The original secret plan involved whipping out a pocket camera to take a picture of Sarah and I kissing. The crowd at that point would already be clapping and hollering, making a transition to (hopefully) uproarious laughter a natural one. Then I got up to the chuppah, and my attitude shifted. There was an element of deception to it—photographing Sarah without her knowledge—that didn’t seem proper as the first act of our married life. So I came up with a new plan: shoot the audience.
As much as I planned to stay fully aware, parts of the ceremony aren’t much more than a blur of prayer and poetry. Certain moments are there in sharp focus, like the readings, done beautifully by our four friends and by Sarah, and clumsily and haltingly by me. Or the glass-breaking. Or the way my bride just… sparkled. Other parts blend together—like the Rabbi’s mentioning of Genesis, which I had no idea happened until I read Levi’s post about it. Or the end of the ceremony, after we had already put our rings on and said our prayers, and I was getting anxious to kiss my wife. So my recollection here may be a little off, is what I’m trying to say.
Near the end of the ceremony, Rabbi David turned to the audience to ask for their participation. Instead of making the official pronouncement himself, he said, he was going to leave it to the crowd. I have no idea how this idea was greeted by everyone—clever modern touch or crazy Reconstructionist tradition-bending—because I was rooting into my breast pocket for my camera. Before anyone could wonder what the hell I was digging for, out it came, and toward the audience it was pointed. The reaction, from what I could discern through an adrenaline-addled haze, happily leant more toward cheers than jeers. Quickly, I was able to get two shots of our crowd, capturing a point-of-view you’d otherwise never get to see.
And ultimately, that’s why I did it. I knew it’d be cute, but I also knew that I wanted that sight—of everyone who loves us looking up at us, smiling—burned into my memory. No way I was going to leave it to actual memory—at that point running about fifty feet back and desperately trying to catch up—to get the job done.
Too jazzed now to put the camera away, I figured it wouldn’t be too obtrusive to take one more shot, of Sarah and I right after we kissed and right before we broke the glass. (Or maybe it was after. See what I mean?) Considering all the nerves sounding their alarms at that point, and the fact I pretty much had one chance to get it right, I gotta say I’m amazed by the result. We’re not at our most flattering, but we’re certainly at our most happy, and of the two, that’s what I prefer to keep framed on my desk for the next
50 60 70 years.