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Welcome to our Wedding Story page!

Below you'll find an account of our wedding day.
Scroll down for the photos section. Click on any image to view a larger version. You will need to enable pop-ups and Javascript for this page, so that the image viewer can run.

Our Wedding Invitation

Our story begins with a plug for a Yahoo! group :-)

I'm sure some of you have heard of FreeCycle. On the afternoon of our wedding day, we went to pick up a set of beautiful dishes made by Pfalztgraff, from a person we met via a local Freecycle group, which made a wonderful wedding gift. Needless to say, things got off to a good start.

After we had come back to our apartment and rested a bit, our upstairs neighbors came down at just about the same time as my now Sister-in-Law, Phyllis, arrived from Palm Harbor with her friend, Elaine Wright. Phyllis and Elaine came bearing gifts - a beautiful bouquet for me, and a boutonniere for Abraham (both made of silk so they'll last forever) as well as nice collection of gifts for us both. We all took pictures of one another, and them we piled into our cars and headed to Temple Beth-El, in St. Petersburg. So far, so good, right? Eh, well....

What wedding would be complete without a few small mishaps along the way? First, we're driving down one of the local major roads, our normal route to the Temple, and guess what we find? A major accident blocking our way completely! So, we turned the cars around and met in a nearby parking lot to figure out a new route. Then we get to the Temple and start getting ready.. There I am sitting in the library/chapel getting made up for the ceremony (thanks entirely to my bridesmaids and Matron of Honor!), and one of us asked where the cakes were. OH CRAP! We forgot to grab the wedding cakes from the fridge on the way out the door! So some of our friends take a few dollars and head to a nearby Publix (which is where we got the original cakes - in addition to needing to be kosher for everyone's benefit, they also had to be sugar-free to satisfy Abe's dietary needs).

While they were out getting replacement cakes, my bridesmaids returned to getting me ready, and of course we all threw Abe out before I put on the wedding gown . :-) Abe went off to the Rabbi's office to sit and wait for me, along with a few of our friends, leaving just me, Phyllis, and one or two bridesmaids (I was so overwhealmed at the time, I can't remember who all was left!). Once I was ready, we headed to the Rabbi's office.

First, Rabbi Michael Torop read the ketubah (Jewish wedding contract, analogous to a modern State marriage license combined with a prenuptual contract). Then, the witnesses (two good friends of ours) signed the ketubah, followed by Rabbi and Cantor Sharon Brown-Levy, and then Abraham and I. After that was done, one of our friends commented, "So, I heard you're honeymooning in Florida!" We all laughed.

Everyone then headed out of the office and into the main hallway outside the sanctuary. The Rabbi showed us the order in which people should enter the sanctuary for this event, and then it all began! First, our two witnesses walked up to the bimah (a raised platform from which services are conducted), as the first two of our pole holders (a position of honor in a Jewish wedding). Then Rabbi, Sharon, and the third pole holder walk up. followed immediately by our fourth pole holder. Abe's best man came up next, followed by my Matron of Honour, followed immediately by Abe and I.

Some people shook hands, everyone took their places, and the ceremony got underway. Ours was fairly short, which is common for a Jewish wedding, and not a whole lot of people attended (about 15 in total) but it was still wonderful!

With all of us under and around the chuppah (the wedding canopy), we all said a few prayers, Abe and I gave our vows, the Rabbi gave a nice speech, Cantor sang songs, and we performed the ring ceremony. This entails the groom placing the bride's ring on her right index finger, followed by the bride doing the same for the groom. We use the index finger during the ceremony, rather than the ring finger, because centuries ago, the Rabbis thought there was a vein that ran from the right index finger directly to the heart. Today, we do so to make sure that all of the witnesses can clearly see the rings being exchanged. Later, the rings are transferred to the left ring finger as per usual.

All around it was a wonderful service, except... enter the third and final mishap - in about the middle of the Rabbi's speech, I started to stumble because my back gave out, but someone helped steady me before I went down. We paused for a few seconds so I could right myself, and then we continued. Rabbi finished his speech and we said a few more prayers, and that was it!

