My Tiny Town Hall Wedding

I’m not sure whether town hall weddings are becoming more popular or whether, since I had one myself, folks are happy to relate their own stories.

When Josh and I made the decision to get hitched, we also resolved not to invite anyone. (And by anyone I mean everyone.) It’s a slippery slope. The far reaching tendrils of relations and association can grow a wedding list to suffocating proportions. If aunt Bertha gets an invite, so does cousin Tommy and the Marvin family. But the Marvin family is close with the Strauss family, so … With a bit of debt and just-budding careers, we were long ready for marriage but in no position to feed 250 (albeit beloved) friends and family.

Our “no invite” resolution dissolved quickly though, when some of our immediate family asked if they could come. Of course they could. It was unthinkable for us to even entertain the thought of saying no.

All bets were off when my sister-in-law Daniela mentioned how fun it might be to shop for the dress together. I had a feeling that even though I planned to buy a plain dress for $45 in a bargain basement in some suburb of Boston, Daniela would convince me to go for something that truly made me feel special. And that’s exactly what she did. She and my mother pitched in, and I was able to get a great deal on a dress and shoes that made me feel like a Spanish princess. I don’t wear dresses much, and to be in one that made me feel so wonderful was quite an experience. Looking in the mirror at David’s Bridal, I thought of my late grandmother whose taste for fashion and glamor were plain to see in photos from her younger days.

January 12th fast approached. I became so sick in the weeks leading up to it that in a call to my then boss I joked that I sounded like a man. Really, I did. Thankfully I was well enough just in time. A few jokes about saying “ichoo” instead of “I do” helped keep my nerves about being sick at bay.

Josh and his brother Jon got ready at our apartment while Daniela and my mother (who flew in briefly, just to be at the ceremony) accompanied me to a salon in Cambridge. Hair done, we hopped over to Jon and Daniela’s house to make the transformation from plain Jane to Superbride. Anyone who knows me well will understand how much of a joke that is 🙂 I’m super low maintenance. It took almost no time to slip into the dress, with Daniela’s expert help. I already sported my everyday makeup.

The trek to Newton town hall filled me with a sense of history. I felt a commitment and devotion to Josh long before we officially tied the knot. So in the time before January 12th, I downplayed how important the ceremony itself would be in my head. But while we weaved through traffic, rolling smoothly ever closer to my future husband, I remembered something Daniela said at David’s Bridal. “This is only going to happen once.” She’s right. Even if we decided to have a larger formal wedding with our extended circles, the wedding itself, the first, the original – that only happens once. And it was happening in a matter of an hour or less. The thought made me feel happiness, pride, a sense of gravity, and an inner warmth that I find hard to further describe.

We thought we would be embarrassingly overdressed for a town hall gig, but we were surprised by a marble entryway and staircase, and a gorgeous hall with seating and ample room where the ceremony itself took place. We should have guessed – it’s Newton after all.

It could not have been a more enjoyable experience. After the I dos (no sneezes thank goodness), our family tossed flower petals in the air and popped open some champagne. Looking around the space, I felt thankful for every one of them. My husband Josh, Jon and Daniela, their two children Lili and Benny, Daniela’s mother Mariana, Josh’s father Chuck and step mother Phyllis, and of course my mother Violet.

We ate a delicious dinner at Devlin’s in Brighton, one of our favorite restaurants.

Originally we toyed with the idea of having a larger wedding a couple years down the road, but I’m not sure that’s in the cards for us. Too many married couples have enthusiastically offered advice to the contrary, suggesting that in retrospect they might have rather taken the path we did, and used the extra money to vacation, or even to visit their loved ones in person.


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