We did it. We are now Mr. and Mrs. Jonathan Blackwell.
Thank you to all our friends and family who joined in the celebration of our happy occassion.
For those of you who haven't had a wedding and are thinking about it, I would say that the size of the celebration should depend on your personality. We had a relatively small reception because we wanted to talk to our guests. So that worked out well.
A few married women advised me to not worry about talking to people and try to enjoy my wedding. I really tried to talk to as many people as I could because somehow that allowed me in a weird way to be out of the spotlight. Yet somehow I kept finding myself on the dance floor at the center of some sort of wedding activity. I enjoy talking to people, and how often is it that you get family and friends together in one place for the opportunity to celebrate and catch up with them? Not wanting to be the focus of attention helped me really listen to the people I was talking to because I didn't have to think about myself -- which I've been doing in spades lately.
I am not a TRUE misanthrope but I also don't like to be the recipient of a lot of attention.
This is a dilemma for a bride who is the main focus of most weddings. I didn't think this was a problem for a lot of brides. Turns out that once again, I am not unique. The bridal attendant at the temple (who was an absolute genius of accommodation, from massaging my shoulders to reapplying my lipstick to helping me use the toilet) assured me that a lot of brides feel that way.
It's overwhelming for a lot of people. It's less about being the center of attention and more about trying to cope with all the love and affection that bombards you because of the nature of the occasion. You just have to take it in small doses. I made several trips during the beginning of the reception to the bridal chamber just for that reason -- but as the afternoon wore on, I started to enjoy myself a little bit more.
There was also the realization that once yesterday was over, that was it -- so I readjusted my perspective and was somehow able to absorb the good feelings without becoming more overwhelmed.
For those of you who don't know, it's a Jewish tradition for the bride and groom to be left alone for 15 minutes after the ceremony. The tradition is old and allows time for the presumably virginal bride and groom to consummate their relations. During our 15 minutes alone, we CONSUMED the food the bridal attendant laid out for us. It was a good 15 minutes. We ate and took pictures of each other (or rather Jon took pictures of me) and took a little bit of a break from the intensity of the CEREMONY. Jewish wedding ceremonies are pretty moving -- even more so when you are the one getting married.
Here are some pictures.
The other mystery that needed solving for a few of our guests was what happened to my train. My wedding dress had a long and beautiful train. Part of what happens in the bridal chamber is that the bridal attendant and in some cases the maid of honor (and in my case both) arrange your train into a series of gathers that hang from your butt. They do this by folding the dress and then buttoning it. The people who tailor your wedding dress attach buttons and loops that make the bustling process possible. Here is a great picture taken by Jon that shows this process.
I held it together well enough, until I heard Jon saying his vows in Hebrew. When the cantor asked me to say my vows in Hebrew, I had to do it between sobs. I didn't realize that those words would be so meaningful because for a long time they were just words the cantor wrote in a note to us. But yesterday -- well, if I already told you I was sobbing then you must know how moving everything all was in the end.
The absolute highlight of yesterday was marching into the sanctuary, hanging onto the arms of my parents, seeing all of the faces (hokey moment coming up) of the people who know us and love us waiting for me, to look at me, to wish me well -- that is an overwhelming moment. So overwhelming, in fact, I had to look down at the floor. Any eye contact at all with any of the individuals looking at me with such love, adoration and intensity would have further reduced me to tears. I had to pace my crying; otherwise, I would not have made it through the day. As you know, crying takes a lot of energy.
There are so many nice things that happened it's impossible to relay them all.
Just know that Jon and I had a wonderful time. We are thankful to everyone for coming out on such a beautiful day for our beautiful occasion, particularly those who traveled over great stretches of land and sea to join us. We are especially thankful to the friends and family who stood up for us and participated in both the signing of our Katubah and the signing of our marriage license. Thank you to the Best Man and the Maid of Honor for their warm and moving toasts. Thank you to my Maid of Honor for being the absolute be-all and end-all of Maids of Honor (I'm going to hire her out). Thank you to our parents for supporting us both and being so accepting of your new son-in-law and daughter-in-law.