A Rabbi’s New Wedding Role — As Bride


As some of my readers may remember, I am getting married later this month. I feel so lucky to have met my soulmate, and our relationship gets stronger and stronger as the months pass. And, though I’ve officiated at dozens and dozens of weddings, I find myself feeling as though we are creating the whole thing from scratch. I guess I expected myself to be an expert on all things wedding, but I’ve learned the lesson that you are probably all anticipating: it’s always different when it is your own event!

I think back on the wedding couples who have sat in my office, kvetching about this or that incident with their families. Or the strife that they experienced with their florist. Or the fun they had picking out invitations. I understand it rationally, academically, and logically. I had seen it so many times before. But it feels so different when you are going through these moments and experiences yourself. Now it’s my family that I have to corral, it’s our vendors that we have to pay on time, and it’s our wedding announcements that we have to make sure have been submitted. All while still working as a full-time rabbi in a mid-sized congregation.

This has all resulted in a bit of a discombobulated Marci.

Yep, I am “farmisht.” I have had such a challenging time balancing it all, and I find myself thinking that this all serves as good practice for motherhood (I will be turning to you all for advice, God willing, further down the line!). I am alternately cranky, excited, nervous, and impatient. Seth and I are both having crazy dreams each night, where our subconscious minds are playing out every possible nightmarish eventuality (DJ doesn’t show up, unexpected guests arrive, we oversleep, etc.). Last night, in fact, I dreamt that I had to be committed, and I asked the attending psychiatrist: Doesn’t everyone go crazy when they plan their weddings?

One of the most interesting variables to balance has been the various parts of my own personality. The “rabbi” part of me is very concerned that everything be appropriately Jewish. This part wants to wear a tallit during the ceremony, visit the Mikveh, do a bedeken, and more. But she is having a major conflict with the “diva” part of me, who doesn’t want a tallit to cover her wedding dress, and doesn’t want to clip her nails for the Mikveh, as it might interfere with her upcoming wedding manicure. The “daughter” part battles the “wife-to-be” part when decisions have to be made, and my parents express an opinion that is at odds with what Seth wants to do. How does anyone balance it all?

Now, one of the ways in which my wealth of wedding experience is helping is that, in the end, I know that everything will be fine. I have seen just about every possible thing go wrong: the couple forgets the rings, the groom doesn’t break the glass on the first try, it rains at an outdoor wedding, the chuppah almost kills the rabbi (oy, don’t ask). And, despite all these crises, the couple still gets married and still loves each other. Ultimately, the minutiae of the wedding are secondary to the fact that you get to marry your honey, and you celebrate your union with your loved ones.

We’ve been so blessed to be able to celebrate with so many people. Even my congregation held a truly beautiful “Jack and Jill” shower for Seth and me, and more than 150 congregants came that evening to dance, play, and nosh with us. We feel so surrounded by love and support. I know that these memories will be far superior and far more special to us than which hors d’oeuvres we chose for the cocktail hour.

So, wish us (Seth and me, as well as all the competing voices in my keppeleh) luck – we are near the 3 week countdown. I hope we are able to stay focused on what is truly important, and on the beautiful new chapter of our lives that we are approaching.