October 10, 2020.
This is how I'll remember it: a morning of hair and makeup. And a playlist months in the making. Getting dressed. After the better part of a year, terrified, hoping I would be the bride he had imagined. Months of obsessing over the dress, the buttons, the Pinterest board. And then, crying over a bouquet, popping a bottle of champagne, and walking past a wooden swing-set, to see him.
Six months ago today, we found joy in the midst of a pandemic. We gathered our loved ones closest and made a whole weekend to celebrate our union. I am overwhelmed by this memory; how everything came together, the community that came out of holding love up higher than the noise. The more time removed from it, the more grateful I am for the way it wrapped us all up in its Saugerties embrace and spent a weekend cradling us. From piano sing-alongs and crowding in the kitchen to make everything perfect for a welcome dinner. My brother plying me with Shirley Temples, always close enough to make sure I was okay, the wind pushing us closer together. The Little Wedding that did.
This is how I'll remember it: details and snapshots and everything just so.
It's here! Highlights from the wedding day. Private moments, sweet memories. If you don't look too closely, it truly was perfect.
The shift from engagement to wedding was jarring, if only for us: we feel so much younger then. Unbeknownst to us the world would stop on its axis. The plans that were brewing in our fingertips would be exchanged in a continual circle of gratitude, heartache, repeat, on (seemingly) endless loop. Much like this video. Forever. Thank you. To those who were there in person, in spirit in heart, in the ways that count, and in the ways they could. “And together they built the life they loved.”
Last night, I looked through our wedding album with my brother and was immediately brought back to the holiness of these moments. In honor of love-weekend, I lit the same candle we lit for the wedding welcome dinner, and sat down to reflect on our October ceremony.
The air, on this perfect October Saturday, was a warm hug. Our guest list was short but, on this warmest autumn day, we felt a love song in the wind; the blessings from the universe. Before the ceremony began, we signed the ketubah; an ancient ritual of commandment and commitment. Surrounded by witnesses and signed as a constant reminder of our promises to each other (four goats, three candlesticks, a roof for a fiddler). We were lucky enough to share this honor with two of our closest friends, whose ketubah we had signed two months prior. Love on love on love. Our four signatures now, hanging on our wall—preserved as a weddingscape: watercolor flowers, a bride and groom under a canopy, everything that has already been (and everything that was to come).
Our ceremony consisted of a Havdalah service. The lighting of the candles, the smelling of the spice, the tasting of the wine. A sense memory. I put together little besamim bundles for the ceremony: cinnamon, orange, clove. A dried rose. A sprig of lavender. A little charm with the word LOVE etched across its silver body. This ritual marks the transition from the end of the seventh day—the Sabbath—to the start of the new week. A time for transitions; a new week, new day, new chapter.
The havdalah candle—two of two wicks intertwined—like our lives, our families, our dreams, forever intertwined as man and wife. We had our mothers come up to the chuppah to light them and walk them through the aisle. To bring the light shining through for all.
And in these pictures, we saw that the wind turned the chuppah heart-shaped; that we are all held up by the people who love us- my mother who walked me down the aisles to my awaiting husband, my brother, who learned Hebrew to officiate his sister’s wedding, my sisters who danced in the grass (in heels).
This did not feel like the kind of year where happiness happens. And, in truth, our moments of joy were permeated by deep moments of sadness. In some ways, we may be forever recovering from many of the actions of 2020. The bad changed us but the good made us whole again. And, maybe, that's the point of all this. How lucky we are to have moments of joy, in spite of. And to focus on those moments, even when it would be easier to sit in the bad. It's why I may open our wedding album
A sniff of the candle, a new set of flowers to dry (an early Valentine's Day gift from my husband) and the joy of that word, that partnership, dancing on the tip of my tongue.
I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine.
אני לדודי ודודי לי
Inscribed in our yalmukes, printed on our programs, written on the glitter of our shoes. Etched in our souls, deep and permanent like a commandment.
