"Aunt Cassie is getting married, Jack," I told him as Jossie stood on my lap, reaching her chubby hands toward the passengers seated behind us. "This Saturday is going to be one of those extra special days we'll always remember."
My own parents joined us, and I loved showing them New York, the city I've grown to love. We walked Central Park, taking in the sights and sounds on Friday afternoon. A rehearsal dinner at Fred's Friday night, complete with toasts, a slideshow of the bride and groom and lots of laughter. Jeremy's immediate family is small - but what they lack in cousins they make up for in wonderfully loving family friends. They are loud, faithful and supportive. Whoops and hollers went up as I gave my toast, giving Daniel the groom some advice on marrying into the family I too married into seven years ago.
I spend most of Saturday gasping at the pretty things that surrounded us. The wedding was at the Mandarin Oriental, and I beheld the exquisite beauty of the hotel - the lobby, the bridal suite and Jeremy's and my guest room, to name a few. We spent the afternoon getting ready in the bridal suite with a team of people doing our hair and make-up. Jossie was with the babysitter while Jeremy and Jack sat in the bridal suite with us - Jeremy editing his toast while Jack oblivious to all of the activity, played on my iPhone.
This being a Jewish wedding, the bride and groom saw each other before the wedding during a reveal. Cassie and Daniel are meant to be together - so perfect for one another. I felt like my heart might burst from my chest when they saw each other for the first time - so loving, so enchanted with each other, so giddy.
I'll never forget seeing the room where the ceremony was held. Cassie and my mother-in-law Ellen were getting their picture taken by the photographer. They looked stunning, and the room equally so. Elegant branches framed the chuppah; white flowers placed everywhere; and candles floated in tall, slender vases, filled with water, along the aisle.
The reception following was probably one of my favorite parts. Jack, in his little tuxedo, held my hand and asked me to order him a "cocktail" - ginger ale and cranberry juice. We staked claim to a table in the corner of the room and Jeremy brought us a plate of seafood, dumplings and sliced steak. Jack, sipping his cocktail and lounging in his tux, looked out the window at Central Park from our 36th-floor vantage point. "I could stay here forever," he said. Me too, babes.
Jack was escorted upstairs after the reception to the nicest, most pleasant babysitter in all of New York. She handled the kids well, leaving Jeremy and me to enjoy ourselves.
East Coast weddings run late - dancing goes all evening with dinner courses sprinkled in here and there. I think our main course was served around 11 p.m. that night. Toasts were wonderful, including my husband's who gave his best wedding toast ever and the father of the bride's. It was easy to lose the piece of paper and just speak from the heart to a couple who mean so much to us. And the best man's toast ended with the best man and groom doing a dance for Cassie; I'm not sure what's cuter - the dance itself or the thought of them practicing this beforehand. (And, Daniel, I'd like sister-in-law points for helping you go viral.)
Late into the night, Jeremy and I went to our darkened guest room to relieve the babysitter and kiss our sleeping babies. I pulled open the heavy curtains, and Jeremy and I sat on the couch, looking at the twinkling lights of the city. Seven years and two kids later, Jeremy and I are well entrenched in the "happily ever after" part of wedded bliss, and it's always a treat to reflect back on how far we've come since our own wedding day.
Weddings are special. Family weddings are even that more precious. The older I get and the more married I get, the more I value a wedding day. This day was enchanting, poignant and thoughtful. I'm so glad my own parents were included in the celebration and for the love that surrounded the couple.
We're home now and everything is a memory. Hoping the love and joy of the wedding will surround Cassie and Daniel for all of their days.