I’ve said it once and I’ll say it a hundred times more: I was never the little girl that dreamed about her wedding day.
I didn’t play up dress up in gowns and I was never particularly girly. To this day, I can barely identify flower names and when people asked about our color scheme, I’d reply, “what the f#ck is a color scheme?” I still seriously don’t get it. Wedding planning just isn’t my thing.
Bryan and I took a backseat to the planning and said, “I don’t care,” incessantly on the phone to our parents. We meant it. My sister called me the “unzilla” because she never encountered a bride that seemed so disinterested.
And yet, with all this said…the wedding day could NOT have been more US. Pretty lucky how that worked, right? (#thanksmom)
It was everything I didn’t even know I wanted. It took my breath away. It filled my heart with so much joy that I could have floated away. It was better than I ever could have dreamed of. It’s probably a good thing I hadn’t.
So, my absolute #1 favorite thing about our wedding (tied with my groom– I’ll get there), was that the people in our lives (namely our moms and sisters) gave us a day that was so inexplicably us.
Our family and friends REALLY love us and REALLY know us. They just. freaking. crushed it.
There were so many other big and little moments that I didn’t see coming that day. Some of my favorite things were ones I had planned and some I had not.
Before I dive in, I also want to publicly acknowledge my privilege. I was dealt good hands in this life. I could write another post about this. I’d call it guilt, gratitude and giving back. Tabling that for another time, but I do understand that I am incredibly lucky to have had this wedding day.
2. The Sunshine
Bryan rolls his eye every time I tell this story. He’s heard it a million times.
Let me start by saying that I knew it would rain on my wedding day. I just had a feeling that it would rain in the morning and then all of a sudden, the clouds would miraculously part and everyone would cheer. There are only two things I ever envisioned about my wedding day and it was a rainy morning and an outdoor ceremony (oh, and a flower crown).
We passed the monthly forecast, then the 10-day, then the week-of. Everyone except me checked incessantly. I didn’t even look. It was going to rain that morning and clear up before the ceremony. Just trust me.
The day before we left for New York, Bryan shook my shoulders, looked me in the eyes and said, “just tell me you’re going to be ok if the ceremony is inside.”
“Yea, but it won’t be, though.”
“Ok, but just promise me you’ll be ok if that happens.”
“Sure. But it won’t.”
Again with the eye rolls.
I’m a very spiritual person and I felt my guardian angels very near to me the weeks before my wedding. I felt their presence clearly. They told me I was right.
On September 3rd, 2017, it rained like cats and dogs. I looked out the window and my heart pounded, but I had faith. Bryan and I elected not to speak for about 4 days leading up to the wedding as our own take on a Jewish tradition. But I had a feeling he was looking out the window too, worried about my disappointment.
Low and behold, however, just before our ceremony started, the rain stopped and the sun snuck its way out. Many guests said it happened just as I walked down the aisle. Some people said it made them cry. I was definitely one of those people.
Thank you, guardian angels. We had saved you a seat.
3. The Feminism + Judaism
One of my favorite things about Bryan is that he supports me and challenges me as a feminist. Our shared definition of feminism is that men and women should be equal, and as such, we are equal partners in our relationship. When either one of us strays from this definition, we push back.
So what does having a feminist wedding mean? For me, it meant emailing the band three times to confirm that they wouldn’t introduce us as Mr. and Mrs. Bryan Beller. His friends joked that if anything, it should be Mr. and Mrs. Taryn Beller (though I’m not changing my name just yet). But why is this title even a thing?! Does anyone else notice how offensive it is?! We are NOT Mr. and Mrs. Bryan. We are Bryan and Taryn. End of discussion.
Other than that, it meant challenging some Jewish traditions and customs. Both of us broke the glass during our wedding ceremony; a symbolic gesture that essentially means we are committed to each other for life. Normally, the man is the one to do it, but why shouldn’t both of us? We both wanted to, so we both did! It was a rush.
And for those who were wondering, yes, it meant we circled around each other, too. There are so many definitions of what this Jewish tradition means, but my interpretation is that were symbolizing how we’re building our lives around one another. With this interpretation in mind, it did not seem right for me to circle Bryan only; this relationship is absolutely a two-way street.
A feminist Jewish wedding meant that, during the hora, the women lifted me in my chair and the men lifted Bryan. Women are strong and capable, too. These are the women who will always lift me up. I loved that reminder and I love my mom who thought of it.
It meant choosing a ketubah that had egalitarian language. This one from Ketubah.com really spoke to us and I think it’s absolutely gorgeous.
And best of all? It was thanks to our absolutely wonderful female Rabbi that we had support and knowledge to make these decisions. She’s known us both for our entire lives and is basically responsible for us meeting, so it feels extra special to learn from her. Thank you, Rabbi Susie! I love that you read my blog. ☺?
3. The Unplugged Ceremony
We made a very deliberate decision to ask that everyone put their phones away during our ceremony. I think it was one of the best (and only) decisions Bryan actually made on our own. We didn’t want to walk down the aisle to look up at dozens of screens. It’s practically guaranteed that most of those pictures would suck anyway.
We put a note in the program and then asked our Rabbi to make an announcement before things got started. We asked our wedding planner to snap a few during the ceremony just so we had a couple to tide us over right away. Everyone agreed, it was refreshing to feel present instead of desperately trying to capture every moment.
