I woke up at 6:30 and showered for my 7:00 hair appointment. This is a.m., in case you hadn’t guessed. Ryan stayed at a hotel the night before, and for various reasons, none of my bridesmaids stayed with me, which was actually what I preferred. I wanted to sleep, not gab, and it worked out really well. I probably fell asleep around midnight, and at least got something of a night’s sleep!
John, my hairdresser, showed up right on time and got to work. He is my regular hairdresser, so it was really nice just to chat while he worked. He was done within the hour, and told me he wished all his brides were as calm and collected as I was. It was great to have it just be the two of us, rather than having a small army of women running around the place. Everything came out perfect the first time, and he was even pretty proud of himself he said. Just as he finished, my parents and brother showed up to get me. We grabbed the dress and stuff and headed to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and the Palm House to get dressed.
I had to walk through the Palm House (which is all glass) to get to the bridal room, and as I walked in, I saw sister-in-law Kristy had turned Ryan around to face away from the room so he wouldn’t see me (at the time I was wearing shorts, a denim shirt, sneakers, and veil – tres chic!) He later confessed that he caught a glimpse, but that it made no difference.
I was a little curious why it was nearly 9am and the florist wasn’t there and no one had seen Leanne, my pastry chef bridesmaid who made our cake and was going to be there at 8:30. As I was getting dressed, Leanne came in with a stricken look on her face, obviously on the verge of a total breakdown. I was actually relieved when she said it was the cake, and not her car or something worse.
As best we can figure, the problem was the carrot cake. Apparently, there’s a reason no one makes carrot wedding cake. Too dense. And it was so friggin humid the day before, that the cake was even moister. So, it fell on its way to the wedding, and she discovered it when she got there. She was completely devastated – she’s done over 50 wedding cakes and never had a mishap.
One wrong word from me and she would’ve been a pile of jelly. She said she could either try and fix it herself, or the Palm House staff could fix it with fresh flowers. I asked what she wanted to do, and she said she’d rather they do it, so I told her great idea, tell them to do it, and then told her I didn’t care, shit happens, and I’m just glad it was the cake and not her. She got teary anyway, and I hugged her and told her it was really OK, and it would be delicious. Also, I pointed out her fabulous her hair was, and that apparently it got all the gravity that day, rather than the cake (she’s the bridesmaid with the short dark curled hair in my pics). She was obviously still shakey, but managed to relax after a while.
It’s funny, but that problem, and my reaction, really were great for our friendship. She told me and wrote in my guestbook that she learned that day what a true friendship was all about. We’ve been friends since we were 8, so that’s saying a lot! I pointed out to her that every vendor has a problem at some point, and she was lucky that hers happened with me and not some psychobridezilla! She agreed.
Tears over, we finished getting dressed. The florist was late, so I went out to meet my groom (we were doing pics beforehand, as is traditional in a Jewish ceremony) by the lily pond. What a strange feeling – I almost felt shy, as I came out the door and walked towards him! He was smiling at me and just telling me how lovely I was, and then it all felt perfectly natural. He was so handsome in his tux! I was with him to buy it, but was kinda glad I hadn’t seen it since he had it tailored.
Flowers arrived after a few photos, and we, along with the wedding party (including parents) headed out to take photos around the gardens. The garden was open and a few people were already there, so we got some congratulations wishes from a bunch of people. I also found out later that my big boss, who lives around the corner and said she might swing by, caught some of our photo session on the esplanade. I wish I had seen her!
At one point there was a crowd of elderly women gathered watching, and our photographer, Joel, invited them to join us (actually, I learned last night that it was Ryan's idea!). What a cute picture that made! It gave us all a giggle, too.
The flowers look fine in the pics, but were not what I expected. Rather than cream sweetpeas, I had lavender ones with my pink peonies. The bridesmaids ended up with pink roses and some other wilty flowers (sort of like lisianthus), rather than sweetpeas. Ryan’s boutonniere was very droopy, but the other ones were nice perky calla lilies. I let go of my flower irritation almost instantly. They still looked pretty, and the bridesmaids held them close up to the blossom to hide the wilty ones. Dunno what happened, and haven’t had a chance to discuss with the florist, who is so sweet I hate to find out. I think they just got in over their heads and spent all the time on the wheatgrass centerpieces, which did look fabulous!
Am I really so far into this and not even at the ceremony yet? Yipes! Let’s hope it goes faster from here on in…
Well, right before the ceremony, we signed our ketubah in the Palm House, and gave our hula girl tie to the rabbi (Each couple gives him a tie with their names on the back. When he gets up that day, he picks a tie and says a blessing for that couple, then at your wedding he puts on your tie. We got hula girls because of the Hawaiian honeymoon and ‘cause it was fun!). Did a brief rehearsal, and then headed out for the real thing.
