ERIKA + ANDREW
We met at a mutual friend’s wedding. I saw a frenzy of blond hair on the dance floor and thought, "Who is that girl with those ridiculous moves?” But then I realized that the girl was actually a guy — he had hair almost down to his waist back then. For our first date he took me to Elsa, a small bar in the East Village the week after the wedding. I knew pretty much right when I met him that he was special. We connected immediately and spent nearly every day together after our first date.
We both knew that marriage was a given. On his birthday, two years after we started dating, he asked my parents for their blessing unbeknownst to me. That weekend I had planned a surprise birthday trip for him to Liberty View Farm in upstate New York. Whenever we go away together, we like to go on hikes and we usually stop and paint together somewhere along the trail. The morning we arrived at the farm, we found a picnic table that looked the perfect place to sit and paint. We had picked some apples and set up a small still-life scene and each started to paint. As I was working, Andrew reached into his watercolor postcard set and pulled out a piece of paper. He called my name and I looked up and saw a painting — it was a watercolor of a ring with the words, “Will You Marry Me?” He pulled a ring out of his pocket and proposed. It felt very surreal. I loved the ring; his mother and sisters helped pick it out.
Our wedding was held at the Metropolitan Building in Long Island City, Queens, New York. I knew it was the place the second I walked in the door. What I didn’t know was that it would be a record breaking ninety-six degrees on our wedding day. We had almost three hundred guests so the venue broke out a few industrial sized fans, which ended up being really fun for the dance floor.
The morning of our wedding we overslept and showed up an hour late to our goodbye brunch, whoops. My parents walked me down the aisle. My close friend, Anna, who has a beautiful voice, sang “Sea of Love” by Cat Powers. We didn’t write our own vows, just had the traditional Jewish ones.
Our wedding party consisted of just our families: my sister and Andrew's two brothers and sister. The men wore navy suits and the women all wore black: classic New York. My two little cousins Sara and Sage were flower girls and looked adorable in grey silk dresses. Even though I didn’t have a traditional bridal party, there was no way I was getting ready for my wedding without my best friends by my side.
There was a watermelon salad, followed by family style barbecue: ribs, chicken and salmon. It was delicious. We take our food fairly seriously so we made a point to sit down and eat with everyone all at once instead of having our party broken up by dancing. Once we ate, we danced. And while people danced, dessert was served: key lime pie, a berry crumble and a gorgeous naked wedding cake.
There was much dancing; one of my favorite moments was doing the Horah with all our friends and families, especially Andrew’s grandmother Millie. At one point, someone lost a tie which turned into an impromptu limbo stick. We partied hard until one am at which point we had to shut it down. We took the party to a local bar in Long Island City where we continued for a couple of hours. That was followed by a trip to the diner at four am for chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks and milkshakes.
Pics by Sidney Bensimon