By the way, in a Jewish wedding, we say the words "I will", rather than "I do" when we give our vows. This is to emphasize that Abe and I, as in most Jewish weddings, are giving our vows willingly to one another, rather than under strong advisement from the religious institution, as in the case of most non-Jewish weddings.

Finally came one of the most important features of the wedding: Abe stomped on the ceremonial glass, breaking it and ending the ceremony. This feature of the wedding was added by a Rabbi many years ago, to remind people that even during the most joyous of occasions, one must be aware of the sad moments, the tragedy that other people have to face in the world. Later Rabbis interpret the breaking of the glass as a reminder of the destruction of Solomon's Temple (the "Great Temple" in Jerusalem). Some modern Rabbis, especially those in the Reform movement, remind us that one should not speak to a loved one in anger, lest the relationship be destroyed. Relationships can be as fragile as glass, and once broken, they cannot be repaired to the same beauty they had before.

After the ceremony we all piled into our cars and headed over to a friend's house for the reception (a surprise to Abe and I!), which went fine. You should have seen us, Abe's sitting there slightly slouched over in the back of the car, with me next to him just piled in haphazardly, wedding gown and all! I swear, there was more wedding gown than human where I sat! It looked like one of those images you see on TV where the bride and groom cram into the back of a limo and the bride barely fits in because her wedding gown is so huge!

At the party there was lots of good food and good friendship, and Abe and I received lots of cards and gifts. It was a wonderful experience!

As you might have expected, and in keeping with age-old tradition, I have taken on Abraham's last name, Ezekowitz.

Below, you'll find some photos showing the day's events. Click on any photo to view the full-sized high-resolution image. Some photos have been retouched to eliminate red-eye, or filtered (some quite heavily) to restore them due to lighting or camera problems that may have occurred.

We also took a movie of the wedding using the sanctuary's audio/video system, which has been transferred to DVD. The audio didn't work, unfortunately (probably a technical oversight), but the video came out fine. On the DVD, I created a custom soundtrack from various pieces of traditional Jewish and klezmer music.

[Abe and Phyllis at home]
[Abe at home]
[Abe and I at home]
[Our last kiss before the ceremony]
Abe and Phyllis at our home, before the ceremony
Photo by Elaine Wright
Abe at home, all dressed up
Photo by Elaine Wright
Abe and I at home
Photo by Elaine Wright
Abe and I kissing for the last time as singles!
Photo by Phyllis Baratta
[Me, getting my makeup done at the Temple]
[Me in wedding gown, cute pose, at Temple]
[Another of me in my gown]
[Me walking down the aisle at Temple]
Me at the Temple, Phyllis doing my makeup
Photo by Elaine Wright
Me all dressed and made up, in the library at Temple
Photo by Elaine Wright
Another shot of me, with my veil on, in the library
Photo by Elaine Wright
Me walking down the aisle at the start of the ceremony
Photo by Elizabeth Henry
[Abe and I under the Chuppah]
[Abe and I under the Chuppah]
[Me, right after the ceremony]
[Abe and I, right after the ceremony]
Abe and I and our friends at the Chuppah, during the ceremony
Photo by Elizabeth Henry
Abe about to crush the ceremonial glass
Photo by Elizabeth Henry
Me, right after the ceremony
Photo by Elizabeth Henry
Abe and I, right after the ceremony
Photo by Elizabeth Henry
[Abe, Phyllis and I after the ceremony]
[Abe and I riding to the reception]
[Abe and I and friends, at the reception]
[Two friends and I, at the reception]
Abe, Phyllis and I, after the ceremony.
Photo by Elaine Wright
Abe and I being driven (in the back seat of our own car!) to the reception
Photo by Elaine Wright
The reception! Lots of friends were there to celebrate with us.
Photo by Elaine Wright
Some friends and I at the reception.
Photo by Elaine Wright
[Abe cutting the cake at the reception]
[Me cutting the cake, at the reception]
Abe cutting the cake at the reception
Photo by Elizabeth Henry
Me cutting the cake at the reception
Photo by Elizabeth Henry