Our Wedding Wasn’t Just Another Party

You can't practice for this



ONE SENTENCE SUM-UP OF THE WEDDING VIBE: Glitter-covered fun with happy tears.


This year, in addition to planning and executing a wedding, I turned thirty, and decided I wanted a party. Julie ended up doing most of the organizing; we had it at one of my favorite local brewery restaurants because I often request their bacon, date, and goat cheese burger with a raspberry wheat beer for my birthday dinner anyway. In a stroke of good luck, the restaurant ended up seating our group of about forty people at several long tables all pushed together in their small, dimly lit, private party bar. All night, I carried my burger from chair to chair down the length of the table chatting with friends, stealing French fries, and interrupting myself to go hug new arrivals. At the end of the evening, there were only four of us remaining as I happily, tipsily finished my beer, and I thought, “This was good practice for the wedding. I bet that will feel a lot like this did.”

Our wedding felt nothing like that party.

Please don’t misunderstand—I loved our wedding. That birthday party and our wedding were just entirely different animals. One of the first things Julie and I decided on was that we would invite the people we wanted to invite, and build the rest of the event around that. And when our planned guest list started climbing closer to two hundred people, we just weren’t going to be able to have that intimate, long table dinner party that we so enjoy. Because in wedding planning you eventually have to make a choice—leave out some of your people, and wonder what it would have been like with them there, or invite all of your people, and have the truly strange experience of the utter glory of having the most comprehensive group of your people under one roof probably ever, along with the slightly disorienting heartbreak of not really getting to interact normally with any of them.

But I couldn’t stop smiling at our wedding. Above all, it was such a fun, happy day. The prevailing feeling for me was one of feeling so known, so enveloped by our people. I was wearing several different shades of lipstick by the end of the evening, because I would stop to hug or chat with someone, and she would just touch me up with whatever was in her own purse. I was never without a drink in my hand, and at one point, someone gave me a glass of red wine, because that’s what I drink. Without a word, my friend, Christine, walked away and returned a moment later to switch out my Zinfandel for a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, knowing without me telling her that I was worried about spilling on my dress. For every conversation I didn’t get to have with the people I can talk to for hours on end, there was a Spice Girls party, or an interpretive dance to the Backstreet Boys. And even though being hoisted up during the horah was completely terrifying, I wouldn’t trade the sight of all my goyim circling around us, sweaty and laughing.

Our wedding was not the most wonderful day of my life. But if you asked me to choose what the most wonderful day of my life was, I’d probably pick amongst the dinners, the bar fights, the road trips, and the holidays I’ve spent with all of the people who came out to celebrate with us. That’s what makes it all worth it. There’s really no comparison to be made—our wedding was in a beautiful, awe-filled, slightly overwhelming, singular class by itself.


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