.

I’m also going to give you a few pieces of (unsolicited) advice (cuz I’m really good at that, as you probably know by now. 🙂

The first thing to know is that Donna Marcos is the wedding planner/magician in our office. Contact her as soon as possible after your engagement — the earlier we know you’re engaged, the more we can do for you. Donna can be reached by email dmarcos@linksfamily.
org or by phone 718-305-6080 ext. 312 (leave a message or she won’t know you called!).
Have the following info ready for your initial phone call with Donna:

  • Your name
  • Your chassan/kallah’s name
  • Wedding hall + date of wedding (if booked)
  • Name of a rav who knows you/your family and with whom you feel comfortable with (this is mostly for any outside grants we may apply for)

There are lots of services we offer and some services from organizations we partner with. We can’t make guarantees for other organizations, however, we can help with the application process and in some cases, move things along.

We recommend you read through this booklet in full and print it out so you can mark it up as you go along. You don’t have to read it all at once if it’s information overload, but if you want to, you certainly can. Take your pick!

Getting ready for a wedding can be intense… but rest assured that we will be there with you. It’s going to be a blast, iy’H!
Let’s get started!

Sarah Rivkah Kohn
Founder & Director, Links Family

Wedding Halls in NY/NJ & Baltimore

Baltimore & Silver Spring

Beth Tefillah 410-486-1900

Shomrei Emunah 410-358-8604

Liberty Jewish Center 410-653-7485

Martin’s West 410-944-9433

Shaarei Zion 410-764-6810

Westminster 410-706-2072

Boro Park

Ateres Chaya 718-871-8220

Ateres Chynka 718-252-8480

Ateres Golda 718-972-1360

Eminence 718-437-4800

Legacy 718-871-1770

The Palace 718-871-1770

Tiferes Mordechai 917-319-7830

Tiferes Rivka 718-686-8700

Kerem Menachem 718-705-7740

Viznitz 718-236-2096

Crown Heights

Oholei Torah 718-777-8777

Razag 718-773-3300

ULY 718-774-4131


Congregation Shaare Zion 718-875-4880

El Caribe 718-531-1200

Kol Yaakov 718-336-2200

Ateres Matel Leah/Manhattan Beach Jewish

Center 718-891-8700

Metropolitan 718-368-0303


The Brightstone 973-778-9071


Ateres Avrohom 718-302-3700

Continental 718-780-9900

Concord Plaza 718-858-4277

Eden Palace 718-522-0600

Keser Raizel 718-705-8248

Imperial 718-243-2911

Pardes Faiga 718-963-9595

Pardes Tzvi 718-963-9595

V’yoel Moshe 718-384-4707

Five Towns & Queens

Marina Del Rey 718-931-6500

Terrace on the Park 718-592-5000

The Sands 516-371-4000

White Shul 718-327-0500

Congregation Beth Shalom



Ateres Chaya Sarah 845-519-1212

Ateres Charna 845-362-7800

The Atrium 845-356-9136

Vilochovitz 845-731-3707

YSV 845-356-1400

Lakewood and Vicinity

Ateres Reva 732-961-7902

Bais Faiga 732-370-8300

Ballroom at Eagle Ridge 732-901-4900

Bell Works 732-523-1874

Cedar Palace 732-370-8300

Fountain Ballroom 732-363-2500

Kesser Moshe Yehuda 732-363-2500

Lake Terrace 732-370-8300

Neemas Hachaim 732-719-5600

When you call the hall, first ask about available dates and pricing.

Then, ask to see the contract and review it for the following:

  • What’s included foodwise (How many couples? Children? Menu?)? Which hashgachah is it under? If you have a preferred shechitah, can they accommodate — and will that incur an additional fee?
  • Are there any time restrictions as to when set up can begin/when wedding needs to end?
  • If it’s a takanah package, who are the vendors contracted for all services?
  • What are the facilities for prep?
  • Indoor/outdoor chuppah space? Is there an extra fee for an outdoor chuppah?
  • Is there an extra fee for mitzvah tantz?

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what’s written in the contract!

