One of my favorite Jewish geography stories involves my wedding. At the time of my engagement about 20 years ago, my then fiance and I were living in Brooklyn Heights. Growing up in Hastings-on-Hudson, N.Y., I had always imagined my wedding at a historic mansion in one of the Hudson River towns about 10 minutes from the home where my mother still lives. The one I dreamed of was once owned by a famous author and is known for its views of the Hudson River and fabulous catering.
But there was a problem: It was super expensive. My parents had some money saved but not quite enough to cover the cost of a wedding at the venue. Thanks to Jewish geography, and Pikesville-New York connections, things turned out picture perfect.
Naturally, my wonderful mother-in-law, Carole Ellin, a lifelong Baltimorean who knows absolutely everyone, knew the owner/caterer’s machatonim. In other words, the owner/caterer’s son was married to a woman from Baltimore who is the daughter of one of my mother-in-law’s friends!
When they ran into each other at exercise class, Carole told her friend about the problem. A few days later, the phone rang at our apartment in Brooklyn. It was someone from the mansion. “How much can you afford,” she asked. I told her the amount my parents had allotted for the wedding. “You’ll get married here,” said the woman on the other end. Problem solved! I had my dream wedding and all because of my well-connected mother-in-law and the wonder of Jewish geography. Incidentally, since the owner/caterer’s machatonim were in attendance, the caterer and her staff made sure that every minute of our special day was even more fabulous than usual.
This year’s iNSIDER wedding edition is full of stories such as this one. We asked people to share their unusual tales about marriage proposals, bridesmaids’ dresses, best-man speeches and more. We hope you enjoy it all.