Sneak Peek: Amanda and Miki- Old Westbury Wedding Photographer
I posted the photos for Amanda and Miki’s wedding earlier this week because I didn’t want them to go a moment longer without getting to see some photos, but I’ve been so back-logged with editing work on tight deadlines that I didn’t get a chance to properly rave about their wedding and how wonderful it was.
I first met Amanda and Miki at their friends’ Ben and Hinda’s wedding back in the end of August. Like Ben and Hinda, Amanda and Miki are a Modern Orthodox couple. Modern Orthodox couples tend to have shorter, whirlwind engagements, so I only connected with the bride and groom to discuss wedding planning two months ago. In that short time, I have found them to be completely delightful and charming, and I fully intend to try to lobby them to move to Rockland County. I did my best to woo them here “upstate” (in quotes because most New Yorkers consider anything north of the Bronx upstate; locals tend to disagree) during their engagement session with our beautiful autumn colors, fantastic rustic barns and charming little parks. By the end of the engagement session, I knew they were a special couple.
For one thing, they are up for anything. Schlepping a wagon and a giant pumpkin to a nearby lake? Let’s do it! Sitting on vintage suitcases at a local farm, they’re in!
Posing for wintry photos with sleds wearing this scarf I just bought at Target and haven’t taken the tags off yet? Why not? Let’s add in a stuffed toy moose and goose that they brought with them, two little tokens of affection that echo their nicknames for each other. They have so much fun together, and Miki didn’t resist a single quirky idea, (which is rare; most grooms don’t love the engagement session portion of our time together.
I knew that the combination of their adventurous fun-loving personalities, their exuberant and hilarious friends (some of whom I had met in August) and love of vintage-inspired details would make for a gorgeous wedding, and I was not wrong! Speaking of gorgeous vintage-styled details, I present Exhibit A, Amanda’s dress.
To die for! She found this gown at BHLDN, Anthropologie’s wedding specialty retailer, which never disappoints.
Her mom helped her with the finishing touches as soon as I got there.
We snuck outside for a private first look and some romantic pictures before the sunset, because once we came back inside, the party got underway right away!
I loved that Amanda’s bouquet contained succulents, which she can plant and continue to grow long after the wedding. That’s such a cool idea.
We took lots of photos with friends and family (and extended family- people came from everywhere to celebrate with them!) and then it was time for the festivities to begin!
Amanda’s mom and mother-in-law led her to a special room where they got to sit on a dais and greet everyone as they arrived. People say hello, offer their blessings and reconnect, and it’s such a beautiful way to start the day. It’s so much more fun for the bride than hiding in a room somewhere!
This moment with one of the bride’s besties wiping away happy tears is one of my favorites.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the synagogue, the groom was having his own celebration with food, singing and dancing.
This moment when the bride and groom’s moms break a plate with a hammer is a significant tradition. Just like the breaking of the plate cannot be undone, the betrothal is also irreversible.
After that, Miki was on his way to see his bride! He danced with his father and (almost) father-in-law on either arm to see Amanda. This is far and away one of the most exciting moments of an Orthodox wedding, in my opinion. Everyone is clapping and singing in Hebrew.
Usually the bride stays seated on her throne-like chair, but Amanda knew she wanted to dance right up to her (almost) husband.
Happy goosebumps broke out on my arms as Amanda’s dad offered her a few private blessings and words for her ears only before Miki lowered her veil.
The men carried him away, still singing “Od Yishama,” a traditional wedding song of joy and gladness. The entire venue rocked with clapping and singing, and then things quieted down just a little as we headed into the sanctuary.
The musicians played all Beatles songs as the procession made its way to the chuppah.
Miki’s parents helped him into a kittel, or sacred garment worn only on the holiest of days, and then Amanda walked in with her parents.
Oh! I should mention she was proceeded by the cutest flower girls! SO CUTE!
At this point, the bride walked in circles around the groom, signifying the entwining of their worlds, but the truth is, Amanda and Miki have been each other’s worlds for a while now. Amanda’s sister Lexi told me that both Amanda and Miki grew close quite quickly. He had invited her to go kayaking with the synagogue’s social group, which Miki helped coordinate at the time, and at first she wasn’t sure… was this a date or was he just doing his social coordinate-y thing? Lexi says it wasn’t long after the trip that Amanda started sounding an awful lot like she had met The One.
Speaking of sisters, I love this shot of all four of the couple’s sisters watching their siblings tie the knot.
After an exchange of rings, the sharing of wine, the offering of blessings and the reading of the ketubah, the deed was done! Married! Yay!
Everyone crowded around for another chorus of Od Yishama, and then the newlyweds’ friends danced them down the steps, out of the sanctuary and into the yichud room for a few minutes of solitude.
Their peace and quiet was heavily protected by appropriately costumed guards, thanks to Miki’s sister supplying the props.
If I thought the dancing was fun before now, I was blown away by the first dance set.
The men and women danced separately for a little while before an excited throng of guests boosted the newlyweds up in the air during the horah.
I knew that the shtick portion of the evening was going to be hilarious, but around the time the guests busted out the mascot costumes, I knew there was no telling what was going to happen next.
Interestingly enough, this is not my first wedding with mascots. It’s not even my first wedding with a guest in a tiger costume. I love my clients.
After taking a minute to catch their breath, observe blessings over the bread and light the menorah (this was the second night of Hanukkah), more surprises were in store!
First, some of their friends declared it time for “a shtickathon” with all kinds of props, toys, and art supplies. It even had its own hashtag.
Then, their East Coast and West Coast friends decided to battle out where Amanda and Miki should live eventually- New York or California?- in an epic, choreographed danceoff, the kind that people must have gotten together earlier in the event weekend to practice.
It was amazing. Of course, Amanda and Miki weren’t going to just let their friends have all that fun without them, so they joined in before making an announcement of their own…
They surprised their guests with a group funk dance lesson, taught by their friend Milo.
After that, their parents got a whirl around the dance floor before it was time to cut the cake!
In keeping with their nicknames, the cake topper featured a moose and goose. So cute!
After the cake cutting, everyone gathered for grace after meals. This is a uniquely Jewish custom practiced in more traditional circles. Although there are prayers before the meal- over the challah, for example- everyone gathers together after the meal to be thankful for sustenance, and fellowship, and fullness. It’s lovely.
This was a peaceful and spiritual way to wind down the night, and soon everyone was saying their goodbyes.
The bride and groom had one last dance in the middle of the ballroom all by themselves. They were basking in the glow of the festival of lights, of good food and good friends, from dance-offs and shtick and toasts and prayers, and of course, in their love for each other.
The future is so, so bright for this couple, and I wish you all the best!
Filled Under : Wedding