Prior to our wedding on 3 March, 2001, Gabriella and I held a rehearsal at our flat. Our rehearsal was more than just a wedding run-through. It was a reunion. There was one couple who had relocated to the UK a few years before we did, and we had seen them often, but some we hadn’t seen for the 2 years since moving to London. Others were friends who lived far away from us in the U.S. and hadn’t seen us for far longer. It was a chance for us all to reconnect and share in a celebratory (pron. seh-leh-BRAY-tree) moment, and it was an opportunity for everyone in the wedding party to get to know each other better.
My brother Benjamin would walk me down the aisle. Neither Benjamin nor I had ever walked down the aisle prior to that day, and I felt it necessary to give my 22-year-old brother a few words of advice that a rabbi or a wedding planner might not have thought to provide. You see, my siblings and I are not a very sentimental lot, and I thought it appropriate to script it out for Benjamin. “So you take me down the aisle, Benjamin, and just before you leave me under the chuppah, you give me a kiss on the cheek and whisper something nice in my ear.” I know it seems a little bridezilla of me to do, but I couldn’t leave it up to chance.
During rehearsal, everything went according to plan. Everyone knew where to be and when and what to say on cue. As planned, Benjamin walked me slowly down the imaginary aisle and leaned in to deposit a sweet peck on my cheek. He found my ear beneath my hair and quietly whispered his private message to me, “...you have a big ass.” It was perfect actually. He took the piss, made me laugh, and I retaliated with a vice-like pinch under his arm that he gracefully accepted.
Not to fear, readers. On the evening of the wedding, Benjamin did not deliver the same message. Instead, he chose his words wisely and framed them positively and still managed to retain the Goldstein sentiment. “Gabriella has a nice ass,” he said before he left me with my bride to be. He couldn’t have been more spot on, and he couldn’t have set the stage more perfectly for the entire wedding. Ours was a wedding that was elegant and rich in tradition and busting with a whole lotta fun. I bring you some of the highlights today.
We were petrified that we’d embarrass ourselves reciting Hebrew blessings, so we practiced whenever we had a moment. Note that I’m not too embarrassed, however, to share this photo with you.
It is a tradition in Jewish weddings that the groom stomps on a glass or light bulb placed on the ground wrapped in a napkin. The traditional explanation is to remind us of the destruction of the Temple – even during our greatest joy. Some also say that we break the glass because the glass is as fragile as love, and we should remember to treat each other with care. I’ve also heard that the breaking the glass is akin to popping that hymen. That explains why as soon as everyone hears the POP of the glass, they all shout out, “LICK HYMEN!” At least I think that’s what they’re saying.
We decided we’d both symbolically break each other’s hymen and each stomp on a glass. What no one anticipated, however, was the challenge of nailing that glass without being able to take aim underneath layers of tulle, and after a blind first go and a echoing thud alerting everyone to the fact that we had missed our target, we managed to make contact the second time.
I was opposed to throwing bouquets into a sea of ladies presuming them desperate for marriage, but our guests demanded it and were excited about the odds given that there were two bouquets. Who knew, however, that the men who had always been left out of this antiquated tradition until that very night would be so motivated to catch those flowers that they would elbow and/or body check the ladies out of their way to finally win at sport denied them for so long.
We are grateful to everyone who celebrated with us that weekend and made our wedding absolutely spectacular. We love you and wish you a Happy Our-Anniversary.