Today on the blog we’re introducing our latest 2021 Real Jewish Bride! Please give a warm welcome to Samantha, who will be marrying Brian on 9th October 2021 in Nags Head, NC.
THREE FACTS: (1) Brian proposed to Samantha on July 3rd on the beach (2) Samantha + Brian met on JSwipe (3) Michelle Obama was part of the proposal!
Brian and I met as many couples do these days – online, via the JSwipe app, in the summer of 2017. He was new to the DC area and I was finally finished with my graduate program that I completed while working full time and actually had time to date! I was 35 at the time and I’m not gonna lie, when I saw that Brian was almost 8 years older than I am, I almost didn’t swipe right. But, there was something about his beautiful blue eyes and his short, witty profile that changed my mind – and I’m so glad!
After a few weeks of chatting on the app, our first date was meeting up for a drink at Woodmont Grill in Bethesda, MD. (I’m only mentioning the name of the place because it eventually served as inspiration for the name of our furbaby, a 15 lb. shih tzu, named Monty who we picked up during the height of the pandemic in June of 2020.)
During our first few dates, we quickly bonded over our love for travel, theater, cooking, and our common Jewish upbringing and by the time the High Holy Days rolled around that year we were officially a couple. (A few weeks after that Brian started secretly planning how he would propose, but we’ll save that story for a little bit later in this post.)
Over the next few months, I met 50-70 of his college friends at a reunion-of-sorts that they do every fall at Disney World, he spent Thanksgiving with my family, I met his parents, and things just kept going from there. This was my first long-term, serious relationship yet somehow each step with Brian felt easy and natural. We moved in together in October of 2019, spent 3 months during the pandemic living with my parents in Florida (kind of by accident… but that’s another story for another day!) and in July 2020 Brian decided that he wanted to put up with me (and my family) for the long term and proposed.
Because of the pandemic, furloughs, and the ability to work remotely, Brian and I were fortunate enough to spend a good portion of last summer at the beach in Nags Head, NC. The evening of July 3, the weather was so spectacular that we stayed out on the beach until almost 8 o’clock and had pizza delivered to the beach for dinner. My parents, brother and soon-to-be sister in law and many of our neighbors had the same idea – it was a picture perfect summer evening! Just before sunset, Brian asked me to go for a walk along the beach and got down on one knee.
Technically though, he didn’t ask me to marry him. He pulled out his phone and played a video. The video was of him standing with Michelle Obama, who informed me that Brian would like my hand in marriage and she hoped I said yes. Brian had secured the video during a short meet-and-greet with the former First Lady at a conference for work about 6 weeks after we met and held onto it for another 2.5 years! (PS – we’re TOTALLY sending her an invite!)
The Wedding (and plans thus far)
That beach where he got down on one knee, Nags Head, NC, will be the backdrop for our wedding, which will (hopefully) be on October 9, 2021. My family owns a house there, I’ve spent a portion of every summer of my life there, and it is truly my “happy place.” It is where I always pictured getting married and even though Brian isn’t much of a beach guy, he agreed!
Because of the limited inventory on venues, vendors, and resources in this small beach community and so many brides moving to new dates due to COVID, we jumped into wedding planning pretty much the day after he proposed! By the end of the summer most of the big decisions were made. (Venue, caterer, party planner, photographer, florist, band, rabbi, etc.) Since then, I’ve found a dress and am working on some of the details like shoes (which will be purple and COVERED in glitter), invitations, selecting a ketubah, and a new party planner (Yup – you read that last part right – we’re on planner #2! Stay tuned – that could be the topic of my next blog!)
Our ceremony and reception will be Saturday evening, but that’s just one piece of the puzzle. Since it’s a destination wedding, we are also planning a welcome party on Friday night and a brunch on Sunday morning for all of our guests. We’ve invited our friends to come in Thursday for a night out on the town (aka mini golf and go karts) and we also reserved a set of six houses right near our venue to help assist with lodging which is limited and sometimes expensive in the area near our venue.
Our M-O all along has been to plan the event that we want to have until it becomes clear that we need to change our plans. With the vaccine rolling out and restrictions gradually being lifted, we are cautiously optimistic that things will work out the way we want them to. So, for now, we pretty much sit back and wait!
What Marriage Means to Us
Brian and I are very different. He’s low key, go with the flow — I like to stress out about just about everything. He’s tall (roughly 6 foot) — I am a 5 foot 2 on a good day. I love crazy activities like flying trapeze, rock climbing, and skiing. He prefers to stay safe and sound on solid ground… I could go on, but you get the idea! Thankfully, it became clear early on that we agree 100% on what a committed relationship, and marriage, is – unconditional love, support, and commitment to one another.
These shared values revealed themselves fairly early on in our relationship thanks to a few curveballs life decided to throw our way including a stint of unemployment for each of us, and an emergency appendectomy and 13-day hospital stay that was not covered by health insurance. If there was any doubt, all of the trials and chaos of the pandemic, including a 6-month furlough and basically living with my parents for 3 months, certainly sealed the deal. As each challenge presented itself it became clear that they were easier to handle and overcome because we had each other there for support.
Click here to read all Samantha’s planning posts to date.
Samantha & Brian’s Wedding Vendors booked so far:
Venue – Haven on the Banks
Coordinator/Planner – Event Savvy OBX
Photography – Rich Riggins Photography
Florist/Décor – Sugar Snap Events
Catering – Red Sky Café
Band – Bounce Party Band (via East Coast Entertainment)
Rentals (i.e. ceremony chairs, plates, dance floor, etc.) – Metro Rentals
Videography – Infinite Video Productions
Rabbi: Rabbi Sue Shankman from Washington Hebrew Congregation in Washington DC
Cake: Almost Heaven Bakery
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