I don't talk much about the wedding anymore. Not in the way I used to; the intense glowing enthusiasm of a pre-burn. I'm afraid, tempting the evil eye any further may jinx what's left of the original plan. And I say what's left because when we decided to elope, with our immediate families, we also decided that so much of what we had planned were now requisites for a wedding. In some ways, that's been a welcome challenge: airbnb wedding that has the same heart and feel of the magical inn weekend we dreamed up together. Same ceremony, less people. Same afterparty, less people. Same first dance and musicians and florists and photographers, and wedding dress... less people.
So, really, what we're talking about here is scale.
And some of the changes really excite me--and I will be writing about all of them individually, eventually, but for now, here's a short list: I am officially making our wedding cake, our airbnb is seven acres and three cottages and it's a weekend where we get to have full-autonomy.
According to The Jewish Wedding Now by Anita Diamant, planning your wedding is such a reflection of the love you have for your partner and I've taken that very seriously. I have read and annotated that book, ridiculously, and keep referring to it, especially for the ceremony. For Jordan and I, the ceremony is the most important part and we really want to honor the religious and spiritual aspects of our union. We are still writing our own vows and have played a big part of piecing together a ceremony that feels like us.
And some of the changes make me a little sad; family members whose presence, together in the same space, has always been indicative of a big milestone, who won't be there or dance the hora with us or stand as I walk down the aisle and friends who we knew would make our wedding such an amazing party. In the land of what might have been, I could have closed my eyes and described Deer Mountain Inn in excruciating detail; where people were going to enter, exit, dance, move. Where the sparklers would go off and where we would share our first dance. Alternate-reality wedding would have been spectacular but, I know, this wedding will be pretty great, too.
Because on whatever day we sign the ketubah, and our marriage is real and binding, is the best day.
It's not going to be the way you planned it. And, these days, being such a proactive planner might be one of your worst qualities. So far, count it, there have been four different venues, six different guest lists, four devastating conversations, and infinite moments that make you cock your head to the side and shout REALLY?!? at the heavens.
And, although this has been the ultimate exercise in planning and letting go, it has also been an exploration of mindfulness. Because, through it all, I can sit on the couch, with a cup of tea, next to my guy and know, without any doubt, that he's it.
At this point, you were supposed to be coasting: the dress had been picked (scheduled for pick-up early June), the flowers double and triple checked; you would have already finalized the menu, selected the cake, ordered all of your welcome basket tchotckes. You would have sent out your bachelor and bachelorette party invitations and bought all of your accessories. None of those things really matter now.
Instead, the perfect shoes are in the drawer, the wooden signs hide behind your bedroom door. The countdown that had been curated for the fridge (24 Mondays until we're married...) has been traded for a grocery list. The packages are delayed.
But you spend your days with music and puzzles and games of gin. You bake and cook and dance in the living room. You facetime your friends and make queso for cinco de mayo. You watch live concerts from your bath tub, do burpees on the floor, and cuddle whenever you want.
It's not going to be the way you planned it. And sometimes the silly injustices of missing out on these onlies (your only wedding, your only bachelorette party, your only bridesmaids) turns your ribcage heavy. But, other times, you remember it's only a day. Compared to a life. Compared to a year. Compared to everything else.
So you reach out your hand and he leans over to kiss you. And, even though it's not going to be the way you planned it...it's perfect.
The first wedding.
A page out of Little Women and scrapbook paper put to good use.
Hands Creek Harbor on a Friday morning, before the rain came. Driving over to our spot, wedding bells in Bruno Mars' Marry You, chiming as we turned the corner. Walking down the hill of an aisle, white jumper and denim jacket with Mrs. Ziskin emblazoned on the back. Around the big oak tree, to the landing. To him. Somebody Loved playing on the phone speakers.
We sat and wrote each other notes that we fit into the fold of paper rings, to open in October, before we sign the ketubah in front of our families. A love note living on my ring finger; a secret kiss. Just us two.
When the world is exploding, you want to hold a little tighter. You don't want to wait for things you already know anymore.
How like a song it sounds; husband and wife.
Why was this night different than all other nights? Where to start? The matzah was the least of our worries this year, when grocery store shelves were wiped clean. If we had been trying to flee Egypt, we would have left empty-handed. But, instead, we have been told to stay put. So we gathered around laptop screens and read from the Haggadah. And even from hundreds and thousands of miles apart, we shared laughter and bitter herbs, and read promises of next year.
It was one for the books.