It was fun standing behind the bushes watching the procession from behind. It was nice to have both my parents there, particularly. I was surprised to hear “Pachalbel’s Canon” for the procession, since we hadn’t chosen it. Oh well. Once they switched to “Prince of Denmark” it was my turn. As we rounded the bushes into the aisle, I started to tear up, but that was the last time. Then I just smiled and smiled.
Standing under the chuppah with everyone, I felt so much love, particularly from my sweet groom. I have to give us kudos for speaking our vows clearly, loudly, and with feeling. Neither of us cried at all. My Dad and his Mom were the criers, it turns out. And Leanne and Lisa, the BMs holding the chuppah, said they couldn’t look at each other or they were going to lose it. I cried at their weddings, and they didn’t, so it’s fitting that they should cry at mine!
Rabbi Al was fantastic, as were our 7 friends and relatives who each read the English translation of one of the 7 blessings that are part of the Jewish ceremony. When it was all over, Ryan broke the glass, and we had a really wonderful, natural kiss. Then it was off to yichud – the Jewish tradition of seclusion.
Back in the bridal room, there was a try of all the tasty treats being served at the cocktail hour. We laughed and chowed and kissed, and remarked on how great we felt, and how the Jews have it all going on when it comes to weddings, because it was so nice to sit together and eat rather than have a receiving line! Eventually the rabbi told us we had to come out, so we joined the party.
The reception went far too fast. The band was amazing. All the older folks thanked us for having a real band with real music. They were worth every penny. After we were introduced they started with our song, “As Time Goes By.” Let me say, our friends and family are easily impressed. A few spins, a few dips, nothing rehearsed, and they thought we were Fred and Ginger!
Next came the hora, which was fun and exhausting. By the time we were lifted up on the chairs (another tradition) I was glad to just sit down, even if my set was bobbing and weaving in the air!
Our father-daughter dance was “Lullaby” by Billy Joel, and apparently everyone got choked up. Dad got a little choked up, but mostly we were talking about how much fun it all was! Ryan danced with his mother to “What a Wonderful World” which was also very sweet. Did I mention that she apparently got on board the train at the next-to-last stop and was now being nice to me? Relief.
Fun moments – dancing with Leanne (finally over the cake debacle) to “Stop – In the Name of Love” and basically putting on a little show for the whole crowd watching. Giving a toast to my Dad and including all the Dads who were there with us and maybe not with their kids that day (Father’s Day). Dancing with my sweet husband.
From the time the reception started, nothing went wrong. Nothing. It was amazing! Smooth as silk, and the most fun I’ve ever had.
When it was all over, we gathered our things and Ryan and I decided to take a little “victory lap” around the garden. That was the perfect plan. It gave us a half hour or so to just talk, relax, and transition from the party fun to the wedding night. People kept congratulating us and offering to take our picture. We smelled all the roses in the rose garden (OK, not all, but a lot) and came back feeling relaxed and pleased, though a bit sad it was over.
Mom, Dad and Larry (brother) waited for us, and drove us back to our apartment. My Dad helped us bring some stuff up (3rd floor walkup) and witnessed Ryan carrying me over the threshold. He told us yesterday that we missed seeing it, but he totally lost it in the stairwell after that. He’s so cute.
It was only 5:30, but boy were we exhausted! Ryan was about to keel over, but got a second wind, if you know what I mean. Yes, I gave him the flower of my virginity. OK, maybe not quite.
Around 7pm we opened up some of the 30 or so cards we received during the reception, and were pretty stunned at the amount of money people gave us! Some people were exceedingly generous! Eventually, although we ate plenty at the reception, we got hungry again and ordered Indian food. YUM! I think we hit the sack around 10pm, happy, tired, and very much married.
All in all, our wedding was simply wonderful. Even if I had been a guest, I would say it was the best I had ever been to. The weather was perfect - the day before it poured, and the day after it is/was chilly, but the day of was comfortably warm, sunny but not too sunny, and just lovely. The ceremony was beautiful and had touches of humor from the rabbi and the bride and groom. The reception was just an absolutely fantastic party. Amazing food, lots of dancing, and all we kept hearing was how beautiful and in love we looked. I Could not ask for anything more! Here are some of the nonprofessional photos we have so far - a few are digital (from my camera even) and a few are scanned from the great photos my cousin sent me. Most don’t need much explanation.
"Stop! In the Name of Love"