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A wedding during the marathon bombings

Boston strong

Community Newspaper Group
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Photo gallery

The happy couple on the day of their wedding. (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
The wedding party. (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
The groomsmen (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
The wedding was held at the Hilton Boston Back Bay Hotel. (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
The day after my wedding, Courtney left her wedding bouquet at the memorial site. (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
Courtney got her nut-free cake from Cakes for Occasions in Boston, a bakery that specializes in goods for people with food allergies. (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
What’s sweeter than dessert? A smooch. (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
Guests celebrate the momentous occasion! (Photo by Dan Aguirre)
Mr. and Mrs. Taleporos! (Photo by Dan Aguirre)

I made a lot of weekend trips from New York, where I currently live, to Massachusetts from January to March 2013 for my April wedding in Boston, my hometown. And without fail, almost every time, a huge snowstorm would hit the area! It happened so often that it became a running joke in my family that if I were in town, a blizzard would be, too. My sister at one point even said to my mom, “Every time she comes up she brings bad weather. What’s going to happen when she comes up for the actual wedding?”

A lot of brides worry about huge disasters ruining their wedding day — guests unexpectedly bringing dates, escort cards getting lost, dresses not fitting, rain, snow, hail, alien attacks ... the list goes on and on. My husband Doron and I were hit with some stormy situations the weeks and days leading up to our wedding, but we still got hitched without a hitch, regardless of all the hiccups.

I spent the weeks leading up to the wedding frantically running around finishing last-minute projects, calling guests who hadn’t RSVPed, and confirming details over the phone with all my vendors. When I got on the phone two weeks before my big day with the hotel’s coordinator — AKA the person in charge of making sure everything we planned for the wedding would be taken care of — she informed me she was leaving her position to take a new job out of state. I couldn’t believe it. All of the details we had talked about over the past year would be handed over to a new employee, a total stranger. I’m sure you can imagine the panic I felt at that moment! I ended up e-mailing or calling the new coordinator almost everyday to make sure we were both on the same page.

The week before my Saturday, April 20, wedding, I had almost all of my work done — my plans with my vendors were in order, all of my do-it-yourself items were done, my dress was secure in a closet at my parents’ house, and I felt good to go. And then that Monday, April 15, Boston was hit by an unimaginable horror: the much-loved Boston Marathon was bombed, killing three and injuring more than 170 people.

We were absolutely shocked, and felt awful for the victims. But the hotel, blocks from the finish line, was open, so the wedding was still on. As planned, Doron and I got on the train to Boston on Thursday. And, as usual, we stayed at my parents’ house.

I woke up on April 19 to several texts from friends: “Have you seen the news??!!” and “I love you, we’ll get through this, your wedding will be beautiful!!” I had no idea what was going on!

Then, my parents filled me in on the previous night’s car chase and shootout between the two alleged bombing suspects and the police. A cop and one of the suspects were killed, while the other had fled, and — in the next wave of unbelievable events — much of the city was shutdown as a massive manhunt ensued.

Calls and texts started coming in from our guests in New York saying their buses and trains to Boston were either stopping in Rhode Island or were canceled. It was looking like the event we had planned for so long and were so excited about would be missing half our guests or called off altogether. I couldn’t believe this was actually happening (I still can’t believe it) and I alternated between feeling upset, to feeling awful that I was worrying about something like a wedding in the wake of this tragedy.

We were glued to the news and our phones all morning. And as the day wore on, we chose to be optimistic. My mom and I kept our manicure appointments, my dad picked up his tuxedo, and my sister left her college campus and headed for my parents’ house. By some odd luck, guests who were flying or driving their own cars made it to the hotel without a problem. I told our bridal party the rehearsal was on for that night, and if they could make it, fine, if not, that was also fine. Luckily, Doron’s family drove up from New York, and had already checked in at the hotel. One groomsman, who had managed to make it into city, even got back in his car to pick up the Best Man, who was stuck in Providence. They didn’t make it back in time for the rehearsal, but they were there for the after-party. So we rehearsed — with our families and bridesmaids but with no Maid of Honor, no Best Man, and only one groomsman — and then we calmed our nerves with plenty of drinks. We talked about the wedding and the honeymoon — anything to keep our minds off the manhunt.

A few hours later, news broke that the threat was over: police had found the suspect and arrested him. We all cheered and looked forward to celebrating the start of our marriage and Boston’s safety and resilience.

And celebrate we did!

The weather on the day of our wedding was absolutely perfect, the new coordinator at the hotel was a total pro, and the Red Sox won that day. Most of our stranded guests were able to get the first available Saturday bus or train out of New York. We started the reception with a moment of silence for the marathon victims and their families. The day after my wedding, I even left my bouquet at the memorial site.

I don’t know if it was because of the sense of relief everyone felt after a wave of awful events, the DJ playing both “Sweet Caroline” and “New York, New York,” the open bar, or a mix of all three, but the dance floor was packed all night long. When Doron and I went outside to take photos, people on the street waved and drivers honked their horns at us. A cop even turned on his siren for a second.

As crazy as everything was leading up to the wedding, the day itself was nothing but pure joy.

And absolutely perfect.

*All photos by Dan Aguirre.

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