COVID has really taken a tole on Weddings and I suspect Wedding Planners – but we do seem to be rounding that corner as more and more weddings and other life events are starting to pop up like fleas on a dog.
So not to anyone’s surprise really – I was fortunate enough to be invited to an over-the-top, absolutely fabulous wedding on Long Island last weekend. The Groom was my cousin’s son, and the bride was the love of his life. As befitting both my cousin, her son – and the bride – it was at once traditional, and fun, and well attended!
Our family made what we thought would be a solid presence – 13 in total! But we barely made a table full – the rest of the over 200 attendees were friends of the parents, friends of the bridge and groom, and family of the bride.
The wedding was very very nice – the dress was ‘Black Tie Optional’ so there were lots of runway ready gowns on display – including a gal wearing a ‘Rent-a-Runway’ purple number that screamed ‘FABULOUS’ My sister actually asked her – apparently ‘Rent-a-Runway’ features dresses that have actually been on a Runway. Of course they do – it’s NYC of course. Note here – apparently only in sizes 4 and below. I’m not wearing one – ever.
And there was a ton of food. The catering team took the ‘we want the best’ idea to heart – and delivered, and delivered, and delivered. As certified ‘foodies’ – of course I wanted to try everything – but it wasn’t even close to possible. So I just relaxed, went with the flow – and had a blast.
The party started at 6:30 when the opened the doors to the temple. Why 6:30 PM? It’s an odd time actually in Jewish circles on a Saturday night – turns out there was a bar Mitvah book before – and that had to be cleaned up and the temple proper re-set. That makes sense. The Bar Mitvah would be a luncheon thing – so the cater and florist would have had about 4 hours to get the room reset – maybe only 3 if the party before ran late….
Can you imagine the organization needed to pull this off? I can’t even begin to imagine it – but I’m guessing experience counts big when doing something this big that fast.
Anyway – the temple was glorious – the floral artists outdid themselves. The Canopy over the bride and groom was huge – at least 20’ high, and frosted silver with drapes from top to bottom. On the front edge was a flower arrangement to die for. Huge flowers draped and interlaced with orchids and smaller buds – and Roses of course – hung about 2’ high across the entire top and then spiralled down the sides.
And they had spread rose petals all up and down the aisle – which was far better than having one poor flower girl try to do it. Lovely. While the ‘crowd’ – and I’m guessing maybe 200 people – were clustered waiting for the temple doors to open (dud – they were removing the Bar-Mitvah and getting the flower arrangements up) wait staff was circulating with nibbles. I had a white fish in a pastry cup that was completely yummy. But I spotted at least 5 other options – just none that came within grabbing distance.
I’m still a bit COVID-shy – so We hung back and stayed outside – waiting till the crowd got seated. Then we snagged a back row of seats for the 13 of us.
I wasn’t keen to get too close to anyone – so the hanging back and the waiting made me much more comfy. And as the groom told me – the synagogue has huge high ceilings and a very very effective air treatment system. It felt very safe.
Unlike Friday night when, I admit it, I panicked. The plan was to go to the ‘out-of-towners’ dinner party at an Italian Restaurant nearby. My sisters and their husbands, some of my nieces and nephews, and my son and his family were going to be there – so I was totally looking forward to a fun chat and a chance to meet the bride. I’ve know the groom since he was born!
When we arrived – all looked fine. The restaurant was large, and had a lovely outdoor Terrace. But that wasn’t where our party was being held.
Our room was in the basement, and it wasn’t just my family – it was all the ‘out-of-towners’ – around 50 people. So it was crowded, with a low ceiling, and lots of folks all gathered together.
Way way too much in my face for me. I did what I did months ago at a funeral. I got short of breath, felt overwhelmed, and did the wussy thing – I walked out.
My husband, Victor, eventually found me (I was sitting in the back of the restaurant near our car – outside – open air. Just sitting). I explained my issue – he went in and gave my excuses – and we went out for a quiet dinner – just the two of us. I felt better.
But I paid for it however – my sisters were very concerned that I was having a nervous breakdown – particularly my baby sister – who’s had COVID (as has her husband) and treated it like an imposition that kept her out of some parties. I keep flashing on folks I know who have long COVID and think – yeah – not so easy for everyone. If I’m not comfy – I’m not staying.
By Saturday morning – my family had forgiven me, and we walked in the AM. Then we went for a lovely lunch at a place called – no joke – Schmeers – and then walked back from there to the hotel. I think the total distance was over 5 miles – so when we finally got back to the hotel – I promptly passed out. 2 hours later I was up, primped, and ready to party!
So – back to the Wedding …
After the nibbles and drinks, they opened to doors to the synagogue and we all went in. The wedding ceremony was lovely – the fun part was when the groom – instead of stately and slowly walking down the aisle between his parents – instead dragged his parents down the aisle – about 1.5 feet in front with his arms and hands behind him pulling them along. Guess that’s why normally the groom just appears on the side – no chance to make that mistake.
Clearly this is a love match, and he was really ready to get on with it.
The bride is a lovely gal – she was wearing a lovely gown, and had clearly paid attention to the instructions to walk slowly. But it was clear that she shared the grooms excitement. Together they were adorable.
They had all the makings of a lovely, lovely wedding. The Rabbi who officiated was charming, everyone looked great – and no one fainted. It was clearly a win-win for everyone.
After the wedding proper – and I’m guessing during the photo session – there was a cocktail hour – because we all needed more drinks. They had set up stations of food – I saw and enjoyed a veggie dip station, a Taco station (fish, chicken, two kinds of veggies), A tacquila station, a sushi station, a tartare station – and that’s just what Victor brought me to nibble on. There were folks walking around with more food – including deep fried lamb chops – which is a SIN to do to a lamb chop. I can’t even remember the other options.There was a lot!
Then they opened the dinning/dancing area with a crystal chandelier that had to be at least 25’ high over a huge dance floor and a 10 piece band! No joke – 4 singers, 6 musicians… and LOUD. As my son explained – they had a sound guy – but he might be deaf.
They were handing out ear plugs.
Despite the volume – the play list was perfect. Songs I knew – Songs I didn’t know but loved, and the singers would actually go among the dancers – inviting them to sing into the mike. It was fun. They had baskets of flip-flops for ladies or guys to grab if they needed out of the fancy shoes – and after the first rounds of toasts to the bride and groom – they served dinner.
There was a huge plate with soft cheese and tomato salad, a choice of steak and salmon or a vegetarian bowl, and then dessert…
Ah – dessert. You know how I love dessert – and this was over the top fabulous. The ‘main’ dessert was a hot chocolate chip cookie on a mini skillet. In addition, wait staff with trays that reminded me of those ‘cigars, cigarettes, tiperalo’ trays of yore wandered around with other kinds of pastries to grab on the go! My favorite was a Napoleon that was positively yummy. But again – not sure I spotted all the numerous options. Did my best of course.
Outside was a box filled with chocolate roses – delicious. And just as you walked outside the cater has set up a popcorn and Hot Pretzel stand. Such a fitting NYC frame to a really nifty wedding!
I danced till my feet hurt!
Not true – I was wearing my jazz shoes – so my feet never hurt – but I did finally get tired!
It was a blast.
Sunday brunch was in comparison a quiet and peaceful affair – time to just say goodbye to friends and family – and the bride and groom!
Great weekend.. for sure. Just had to share the experience. Signing off till my next adventure – The Soup Lady