After a pre-wedding photo session (yep, it was way too rushed and we did not have nearly enough time...I haven't yet talked to any brides who were actually ready on time, so if you are out there, kudos to you...I couldn't manage it), we went down to the Ladies Locker Room for the Ketubah signing.
This is our beautiful ketubah. Ketubah's are actually Jewish marriage licenses and according to Jewish law, after they are signed, you are officially married (no need for the additional ceremony--of course most of us ignore that part these days). In truth I didn't quite know what to expect for the Ketubah signing ceremony, but it actually was quite special. Our Rabbi, Sally Olins from Temple Isaiah
in Palm Springs was really wonderful. Greg and I had spoken with her on the phone several times and then met with her in person the day before our wedding. She managed to make our wedding so warm, personal and spiritual...but in a very accessible way.
Our ceremony was outside and was set up facing the gorgeous mountains. It's hard to tell in these shots, but the sun was actually setting as our ceremony began and the sky turned the most gorgeous shade of pink. I was so caught up in everything, I missed it myself, but everyone there said that it perfectly matched my dress.
These were our programs.
And these were our seating cards. We got the cardstock for our programs from Paper Source
, and the printing done last minute at Kinkos. Big Mistake. Big, big, big mistake. Towards the end of your wedding planning, you will be feeling very overwhelmed...perhaps even a bit complacent. However, I urge you, do not do any of your printing at Kinkos under any circumstances. I can't tell you what a huge headache/nightmare we had with them and, in the end, our programs ended up looking a bit wonky. Though, that was due in NO part to our fabulous stationery designers, Wiley Valentine
. They designed our invites, table cards, program stickers and the stickers and coin envelopes we used for our seating cards. Months after the wedding, I'm still getting comments on our invites. I seriously love me some Wiley Vanetine.
After the ceremony, we headed back into the club for our cocktail hour. Greg and I actually took our Yichud, which in the Jewish tradition is some private time that the couple spend together directly after the ceremony to reflect on the specialness of the day. We joined the cocktail hour after about twenty minutes or so and the party was already in full swing. It's typical here in NY where we live to have an over the top cocktail hour with mounds and mounds of food. Often, I'm not even hungry for dinner after a particularly stellar cocktail hour binge. But we really wanted an elegant, fairly quick cocktail hour. We had 5 or so h'ors d'oeurvres and a martini bar. Another favorite touch (and fairly recent discovery) I made is X-rated Fusion Liqueur
. I know it sounds naughty, but really its the most beautiful pink fruit-juice infused vodka. There are blood oranges, passion fruit, mangoes and some other delish things in there and all I can say is that for a total non-drinker like me, I could slosh down this stuff all night long. We had X-cocktails, which were just some of the liqueur mixed with sparkling water. I chuckled a bit when I saw some of our fairly beefy friends and family walking around with pretty pink drinks, but everyone really loved it.
One of the major highlights of our wedding was the food. Not that I had too much of it, but people were raving all night long about the utter delicious-ness of absolutely everything. We used a caterer from LA called Savore
. They were unbelievable to work with, full of amazing ideas and, the food was really over the top spectacular. In truth, I had never been to a wedding before where the food was really good, so this was a new experience for me. My one major regret/complaint is that no one made us a doggie bag. You really do get so caught up in the evening, talking to everyone, and not wanting to mess up your lipstick (ok, at least I did), and by the time you turn around its all over. We got back to our hotel well after midnight (which was after they had stopped serving room service), and we were so hungry we had to make a run to a vending machine.
I really did not want to do typical wedding-y centerpieces for the table. I realized after the third or fourth person asked me "would you like to do high or low centerpieces?," that the answer was neither. Instead we collected over the year of planning hundreds of different sized and shaped crystal candlesticks and votives. We mixed these up on all of the tables. We also collected crystal bud vases and used white orchids and roses on each table. Every single table looked a little different, yet they all tied together. As much as I love flowers, I knew that the real "va va voom" effect would come from loads and loads of candles so we really did go a bit overboard in that category, but boy am I glad we did.
Our band was also amazing. They were a soul/R&B band called The Art of Sax. By the end of the night, they knew all of our guests by name and were taking requests. Greg and I really danced the night away and had so much fun with all of our friends. Another great piece of advice I got from a few previous brides-to-be was to spend as much time with your guests as you can during the cocktail hour. Ignore your friends and focus on Aunt Helen and Uncle Seymour. This way when the party really gets started, you've already said all of your hellos and can get down and boogie with your pals without feeling guilty.
The one part of the wedding that I hated...and I mean really detested was getting lifted up in our chairs while dancing the Hora (can you see the terror on my face?). Every Jewish bride and groom must face this fate and I can only say that I wish my fellow tribesmen luck, and strong relatives. I'm not sure why this was so frightening to me, but I truly felt like I was going to fall the entire time. You are supposed to be joyful and exuberant and all I wanted to do was get the hell down. Cleopatra be damned, I don't ever
want to do that again.
Our cake was definitely over the top...and it was really even more delicious than it was beautiful.
My hands down, super fantabulous favorite thing we did was our Polaroid Guest Books. I purchased two cheapie Polaroid cameras off of amazon
and ordered our books from Adesso
. For some reason, I did not think that most guests would bother taking a photo and writing something out to us, but almost every person there did! I honestly pull these books out on almost a weekly basis now to go through them and see all of the fab photos and kind/funny/touching words that everyone wrote.
Well, there you have it. I wish I could invite you all over to my place now to finish things up by showing you our wedding video. I know I've mentioned 11 other favorite things about our wedding so far, but our video is truly my heart-stopping fav-oh-rite. We hired a wonderfully gifted guy named C. Charles Bowden (though, unfortunately, our was his last video!). He shot the whole thing in Super-8, and it truly does look like a beautiful little vintage art film. It's only 18 minutes long and everything from the music to the images is just really breathtaking. I think we've watched it about 32 times so far.
I plan to share some more specific wedding advice based on the good, the bad and the ugly that went down for us on our wedding day, but for now, here are my thoughts for all of you brides-to-be:
Be bold and express yourself; take chances; Hire a stellar photographer; Bring a change of shoes; Build in some private time with your new husband during the evening so that you can stop, take a look around and enjoy all the love that is surrounding you; eat something during the day! You will plan to do this and then you will not do it. Assign someone to make sure that you have yummy food around at all times for whenever you feel like munching (I had m&m's all day); Start a skin regime 3 months or so before your wedding (earlier if you are more responsible...unlike me); Give your digital camera to a friend and ask them to take pics all night (yes you are paying a lot for a photographer, but you are going to want to see pics immediately. We spent a couple of hours in beautiful Italy oohing and ahhing over all of the digital pics our friends took); don't drink too much alcohol OR water (its annoying and hard to go to the bathroom in a wedding dress); Dance with people you might not normally dance with; Don't get annoyed when things go wrong...I can promise you they will, but believe it or not, your day will still be dreamy...really.