Shtick: Rejoicing with the Bride and Groom
The Yiddish word shtick refers to the crazy stuff people will do to entertain you and your new spouse at your wedding. Entertaining the bride and groom is a mitzvah, and it's no holds barred when it come to creating this joy. Many kinds of shtick are popular today. Some guests do it by dancing with all their might, some bring their juggling balls, and some do cartwheels. Usually, the more traditional the Jewish wedding, the crazier the shtick.
It is not uncommon at traditional Jewish weddings to see people who were dressed in a tuxedo or suit for the ceremony to be decked out in a full-body gorilla costume or clown costume during the Jewish dancing. Some guests have been known to begin jumping rope in the center of the circle in front of the bride and groom, or all of a sudden for the wedding party to appear in basketball uniforms and begin a game on the dance floor, moveable hoop and all. Funny hats, noses, and colored wigs are de rigeur when it comes to wedding shtick.
If you wish to have shtick at your wedding but are not sure anyone knows what it is, tell some of your guests about it in advance. They can watch Jewish wedding videos on the Internet and get a sense of what is involved. They can prepare costumes and shtick in advance.
If you have never been to a traditional Jewish wedding complete with shtick, having some may take you or your family by surprise. Weddings, which are often seen as so formal an affair, can suddenly seem like a comedy show — and sometimes a wacky one at that. But the feelings of sincere mirth and joyful abandon set a truly amazing tone for the joyful life it is hoped the bride and groom will share. If your friends plan to bring some shtick to your wedding and your family or your fiancé's family is unfamiliar with the custom, you may want to have a conversation about it in advance so everyone is prepared.