Monday, August 25, 2008

Our Strange New Wedding Tradition

Our friend, Rickles, got married last year and he charged those of his friends who were coming to the wedding with a very important task. Namely, to shock and appall his new inlaws.

Now Rickles' wedding reception was very DIY in a traditional way. The centerpieces were very simple, large red pillar candles with some squares of Godiva chocolate scattered around them. The reception food was primarily nosharim - fruits, cheeses, and a chocolate fountain with strawberries, marshmallows, cubes of cake and graham crackers arranged around it. Skewers were provided to allow for ease of chocolating (because you don't want people sticking their fingers in the fountain).

Now I don't know if your minds have traveled to the inevitable combination of these elements, but our minds got there pretty quickly. I can't even say whose idea it was. In my memory it doesn't really seem like anyone suggested it, or initiated it. But suddenly, and organically, there we were - marshmallows on skewers roasting over our centerpiece candle before being combined with our chocolate and graham crackers. It seemed so natural, so appropriate, soright. It also had the added advantage of earning us a few dirty looks from the inlaws thus managing to be delicious AND fulfill our obligations to the groom.

Fast forward a little less than a year. Lorien and I are at our wedding shower (which is misleadingly named since we only got three gifts). We're opening a gift from one of my mom's best friends. It's this ornate candle stand complete with raised candle tray, decorative stones, and three large pillar candles. She's going on about setting the mood on our wedding night or some such, but Lorien and I aren't really listening. We've locked eyes and the same thought is travelling through our minds. "something ... something ... wedding night." "Or the reception," one of us says, quietly, to the other. I don't remember who said it now. Truthfully, it doesn't matter. Because we both knew. Oh, yes. It would happen - Temple rules against open flames be damned.

And so one of our chuppah holders, one who had been a primary participant in the Rickles Wedding Shenanigans, was given the responsibility to make sure we had what we needed. He came up to me at the reception and I handed him the keys to our trunk, allowing him to get the candles. "I've got the stuff," he said upon returning. "Where should I set up?" A quick scan around the room drew my attention to a particular table filled with a specific group of friends. "The Rennie table," I replied, gesturing their direction. "If anyone will be cool with it, it's the Rennies." And so it was decided and implemented. I didn't get to follow him over there, being whisked away to be social or dance to some sentimental song, but I did manage to overhear my photographer come up to the other photographer* and say "Did you see what they're doing at that table? They're making smores!" "I know," she replied excitedly. "I got a picture of it."

And I smiled as I continued making my rounds. It was one time, among many, where I realized that maybe I was a bit more offbeat than I'd given myself credit for ;-)

And Tim quivered in his pew trying not to laugh ...

The music to go with the lyrics

Link, he come to town
Come to save the princess Zelda
Ganon took her away
Now the children don't play
But they will when Link saves the day

Now Link, fill up your hearts
So you can shoot your sword with power
And when you're feeling all down
The fairy will come around
So you'll be brave, and not a sissy coward

Now Link has saved the day
Put Ganon in his grave
So now Zelda is free
And now our hero shall be
Link! I think your name shall go down into history

And no, that totally was not our processional music. That would have been ridiculous. But this was. Only played on a piano and sounding quite lovely!

..and yes, it was a two aisle ceremony so we're walking down simultaneously looking at each other over the guests in the middle.

all photos courtesy of Jody Burnett at

The 30 Second Theological Debate

Some of you may know of the awesome sparkly shoes I bought off etsy. They were a pair of glittery turquoise flats that perfectly matched my bridal accents BUT they were about half a size too big. However, having found them, I grew attached to the idea of glittery shoes. Failing to find any turquoise glittery heels, I resolved to make the flats fit. I stuck in the thickest insoles I could find and stitched on some sparkly trim to work as ballet style straps. Voila! Perfect fit.

The day of the wedding rolls around and I have my shoes retied about three times (tight enough to hold them on with out them being so tight as to cut off circulation is a delicate balance) before leaving the bridal room to walk around the temple to prepare to go down the aisle. As I'm walking through the courtyard I feel a *pop* and one shoe suddenly seems much looser. Sure enough, one of the straps I'd stitched on had popped off. I took a couple steps just to check, but I couldn't keep the shoe on in any reasonable manner. Briefly, the idea of trying to fix it flashed through my head - it could probably be done, but it would take a few minutes, we were already running late, and there was still no guarantee that it would make it down the aisle. So in about the second it took to consider the idea I discarded it. And, in keeping with my decision to not freak out about anything and implement Plan C* whenever necessary, it only took another second for me to come to my decision. I saw the Rabbi at the end of the courtyard and I shouted down to him,

"Hey Rabbi, can I go down the aisle barefoot?"

"What?" he replied, clearly a bit startled by my shouting at him.

"My shoe broke," I explained. "Can I go down the aisle barefoot."

"Well, there's no Jewish law against it ..." he answered tentatively.

"Is there a temple law against it?" I asked.


"Will you tell anyone?"

"I guess not," he answered, clearly a bit amused. And then he started muttering. I didn't catch all of it, but there was clearly something about "... standing up there before G-d ..." clearly under the impression that my going barefoot would somehow be disrespectful.

"But Rabbi, aren't we supposed to take our shoes off when we go before G-d?" He looked up, caught a bit off guard. "Isn't there a whole story about Moses and a burning bush where he's told to take off his shoes because he's about to step onto sacred ground? Wouldn't it therefore be more appropriate for me to go barefoot?"

My mother, amazing as always, completely had my back. "Isn't that why the Cohanim take their shoes off before they give the blessing over the congregation?" she asked. At that point I think my Rabbi really wanted to mention us being reform and not buying into the whole system of a hereditary priesthood, but that wasn't the point she was making and I think he quickly realized it.

I don't remember exactly what his response was. I don't think he officially ceded the point, but he did decide not to debate it further (after all, who wants to be on the opposing side of a shoe conversation against a bride AND her mother). Besides, I think he was pleased by my theological justifications. He made some sort of remark implying that it was time to proceed and we turned and walked into the atrium for the beddekken. And that is the story of the 30 second theological debate on my wedding day aka How I Convinced the Rabbi to Let Me Go Down the Aisle Barefoot.

*Plan C was the code phrase I'd created in a discussion with my mother when we were talking about where we'd take pictures. "I guess now we just have to hope it doesn't rain. I don't know what we'll do then." I told her that we'd implement Plan C. She looked at me hopefully and asked what Plan C was. "Winging it," I responded.

photo credit to Jody Burnett