* Rachel, Teacher & Rafael, Actor *
Throughout the year planning our wedding, I often thought about how I would feel at my wedding. I didn’t care much about the stuff. We specifically chose a restaurant that was beautiful on its own and wouldn’t need much decorating, and they had their own in-house DJ, florist, and baker, so we wouldn’t have to deal with a ton of outside vendors and decisions. People could not understand how I didn’t care about floral arrangements or big cakes or personalized napkins. We decided early on not to fall into that trap. We had to do what felt right and true to us. After the most important things to us were purchased or booked (delicious food, beautiful dress, great photographer), I was left with a lot of time to think and dream about how our wedding day would feel. What would our memories be like? Would it be as crazy and hectic as everyone says? Will I wake up that morning feeling so anxious that I can’t eat breakfast? Will I cry during the ceremony? To me, the most important parts of the wedding day couldn’t possibly be planned or even anticipated.
I woke up feeling super calm, happy, and excited. I spent the day in a hotel room with my bridesmaids getting ready, eating and chatting. I got dressed in the hotel room closet, with no light, and was barged in on by my adorably excited four-year-old ring-bearer. I took a taxi to the venue with my friends, and the first time my mother saw me as a bride she was sitting double-parked in my dad’s truck while the venue staff unloaded the arbor for our ceremony. We waved at each other. We navigated around the set of the new Spiderman movie that was being shot all around the vicinity of our venue for my bridal party street photos. The program that I totally thought I would have time to write on the big chalkboard in the ceremony space never happened. Twenty minutes before our guests would arrive I popped into the space to see how things looked and saw my mom and aunts frantically putting together last minute bouquets for the bridesmaids as my dad and uncle set up the arbor we would stand under. My bridesmaids hung around me as a calming presence, getting me everything I needed before I even knew I needed it.
I slowed my dad down as he walked me down the long aisle, taking it all in. I saw my soon-to-be husband standing there, waiting patiently. One of my most treasured photos of that day is of him shaking my dad’s hand, but looking at me. We listened to our lovely readings in a mixture of English and Spanish, we said our vows, exchanged rings, and had a few laughs throughout. I did not cry. In our brief moment alone before joining the party, I stuffed the appetizers that were thoughtfully left for us into my face like I had never seen food before. I told my Maid of Honor to tell the DJ that I didn’t want to waste any more time, so forget the grand entrance announcement, just play our first dance—our guests will catch on that we have entered. I drank lots and lots of water. I was too excited to eat. I danced, I danced all night. We missed dessert completely because we never left the dance floor. We fed each other a cupcake in a hallway on the photographer’s way out. I don’t remember how we got back to the hotel, but I remember walking into the beautiful suite my Maid of Honor got us as a gift and the view of Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge took my breath away. We were hungry and tired, so very tired. We were happy. And married.
It went by in a flash. Now, all I have besides a shiny new husband are my memories. And without our photos from the day, I wouldn’t be able to tell you what color the flowers were, but I will never forget all the love we felt, all the help we received, and how much fun we had.
The Info—Photographer: Monika Rozalska / Location: Brooklyn, New York / Venue: reBar / Rachel’s Dress: Sue Wong / Rafael’s Suit: Bresciani / Bridesmaids and Flower Girl Dresses: Alfred Angelo / Rachel’s Bouquet: Cary Pereyra (The Little Glass Slipper) / Hair and Makeup: Jen Washburn