(All wedding photos in this post, unless otherwise indicated, by Matthew Szlakowicz)
And then, just as soon as the whirlwind insanity began, it was over. My parents and brother were in the room with me and everyone else had gone. We were just sitting around, waiting.
I saw the chuppah from the balcony and it looked so beautiful:
We had done a super fast walk-through the day before but I was really nervous about getting everyone to the rehearsal dinner so barely had paid attention. We had a sheet though, from the wedding planner we had hired for day-of coordination, that said we were to be ready at 5:25. I forgot if this meant we had to be downstairs at 5:25 or what, so we just kind of waited. A big surprise to me was how calm I was feeling. I was not nervous in the least. I had bought over the counter sleeping pills because everyone told me that getting to sleep the night before your wedding day was near impossible. Maybe it was the hectic schedule or the sea breeze but I slept like a baby. To kill time while we waited I snapped shots of my family:
At 5:30, when no one had called us, we decided to just head downstairs. I stayed back so I wouldn't see IC in case he was hovering in the area. And suddenly, my brother was walking down the aisle, and then me and my parents. It all happened so fast.
Our friend PN was playing the violin for us and the song I had picked to walk down to was Erev Ba, a traditional Hebrew song which you can hear by clicking the link. It sounded so beautiful.
At the end of the path I could see IC and he was just beaming. It made me smile even harder. (The rabbi? I'll get to him in a minute).
When we reached the end of the aisle, IC kissed my mother:
And then my father:
And then lifted my veil:
Instinctively, I moved in for a kiss too and IC said "not yet" and then we both laughed.
We were giggling when we reached the chuppah.
While we were both brought up in the Jewish faith, IC and I are not very religious people. We read a lot about Jewish weddings before ours and tried to do things as close to Jewish tradition as possible. For example, we used a plain gold band, my grandmother's, for me under the chuppah, as you're not allowed to have diamonds or embellishments on the ring. We put the rings on the forefinger and not the ring finger (the fact that we put it on my right hand? Mistake).
I'm fairly sure the couple is not supposed to touch under the chuppah but we held hands the whole time. It was pure instinct and it felt so good to squeeze hands and be connected the whole time. I'm confident G-d will forgive us.
Another mistake was our families outside the chuppah (this photo by Cora):
It's a sore subject but basically they stopped outside the chuppah based on a drawing they had seen by our wedding planner and neither IC nor I corrected in the whirlwind of the moment. They should have been inside with us. The only person actually inside with us was IC's grandfather who we called up to the chuppah in a show of kavod.
You can see that the men in our family are wearing white yarmulkes with light blue lettering. These were hand-made by my mom. The guests got blue yarmulkes, with our names, wedding date and location on the inside, from my favorite Judaica store.
These 2 pics by Cora:
This one by Dawn Summers:
Also, the day before we were leaving for T&C I found myself in Chinatown and bought a bunch of fans to have on the seats in case it was very hot out. I think they were a cute touch but probably not actually necessary. The weather was perfect. From Sharon S.:
IC wants this to be a happy post, so I am spinning off the story of the rabbi into a separate post below. Go check it out.
Now back to our regular scheduled happy tale. We call up our friends Mike and Frank to sign our ketubah, we're wrapped in a tallit, the rabbi gives a Kohanim priestly blessing (we didn't know what this was until later, wouldn't have put it past him to be doing some Star Trek sign), IC breaks the glass on his first try, the crowd cheers "Mazel Tov!"
And then we kiss:
Then we walk like 20 feet:
And turn back around for the group photo and family portraits:
We're married! Us! To each other! We were friends for so long, just years and years of close friendship, of dinners out discussing our respective lives, nights on the couch watching random sports, one-on-one poker at IC's dining room table long after the rest of our friends had called it a night.
It was so obvious and yet not at all obvious.
When we finally looked at each other in that way, it was a dam breaking, there was no holding it back. Day 1 of our relationship we knew it was on a marriage track.
July 2006 (I have a million other photos from a million other years, 2006 was when I started my flickr so I have a lot from that era):
When we told our friends we were together, the most common reaction was "are you messing with me?" followed immediately by "I knew it!"
Our relationship began on Thanksgiving 2007, we told our friends over New Years, we were engaged 10 months later, married 6 months after that. But it's those first 11 years that made us us.
And hey, how many dinners do you still owe me that I won over poker, IC? July 2007:
No idea of the date on this one, maybe like 1999 and this is with our third, Matty:
I've heard the advice, marry your best friend. And I really did. It's been amazing and I think the best is yet to come, spit, spit, touch wood.
We looked on with some degree of jealousy as our guests proceeded to the cocktail hour.