I made the executive decision that there would be no attempt at paleo adherence this weekend and I stuck to my guns. Despite gorging myself at the rehearsal dinner the night before, nothing that I ate (aside from a little rice) was all that bad. Sunday was truly the day of my dietary destruction. It started off with a wholly un-paleo breakfast of powdered eggs, bacon (which is
okay food of the gods) and biscuits with gravy. And things only got better worse better from there.
As Lex was going to be a part of the wedding party, I had to drive her over to the wedding venue, the Temple Avodah, just after breakfast. I was immediately impressed by the efficiency of the parking lot. The traffic patterns were carefully constructed with lines, tons of signage and more painted arrows than I’ve ever seen in any one place. You can even see where they re-painted some of the arrows for the sake of increased clarity.
[These Jews do not mess around when it comes to directions. Clearly, the lessons of their desert-wandering ancestors were not lost on the members of this congregation.]
Since I had some free time to myself, I spent a lovely afternoon exploring beautiful Oceanside, Long Island. I wish I could come up with a punch line for that, but I can’t because I actually had a really good time. I stumbled upon a little town flea market where I purchased this…
[Sterling silver. Originally marked $38, I got it for $27.]
I almost bought this sweet falcon t-shirt too…
…but the snobby lady in the booth wouldn’t haggle and there was no way I was paying $20 bucks for that thing. $10-$15 tops. Unless it came in red. If it was red I probably would’ve bought it.
[My nickname used to be Pickles so I felt a natural kinship with this booth.]
[This is me enjoying a half-sour garlic.]
There will actually be a similar picture to the one above (sans pickle) in the Long Island Herald at some point. Apparently, someone alerted the press to my being in town and one relentless reporter tracked me down and wanted to know what I had purchased at the market. Damn paparazzi.
Seriously though, I just happened to be standing next to a local reporter and she, like so many others, was drawn to my giant black sun bonnet and shades and wanted to take my picture. You’d be amazed by the number of people who look twice to see if I’m someone famous when I’m in sun-protection mode. It happens all the time. It’s hilarious to watch how disappointed they are to discover that I’m just a random pasty chick in a hat. Anyway, I tried to get her to go for the pickle picture, but she wasn’t into it and preferred a shot of me flashing my new ring. I reluctantly complied.
Later, I drove back over to the Temple Avodah and, thanks to the myriad of giant yellow arrows, I successfully navigated the vast wasteland of parking lot for a second time.
The moment I walked through the doors I was blown away by how beautiful it was. Everything about that place screamed class, if class screamed…which it doesn’t because screaming is undignified. For instance, rather than using place cards, they asked that you check in upon arrival with a white-gloved attendant to get the name of your table. I was at table Inspire. Other tables were called Evolve, Compassion, etc… Cynical me would have laughed at that, but new accepting me happily accepted a glass of champagne from a passing waiter and went on my merry way. Oh, and if you couldn’t tell right away the kind of people my friends are, I think this sign pretty much sums it up:
Okay, perhaps this would be a good time to mention that this was my first gay, half-Buddhist, half-Jewish wedding, so I was pretty excited. You know, I was almost not going to mention the fact that it was a gay wedding at all because honestly, that was the least significant part of the proceedings. But because I can’t be sure if I’ll ever get the chance to write about another gay, half-Buddhist, half-Jewish anything, the blogger in me simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity.
There were only a couple of moments when I consciously thought about it being a ‘gay’ wedding in any case. The first was during the five seconds I spent debating with myself whether or not my light silver-colored cocktail dress was too close to white to be appropriate for the occasion, but then I was reminded of the fact that there was no bride and therefore, no wedding dress so I didn’t have to worry about it. [Which was excellent because that dress is fabulous.] The second occurrence was during the pre-ceremony seating music, when the pianist started playing Billy Joel’s ‘She’s Always a Woman.’ [Which was hilarious.] The third (and best) time was when my adorable and amazing friend Benjamin danced down the aisle with his parents to ‘Let’s Hear it for the Boy.’ [Which was epicness incarnate.]
While the gay factor was a total non-issue, the Buddhist/Jewish part was huge. Their respective cultures were represented in everything from the wedding colors (blue and white for Judaism and orange for Buddhism) to the decorations, not to mention the actual components of the ceremony.
If the statues of Buddha didnt give it away, note the colors of their Ketubah. Also, the chuppah was made of bamboo and decorated in blue, white and orange. The whole thing was very East-meets-Jew.
I won’t go into the details of the ceremony itself because honestly, I feel like anything I could say about it would only cheapen that which is sacred and special. Suffice it to say, their ceremony was the perfect blend of the traditional, the spiritual and the personal. And it was lovely. Total tear-jerker – and I’m not usually a crier, so that’s saying something.
The other things that really set this wedding apart (and I’ve been to A LOT of weddings lately) were the music and the food. Oh god, the food. But I’ll get there in a minute. First I have to mention the fantastic band that played for the reception. These guys (plus one fierce black female singer) did everything from the Hora to R&B to disco to Adele to LMFAO to Bon Jovi. And they were great at all of it. Half the guests were trained musicians and we were all raving groupies by the end of the night. This was one of the few weddings I’ve been to where everyone danced to every song all night long. It was super fun.
When I wasn’t dancing my face off, I was stuffing it, with every kind of delicious food imaginable. First, there was a champagne reception with these little chocolate raspberry tarts (that were out of this world good) prior to the ceremony. Then there was a cocktail hour with literally every type of Asian, Jewish and American finger food you can imagine…plus like ten more that you’d never dream of. Like shots of orange vodka served in a frozen orange.
Dinner was…so much of everything that I was actually kinda pissed because I couldn’t possibly try it all. It was served buffet style, but I guarantee this was unlike any buffet you’ve ever seen at a wedding. It was a wonderfully casual affair – there was no waiting for your table to be called or standing in long lines. If you were hungry, you went up and grabbed something off one of the many tables. If you wanted to dance for a while, then eat, that’s fine too. If you wanted to dance, eat, eat, dance, dance, eat again, you get the idea.
Coming off twenty-seven straight days of a strict paleolithic diet (which I really have to write about at some point,) I was beyond overwhelmed. Here are just a few of the foods I can remember before I went into a straight-up food coma: all the usual carving stations (except maybe pork? I don’t remember), some sort of barbecued salmon, gourmet pizza, a variety of vegetables, a vast array of designer ravioli (they literally had designs on them), an entire table of Thai food including some of the best pad thai I’ve ever eaten, and so many other things. Oh, then there was this…
[Not gonna lie, I prayed at the foot of Mt. Sushi more than once.]
Then we had dessert…
…or so I thought. After those gorgeous little cakes – chocolate, red velvet and I can’t remember the other one – that each came with their own dipping sauce, a server came around with trays bearing a variety of fresh-baked cookies…straight from the oven. Then another brought a tray of gourmet candies, another with chocolate covered strawberries, another with gelato (served in frozen oranges and coconuts), another with pastries…and they just kept coming. Sesame seed squares, eclairs, deep fried Oreos, mini ice cream cones, funnel fries! Frankly, I’m surprised I made it out of there without diabetes.
But all of those things are superficial compared to the real reason everyone was there – to witness the union of two of the most beautiful souls I’ve ever had the privilege of knowing…
To Benjamin and BJ – Mazel tov!