DANA + JARON
I met Jaron in Miami when I was 10 years old. I had a HUGE crush on him to say the least, but he didn't even know I existed because I am four years younger. Fast forward to 12 years later when we were both living in Tel Aviv, him as a freelance journalist and me as an artist. We re-connected and became good friends, he was even my landlord for my first few months there.
It was really different with him, because we had a really amazing friendship before anything. We realized we really connected on an intellectual level and had so much in common, we had so many laughs together and we were genuinely interested in the same things. I believe this is why we had such a great connection because it was truly rooted in deep friendship. I now realize that this is the most important thing in a long lasting relationship, a true partnership through and through.
I knew he was the one during our first kiss after we went to see Vicky, Christina, Barcelona for our first official date. I had to fly out to London the next week to start my 2 year textiles masters course, and I knew I would not be seeing him for at least another year. I was about to leave, and he was at my house helping me pack, and I remember him giving me the shirt off his back (a very special shirt that he got in North Korea) to remember him by, and we both said “I love you” then. I remember telling my mom on the way to the airport that I would marry this guy.
The topic of marriage came up because we were moving to NY together from Israel and things were definitely getting more serious. He surprised me with the engagement. I had no idea he had gone to my father and purchased the stone from him (my dad is a diamond dealer) and asked him for my hand in marriage in September, before we moved in together. We decided to go to Sundance Film Fest in Utah for snowboarding and documentaries as we are big fans of both, and while we were riding the slopes, on a very difficult run, we passed for a quiet breather and to snap some pics- that’s when he busted out the ring. I had a feeling it might happen on this trip, but just had no idea that he had a ring and everything. It was very romantic.
We wrote our own vows. We worked with a friend of ours who is training to be a progressive, re-constructionist Rabbi. We studied with him before the wedding to learn about traditional Jewish weddings, so that we could see what we wanted to take from those traditions, and also how we could create some new traditions of our own. Both of my parents walked me down the isle. For the walk down the aisle our dear friends, an Australian band WIM played a gorgeous cover of "Catch the Wind" by Donovan. We did not have a traditional wedding party, no bridesmaids, just my sisters and his brothers. We opted to incorporate our close friends and family into the ceremony. People were there until about 6 am, and then a few close friends, my sister, and our officiant Dave watched the sunrise on our balcony. It was perfect. I wouldn’t change a single thing.
My family is Colombian, so I had spent some time in Cartagena for a semester abroad, back in college, when I absolutely fell in mad love with this magical city. My parents actually fell in love in Cartagena as kids and my grandmother was born and raised there, so I always had a rich history with this city. I knew when we got engaged, that there was just no other choice as it is one of the most beautiful, mystical, and stimulating places I've ever been. We ended up choosing a very special restaurant called the Club de Pesca, The Fishing Club, which is rustic, romantic, and filled with the old city charm and beautiful trees. The food there is also exquisite, and we really wanted to serve up local flavors, so that was a huge bonus. It ended up being a moonlit ceremony and reception under the stars that ended at 7 am the next morning as the sun rose. There were about 150 guests, which for a Latin wedding is quite intimate. We both have huge families, so it was hard to go any smaller than that.
It was the most surreal and memorable week of my life. If I could do it all over again I would do it exactly the same way. All I can say for future brides to be is to savor every second of it. I got that advice going into it and I really made a conscious decision to soak up every moment. The feeling of having everyone close to you and your husband there to celebrate with you, is like nothing I have ever felt before, and for that I will be eternally grateful.
Pics by Jessica Kassin + Gesi Schilling