Meg’s Ten Year Anniversary Countdown: Ritual, Then and Now

There is always room for more Jewish ritual

In our next installment of looking back at Meg’s wedding ten years ago (because you know it’s hard to find on the internet) in advance of her anniversary party, we wanted to talk ceremony. What was their ceremony like a decade ago? What are they planning now? The ceremony aspect is, in many ways, the emotional core of the thing. For a wedding, it’s why the party happens in the first place. For Meg’s anniversary party, it’s a way to add some Jewish ritual to an otherwise dinner party focused celebration.

So what was it like last time? Well, I’ll let the Meg of ten years ago tell you. This was broken into a few different posts (hi, the internet was different then), but we’ve pulled them all together here, so you can enjoy the way back machine more easily.

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A Jewish couple during their wedding ceremony.

At OUr Ketubah Signing

This was originally published here in August 2009.

Our Rabbi: David, say, “I promise to love you, respect you, and support you as Jewish husbands have always done for their wives.”
“David: I promise to love you, respect you, and support you as Jewish husbands have always done for their wives.
Rabbi: Meg, say, “I promise to love you, respect you and support you as Jewish wives have always done for their husbands.”
Me: I promise to love you, respect you, and support you as Jewish wives have always done for their husban…. WAIT, no that’s not right!
Rabbi: Oh! Sorry! Partners! I mean, wives! I mean, partners!
David: No, it was right.
Me: No it wasn’t…. oh, I mean yes it was. Oops.
Rabbi: Now you’re just trying to confuse me. I had a pair of lesbians yesterday.

A bride is walks down the aisle during her wedding ceremony.

The Aisle Walk

This was originally published here in August 2009.

You know how people tell you that walking down the aisle will be a transcendent experience? Well, it wasn’t for me. SOMETHING at your wedding will be a transcendent experience, but it might not be walking down the aisle.

Me: How did I look walking down the aisle? Did I look pretty?
David: You looked pretty. (pause) You looked teary.
Me: Oh well, that’s sweet.
David: Well. Sort of. You looked teary like, ‘What the hell am I doing here?’
Me: Oh.
Me: That’s sort of how I felt.

But you know what saved it? I walked out the doors, everyone stood up, I felt really overwhelmed, and right then our friends four year old* who was wearing red cowboy boots, a white rosebud dress, and an enormous pink flower perched right on top of her head, turned around from her seat in the back row, saw me, and with great excitement leaned out into the aisle, waved her whole arm over her head sort of drawled, “Heeeeeeeeeeyyyyyyyyyyyyy!”

And that my friends, that is the kind of detail that matters.

*Who some of you rightly suggested was perhaps channeling tiny Meg from the past. Or really, is a Meg of the future.

And With Love Like That You Know You SHould Be Glad

This was originally published here in August 2009.

Our friend and rabbinical student Nikki taught the guests a Hebrew love song, and they sang us down the aisle.
We circled each other. We did, in fact, feel our lives intertwining.
Our parents said a blessing over us.
Our Rabbi had Nikki poured us our first glass of wine, which, per her suggestion was a sweet wine. A sweet, high alcohol desert wine. She told Nikki to pour us a whole mug full. We waved our hands and said, “Ssttttttttttooooooppppp.” She didn’t. We had to pass the wine around to the huppah holders to finish it off.
We said our vows. I had carried David’s ring on my bouquet, and when I tried to pull it off, I dropped it and it rolled away, so I dashed after it in my heels.
The Rabbi pulled out her drash. It was clearly five pages. Oh dear, this was going to be long. I took off my shoes and settled in.
Our friend Nikki sang the seven wedding blessings to us, her eyes filling with tears of joy.
They poured the second glass of wine, just as big as the first. This time we drank it. All. Well, sort of chugged it, really.
Our friend Caron read the Tom Robbins excerpt about cheese cake. Everyone laughed. She read the bit about peeing out the window, everyone held their breath, wondering what to do. I very loudly said, “AMEN!” Collective laugh.
Our friend Lacey read “I like you,” and her voice cracked in the middle.
The guests all put our hands on us to bless us, and I started crying into my grandmothers handkerchief.
David broke the glass.
We kissed.
We kissed.
We kissed.
Everyone sang Siman Tov and Mazel Tov… as we walked through the crowd, me holding my bouquet over my head in victory, both giddy with joy. Eating fruit in our yichud, looking at our wedding rings, relaxing, as blissed out as we’ve ever been, hearing our yichud guards make jokes on the other side of the door. Feeling loved and blessed.
And then we were ready to party. PARTYPARTYPARTY.

This Time Around

Now, things are different. First up, they are not restaging a wedding. I mean, there is no shame in that game, and many amazing folks choose to do huge second weddings. But that’s not this party. This party starts with a Jewish ritual at Giant Rock at… basically dawn… because summer in the desert is going to be, uh, warm.

Meg and David are already married, and they’re not going to do a wedding ceremony. But, as a commenter said recently: “there is always more room for ritual in Judaism.” And that is the truth. So a ritual there will be! Jewish weddings typically start with circling, so in this case Meg and David will circle their own children (instead of each other). Instead of receiving the parental blessing, they will offer one to their children. There will be readings, including the Zadie Smith reading from here about drawing a circle in the sand. Since this is all happening in the desert, there will definitely be sand, and maybe they’ll even draw a circle in it. They will also read Li-Young Lee’s From Blossoms (also on our wedding readings list), which is about both love and loss.

For them, this ritual is about celebrating their family, including their two amazing kids, after three brutal years full of three major funerals. As a commenter said earlier this week, “THIS FAMILY NEEDS A SIMCHA LIKE WHOA.”

And to keep it full circle, Meg and David’s Goddaughter—the four year old who wore the red cowboy boots—well. She saved them all these years to give them to Meg and David’s currently four year old daughter. So this time, a four year old who was nothing but a dream a decade ago, is going to wear them (and protect herself from rattlesnakes with them too). The kind of detail that matters, indeed.

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