Continued (page 2 of 2)
Whereas Amy married a man with surprisingly few demands and family traditions, allowing us to give free rein to our imaginations, Lauren had fallen in love with Ben, who came from a different religious background and had expectations almost as firm as mine—a now-experienced father of the bride.
Some things, of course, didn't change. Finding the perfect dress still came first. Lauren picked a sexy lace Amsale gown, and at five feet ten inches she looked great in it. With the dress issue more than happily settled, we progressed to the next step.
This wedding, a Christian-Jewish union, would not be held in a church or a synagogue; we decided to have it at our daughter Amy's home in Quogue, New York, the town on Long Island where we had built a house when the girls were young. There, a WASP family, with their Jewish son-in-law to be, set about creating a chuppah from bamboo poles and the Guatemalan tablecloth Jane and I had been given as a wedding present many years before. The aisle we created in the garden, with white chairs on either side, seemed every bit as long as the one I'd walked down in the church with Amy. Bill Coffin again presided for the recitation of the vows, and the cantor who had been at Ben's bar mitzvah sang—he was a former Israeli opera singer with a magnificent voice.
As I listened to my wife read the words from First Corinthians—"Love never gives up; its faith, hope, and patience never fail"—I thought about how Lauren had found Ben pretty special when she met him on her first day at Skidmore College. Now here they were, 13 years later, promising to love one another forever.
After the ceremony, we headed to the pool area, where we had drinks, and then to the tent set up over the tennis court for dinner and dancing. The food, grilled under the stars, was wonderful, the music and toasts were festive, and the rain held off until the reception was well under way. During our father-daughter dance, Lauren confided—as Amy had five years earlier—that the wedding was everything she had wanted it to be, the most beautiful wedding ever. As for me, any thoughts I may have had about the dance required to make these magical weddings possible were quickly vanquished by pride and joy—the kind a father of the bride feels when he realizes he has helped make both of his daughters' dreams come true.