Weddings: Amy Wisel & Jason Weiss

Amy grew up in Monmouth County, N.J., but from childhood, she was all about New York. Her bat mitzvah theme: Amy Takes Manhattan. Her first adult address: Greenwich Village. Her response whenever her two best friends from college invited her to Philadelphia: Why don’t you guys come here?

Amy acquiesced to her first Philadelphia trip to partake in the 2013 Erin Express – a St. Patrick’s Day bar crawl. She and Steve and Erica, her pals from Rutgers, were at Fado when Jason arrived. He’s been friends with the couple since elementary school in Voorhees.

Jason Weiss and Amy Wisel.“He walked up to me and bought me a drink,” Amy said.

“We hadn’t even spoken yet,” said Jason.

Their friends had already told him she was single, and she sure was attractive.

Amy’s “thank you” for the vodka club was the start of a conversation that ran all night. There was a spirited New York vs. Philly debate, but mostly they discovered a whole lot in common, including a fondness for food and sports and many mutual friends Amy knows from New Jersey and New York and Jason has from his Camp Canadensis days.

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“After I got back to New York, we kept on talking every single night,” Amy said.

Jason works long hours as a plaintiff’s attorney focusing on medical malpractice at Wapner, Newman, Wigrizer, Brecher & Miller, so one of their favorite late-night phone dates was watching DVR’d episodes of Hell’s Kitchen together.

Three weeks after they met, Amy not only came back to Philadelphia, but agreed to wear a Flyers T-shirt. “Our first date was a Flyers game and Buddakan,” Jason said. “Amy is a Devils fan, but that shirt was part of the deal.”

They had a fantastic time, enjoying the game, their meal, and the Facebook comments from Amy’s Devils fan friends asking just what the bleep she was doing in Flyers orange.

They saw each other nearly every weekend, sometimes here, sometimes there.

Jason was astonished by Amy’s capacity for caring. “She was legitimately interested in every part of my life. And it’s not just me, she’s that way with all of her friends and family, too,” he said. “It was very clear, very early on, that we had a very natural connection. She was everything that I could ever want.”

“I fell in love with how he is so loyal to everyone around him,” Amy said. “And he always makes me laugh. He’s very family-oriented, and I saw a future with him.”

Six months into their relationship, Amy, a digital advertising specialist, moved back home with her parents to save money and began looking for a job in Philadelphia. Six months after that, Amy, who is now digital marketing coordinator for the Katz JCC in Cherry Hill, joined Jason at his Rittenhouse Square apartment.

Guess what else Amy fell in love with? Philadelphia. “We are both foodies, and I think this city has amazing restaurants and we love trying different places,” she said. “I also love how you can actually have a good quality of life here.”

How does forever sound?

The couple, who are now both 30, spent Valentine’s Day weekend 2015 in Washington.

Amy loves the Lincoln Memorial, and Jason had visions of President Lincoln bearing witness to one of the most significant moments in their lives. He has experienced D.C. in February – his undergraduate degree is from George Washington University – but in his mind, the birds would be chirping, the cherry blossoms in bloom, and the view across the reflecting pool to the Washington Monument would be stunning.

“It was cold and windy, and there was no water in the reflecting pool,” Jason said. “Where are the cherry blossoms?” he asked Amy. “It’s February,” she said.

They made their way around several groups of political activists, then up the memorial steps. Jason handed his phone to a stranger and asked her to take pictures. He gently turned Amy so she was facing him instead of the camera.

He had put much thought into his words, but as soon as Amy figured out where they were headed, she interrupted with, “Wait! What?” and began frantically waving her hands in surprised excitement.

“I could have told her I was going to commit a double homicide or the building was on fire,” Jason jokes. “Once she caught on to what was happening, she really didn’t hear me.”

She did hear the “Will you marry me?” part, and said yes.

It was so them

The couple held both wedding and reception at the Ballroom at the Ben. Rabbi Nathan Weiner, whom Amy met had by phone through her work with the JCC, wove their love story into a traditional Jewish ceremony. After “you look so beautiful,” the most frequent cocktail-hour comment the couple heard was, “Amazing rabbi!”

After the ceremony, the couple took 15 minutes to soak it all in, take a breath, and eat a little before joining their 270 guests. For a few songs, they stood on the upper level of the space and looked down over their dancing guests. Then it was their turn. The singer introduced the new couple, who came down the stairs and began dancing to “Like I’m Gonna Lose You,” – a song made famous by Meghan Trainer and John Legend. That melded into a monster hora.

“We danced the night away, and tried to talk to as many people as we could,” Amy said.

