Renée & Avi
Rainy Day Jewish-Creol Ramekins Wedding
Avi & Renée
We were still celebrating Avi & Renée’s Ramekin’s Sonoma wedding at 2 am in the Jack London Saloon when the keys to the newlywed’s suite at the Olea Hotel fell out of my bra. There was a momentary silence as we just stared at the keys on the floor. The large wooden numbers were obviously a clever ploy to prevent from losing them and yet I had no idea they were in there. I vaguely recall seeing them on the sidewalk as we ran to set up for the First Look, almost twelve hours earlier that afternoon. The entire day was a hilarious, beautiful, drizzly, emotional, electric whirlwind. I should have been exhausted, but besides confusion over where the heck those keys had been, all I felt was joy and gratitude. This was an incredible wedding and I’m so glad I got to be a part of it.
Did you know that in Jewish tradition, guests are obligated to celebrate, rejoice with and entertain the bride and groom? Well, this crowd totally held up their end of the bargain. Jewish wedding traditions are beautifully meaningful and I learn more about them with each wedding. This was my first Tisch (Tish), where friendly storytelling flows as freely as the drinks. Avi’s d’var Torah was interrupted riff-off style with renditions like Bohemian Rhapsody and Take Me Out to the Ball Game. It bore a striking resemblance to every family dinner at my parent’s house. The Ketubah signing, and afterward, the cocktail hour, took place next door at The General’s Daughter, a historical home turned wedding venue that was miraculously available for use since it was raining. In celebration of Renée’s Louisiana heritage, the six-piece throwback band, Cosmo Alley Cats, led the second line to Ramekins and straight into an epic hora. Did you know that in both cultures, personal space isn’t really a thing? I think that’s what makes them so much fun.
From the scrumptious farm to table menu, to the fragrant cottage roses in the bouquets, every detail of this wedding was delicious. And I’m not just saying that because I pledged my undying love to whoever created those late-night tomato soup shots and grilled cheese sandwiches. But traditions and culture aside, the best part of this wedding wasn’t how much fun it was or how beautifully it all came together – it was the twenty-minute car ride from the Olea Hotel to Ramekins. Avi and Renée sat in the back animatedly discussing the rain, falling behind schedule, last-minute changes – all the crazy things that threw a wrench in their perfectly laid plans. Then they let it go. They held hands while Avi quietly sang to Renée. At that moment, there was nothing but love. It sounds cliché to say it’s an honor to photograph a wedding, but there is no better word to describe it.