愛-Vey! Walking to the beat of my own . . . processional

As a wedding present, Mr. HC composed the music for both the wedding party's processional and the bride's processional. Try as I might, I just can't figure out a way to do justice to the music; in fact, I've been putting off this post for a very long time because I can't come up with the words to describe that moment when I heard the first notes from the strings.

Instead of words, then, I present you with this short slideshow. May it bring a bit of joy to your Friday!

Photos by Leigh Miller Photography, Luna Photography, and Della Chen Photography. Music composed by Mr. HC and performed by Bruce Garnitz Entertainment.


愛-Vey! Before the First Note

While we were getting misty-eyed at the bedecken ceremony, our guests were beginning to arrive at our ceremony site on the marina. But don't let the fancy phrase "on the marina" fool you: our ceremony site was a glorified tennis court.

Oh well. When the hotel gives you tennis court . . .

just direct the guests' eyes upward by means of colorful lanterns and hope that it gets dark fast enough that no one notices the tarping and the green floor! While in Hong Kong over the summer, I bought seven dozen paper lanterns on the cheap from a vendor that was happy to get rid of off-season products. (No one uses lanterns there until the Mid-Autumn Festival in the fall.) I made throwies (using Mrs. Tiramisu's instructions) and Angel painstakingly tied the throwies onto the lanterns, then the lanterns onto monofilament for hanging.

As guests arrived, they picked up kippot and programs.

Since we had to delay our ceremony long enough to allow us to sign our ketubah (marriage contract) after the end of the sabbath (remember our timing snafu??), we were worried that our guests would get restless and grumpy. I've been Chewish long enough to know that nothing good comes of keeping Chinese people and Jews away from the promise of a good dinner! But from the photos, it seems like they were placated by the non-alcoholic beverages, the musicians tuning up, and the opportunity to catch up with each other. Though the more adorable guests did seem less than impressed with the pre-ceremony entertainment.

Some guests occupied themselves by signing our guest book, while others wrote beautiful wishes for us and hung them on the branches of our chuppah. Ah to be married beneath an awning of good wishes!

Speaking of the chuppah, our florist Kate did an amazing job translating my Chewish vision into reality. I wanted to construct a Jewish wedding canopy out of recognizably "eastern" materials. The branches of the chuppah were made of cherry blossom branches, on which were hung delicate candles and crystals. And the base of each leg of the chuppah was filled with gorgeous peonies.

What was most special about the chuppah, though, was that its roof was made from a tablecloth that Mr. HC's maternal grandmother embroidered. Bubbie was an expert knitter, sewer, and embroiderer, and this tablecloth -- a gift from her to Mr. HC's mother -- was what she was working on around the time she passed away. This beautiful, half-finished tablecloth was a reminder of her and a symbol of possibility and loss.

While our guests were schmoozing, FFIL HC was giving Mr. HC a final pep talk -- "Okay, son, put your left foot down, then your right foot." -- or, more likely, the two doctors were chatting with each other about some esoteric study that just got published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Hot Grandmama Cocoa and Hot Mama Cocoa were lining up and getting ready to walk their amazingly youthful, unfairly photogenic selves down the aisle.

And my truly fantastic bridal party were cozying up to keep me warm. Notice that Grandpa HC seemed to be enjoying their closeness even more than me! Yowza!

And then the first few breathtaking notes of the wedding processional that Mr. HC composed began, and all fell quiet . . . .


愛-Vey! I'll Cover You

For Mr. HC and me, the most emotional part of our wedding day was not the vows or ring exchange, but rather something that happened before the wedding ceremony: the bedecken.

Bedecken is a Yiddish word that means "to cover." In traditional Jewish weddings, the bedecken is a ritual in which the groom veils the bride immediately before the ceremony. The custom is attributed to the biblical story in which Jacob, intending to marry Rachel, is tricked into marrying Rachel's sister Leah. To prevent such epic switcheroos, the story goes, a groom ought to personally veil the bride and thus have the opportunity to ascertain that she is, in fact, the person he intended to marry.

While alluding to the Jacob story, our rabbi explained that the custom should be understood metaphorically: here, before our closest family and friends, and just before we were to walk down the aisle, we were given a moment to look into each other's eyes and confirm that this was the person with whom we wanted to share the rest of our lives.

"Look into each other's eyes and imagine what you will feel on your tenth wedding anniversary. At the birth of your first child. At that child's bar or bat mitzvah. Or when that child is standing under the chuppah, about to marry his or her intended."

I wish I could describe in words how I felt at that moment . . . .

But I can't, so all I can share is a spectacularly ugly cry face.

With that, Mr. HC placed the veil over my face . . . schmeared makeup and runny nose and all.

And to make the custom egalitarian, I placed Mr. HC's kippah over his head.

A "let's go kick some ceremony ass" kiss, and we were ready to go.

Photos by Leigh Miller Photography, Luna Photography, and Della Chen Photography.

In previous episodes of the Hot Cocoa Chewish Wedding Recap Extravaganza:

- We had a welcome dinner.
- Hilarity ensued.
- I got prettified.
- We played games.
- Mr. HC got accessorized.
- We had a tea party . . . I mean, ceremony.
- I got haute.
- I giggled and Mr. HC looked.
- I had a meltdown.


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