The Big Question
After dating for a year, we introduced my mother and brother to Rob’s parents at a dinner near my apartment in Battery Park City on Thanksgiving weekend 2014. Following dinner, Rob and I headed uptown to Peter Dillon’s Pub, our go-to watering hole near Rob's apartment. Every Saturday night, the Pub offers Moonlight Karaoke to those brave souls who want to take to the stage and sing. Much to my surprise, Rob’s name was called. He had secretly signed up and began singing “Amazed” by Lone Star. During the guitar solo, Rob walked back to the bar where I was sitting, took my hand in his, and asked me to marry him.
The entire bar erupted with excitement when I said, “yes!” With newfound confidence, Rob returned to the stage, receiving cheers and high-fives from bar-patrons along the way. We celebrated our new engagement until last call. It wasn’t until the very end of the night did I realize Rob gave his cell phone to the DJ who captured pictures of the surprise proposal.
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I have always loved my mother’s wedding dress, which was custom made for her by her aunt, with straight lines, a low-neck front and a plunge back, paired with a matching handmade cathedral veil. I wanted a dress that presented a similar sophisticated character and silhouette.
My mother and I made two appointments at dress stores throughout Bergen County, New Jersey. I tried several types of dresses, but none of what I saw really excited me. Disappointed by the selection at the first store, and discouraged that I still hadn’t found something that emulated the feel of my mother’s dress, we went to Rana Bridal in Englewood Cliffs. I described the look I wanted to Rana and she promptly brought out two beautiful dresses, one in French lace and one in English lace. As soon as I tried on the French lace dress, Augusta Jones - Skyler, with its fitted bodice, off-the-shoulder neckline, and the illusion low v-back, I knew it was “the one.”
The lace was exquisite and the lines were graceful and sophisticated. The bustle was easily hooked up and I loved the dress so much that I wouldn’t even consider changing into a party dress for the reception, as many brides do now.
The Perfect Day
My bridesmaids and I got ready at my mother’s house. The day started early with the arrival of Roland Hernandez and Brian Boublis, our talented hair and makeup artists. Montclair Studio, our photographer and videographer, arrived and captured happy moments with my bridesmaids, Godfather, brother, and mother helping me get ready. I wore a diamond necklace, a gift from my late father, along with a diamond bracelet he had given my mother. For the final touch, my brother gently secured my mother’s hand-sewn cathedral veil to my hair before my trip down the aisle.
Rob and I were married on October 24th at The Greek Orthodox Metropolitan Cathedral of St. John the Theologian in Tenafly, New Jersey. The altar, which extends across the front of the Cathedral, is flanked by exquisite mosaics of traditional Byzantine iconography, which only enhanced the atmosphere and beauty of ritual-rich ceremony, performed by Reverend Father Peter Zougras.
After the ceremony was over, our friends and family followed us to the Waterside, a gorgeous venue along the Hudson in North Bergen with breathtaking views of the Manhattan skyline. The skyline served as a stunning backdrop for our pictures with the Bridal Party.
The cocktail hour was on the second level and featured floor to ceiling windows facing the New York City vista. The Grand Ballroom on the third floor had the same stunning view. There was an amazing assortment of food at the cocktail hour, the dinner selections were first-rate and all the food was absolutely delicious. We opened the dancing with our chosen wedding song, Chicago’s “You’re the Inspiration,” followed by the traditional opening Greek dance. Since many guests from both our families were of Greek descent, our live band played traditional Greek dance music, in addition to American music. The Greek singer and bouzouki player was amazing, as was the lead female singer on the keyboard with American hits and classics. The band was great and got everyone up and moving. Our friends, even those not of Greek descent, danced to both Greek and American music. Following a Greek tradition, dollar bills were showered on Rob and me while we were dancing to wish us luck in our future journey as husband and wife.
After almost a year of preparation, and thanks largely to my mother’s careful planning and attention-to-detail, our wedding was a great affair. Having our closest friends and family celebrating with us made my “big fat Greek wedding” everything I hoped it would be.
Details do matter in wedding planning, which takes time and organization. Make lists and timelines so everything is done in time. It will all be worth it. But on your wedding day, take a step back and enjoy every moment. It will fly by.