Molly & Andrew at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
It was a warm spring day at the Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center in Connecticut when Molly, Andrew, and their guests woke up to enjoy the farm-to-table fare, hike, play volleyball, and prepare for the evening’s wedding ceremony.
Molly and the women in the wedding party relaxed as they had their hair and makeup done, welcoming a steady stream of friends and family throughout the day. Meanwhile, Andrew gathered with his old friends and groomsmen to swap stories and toast to past adventures before heading across the lake to get ready for the couple’s first look.
At one point in the day’s preparations, Molly confessed she was afraid she would trip and fall into the lake, but when the time came, she swept those fears aside, took a few deep and grounding breaths, and started toward Andrew, who waited for her under two towering trees beside the lake. As she walked gracefully along the shoreline, tears came to her eyes, and when she turned Andrew around to face her, the couple admired one another as partners ready to take on all of life’s adventures.
As the couple headed toward the dock for photos, Molly flashed back to premonitions she had of falling in the water. Casting fear aside, Molly scooped up the skirt and train of her wedding dress and hopped on the dock—but Andrew jumped ahead of her to make sure she was safe and splashed lake water up on his shoes, nearly falling in himself. Laughing it off, the couple looked around to see their friends and family still enjoying their relaxing Sunday on canoes and playing board games by the water.
Aside from a few bugs and sticks catching in the netting of Molly’s dress, both felt they bested nature that day. The wedding party and the bride and groom’s families met by the hammocks to start their photos with the couple. One at a time, each posed with either a genuine smile or a silly face, showing Andrew and Molly the love and support that emanated on this day.
Prior to the ceremony, Rabbi Dahlia met Molly and Andrew in the glass synagogue space to walk them, their families, and the wedding party through the tradition of the ketubah, the Jewish wedding contract. Molly and Andrew had invited dear friends Sam and Adam to sign as witnesses. The unique ketubah sculpture designed by Sam’s brother modeled a couple beautifully dancing. The language from the ketubah was written by Andrew and Molly months before, addressing their love and commitment to one another and their shared goal of building a better world together.
One by one the members of the wedding party processed down the aisle to an instrumental version of “Kiss the Girl” from Disney’s “Little Mermaid,” marveling at the chuppah overlooking the lake as they found their seats. The chuppah itself was designed by Molly’s mother and aunt to be a family heirloom before Molly’s sister’s wedding almost two years before. Molly and Andrew were to be the third couple married under the chuppah—Molly’s cousin Leah and new wife Anne had married under it a year before and her sister and brother-in-law had also exchanged vows there.
Escorted by his parents, Andrew made his way down the aisle to stand under the Hebrew phrase meaning, “I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine” embroidered in white thread on the front of the satin chuppah. He turned to face the hill and aisle and awaited his bride-to-be.
Months before the wedding, Molly and Andrew had asked their friends Alyia and Max if their two-year-old daughter, Moon, would do them the honor of being the flower girl at their wedding. In her flower crown and light pink floral dress, Moon stood right before Molly with a basket of flower petals to dress the aisle before Molly’s arrival.
Moon understood two things in that moment: First, that she was to walk down the aisle, and second that she was to throw flower petals on the ground. However, these two tasks wouldn’t happen simultaneously. So as her parents urged her to start down the aisle, Moon refused to move as she still had a basket full of petals. After much urging from the patient parents, Alyia and Max, Moon threw all of her petals down in one spot and then raced toward the ceremony to a roar of laughter and applause from the wedding guests who had witnessed—and thoroughly enjoyed—the whole exchange.
The first bar of an instrumental version of the Beatles’ “Hey Jude” began over the speakers and Molly started down the aisle to her favorite song, still laughing from Moon’s spotlight performance, with her parents on either side. Andrew tearfully watched his bride approach him under the chuppah, and with smiles and tears of joy the couple made seven circles around one another to symbolize building their new lives together.
Rabbi Dahlia officiated the wedding ceremony offering explanations and wisdom to the couple and their guests. To sanctify the special moments, Andrew and Molly sipped wine from the kiddush cups of Andrew’s great-grandfather Abraham, for whom he was named, and Molly’s cousin David Miller who had passed away just six months before.
Molly placed a ring on Andrew’s finger and he on hers. Andrew spoke of the moments in which he knew Molly was the one for him. Molly spoke of the admiration she held for Andrew in his desire to create with those around him. After their tear-filled vows were exchanged, the Molly and Andrew each stepped on a ceremonial glass, and the couple was officially wed.
Guests blew small bubbles as the couple exited the ceremony to embark on their new life together—and then they danced. The rest of the evening was a whirlwind of motion, starting with the horah and lifting Molly, Andrew, and their parents high in chairs of glorious celebration. Andrew and Molly surprised their guests with a duet they prepared singing “I Choose You” by Sara Bareilles, the song that they had coincidentally both used to propose to one another the previous summer, and then Molly’s sister Arielle and Andrew’s sister Sarah delivered heartfelt speeches in honor of the couple’s love.
Just on cue, the couple immediately swept into motion with a second-surprise for their guests: a choreographed dance to Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” in which they were joined on the dance floor by first the wedding party and then all of their wedding guests. Andrew, Molly, and their dearest friends and family filled the dance floor until the early hours of the morning when their feet had become blistered, their bodies drenched in sweat, and their cheeks had started aching from smiling and laughing.
Wedding Event Staff and Contact Information
Planner: Magdalena Events & Design: Magdalena Mieczkowska
(347)239-3546 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Venue: Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center: Ayala Azari
(860)824-5991 ext 205 — email@example.com
Catering: Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center: Hazzan Mordechai Schram
(860)824-5991 ext 205 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Dining Hall Manager Nicole
Rentals: Classical Tents: Ashley Mazzar
(413)442-2222 — email@example.com
Tents: Mahaiwe Tents: Lynn
(800)879-8155 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Flowers: Kamilla’s Floral Boutique: Kamilla Najdek
(518)789-3900 — email@example.com
Lighting: CJC Event Lighting: Jim Powers
(413)737-7555 — firstname.lastname@example.org
Hair & Makeup: Beauty Entourage: Ashley Stone
Briarcliff Motel: Isabella Freedman — (413)528-3000
Fairfield Inn & Suites — (413)644-3200
Ceremony Music and Dancing: Cornell McIntosh
Liquor & Wines: Domaney’s: Jordan Dean
(413) 528-0024 — email@example.com
Photographer: Eric Limon Photography: Eric Limon
(413) 274-6817 — firstname.lastname@example.org