Our religious wedding was eight years ago, on June 12, 2011. Over this past weekend, I was talking with my uncle Pete, who is researching biographies of various ancestors. Uncle Pete said that it’s possible to find some of their experiences, but hard to know what they were thinking during those experiences; that people rarely write down their thoughts. This helped validate my recent decision to start this blog, and I have some catching up to do. An anniversary seems a good time to write down some of the details of our wedding.
Marianne and I first met on May 29, 2009, at a social for postdoctoral fellows working at the Johns Hopkins University hospital campus. It was sponsored by the postdoctoral association and I had heard about it without seeing the flyer, so I presumed there was no cost to attend and showed up without cash. Marianne, a then-stranger who was on the postdoctoral association leadership, covered my cost of entry. Marianne was wearing a Hebrew necklace (מזל – Mazel, Marianne’s hebrew name) and had a non-Israeli accent, which got us talking for most of the evening. Marianne invited me to see the movie “Up” in the theater with friends the next day and we discovered we had a friend in common when Jacob arrived. We had our first date a few days later on June 3, 2009. We had our civil wedding in the Towson courthouse on July 2, 2010. The courthouse only allows a few people to attend (my guests were close relatives) and we had our religious wedding ceremony about a year later, which was eight years ago today.
We designed the ketubah ourselves – it’s an infinity symbol (which is also engraved in our wedding rings) with the Orion nebula in the background and the Orion constellation in the infinity itself. My ring was originally the wedding ring of my paternal grandfather’s parents and their initials and marriage year are engraved as well, from when they were married.
We were married by Rabbi Steve Schwartz of Baltimore’s Beth El Synagogue, which has been my family’s synagogue since my great-grandparents (my mother’s father’s parents) were founding members. My brothers served as best men and the maids of honor were Marianne’s friends Andrea and Laurence. The chuppah holders were my cousin Jonathan, my cousin David, Marianne’s uncle Richard, and our friend Rob. During the wedding, my grandfather (Lou Engel, then 94 years old) sang the Motzi (blessing over the challah bread) and we all sang happy (5th) birthday for my cousin’s daughter Katelyn.
The wedding and reception were held in the Engineers Club in downtown Baltimore, a short walk from where we lived at the time. We loved the venue for its beauty, for the location, for its engineering identity, and for its history. One week later, our friends Ian and Ladzer were married in the same venue. Otherwise, we would have played bigger roles in each others’ weddings. (Ian and I did sign each other’s ketubahs). I’m so excited that Ian and Ladzer are moving back the area soon. They arrive this weekend (Father’s Day weekend) to start looking for a place!