Today on the blog we’re introducing our latest gorgeous crop of 2021 Real Jewish Brides! Please give a warm welcome to Chris, who will be marrying Ariel on 6th June 2021 in Chris’ Aunt and Uncle’s front yard.
THREE FACTS: (1) Ariel proposed to Chris in November 2020 (2) Chris swiped right on Ariel and the rest is history! (3) Chris + Ariel will be having an intimate 10-person wedding.
How We Met
Every week in 2018 (and every week since up until the pandemic hit) I would go to dinner at Caitlin and Topher’s house. I introduced them and they have now been together for over a decade. She always said she wanted to return the favor, so one day after dinner I handed her my phone to swipe for me. Caitlin, having never done online dating herself, and now having two small children, squealed at the idea of doing an activity that had nothing to do with Baby Shark or Superheros.
She swiped right on Ariel and it was a match. I sent the first message and we decided to meet for tacos by the waterfront in Downtown Boston. When Ariel walked in it was clearly her, but her photos had not done her justice. We sat down, and I honestly don’t remember much of the first date. I was half nervous and half exhausted from a decade of online dating that had never worked out. But Ariel thought I was very tall, very funny, and the date flowed really well.
After we left the restaurant I took her hand as we walked to the train and it felt like home. I hugged her goodnight and told her to text me when she got home.
Our Dating Days
During our courtship we had a lot of great dates; at restaurants, on hikes, and at pop-up bounce houses. We met each other’s friends and snuggled up together to watch hours of She-Ra and Property Brothers. Quickly that turned into long weekend trips to Maine and to the Cape.
I knew after the second date that I was going to marry this woman. Ariel, always the scientist, needed more data to confirm her hypothesis that I was the one. This was further complicated by the fact she was not fully out when we met. I was really into her and wanted to be supportive of her process, but I had a nagging feeling and I had experienced heartbreak from people who were not out. My fears were assuaged when Ariel came out to her parents.
Since then, I have met Ariel’s parents. We have had holiday dinners together and porch visits during COVID. Her parents have seen my unwavering support as they took turns being in and out of the hospital this year. They see the way I look at her and stand up for her. They see me bring her out of her shell while still completely respecting who she is.
As our relationship progressed we had an amazing sun-filled trip to Florida where we relaxed on the beach, caught a killer Miami drag show, ate delicious food, watched HGTV, and I met Ariel’s aunt and cousin. Right before COVID hit the US we caught a flight to Colorado to visit friends we hadn’t seen in a while and Ariel learned how to drive a Jeep during a snowstorm. We found that we are both food and snuggle motivated people who love each other and love to travel and laugh together.
When COVID hit Ariel moved me into her apartment to minimize our COVID risk, as I lived with roommates and she lived alone. Two weeks after the pandemic locked everything down, I got a call while out for a walk that I had been laid off from a job I loved in International travel. I had just received a promotion in January. I was numb after the call and the whole walk back to the house, but as soon as I saw Ariel I began to cry.
She held me and told me we would figure it out. Due to the extra COVID assistance I was actually making the same money I was making employed. The week it ran out I was offered a job, with better hours, better pay & working from home without COVID exposure risk. In July we officially moved into a place with both of our names on the lease.
In October 2020 around the time of the election, we started looking into emergency marriages and what we would have to do if this country was no longer hospitable to us. One night, around this time, completely overwhelmed, and scared for her, I came to her sobbing. I offered to let her leave me for her safety.
I told her that I loved her and that I wanted to be with her forever, but I didn’t know with the way this country was going if we would be safe. I wanted more than anything for her to be safe. She shushed me and held me tight and said “I would rather be unsafe with you than safe without you.”
Even if we weren’t together, we are still very Jewish. As I write this, the US capital has just been stormed by people with shirts that say 6MNE (6 million is not enough) speaking of the number of Jews killed in the holocaust not being enough. Another shirt read “Camp Auschwitz, work brings freedom”. But now I resolutely stand with Ariel’s point. We would rather be unsafe together than safe apart.
People often ask, how did you know who would propose to who? Welp, I’m extra, and Ariel doesn’t like to be the center of attention. She listed off all the ways I was NOT to propose to her: No flash mobs, No blimps, No jumbotrons, basically she was taking all the fun out of this proposal for me… So we decided she would propose but then she was concerned about what kind of ring to propose with. I told her “just get me a ring pop!”
The weekend after Thanksgiving we went to Halibut Point State Park. We walked down to the ocean. We were watching the waves and getting some much needed fresh air during these “unprecedented times” on an unseasonably warm day. Ariel was sitting behind me when she told me she had something for me and took out a big blue box. I opened it and inside was a ring pop. I began to weep and Ariel completely forgot what she was going to say and what came out was “Wanna marry me?” I said yes.
Our Wedding Planning so Far
We are having our wedding in my Aunt & Uncle’s front yard. I have so many fond memories growing up with big family gatherings at their home. I am so honored that they have agreed to let us use their home as our venue. There will only be 10 people in person at the wedding and we will be zooming in everyone else. We are currently debating over our 1st dance song.
Amanda Macchia shot our friends’ wedding right before the pandemic and we fell in love with her style and spunk. Since we booked her she has been so gracious and helped direct us to everything else we might need to bring together for our wedding.
Save the Dates
We fell in love with the beautiful designs Greenvelope had for virtual save the dates and have found their interface very helpful in keeping track of who has received and opened the Save the Dates and any messages they wish to send to us we can get through their dashboard.
We knew as soon as we got engaged in November 2020 that we wanted to get married within the year and that would mean a COVID wedding. We picked the lowest number of people allowed to gather outside since the pandemic started and made that our cap number of in person guests. I knew 2 things, 1) I wanted a virtual component 2) I did not want to have to be the producer at my own wedding.
Wedfuly has been so responsive. When I asked for references they directed me to a site that had only people who presented straight with no way of knowing who might be gay friendly. When I brought that to their attention within 12 hours they got us in touch with a gay couple and within 24 hours they had queer representation on their referals site.
Rabbi Getzel Davis was the Rabbinical student at Boston Synagogue when I first moved to Boston a decade ago. After services on Saturday morning we would walk along the promenade and talk about life and the torah. Over the years we have continued to study together. Getzel is the founder and Executive Director of Unorthodox Celebrations, he is Rabbi and educator at Harvard Hillel and a Harvard University Chaplain.
He has worked as a Jewish social justice educator at American Jewish World Service, Bend the Ark, PANIM, and the Teva Learning Alliance. Getzel received quite a bit of press coverage for his contributions to Occupy Judaism at Occupy in New York and in Boston. We are so honored he has found time in his busy schedule to marry us!
What Marriage Means to Us
Ariel thinks marriage means committing to support and be supported by the one person you love and care most deeply for, for the rest of your life. It also means that you want to build community and family with this person.
I once heard someone say “Getting married means there is someone there to witness your life” I have always found that sentiment beautiful. I think for the wedding itself the community part is important. I think we are not only making a commitment to each other in marriage. We are making a commitment to our community and our community is making a commitment to our marriage.
Practically for us as two women marrying each other, it means we have the rights of a married couple in all 50 states in the eyes of the law. It means we have the right to make medical decisions for each other and if we do need to seek asylum elsewhere we have paperwork that helps us get back to each other if separated in the process.
Click here to read all Chris’ planning posts to date.
Chris & Ariel’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
Photography: Amanda Macchia Photography
Rabbi: Rabbi Getzel Davis
Save the Dates: Greenvelope
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