Picasso once said, “All children are born artists. The trouble is keeping them that way.”
Picasso also once said, “Holy crap, ketubahs are really really expensive!”
Okay, he didn’t say that second thing. But I bet if he saw some of the websites I’ve seen, he totally would have freaked out about ketubah prices too.
I never even thought about how much a ketubah/shtar might cost. How much SHOULD such a document cost? On the one hand, it’s a document that symbolizes your love and commitment to your partner. It’s the sort of thing that can’t be valued in dollars or euros. It’s about love, it’s about family, it’s about hope for a beautiful future together…
On the other hand, it’s a piece of paper with some writing on it. How much does that cost? Even with colors or pretty paper cut outs laid on top, seriously, it’s a piece of paper. Someone drew a picture on it. Great. With all the materials and the labor, maybe it’s worth $20? Maybe $50?
Yeah, I looked it up on google. I found prices ranging from $350 to $900. NINE HUNDRED DOLLARS?! As though weddings were super cheap, and we were looking for a way to blow some more money. Who can afford a $900 piece of paper? What, is it written on a thin sheet of pure gold? Maybe the paper is coated in cocaine? What on earth could justify that kind of price? If love can’t be valued in dollars, WHY DOES IT COST SO MANY OF THEM?
Suzie and I were disheartened, to say the least. After a day or two of looking up woefully out of reach ketubahs online, we began to despair. We had to have a ketubah/shtar, but how? There was no way we could work with those prices. There appeared to be no such thing as a discount bin of cheap ketubot. They don’t really sell ketubot at thrift stores. There is no sketchy alley where a guy in a trench coat sells knockoff ketubot at suspiciously low prices. Our favorite go-to options were exhausted; we didn’t know where else to look.
However, we would not be dissuaded. We are feisty. We are resilient. Capitalism would not get the better of us!
Here’s how the ensuing discussion unfolded:
“I don’t know why this costs so much,” I pouted, “they’re just paper with fancy holes cut in them.”
“You’ve got scissors.”
“Yup. And paper too.”
“Wanna cut us a ketubah?” Suzie grinned.
(This is how we do things in our household. With reckless enthusiasm.)
“But what about the Hebrew stuff?”
“I can write Hebrew.”
“Great! It’s settled.”
And that’s how we decided to have a DIY ketubah/shtar. Suzie did the background in pastels, and I did the paper cut out on top. It took a couple hours. And we’re super happy with it.
Lag b Blog, day 11.
P.S. Did you know that Suzie has a fist tattooed on her shoulder? Fun fact about my favorite rabbi-in-training.