I wonder when the wedding bencher madness began, I know that it’s been a minhag yisroel for at least 70 years or so because I remember seeing a wedding bencher from 1929 when I was a wee little one. When I was young we had the bencher drawer, under a heaping pile of benchers from every single Fried Family wedding throughout the years was a pile of dusty yarmulkes and other wedding souvenirs and it’s only recently that I started seeing the waste that wedding benchers are.
I assume that most people have wedding benchers as their party giveaway is because they are the cheapest thing and because everyone else is doing it, what will the Friedmans say if we don’t have benchers, they will think less of us. I just wish someone gave away useful items at weddings, if you’re going to spend all that money, why not make it something useful. Like a personalized shabbos lamp, little packages of pre-cut toilet paper or one of those nifty little mincha/maariv things for your wallet. Surely a tefilas haderech card would be more useful than a bulky bencher which sits in some drawer until the family moves and decides to throw all their benchers in shaimos.
I am pretty sure that the biggest paper wastes in orthodox Judaism are Bresslov Books, Wedding Benchers and kosher pizza stores who gives you stacks of napkins every time you get something to go. I have had the idea to make wedding benchers from post consumer waste and recycled wedding benchers, but why not make something useful to begin with. Those havdallah booklets with the built in besomin thing are super cool, little siddurs for your car (I still have 2 siddurs from the Chaim Juni wedding in Rochester about 10 years ago – that dudes getting mad zechusim from everyone using those travel siddurim)
The best wedding bencher I’ve ever had was from my friend Sruly’s wedding, it was large print and for once my father could use a bencher and get rid of the stained, bulky, blue shiloh siddur with the large print from the table.
Find wedding benchers on 4torah.com