Sample Vort Invitations

The following are samples made by Links Family that reflect the family structure of our members. They are not actual invites.

Sample Wedding Invitations

The following are samples made by Links Family that reflect the family sturcture of our members. They are not actual invites.

Links Family Chassan/ Kallah Services

Our chassan/kallah program is available to:

  • Any current or previous Zisel’s Links or Shlomie’s Club member (i.e. chassan/kallah must have been in our database prior to the engagement), even if they have aged out of ZL/SC events
  • Any chassan/kallah whose parent passed away during the engagement


Our Services include:

Clothing shopping for ZL kallah:

A fully funded, full-day shopping spree with a personal shopper in Monsey, Brooklyn, Lakewood, or Five Towns to purchase sheva brachos clothing, weekday clothing, shoes, and some accessories. Please note: This experience is for the kallah only — as a matter of policy, no family or friends join this trip. If you live in the US but out of NY/ NJ, we can often help with funds toward the flight to NY/NJ so you can stay 3-4 days and get it all done.

Guidance with community resources

Hat Box or GB gift card for SC chassan

MySelf Lingerie $450 gift card for ZL kallah (Brooklyn/Lakewood stores)

BJeweled (Monsey store) $1,000 gift card for SC chassan

Bridal gown: Hass Bridal (Brooklyn store) or Augenbraun (Lakewood store)

Wigs: from Bo’i Kallah or Yuli or Malky Frank (when available)


Housewares (as needed, when not available through community resources)

Home organizer to set up the apartment (NY/NJ/LA)

First-time grocery shop (NY/NJ)

Wedding dresser (NY/NJ when available)

Community Resources

While I wish there could be one universal application for all hachnasas chassan v’kallah organizations, as of now, that’s not possible. So with that in mind, here are the available resources that we know of. Please let us know if you hear of other resources so we can check them out.

(Please note: We cannot and do not take responsibility for any of these organizations. We’ve simply compiled a list of what they told us they offer and to whom.)

Resources for the Kallah

Tips for the Day of the Wedding

The difference between a dream and a goal is that a goal is a dream with a timetable.

When I got married, my goal was a happy and restful day. I knew that if the people around me were stressed, it would bring out the worst in me — and I certainly didn’t want to hurt anyone. So what I did was envision what I wanted and I created a schedule around that.

For some, it matters a lot that there be particular photos.

For others it’s particulars about dancing.

Sit down in a quiet space and write down what’s important to you. Find that family member or friend who can help you make that happen.

Some practical pointers:

Kiddies: If there will be kids at the hall while prep is happening, find someone who can entertain them. In some families, this is the time of communal Uncle Moishy showings… in other families, this is when Cousin Faigy comes at 2 p.m., rounds up all the kinderlach to a side room, feeds them, and has activities that are not messy or too active to do with them.

Food: Even if you’re fasting, not everyone else is. I’ve found trays of bagels and spreads to work well. For kids who are already dressed in their wedding finery, plain bagels are great because the crumbs just shake right off. Don’t bring sticky or messy foods. Bring food that can sit at room temperature for a couple of hours. And lots of water bottles! Also, about fasting: If you’re not a great faster and/or you’re taking any medication that needs to be taken with food, please ask a she’eilah to see if you should be fasting.

Saved you! Have one friend who can be the “saved you” person. Preferably someone with a car. That person should pack: shout stain removers, safety pins, needle and thread, band aids, etc. That person’s job is to answer the calls of “OMG, we left the baby’s bottle at home” and “Oh no, little sister’s skirt is still at the cleaners!” This person is the designated savior of the day. (Of course, this is only if the cleaners isn’t a plane ride away… though saviors have been known to open gemach doors an hour before pictures when a gown has suddenly split down the middle.)

Protectors: Let’s say there are sticky family dynamics and since this is Links… let’s put it out there. Say your mother passed away 15 years ago, your father’s been remarried for 9 years, and your mother’s family has barely been in contact since. Or say you have a married sister who feels so responsible for you, it can feel like hovering. Or say your father just passed away and your mother can’t be there for you emotionally as she processes the pain of making a wedding on her own. These are sticky situations and the worst thing you can do is pretend that come the wedding day, “it’ll all work out.” That’s usually a recipe for disaster and hurt feelings.

