Mama Deb (mamadeb) wrote,
Mama Deb

Brother-in-law's wedding

I actually got home around 4:30 yesterday afternoon, but jonbaker needed to do a fair bit of work for an upcoming Shabbaton, and I was exhausted from all the driving of the past couple of days, so I just vegged out with the tv and the yarn.

I'll talk about the rest of the trip later, maybe, but the most important part was the wedding.

We had our doubts, I'll say that - the venue, lovely though it was, seemed to have been picked for maximum inconvenience for everyone, including the very gracious hosts, who allowed tents set up on their driveway, cars parked every which way along the 3/4 mile access road, *mud* all over their supposedly shoe-free home and strange people to make their kitchen kosher. (The owners aren't Jewish.) Everyone else had to drive at least an hour, maybe more, to get there. And Mitchell hadn't planned for rain until it became obvious that there would be rain (fortunately, it never got past a light drizzle.)

That said - Jocelyn looked beautiful in her very, very simple wedding dress, and her equally simple veil - just two layers of gauze attached to a plain comb. Her bouquet was two purple hydrangeas. It was elegant and exactly *her*. Mitchell owns a tux, so he wore that. He also wore the kippah I bought for him for *our* wedding. :) Zoe wore a little white dress with purple trim made by her aunt, matching that of her first cousin.

There was no wedding party, nor processional. This is because neither of Jocelyn's parents, who are both living, were there. It seemed it was a choice of them or her sister. Jewish wedding processionals have the groom escorted to the chuppah by his parents and the bride by hers, so they chose to have neither. She could have gone with her sister and brother-in-law, but instead they walked together, with the rest of us dancing in front of them.

The ceremony itself was an interesting combination of traditonal, non-traditional and family - the rabbi was Paulette, the wife of our cousin Jeremy. She was - honestly, she was great. (Also beautiful - she wore a green silk dress with a straw hat.) It was basically a fully traditional wedding (no "vows", nothing written by the bride and groom) with a couple of changes. Change one - it was a double ring ceremony. Mitchell repeated the traditional phrase after Paulette, and Jocelyn said "I am my beloved's and my beloved is mine" (in Hebrew). Change two - the traditional seven blessings were said by both men and women - I said one. Since I wasn't going to be the only woman saying one, I couldn't see any problem with this. (Also, honestly, I can't see any halachic problem with a woman leading the service. We don't require a rabbi to do this. They're basically Coaches (Bujold fans will recognize this.) They're not even witnesses - it's not uncommon for fathers to do this.) The family element (besides that everyone was family) were the kiddush cups they used for the two cups.

Because the hosts were (with excellent reason) only going to sacrifice a lightbulb for Mitchell to break, Jonathan and I went to Pier 1 to buy an inexpensive one. (We ended up with four inexpensive ones, four napkins and coordinating placemats and a slightly more expensive glass that looked more fragile than the original ones. But they were on sale and nice and, well. Present.) There was no reason to make the hosts sad, too. :)

Paulette made a nice speech for the division between the two parts of the ceremony, and gave the history of each kiddush cup, and tried to include Zoe in everything. (Betty, the dog, also managed to make her presence known.) And then they went to the yichud room (a place they can be alone as husband and wife for the first time). And then, finally, they came and we danced to the klezmer band.

And all my worries that I wouldn't be able to dance at this wedding? Up in smoke. I kinda got the women organized - pulling Jocelyn to the center and dancing with her, and then getting my mother-in-law, and then they took over. When Jocelyn looked exhausted, I got her a chair, and everyone thought it was for lifting, but no. Just for sitting.

They got wooden chairs for the lifting and then put them down and we danced for them (and I made Mom sit, too. She has bad sciatica, and this way she'd be part of things.) I happened to have been dancing with a napkin, so I tossed it to someone else, and she danced with it, and then tossed it to someone else and he...and so on. I'm very happy with that - people danced who otherwise wouldn't have and they raised a tremendous spirit. Of course, everyone there loved Mitch, Jocelyn or both, so there was already a tremendous happiness.

Then they sat my in-laws down and we did the mazinka for them - a dance for the parents when their last child gets married, which Mitchell is. It was a mixed circle, but I just stayed between two women, and it was fine. I couldn't not dance for this. And then - all in a row - Jonathan, Mitchell and Laury - all three of their children - dancing together in a line. It was wonderful. Laury lives in Israel, so it just doesn't happen that often. And my in-laws have done their job - all three children safely married and to people they love.

After that - there was talk and dancing and music, and a buffet of grilled ecologically safe fish (wild salmon, tilapia and striped (not Chilean) bass) and veggie burgers and hot dogs. Given all the kids, that last was a good idea. Lot easier to get a kid to eat a tofu dog than tilapia. There was also good wine and really good beer - Brooklyn Lager and IPA. Everyone had a good time, everyone was happy and if it was a trifle damp, that was okay, too.

And most importantly, Mitchell and Jocelyn are *married*, and married in a way that was really, truly *them*.

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