Today, I’m here to talk about our wedding ceremony. Here’s what we’ve already covered…
A bit of background about our ceremony and our priorities:
Brian and I are not religious. My dad’s side of the family is Jewish, and my dad liked the idea of including a Jewish tradition. Since I refuse to walk actual circles around my husband-to-be, we went with the “breaking the glass” tradition.
I was adamant that our ceremony not include the word God. I also did not want to be referred to as a bride (as in, no “you may now kiss the bride” — we’ll let that be a mutual decision, thanks).
My dad walked me down the aisle, but there was no “who gives this woman away?” stuff. I’m a grown ass woman. Not a good or service to be traded. (Sorry. I clearly watched one too many Shonda Rimes shows last night.)
We asked Coach Cane to officiate our wedding. We knew right away that we wanted our ceremony to feel very personal, and having someone we know, love, and respect lead our ceremony was important to us. Coach Cane was the first person who came to mind.
Coach Cane has known Brian and me as individuals and as a couple, and he was the first person to discover we were dating. It meant the world to us that he not only agreed to take on this massive task, but that he also took it so seriously.
We wrote our own vows, refused to have any morbid “’til death do us part” phrasing, and skipped traditional readings in favor of something different. We asked my friend, Dee (married two years ago), and Brian’s family friend, Cindy (married for 30 years), to do “readings” that they wrote themselves.
Dee shared “how to survive the first year of marriage,” and then Cindy followed with “how to get through all the years that follow.” Both were hilarious, sweet, and completely original.
Brian’s mom’s boyfriend, Colin, is an amazing musician, so we asked him to play the music for our ceremony (you can’t have amplified sound in the Conservatory Garden). The bridesmaids walked down the aisle to him playing Ellie Goulding’s “Love Me Like You Do,” and my dad and I walked down to “Titanium,” which sounds awesome on the trumpet, FYI.
Any other questions? I think we’re good. Here’s how the day went down…
Right before we started our walk down the aisle, I turned to Coordinator Douglas and exclaimed, “We never made a rain plan! I love that about us!” We giddily hugged and laughed and I wish in our contract I had added a bullet point about Douglas being my BFF after the wedding. But he was only “hired family” for the one day. Sad. I miss him. (Douglas. Hello…it’s me. Hello from the other side.)
The girls started to walk as Colin played “Love Me Like You Do” on his newly-purchased-for-the-occasion flugelhorn. I didn’t hear too much of the music because I was chatting with my dad.
My dad and I started to walk and I tried to hold it together, but as soon as I heard “Titanium,” I lost it.
Everyone turned to stare at me and I remember saying to my dad, “holy shit, everyone’s looking at me,” and he replied, “no kidding!” So sassy. As we took our first steps, he looked at me and said, “Do you know how proud of you we are?” And I couldn’t handle that, so I was like, “LOCK IT UP, DAD.” I 100% ruined the nice moment he was trying to have because I didn’t want to totally lose my shit in front of all those people.
I remember looking at the 150 people watching me walk in and not recognizing a single face. It was surreal. I remember thinking, “Those must all be Brian’s friends I don’t know.” I literally could not recognize anyone. Walking down the aisle at your own wedding is one of the most insane, out-of-body experiences.
But I saw Brian. And I stared at him the entire walk down the aisle. I didn’t see a single other face.
I remember my dad putting his arms around Brian and me and telling us to take care of each other. OK, DAD, WE WILL!
Brian and I took each other’s hands, faced Coach Cane, and then the ceremony had begun!
The ceremony was incredible. Coach Cane knocked it out of the [Central!] park. It was funny, it was sweet, it was emotional, and it was entirely customized and personal. He spoke about our first interactions, about knowing we were dating (“no one runs 11 miles to Brooklyn at 6 AM to watch ‘a friend’ race his bike…”), and about the parallels between racing and marriage.
Dee and Cindy gave us advice that was sweet and hilarious, and then we launched into our vows.
I cried a little at the start of my vows, and I remember blurting out, “Well we knew this would happen!” So not only did I fail to hold it together, I also acknowledged my awkwardness, thus making it worse.
Brian’s vows were perfect. I don’t remember it all now, but I remember one line: “I want to stay young forever, but I can’t wait to grow old with you.” That killed me.
Then we exchanged the rings — delivered by Tyler! — and said our “I Dos,” and then Coach Cane did the formal stuff to pronounce us married.
And then I think we kissed a lot, because the pictures show us kissing for a while.
We cheered, Brian broke the glass (so Jew-ish), and then I forgot my bouquet as we pranced down the makeshift aisle.
And the weather! The park has never looked better than it did that Saturday.
After the ceremony, we immediately went onto the lawn to take formal photos, which was the only stressful part of the day. We wanted to take a lot of photos, but we were a bit rushed, so I called it early and sent everyone to the reception-bound buses.
Then Brian and I took some time alone with Erin (photographer) and Snyder, our videographer. We took some fun photos (and deep breaths) and then got in the car to take us to the reception. The plan was to go with Erin and Snyder, but at the last minute Brian was like, “Actually, let’s be alone.” So they went in one car and we took another, and I loved that time.
We geeked out over being “Just Married” and we drank champagne. It was one of my favorite parts of the day.
Then we hit a little bump and I spilled champagne all over my face and my dress. It’s fine.
We did it!
Up next: party time!
All photos by Erin Baiano, the picture magician.