“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Nothing to worry about, Lily,” my mother replied. “Rabbi Stein has food poisoning, but they’re going to find a replacement.”
“Nothing to worry about?! We have no rabbi.” Okay, now, I was panicking - my perfect wedding, the wedding I had fought for, the wedding that I had planned meticulously, the wedding Adam had sexed himself to exhaustion for, and there was nobody to marry us.
“Don’t worry, honey,” Jess said, and she and Gab and Beth came over to comfort me.
“Yeah, this is Las Vegas,” Beth said reassuringly. “With all of the weddings here, there have to be plenty of rabbis.”
“They’re keeping us updated, dear,” Mrs. Roth said soothingly.
Everyone went back to helping me get ready, but there was an air of nervous tension in the room. Finally, there was another knock on the door and the mothers went over to answer. After a quick conversation, my mother turned to me.
“See, nothing to worry about. Mr. Jonathan found a replacement, and Rabbi Stein is doing well.” I breathed a sigh of relief.
Not long after, it was time for me to go to my receiving room to sit on my bridal throne. The mothers stood on either side of me and led me there. When I entered the room, I saw a beautifully decorated chair, with flowers and ribbons affixed to it. I went and sat down and all my female guests came and surrounded me, telling me funny stories and making me smile. I felt like a fairy princess. Hell, I felt like a queen! It was just like I had always imagined it would be. Everything seemed surreal. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening to me. My stomach was tied in knots, and I was feeling a little lightheaded, although that might have been because I hadn’t eaten breakfast that morning.
After a little while, I heard male voices and laughter, and they sounded like they were coming our way. I knew what it meant. Adam was leading the men in procession to come and claim me as his bride and veil me. My heart started pounding like a jackhammer and my mouth went dry. I tensed and waited for what would be one of the most romantic moments of my entire life. Then, I saw Adam come through the door escorted by our fathers and I just smiled with wonder and joy.
He stopped in his tracks when he saw me and just stared, looking mesmerized. I stared too. He wore a tuxedo and a white yarmulke on his head and I had never seen anyone ever look so amazingly handsome. It was the moment I had dreamed about and it was perfect. While it lasted. And then the replacement rabbi entered the room.
“Hello there, everyone! I’m Rabbi David Epstein, but you can call me Rabbi Dave.”
“Why are you dressed like Elvis?” I asked numbly.
“Now now, don’t get all shook up, little lady, I have a show right after this. That’s my other job. I’ve got my yarmulke on.” Adam and I were about to be married by an Elvis impersonator.
“Viva Las Vegas,” I mumbled, and then I looked over at Adam, and saw he was still staring at me, transfixed. And that was the moment that I realized that the details didn’t matter. Nothing mattered except that I was marrying the man who I loved. The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man could marry us and I wouldn’t care.
“So, let’s get this show on the road,” Rabbi Dave said giving me his best Elvis lunge and finger point. “We have the ketubah, that’s the marriage contract for anyone who didn’t know. And Adam is going to promise to love Lily tender, make her his teddy bear and be her big hunk o’ burnin’ love. Lily will agree, and hopefully, try not to be a hard headed woman.” Somehow, I didn’t think that was the exact wording.
Rabbi Dave held up my wedding ring, and pronounced that it was worth at least shekel – apparently that’s required. Then, he handed Adam his hanky, and Adam handed it back as a sign that he was ready and willing to sign the ketubah. I signed it too, and Rabbi Dave asked Adam to verify that I was his bride. Adam walked over to me and took my hand, staring deeply into my eyes. It was like time stopped. I saw his lips move as he mouthed the words “so beautiful.”
“This is my bride,” he said quietly then, and I bit my lip so that I wouldn’t cry. My heart was overflowing with emotion. I knew I would always remember that moment. Now, he really had claimed me. Then, he smiled and pulled down my veil to cover my face.
After that, it almost felt like I was watching everything happen from afar. It was just so incredible. I felt like I was floating on air. Our fathers helped Adam put a white coat-like garment over his suit and then it was time.
Everyone went in to take their seats, and Adam’s parents went and stood next to him. His mother had tears in her eyes and she hugged him tightly. His father patted him on the back, and then changed his mind, and hugged him too. They led him up the aisle to stand under the marriage canopy where the rabbi waited.
Then it was our turn. I was stunned to see my mother’s eyes looking wet.
“You look beautiful,” she said, her voice shaking a little.
“I’m glad you’re happy,” my father added.
I smiled and nodded. Then, they each took an arm and led me to my groom. When I reached him, I circled him seven times to symbolize how our souls would be intertwined, and then, Rabbi Dave began the ceremony. I was trembling with emotion, feelings more powerful than I had ever experienced.
I honestly couldn’t tell you all the details, because it was overwhelming, but I know that we said our vows and sipped the wine together and exchanged rings. I know that I had tears of pure, undiluted joy in my eyes, and that Adam had never looked happier, like there was a light shining inside him. Rabbi Dave pronounced us married and Adam unveiled me again. We looked at each other with sheer elation and love, and then he kissed me lightly on the lips and whispered “my wife.” The rabbi took a wine glass, wrapped it in a cloth napkin, and put it at Adam’s feet. He stomped on it and when it shattered everyone shouted “Mazel Tov!” We had done it. We were married. Oh my God! Adam and I were married!
People threw candy at us, as we practically ran down the aisle. Rabbi Dave explained that it was traditional for the bride and groom to have some time alone then, and they cheered as Adam led me away toward the stairwell.
“Why don’t we take the elevator to the suite?” I asked.
“Because we’re not going to the suite.”
“Where are we …?” I didn’t get to finish the question, because he backed me up against the stairwell wall.
“I made a mistake fourteen years-ago. I want remedy that.” And with a smile, he leaned in and kissed me. Just then, I heard the door open and a voice.