Weddings 2021: Happy ever after, hitches and all

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Other News

The 2020–21 wedding theme is a mix of Suspend Disbelief and Hello Fantastical.

For three recently married couples, snookered by the pandemic and forced to alter their original dream wedding plans dramatically, getting the last laugh was extra sweet.

Erin Leon and Charlie Olson; Danielle Campion and Chris Adsit; Rachel Gross and Aviv Faraj; and their good friends and families, learned overnight that a hitch-less wedding was not beshert.

In reality, however, the wedding of their dreams turned out to be one they could never have imagined. Nor would it have been possible if not for the wrath of Mother Nature and her ruinous rival, COVID-19.

Turns out moving a wedding from Israel to Virginia Beach, Virginia Beach to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, diluting the guest list from 200 plus people to 18—or bringing 150 people together in a rain-drenched tent—can bring joy and delight in greater measure than a fleeting sense of discomfort or disappointment. For these couples, a turbulent year surviving marital mashups and letdowns, and zigging and zagging right up to the altar, getting the last laugh was the best revenge of all.

For our March Mazel Tov section, Jewish News spoke with Beth Campion and Laura Gross as they were planning their daughters’ weddings. Now, we ask them, along with a bride, Erin Leon Olson, how their weddings and dreams turned out.

Jewish News: After all the ups and downs, and twists and turns, what was the biggest and best surprise?

Laura Gross, mother of Rachel Gross Faraj

The biggest and best surprise is that the wedding was every bit as beautiful, incredible, family-oriented, happy, and fun as it could have been. Could not have been more hamisha. The Israeli crew brought their own sensibilities…the Hora went on forever.

When you have family and friends like we have, you can count on that support regardless of what obstacles are put in your path. Between that, and Rachel and Aviv being who they are, it was seamless.

Credit also goes to the caterer, band, and florist. After a year of working sporadically, or with next to nothing for a year, I give a lot of credit to the professionals. It’s amazing. After what they’ve been through with COVID.

Erin Leon Olson

Charlie and I are both very lucky to have large extended families and deep friendships around the world, and definitely envisioned a big wedding pre-COVID. While it was beyond difficult not to include all family members and dear friends, the pandemic forced us to create an intimate ceremony and reception with our immediate families. We chose Jackson, Wyoming because it is the special place where Charlie and I first met.

We are so grateful to our parents—Sandra and Miles Leon and Mimi and David Olson—for supporting us through the wedding planning journey, and all of our family who travelled great distances to join us.

What made all of the “zig-zagging” worth it? Without hesitation, the meaningful and loving relationships created between our families, thankfully including our grandparents—Papa Arnold Leon, Grandma Ellie Porter, and Grandma Katie Olson—who were able to celebrate with us. This special setting also allowed us to deliver personal touches like handwritten notes, family wedding portraits displayed during dinner, and even Grandma Ellie’s homemade wedding cake, carried cross-country!

With a smaller wedding, Charlie and I could really focus on our marriage ceremony (with the help of Jackson Hole’s “Rabbi Josh”) and bring our families together. The fact that each of our siblings and grandparents (seven in total) were able to recite the seven blessings, with the Teton mountain range in the background, was more beautiful than we could have ever imagined. And the celebration afterwards (with bluegrass, of course) was pure magic. Toasts, roasts and lots of laughter brought so much joy, especially when we did the Horah!

We left knowing that all eighteen (Chai!) guests felt as special and full of love as we did! L’CHAIM!

Beth Campion, mother of Danielle Campion Adsit

We zigged and zagged right up to the walk down the aisle, but there is not one thing we would change. Not even the weather.

The best surprise is that we just moved to East Beach in March. Who would have known we would have used our new house for wedding photos a few months later on Memorial Day weekend, or that it would rain more than three inches in three hours on that Saturday when the Farmer’s Almanac hasn’t seen over .04 inches ever on that day.

We had to put slits in tents to suck out the water and make it happen. My daughter doesn’t know about any of this, or the shot of tequila I took with her bridesmaids.

Taking photos on the porch with all of Chris’ family and the bridal party was totally unplanned, but it was so much fun. The pictures could not have turned out better! Danielle was not fazed about her veil, which was not cooperating, or her hair that didn’t curl because of the rain. Her attitude was, ‘This is about me and Chris and our families. I want to look like myself.’

Another highlight came from the band and a completely impromptu song they played after hearing my husband’s welcome speech which referenced a line from Message of Love by The Pretenders. The line is, “when love walks in the room stand up.” That was just another beautiful surprise in what felt like a Hallmark movie wedding.


Lisa Richmon