4. The Speeches
I will never be able to do the speeches justice. One of Bryan’s best men gave a beautiful, philosophical speech on choosing to be married in 2017. It was thoughtful and touching, and something that isn’t really expressed often enough.
The other best man, the one who introduced us in 2005, MEMORIZED a long-form rhyme that was so impressive, hilarious and endearing that Bryan cried. Bryan NEVER cries. Nice work, you guys.
As always, my parents and sister absolutely killed it, too. They always deliver brilliant and heartwarming speeches, so this came as no surprise to me. Did I mention that my mom is an author, by the way?
4. The Venue
Fun fact: one of the first weddings I ever photographed was at this venue. It was a relatively small and intimate wedding, but as a 20-year-old, it was an INCREDIBLE opportunity for my portfolio; especially because of the gorgeous venue. I remember it taking my breath away.
These photos are six years apart and I think it’s pretty obvious which one was taken by 20-year-old Taryn. In all fairness, I was young and NO ONE compares to my photographer, Liz.
One day at work, my mom and Bryan’s mom Facetimed me practically jumping up and down with excitement. They insisted that we would LOVE this venue and that they were basically going to book it whether we liked it or not.
They flipped the camera around to show me the dance floor and my jaw dropped. How could I forget this place? How did I not think of this earlier? With a quick phone call to Bryan, we booked it on the spot.
There are so many things that make it unique: the history (it’s the mansion where the Guggenheim’s lived), the food (HOLY SHIT- UNREAL), the romantic vibe, etc. But the best part is how wonderful they were to work with. 5-stars!
As a side note on the food, though: EVERYONE told us we wouldn’t eat at our wedding. And EVERY TIME someone did, I replied, “just freaking watch me.” Not only do I love to eat, but the food was too fantastic to miss. Bryan and I both ate our entire entrees.
P.S. We didn’t do wedding cake because we like donuts way better. We also didn’t “cut the cake” because we don’t like that tradition.
5. The Vendors– All Around!
I want to give a shoutout to our wedding planner, Sara Greenberg, who hand-picked some of the most incredible, kind and hardworking vendors on Long Island.
My parents have planned three weddings in five years and they know what it’s like to be cheated, disappointed and deceived. I can’t express enough how opposite this experience was for them, and we wished we had found Sara sooner. She is so experienced and intuitive that she just knows how to pick ’em.
Our Florist, Liana Berman, went SO BEYOND above and beyond. When she asked me what I wanted our chuppah to look like, I literally said, “I dunno. Earthy I guess.”
This is what she came up with, for crying out loud.
Part of me thinks it deserved its own first look. Another part of me thinks I cried walking down the aisle because I saw the chuppah for the first time. It was just that good. To top it all off, Liana was an absolute sweetheart.
East Coast Band KILLED it at our wedding. The dance floor was packed the entire night.
Everyone in this picture is my family! <3
The band was just so. freaking. fun. Again, they were a total (pleasant) surprise. Bryan and I hadn’t seen them live before our wedding day but we were absolutely blown away.
Our invitations were beautiful and exactly what we (didn’t know) wanted. Jackie, the woman who made them, was wonderful to work with, too! I got so many compliments on them.
All of my friends know that my hair and makeup was done by Nicole– who was a guest at our wedding, by the way. Nicole (Owner of Monroe Dean Salon) is practically family. She did my hair and makeup for both my proms with Bryan.
She fixed me up the entire day and even gave me an “I dream of genie” ponytail half way through the night.
I really feel it’s a necessary brag that that’s all my own hair! No extensions; I have enough hair for 3 people.
And last but not least, our photographer, Liz, was practically a gift from the heavens. The ONLY thing I was picky about when it came to wedding planning was (you guessed it) the photographer. Pretty shocking coming from a fellow photographer, right?
I can’t say enough good things about Liz; I think my pictures speak for themselves. Nonetheless, you can read what my mom and I wrote about her on her Facebook page.
6. The Love
Freaking duh, ammiright? I hope you saw this one coming.
Let’s start with my groom and forever life-partner. I know I’ve said I never daydreamed about wedding planning, but I have dreamed for a DECADE about marrying Bryan. I knew he would be husband from the moment I met him in 9th grade. I’m 100% serious. I wrote about it in my vows.
The best part of the wedding day, for me, was that I got to finally marry Bryan. It’s the only thing I truly cared about or wanted. I mean that.
Bryan made me CRACK UP on so many separate occasions through the day and our photographer said she thinks it’s the hardest she’s ever seen a bride laugh. This isn’t uncommon for us. He just gets me. He is my lobster. I love him a lot.
This is when Bryan thanked his lifelong nanny for making it to the wedding and then assured her that I’m his babysitter now. Totally improvised and so good.
As much as I gushed over Bryan that day (and every day), the love didn’t stop there. It was palpable at every corner.
From our wonderful families who took care of us…
To the flower girls (and their pregnant mom) that flew out of a devastating hurricane in Houston to be there…
….to our insanely helpful, supportive and wonderful bridal party…
to our dog that Facetimed in…
…there was just so much love. I felt it everywhere I turned.
Thank you all for making this day so memorable and breathtaking. Thank you for making it everything we didn’t even know we wanted. Thank you for making it the absolute best day of our lives. We don’t know how we’ll ever repay you.