Pandemic doesn’t stop the simcha from going on
By Deb Silverthorn
“Happily ever after” was planned to start differently for the new Mr. and Mrs. Adam and Layne (Shidlofsky) Katz. But the couple, who married Saturday, April 25, will forget nothing about the day that brought them together in matrimony.
“It was different from our plan,” said Layne, “but we were so blessed, and are so thankful, that our wedding was able to happen.”
The couple’s wedding, planned for a year, was to be at a large hall, with a formal dinner, live band, 10 bridesmaids, 10 groomsmen and nearly 250 guests. The couple realized, just after the bride’s bachelorette party in mid-March, that with the announcement (at that time) limiting gatherings to 25 people, adjustments were coming.
In the end, it was under a massive tree at Temple Emanu-El, perhaps the tree of life, or the family tree, that Adam and Layne assembled with her parents, Dana and Mark, and her sister, Sami; and his parents, Fran and Jeff, his sister Aimee and Rabbi David Stern. A photographer and videographer were on-site; the 11, although separated by space, were connected by care.
“These two, of the most exceptional people ever, have been through so much. We were sorry that grandparents, family and friends weren’t here and they were missed,” said Dana, who helped plan the wedding to its last detail, then revamped all to something that could be special. “Truly, it was the most meaningful service.”
Friday’s Shabbat meal transformed into dinner for eight at the Shidlofsky home; the wedding party offered their toasts via Zoom.
Saturday afternoon, at the appointed hour, the bride’s and groom’s sisters led the walk down the gravel walkway. The bride’s and groom’s parents followed, accompanying their children. The couple took turns walking around one another — representing the three virtues of marriage: righteousness, justice and loving kindness.
Rabbi Stern reflected to the couple, their wedding falling on the weekend between Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, and Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. “As we build from the trials of our lives, to the triumphs of our lives,” he said, “how beautiful to be married at the conclusion of a Shabbat of hope.”
The family wrapped Grandpa Bob Lewkowitz’s tallis around the couple and Adam stepped on a glass, a chorus of “siman tov u’mazel tov,” and the two took their first dance, then and there, to John Legend’s “Stay with You,” the song chosen long ago.
Rhonda Sauter-Brown’s FD2 Custom Floral Design, who had planned 25 centerpieces, chuppah decor bouquets and boutonnieres, delivered three bouquets for the bride and the couple’s sisters, boutonnieres for the men and three arrangements for the Shidlofskys’ dinner tables.
Jason Traub, of Elixir Entertainment, set up his cameras and arranged the wedding’s livestream; hundreds watched in unison.
“It was our first livestream wedding, but we figured it out,” said Traub, who has had nearly a dozen events, in as many weeks, postponed, indefinitely. “There was no coordinator, so I set everyone up. Rather than my chasing around the ceremony, I got to make sure the action could accommodate the video.”
Saturday night, back at the Shidlofsky home, for the reception, a few dozen guests showed up, lining the street. Horns honking, signs posted, wedding party members dressed to shine. Friends and family dear to the couple who just couldn’t stay away — and at the same time, they did.
Later that night, the now-joined family enjoyed just the top layer of their would-be seven-tier cake. Sweet enough for eight, sweet enough to start a lifetime. The group watched a video, compiled by the groom’s sister, of the good wishes of more than 80 guests.
“‘Plan B’ was whatever it took. These kids are the sunshine in each other’s eyes,” said Fran, who with her husband and daughter flew in from Tucson. “We walked our children down the aisle, into each other’s arms. It was at the core, celebrating two people in love.”
It was at a 2016 girls’ graduation getaway when a guest told Layne that she knew of someone living in Dallas and thought the two should meet. Their blind date that fall led to love.
Layne, a speech-language pathologist at Playworks Pediatric Speech and Language Therapy, and Adam, director of operations at Contractors Resource, Inc., are honeymooning in Dallas, rather than in Turks and Caicos — still, the newlyweds aren’t alone. Their new roommate is “Archie,” a puppy wedding gift.
Their ketubah is signed, their rings are engraved with the date that is theirs: April 25, 2020, their date that will live in glory.
“We’ve joined the very best families,” said Layne, “easygoing, supportive, beautiful and of the same values and desires. Really, we have it all.”