18 years ago today, minus a few hours, i was married. in the living room of our little ‘archie bunker’ semi-detached midwood brooklyn house. it was so completely different than what i had imagined my wedding would be like. the place of the ceremony. the party after in manhattan was just up my alley. i was a little ‘older’ when i got married – 33 seemed ancient to me. husband and i were savvy show business professionals and we were very much aware that we were not interested in having the ‘bride and groom in their 15 minutes of fame’ kind of wedding. i was headlining my own cabaret/jazz act and husband was always on stage also as an instrumentalist and we felt that we had enough of the spotlight. we were also mostly paying for our own wedding – thank the heavens my soon-to-be husband was as steady about finances then as he is now. i certainly wasn’t. in those days, my idea of a budget was to buy a top designer dress on 50% sale at saks on my credit card and worry about it later. (ok, a few dresses with the same delayed worry.)
our families couldn’t be more different. pretty well evidenced by the fact that the in-laws met once at the wedding and never again. but the biggest issue for me was compromising on where we actually had the ceremony. i was already a reluctant resident in our (still current) house in midwood. our neighborhood had changed so much and was now mostly very observant orthodox jews – as i got more secular they seemed to get more observant. so tribal. i have always been greeted with a very cautious politeness – and, by the children, often with outright hostility. however, i agreed and the day before our wedding, we all worked on emptying out every bit of furniture from the living room and dining room and set up 30-some chairs and went with the flow. i thought my parents would faint at this non-showy down-to-earth wedding. we hired a universalist minister (can’t get a justice of the peace to a private house and no rabbi that we could find would perform a non-religious ceremony for us) and instructed him to absolutely not mention religion and not to offer up that he was a minister for fear that he would be personally responsible for my great-aunt’s heart attack.
i walked down the staircase – the same one i use every day – dressed in my sweet beaded to-the-knee cap-sleeved dress (procured off the rack from saks – not on sale but, ironically, the most reasonable dress i ever purchased from there!) looking to the world like the hip city daytime bride i was striving to be – and my soon-to-be father-in-law played the most beautiful piano as i walked to meet the man i would marry.
before i was married, i thought i wanted more – ‘more’ in my wedding. 18 years later, i am eternally grateful to understand that i had more than i could have hoped for. the people i loved and the people who were to become family to me all together in a setting that was the exact opposite of high theater. and on top of that, husband is more handsome now than the day i married him. but also, my willing partner. 18 years and i got the best end of the deal.