Oh, my beloved. I love you more than I can fit in my whole heart.
We have been legally married for eight months and it has been 108 days since our perfect little wedding in upstate New York.
We received our photo book today and, flipping through the heavy pages of the greatest fairytale, we were reminded of wooden swings, the etch of mountain peaks against a dark skyline, all of the tiniest details--I am so grateful for the wedding that was, that did, that could. So grateful for the little life we are creating for ourselves. So grateful to be yours--and that you are mine.
The day after Thanksgiving, we decorated our apartment for Hanukkah--a new married tradition, with a playlist of merriment. Next year, we'll add Hanukkah stockings, to be filled with chocolate gelt and little love letters.
Two months after the wedding and, just like that, we're in the midst of our craziest season! Hanukkah, back-to-back birthdays, snow days, and full-on merriment! It's beginning to look a lot like Winter Break, of the strangest school year yet.
And this December, a first, a family together: a brother who lives in Manhattan, a sister driving down from Baltimore and a mom and sister dwelling in an Airbnb. And the most handsome husband.
For Hanukkah, Jordan bought us matching Hanukkah pajamas and I had a glimmer into all that is to come. So close to then end of this absolute rollercoaster of the year and I am grateful for what has been---but, mostly, for all that is to come.
Oh, how I love being merried to you.
For family. The ones you would choose and the ones that were chosen. Sometimes, when you're lucky, they are one-&-the-same.
They say every girl dreams about her wedding day. For me, the wedding dreams came with finding the perfect person. Once fate had done her handiwork, I could see nothing else when I closed my eyes; just him, suited and grinning broadly and me, white and flowing. The trinkets saved from years of a premature wedding Pinterest board suddenly given breath.
When we really started planning this wedding, back in 2019 (which seems like a lifetime ago, now), the invitations were our first purchase: something of a fairytale. The perfect keepsake of the day I would officially link myself to him, forever.
But life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans and as I blindly pasted pictures into my Kate Spade wedding binder, the world shifted on its axis. The wedding was planned and replanned...and replanned and replanned. Until we were left with a wedding binder, worse for the wear, a smattering of Etsy purchases I’d nabbed along the way, a lacy white dress, another cancelled plan, and a date we wished to keep. Long story short, these details are a huge deal. I wanted to plan a wedding weekend where my favorite human would feel loved at every turn, with every tag and dotted-‘I.’ The “I do” shoes, the tags (on everything), the tie notes, the apple cider and donuts, the hangers, the hand calligraphy on the tambourines, the havdalah ceremony, the programs, the vow books, the glass for breaking (the bag and the glass we’ll turn into a mezuzah for our first home). All of these moments, mementos, monumental. The tiny pieces we carried with us, from plan to plan, from wish to wish, that—like this love—stood the test of time.
We light our own sparklers. Little lights in the dark. As if to say, you might not be able to see us. But we are here. I am so grateful for the ones who light the way. The perfect finale to a magical evening: an archway of light. A sparkler send-off; the promise of s'mores and forever on the other side.
At 5PM on Saturday, October 10, 2020, we exchanged vows in front of the fifteen most important people in our lives. When we arrived at Oz Farm, the wooden signs covered in exclamations; arrows pointing in the direction of a stand was filled to the brim with warm cider and donuts. A bushel of sweet apples and programs wrapped in besamim (sweet cinnamon sticks, dried orange, and flowers) for our havdallah ceremony. Polaroid cameras and a book with our names scrolled across it; navy blue yalmukes with our names and the date. Each element a tiny prayer--a sweet whisper of forever.
The string trio played by the chuppah: a great arch covered in sunflowers and romantic creams and blues and, at cocktail hour, moved towards the bar. Sweet melodies filled the air like a promise. J and I read our vows below the canopy, Gil's tallis above us, like the covering of home and, right before Jordan's vows began, a gust of wind danced through the tallis, through to the breaking of the glass and the first kiss.
A secret note, from four winters ago. A promise of every day, forever.