Bartos family, Greg & Morgan, Planning, Squicciarini family, Thoughts, Wedding

3 Days

Blessed are You, Adonai my G-d, King of the universe, Who has kept me alive, sustained me and, through one miracle after another, has brought me to this time. Amen.

*can’t believe* how much happened today…

We were supposed to go grocery shopping this morning, have lunch at the apartment, and do a mikveh there. But… little change of plans {due to an unforeseen delay in getting the electricity turned on}, we ended up postponing grocery shopping until tomorrow. {quote from Mums: “aren’t you glad we’re flexible?”} So I packed up the rest of my belongings, and we headed over to the apartment around 9am – put {more} clothes away, rearranged my kitchen with some new gifts {LOVE the food processor, Mrs. Burroughs!}, and made up the bed with crisp green & white sheets + my pretty pintucked duvet cover from West Elm + matching shams + embroidered bride/groom pillowcases. After about an hour, we went home, where I got ready for my mikveh.

The new mikveh location became my mom’s bathroom. She has both a shower and bathtub, making it the perfect place. I was a little uncertain about the whole thing… never done this before! Put together a basket of supplies: a robe, clean {white} clothes, towel, toothbrush/toothpaste, soap, a facial scrub, washcloth, etc… plus my instructions page from Mayyim Hayyim, and started by reading the seven kavanot {intentions/steps} they suggested. Excellent points! Here they are again:

  1. Here I am.
  2. The unadorned body is beautiful in itself.
  3. You fashioned the human being intricate in design.
  4. I am made in the image of G-d.
  5. The soul in me is pure.
  6. The breath of every living thing praises You.
  7. We can stand for justice; we can build a world of peace and justice.

These seven steps include taking a shower and thoroughly washing every part of the body {as they put it, “with thoughtful attention to the miracle of your own body”}. Then you get out, dry off, and continue preparing for immersion – brushing teeth, combing hair, cleaning inside ears and fingernails, etc. The immersion itself involves going completely underwater three times – surprisingly difficult in a bathtub! Still, it was a unique experience. It begins with a prayer {“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You, Adonai, my Rock and my Redeemer”} and ends with this declaration:

“My G-d, Creator and Sustainer of all life, may I step forth into a life filled with continued wisdom and deeds of kindness. May I step forward into a life filled with the blessings of new beginnings. May I be a loving mate, partner, and friend to my beloved. May the words of my mouth, the meditations of my heart, and this act of sanctification seal my devotion to a life of Torah {G-d’s instructions}, Avodah {worship}, and Gemilut Chasidim {acts of kindness}; a life of learning Your ways, a life of standing in Your presence, a life made holy by acts of loving kindness.”

Had a sense of calm and peace afterward, refocused on the spiritual side of my impending marriage. I know the water doesn’t literally do anything, but it symbolizes the change I am making, choosing to become “one with another life,” and the internal cleansing – spiritual purification – which I desire.

The girls made an incredible lunch – kind of our “bride’s luncheon” {fresh fruit, quinoa, poached eggs, dark chocolate, and Lambrusco – very light and healthy} and gave me a gift basket from all of them! It had a dainty scarf {to wear while praying, as married women do}, a handpainted pottery havdalah set + white candle, a sequined challah bread cover, and even sparkly Shabbat candles – I’ve never seen anything like them. Julianna brought most of this back from Jerusalem. {wow!} I’ve been reflecting that presents, at least to me, mean more when they are personal – implying that the giver understands me well enough to know my taste, for example {or beliefs, as the case may be}. These beautiful gifts from my sisters, symbols of our faith, meant a lot to me. I can see myself doing the same thing for them – in fact, I can’t wait! {grin}

After lunch we went to get our nails done – I opted for a French manicure and pedicure, wanting to keep the look elegant and not too flashy or conspicuous – and then went our separate ways to do errands. Mums picked up the flowers and delivered them to our “florist” {hug for Mrs. H}.

Tonight, of course, was the rehearsal, and it went beautifully {baruch HaShem}. I am very pleased. My family arrived a little early and set up the chuppah, including the tallit suspended above it, and it is perfect. Once everyone was there, we went through the first part of the ceremony several times, talked about placement and timing… Dad did a great job keeping us on track and directing everyone. A big thank you to Jonathan, Carl, Tiffany, and Brandy, for being there tonight! Oh, and the masks worked out very well! I felt ridiculous in mine but inwardly thrilled that we rose to the challenge of making this week different.