Instead, get real. And get help.

Is there an aunt whom everyone loves? Can you confide in her and ask her to be on hand and ensure that all parties feel good so the emotional burden doesn’t fall on you? Is there a really good friend of your mother’s who can be there for her? And do you have someone who can be there for you?

This is sometimes great to discuss and brainstorm with your kallah teacher — they often have great resources. I know of a situation where two aunts helped keep all grandparents smiling throughout the wedding and kept all conflict at bay so it wouldn’t spoil the kallah’s day. Feel free to speak to Donna about this and brainstorm with her too.

Do not take this all upon yourself. Get help and plan for a really joyful and special day.

Badeken/chuppah: Ahhhhh… so many technical issues arise when a parent isn’t there. Not just emotionally, but logistically too. Hopefully, you have a rav who can help you work through the nitty-gritties of your situation.

Many fathers and grandfathers will bentch the kallah during the badeken, and chassanim often get bentched before the chuppah. If you lost your father, you may want to plan ahead and see if you’d like someone else to give you the brachah.

In some families, the minhag is that only a married couple walks a chassan/kallah down. Others don’t have that minhag. In some, a couple in their second marriage doesn’t escort a chassan/kallah. In others, they do. Trust me, I’ve heard it all. Point is — have a rav mediate/pasken and help you out so it’s all done with respect and with shalom. Sometimes, someone would like a married sibling, other times, a set of grandparents, other times, various family members have ideas about who should be doing this… It’s so important to get guidance and keep the peace.

Dancing: As for dancing, decide beforehand who you’ll dance with first if the same gender parent has passed away.. Don’t leave this to play out on its own at the wedding! If possible, get someone who can “manage” the first dance, and make sure that person knows who the grandparents are, who the aunts are, who the people who are important to you are, and will get them into the circle to dance with you in the order you chose. (If you need help figuring this out, Donna has navigated this minefield many times and is available to help you map out the progression that feels right to you.)

Roll with the punches: With all the planning in the world, things can and do go wrong. Hopefully not too wrong. I got
married in a blizzard — like the type that they banned cars from the roads. Don’t ask how we got home (it started snowing during our chuppah)! The first task my husband had as a husband was figuring out how to shovel our doorway enough so we could reach the handle of that basement door. The next night, Chaveirim picked us up in a pickup truck to get to sheva brachos… It’s comical now, but we were both kinda stressed then. So yes, life happens. And it’s important to put it all in perspective. Which is something we Links Family members are pretty good at.
You really can and will be OK!

Other Resources

Sarah Rivkah has written several articles on on wedding planning that you may find helpful. Links are below:

The Master List for Setting Up a Home

The Week by Week Guide for Planning a Wedding

How to Create a Schedule for the Day of The Wedding

An Open Plea for a Rav

When writing a book, they always tell you to choose your most important message for the closing.

I can think of nothing more important than to end with a plea for aseh lecha rav.

As a chassan/kallah, you have the opportunity to lay foundations that will be the groundwork for a fabulous marriage.

No marriage is easy street. We each bring our personalities, our struggles, and our unique set of circumstances to the table. So often — too often — when families reach out to us for help with their challenges, the core issue is that there’s no rav in the picture.

Within a marriage, oftentimes, he is right and she is right but they’re both left (don’t mind the pun!) with no answer to a serious dilemma. It is NOT reasonable to expect to call a rav who has no context of the life you’ve lived or your family circumstances and say things like, “My husband would like to stay home for Shabbosim but my mother is an almanah and would like us to join her more often so she’s not alone.” It’s unfair to the rav, and most likely, you’ll all be left second-guessing the answer, whatever it is.

But when you build a relationship with a rav and allow the rav to get to know your family and what makes it unique, you can expect to experience the joys that come from following daas Torah.

The following article, on how to find a rav and how to ask a she’eilah is an imperative read.

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Name of Referrer