Thursday, April 22, 2010

Four years ago today

Jason and I were legally married in Australia in December 2005, but we did a second wedding in Atlanta four years ago today (i.e., 5 months after the first one). We did the second one so that our families could each be able to participate in a wedding ceremony for us, because most of my family and friends couldn't afford to go to Oz for the first wedding, and most of Jason's family and friends couldn't come to the States for the second.*

The first wedding was fun, but a bit of a whirlwind, and I was naturally stressed out and a bit freaked out by the prospect of getting married. The second wedding was far less emotionally charged for me because I was already married, so it was just a chance to celebrate with my family and friends and bask in the Jewish wedding traditions that my tribe has been following for thousands of years. I tried to work in as many personal touches as I could think of.

My wonderful parents both walk me down the "aisle" to the huppah. I carried yellow roses, the same flowers my mother carried at her wedding.

We had a huppah at the Australia wedding, but we made it at the last minute out of some lumber and a piece of lace we bought at a fabric store. The huppah at the Atlanta wedding was made from a Jewish prayer shawl that had belonged to my great-grandfather Julius.

We stand under the huppah, as our rabbi-for-a-day, my friend Karen, leads the ceremony. She speaks Hebrew and recited all the Hebrew prayers and blessings for us

Also, we worked in all of the chief aspects of the Jewish wedding ceremony, including the recitation of the ketubah (marriage contract), the Kiddushin (blessings of betrothal over wine), and the Sheva Brachot (Seven Blessings), in Hebrew.
Signing the ketubah (marriage contract)

Reading our marital obligations (from the ketubah) to each other

Blessings over wine

I circled Jason 7 times when I entered the huppah, representing the building of the walls of our new world together (similar to the world being built in 7 days).

My friend Andrea read a portion of Walt Whitman's "Song of the Open Road," a nod to living a life of adventure, as Jason and I always try to do. Then Jason broke the glass, which represented (to us) not only the remembrance of the suffering of others, but also a breaking of ties with the past and the creation of a new family - we no longer belong just to our parents, but also now to each other.

Then we went to the reception hall, I changed into a dancing dress, and we enjoyed Southern cuisine (including fried green tomatoes - yum), danced to the music of a Cuban band, and enjoyed the time with our family and friends.

Jason and I took rhumba lessons to learn our first dance, which was to the song "Besame Mucho"

I teach Emma the basic mambo step, and she and I dance with Jason. She and I will dance together again, I'm sure of it.
My maternal grandparents (seated), Ruth and Leo, and the inspirations for Josie's middle name (Ruby Lee) - the lady standing behind them is their friend (and mine) Melba, one of my favorite people in the world. She is still alive, but her health is not great these days.**

The scene on the dance floor

We had cake. Our cake toppers were male and female surfers, of course.

It's been a crazy 4 years (well, 4 1/2, really). We've been from Atlanta to Hawaii to Denver, our financial fortunes have been up and down, and there have been times -- many times -- when I feel like I would give anything to be single and childless again. But the rituals and the ceremony of that day four years ago meant something, and still do. We are bound together forever now, not just by our children, but by the shared experiences of our life together and, without question, love for each other, for better or for worse.

*There were a few troupers who made it to both: My friends David and Michele and Malinda, and my parents, were at the Australia wedding. Jason's dad and grandmother were at the Atlanta wedding, and his step-brother Dean came over for it but had to fly back before the wedding date because his mother (Jason's ex-stepmother) died.
**Melba died about a week and a half after I wrote this post. She was a powerhouse of a woman and I will miss her dearly and admire her and strive to emulate her always.


  1. Oh Wendy. This made me teary just reading it - congratulations to the both of you!! Enjoy your day :)

  2. Anonymous10:44 AM

    Happy Anniversary, Armstrongs!

    I pray for that type of joy & happiness to come my way one day, and that it continues in all of your days!


  3. Happy Anniversary. That gave me goose bumps. It was a wonderful, beautiful day and I'm so glad that we could be there to help celebrate! Mazel tov again.


    A & D

  4. Thanks, everyone! It was a great day. I can't believe it's already been four years!

  5. Carolyn6:21 AM

    Wendy! My husband and I were also married 4/22, but it was 15 years ago. I have to say what you just shared was beautiful. What great traditions you have and carried forward. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY! Carolyn

  6. Carolyn, Happy Anniversary right back at ya! :)