Man, weddings sure do come and go in the blink of an eye. After all those months of dating, finally making the decision to pop the question, creating an elaborate proposal set-up, planning until you’re sick of planning, the big day is over before you know it. A then-very-soon-to-be cousin-in-law told me during picture taking that it is very important to mentally take a step back and capture a picture of the scenes in front of you during the course of the whole wedding shindig. He was definitely right in offering his advice. Particularly after looking through all the official pictures, with the occasional oo-ing and ah-ing at the beautiful, yet awkwardly arranged family or couple pictures, the photo documentation of the amazing shtick my friends and family pulled off pales in comparison to the mental record I have in my head.
At any rate, sheva brachos have also flown by, with their own beauty, friendship, and deliciousness beginning to fade into memory. It was very heartwarming to see so many friends and family members put in the extra effort to celebrate with us again, especially after many (at least on my side) schlepped so far just to be present at part of, or hopefully all of, the wedding itself. I can imagine how tiresome it can get for those in the northern parts of this country who frequently get wedding invitations and must make an obligatory appearance to keep the peace, despite the utter exhaustion of preparing for yet another all-too-brief dressed-up outing.
Nevertheless, the wedding turned out almost exactly as I had been dreaming of these past few months of engagement. Thank G-d, next to nothing went wrong, despite the warnings of more experienced married friends and parents of friends who have married off several children. The only things that come to mind are forgetting to ask the band if we could record the performance (which wasn’t done at any rate), a shortage of one of the specifically chosen colored ties for the wedding party (which was semi-easily replaced), and the odd occurrence that someone’s expensive new suit jacket seemingly vanished into thin air (thankfully, it was recovered a few days later).
I arose early-ish that morning to go to the mikvah and daven shacharis, after which my shomer and I raced back to my apartment so I could shave and re-shower (men’s mikvah water is notoriously not the cleanest) before we started heading to the wedding hall. In the mad dash across the Heights, my shomer proved to be worth his appointment when he saved me from stepping in dog droppings, which would have put a damper on the start of the day’s proceedings. After leaving the Heights, we managed to find a yeshiva (a yeshivish yeshiva, and here I was wearing my YU fleece, and my shomer his kipa sruga) near the hall where they conveniently davened mincha right when I needed it, and I spent a good half hour pouring my heart out in words of teshuva for my past misdeeds and asking HaShem for bracha and hatzlacha in my relationship with ASoG, as well as that I should be the best possible husband that she so rightly deserves.
One contradiction I faced during davening that day was the practice of omitting tachanun in the presence of a chosson (IE: yours truly). At Shacharis, we didn’t say tachanun. At mincha, a rebbe at the yeshiva wished my mazal tov, after which he inquired exactly when the wedding was. When I replied that it was actually after shekia (sun set) he announced that we would indeed be saying tachanun. While all the disappointed yeshiva bochrim begrudgingly went about saying tachanun after chazaras hashatz (the out-loud repetition of the shemonah esrei), sufficed to say neither I nor my shomer said tachanun. One friend who had the same issue earlier this year later told me that the congregation omitted tachanun the day of his wedding, despite the fact that his chupah also took place after dark. Another person told me the whole thing is a machlokes. Anyone heard anything about this?
Anyway, shortly before arriving at the hall, I sent a preemptive warning via text message so that ASoG would be spirited away to her dressing room and thus avoid seeing me earlier than necessary. Once that was arranged, my shomer and I were shown to my dressing room. Upon opening the door (which had a little number pad to provide a secure entry), we discovered – much to our surprise –a woman nursing her baby. We promptly slammed the door in shock, thankfully we didn’t see anything we shouldn’t have, and my soon-to-be sister-in-law took care of the intruder (who was attending the ongoing bar mitzvah).
Getting dressed was comical at best. Every few minutes someone would knock on the door, wanting to either: randomly take a picture, ask some inane question, give me a gift, or just say hi. As such, it took far longer than necessary to get ready. Putting in my contacts was ridiculous. I stood there with one contact in and the other on my fingertip awaiting application for about ten minutes, with multiple interruptions preventing me from inserting it. At one point, ASoG came running in looking for the Tena’im, which suddenly wasn't with the Kesubah or the marriage license (as it should have been). I remained locked in the bathroom while the search took place. As it turned out, the Tena'im ended up being found in another room entirely.
Parenthetically, one of the things I noticed that happens frequently at weddings is not that things go wrong per se, but awry – particularly in a humorous sense, if one has the ability to appreciate it.
Check out Part 2 here.