There is really nothing to be nervous about. {grin} My part in the ceremony, overall, is quite small. What I am feeling is more anticipation, almost impatience. As we practiced tonight I couldn’t wait to do this for real, in just a few days {hours!}. Getting married is something I am confident about – feeling pretty sure we are not rushing into it, but rather both ready to make a commitment, and ready to begin our life together.

A few other notes: 1} my Uncle Fred and Aunt Stephanie are in town!! We haven’t seen them yet, but they arrived tonight. It’s been a couple years since they came down {from NY}, so the Squicciarini family is psyched about having them here. 2} Got an unexpected note from my friend Jennifer Sisk, wishing Greg and I much happiness on our wedding day. Thank you, Mrs. Sisk – what a sweet email!! 3} Received a VERY unusual wedding gift, one that has an intriguing story with it {Venice and veterinarians…}. Unfortunately this post is already enormous, so I’ll save that for another time. {grin}

& check out Dad’s review of the tzadik class this past Tuesday – fantastic!


Greg & Morgan, Planning, Problems, Squicciarini family, Thoughts, Wedding

12 Days

Continued the process of moving out of my parents’ home… have almost emptied my bedroom! Pretty soon all that’s left will be a bed and a tiny pile of clothes. There is more to this “leaving” process than I’ve heard from anyone… or maybe that’s because my family is unusually close.

Woke up today with a tiny cold… {sigh} Better this week than next, I guess.

May have found a hair stylist… {!!} at long last. I have a meeting/trial run Thursday morning, and I’m very hopeful about it. {yay!} The last two items on my list, “hair stylist” and “photographer,” just refuse to be checked off.  Every time I think we’ve found the answers, plans seem to fall apart!

Speaking of hair, Greg got his hair cut today for free! Another customer, a military veteran, paid for the haircut as a wedding gift!

We are SO close on finalizing the music. Went with an Ofra Haza song for the seven circles – love her voice! The title means “I’ll Never Walk Alone” or something like that, which is so perfect because 1) that’s kind of the definition of marriage, and 2) I’ll be walking while it plays. {grin} We just need one more piece, to play during our exit. Recommendations are welcome… it needs to be joyful, of course. Incidentally, I was fascinated by the reason for not using the “Bridal March” from Richard Wagner’s opera Lohengrin – Wagner was a “ferocious anti-Semite and idol of Adolf Hitler” whose music was actually played in concentration camps. {wow}

Had a family meeting last night to walk through the wedding ceremony outline with everyone. My family is so helpful. {hug} They had great questions, comments, and a few new suggestions. Everything is coming together! The rehearsal is Thursday March 3, a week from this Thursday. Several people told me I should have a “wedding director,” someone to run the rehearsal and keep everyone on track… so I’ve been thinking about that, and all the sudden came up with the perfect person! Do I not live with a command man?! {wink} Directing people is exactly what my dad does best. I’ve asked him if he would be in charge of the rehearsal, and he has agreed. {an important sidenote: Greg also agreed to this plan. Getting used to checking my plans with Greg before I start working on them!}

A while ago I mentioned the tradition of the bride & groom not seeing each other for a week before the wedding. Guess what? We’re going to stick with this one. {grin} The only real problem was that our rehearsal is in the middle of the week, but – get this – Greg & I are going to wear masks. Isn’t that cute?! Mom’s idea.

My thank-you notes came today! They are very pretty… white correspondence cards with our names {Mr. & Mrs. Gregory Bartos} and our new address. Tomorrow I shall send the first one{s} out.

In a way, it does feel like the wedding is not all about me. Coming from the “bride” perspective, I think that’s another slight difference in a Jewish wedding. The focus in our planning process is the ceremony – what we will do, not how we will look. It makes sense that a Hebraic wedding would be action-based, just like the language! For example, I remember thinking at one point about my skin {of all things}, like how my shoulders, back, & arms needed to look good… now, how irrelevant that seems. For one thing, I’m not showing nearly as much skin as I originally thought! And we are making a covenant with the Holy One of Israel – nothing else could come close in importance. To be honest with you, I was really tempted by the idea of tanning. {Some of you can understand – I mean, it’s March! – and others are like “how superficial can she get?!”} I suppose the motivation was just about looking pretty… but I decided not to, because there is something appealing about standing under the chuppah without pretensions or artificiality. I like the idea of being “real” – my real hair {no coloring}, my real skin, my real nails… very much the way I always look, and very true to the girl I am.