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Monday, February 19 Opinion

In the Suburbs: If the wedding was prelude, this marriage will be special

My wife and I have attended hundreds of weddings, including our daughters', and we thought each one was beautiful in its own way. But the wedding of our dear friend Diane's son, Matty, this past weekend was far-and-away one of the most memorable.

When Matt became engaged to Erin, one of the most beautiful people -- inside and out -- we've ever met, we felt a special bond because they were planning an interfaith wedding and needed a rabbi. When they asked us, we knew exactly who to recommend -- Rabbi Haddon, who had performed weddings for all three children of our friends Howard and Ondria.

Last Saturday evening at the Falkirk Estate and Country Club near Harriman, N.Y., we witnessed one of the most gorgeous ceremonies we've seen in a setting that jumped right out of a painting. The late-day sun was shining on the wedding Chupah (canopy) and on the rolling hills beyond. It was breathtaking.

Matt was beaming as the wedding party -- family along with bridesmaids in coral gowns -- took their places in front of family and friends. Finally, a radiant Erin in her exquisite gown joined her soon-to-be husband. There were references throughout the tasteful ceremony to the couple's favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees.

Following a cocktail hour with appetizers from around the world and reggae music, we moved upstairs to the ballroom where our placecards were replicated Yankees tickets.

The floral centerpieces in coral and white hues with tall accented candle holders greeted us along with music from one of the best disc jockey teams we've ever seen. These guys were amazing and they knew exactly how to balance slower music for what they called "couples" -- that's old folks like us -- to 20, 30 somethings and up. That ballroom rocked through the night.

My wife, who was still recovering from both the bruises she suffered moving and recent carpel tunnel surgery, really got out on that dance floor, and we boogied through the night. The DJs played our favorite rock 'n' roll and twist music along with oldies like "Respect" and "Shout."

And the Hora, the traditional Jewish dance, complete with bride and groom and parents being hoisted on chairs above the dance floor, put everyone in the mood to dance all evening.

What melted my wife and me was that Erin and Matt greeted us like family, thanking us for our recommendation of Rabbi Haddon and telling us how glad they were that we were sharing their day. That gesture immediately made this wedding unique.

This couple is so warm and caring. We could see it in the way they interacted with their own family and their new one, both on the dance floor and off. A number of the bride's family members told us that Matt is one of those rare guys who never needs to be goaded into attending family functions. He really likes to go.

And since Erin came into the picture, she's been right there for most of Matt's family functions.

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During the mother/son dance, there wasn't a dry eye, because family and friends know of the strong bond between Diane and Matt and all of her children. As a single mom, she was a strong role model and she provided the critical learning tools for all of the kids to be as independent and caring as she is.

A real high point of this wedding was the photo booth. We got to have our pictures taken for Erin's and Matt's baseball album and even my wife, who hates being photographed, agreed to do it when I suggested feeding me bananas foster from the dessert table. The pictures were a perfect fit for our place-card Yankees tickets, which doubled as refrigerator magnets. What a great idea.

Our special evening ended about 11:30 p.m. when we boarded the tour bus, arranged by the family, for the round trip to and from our hotel in New Jersey. The 30-somethings wanted to continue partying, even on the bus, but once back at the hotel, the seniors like us were very content to drag our tired bodies up to our rooms and collapse.

Our evening was over, but Erin and Matt were just starting life together. And with this spectacular wedding as their overture, the rest of this marriage should be sublime.

Steven Gaynes "In the Suburbs" appears each Friday. He can be reached at stevengaynes44@gmail.com.