During “Shout!” the last song of the night, “All of our friends tossed us into the air,” Jason remembered. It was a fabulous end to an incredible day. “The love and affection we felt from family and friends, their outpouring of support, was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before,” he said.

Before the ceremony, Jason was taken to a darkened room and told to stand with his back turned to wait to see Amy for the first time. “To be honest, I thought this whole ‘first reveal’ thing was kind of hokey,” he said. But when he turned around and the lights came on and he saw Amy, Jason instantly changed his mind. “The first time I saw Amy in her green prom dresses was really a special moment,” he said. “It’s what made me feel this whole day was real.”

When Amy saw Jason’s eyes, she knew he was having the reaction she had hoped for. “One of the things I have always loved about him is the way he looks at me, and I will never forget that look he had that day, when we were both so overcome with emotion,” she said.

The budget crunch

A bargain: Having an offseason wedding shaved off some cost, but “I don’t think too much expense was spared,” Jason said. “We have very generous parents.”

The splurges: Wedding dresser Edna Parker of the Final Fluff, who tied bow ties, zipped zippers, sewed buttons, steamed out wrinkles, and generally made sure the bride, groom, and their 23-member bridal party looked good at all times. Live-event painter Katherine Gressel of Event Painting by Katherine, who captured the wedding as it happened.

The honeymoon

Two weeks in Thailand.

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Is It Tacky to Have a Cash Bar at Your Wedding?

When you build your wedding budget, you’ll soon find booze takes a up a very large line. It’s enough to make any couple consider passing the buck—or the bar tab—onto their guests. But is that move merely practical, or is it way too tacky? We asked our readers to weigh in to help you decide.

Here’s what our readers in support of cash bar had to say …

It’s not tacky—it’s practical. Carrie says that before she got engaged, she was all for open bars. “I never thought about all the money, time, and energy that goes into planning a one-day event—and now that I’ve looked into the cost, alcohol and food are the two biggest expenses,” she says. In order to cut costs, Carrie believes, it’s OK to offer up a cash bar. “If you can afford wine and beer, that would be helpful. But if you can’t, you can’t—and your true friends and family will understand.”


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It’s not tacky—as long as you give your guests the heads-up. Prepared guests are happy guests, says reader Mindy. “I don’t think a cash bar is tacky,” she says, “but most wedding guests will be expecting a hosted bar. So if you plan to go the cash bar route, be sure to spread the word via your wedding website or even just word-of-mouth, so that guests can be prepared.”

It’s not tacky—it’s simply safer. Many of us have abused an open bar. But as Stephanie points out, asking guests to pay for their own booze will (likely) mean they drink less—and stay safe. “Any time I’ve left a wedding with an open bar, I’ve been very worried about one or two guests who overindulged and are still driving home,” she says. “But when you have a cash bar, your guests will drink less—or at least be better aware of how much they’re drinking—simply because they have to pay for it.”

It’s not tacky—because your guests aren’t there for the alcohol. Christina was worried that when she offered guests a cash bar, they’d be upset. But she soon found the opposite to be true. “I confessed my worry to a guest mid-reception and she said, ‘Christina, we came to celebrate your love—not drink for free,'” she recalls. “That made me feel so much better, and I would hope that my guests’ attitudes would be everyone’s attitudes when it comes to a cash bar.”

And here’s what our readers who can’t get behind a cash bar had to say …

It’s tacky—because it catches guests off guard. Sure, you may have made an announcement on your wedding website warning guests you’re going with a cash bar. But Lauren argues that you’ll still find a few guests taken by surprise. “It puts pressure on the guests because we don’t expect to need cash for drinks and singles for tips,” she says. “If you can’t afford a full bar, just have wine and beer.”

It’s tacky—if you wouldn’t do it any other time. Says reader Mila, “Asking your guests to pay for their own drinks is like inviting them over to a party at your house and making them rent their own chairs. It sets a negative tone, and many of your guests will skip the bar or leave early because the party vibe just isn’t there.” She suggests opting for a beer-and-wine only bar to cut costs. “Your guests’ choices are more limited,” she says, “but you’ll still have the fun vibe.”

It’s tacky—especially if your guests have traveled. You’re spending big bucks on your wedding day, but your guests are paying a price to attend, too. “All of your guests—especially the out-of-towners—have spent a lot of their time, energy and money in order to be there with you on your big day,” says Shelby. “So in my opinion, it’s incredibly rude to ask them to spend even more money on alcohol at your event.”

It’s tacky—because it’s offensive. Reader Danielle is ready to get right to the point: “I believe it is horribly offensive to offer a cash bar at your wedding,” she says. “Let’s put all the cards on the table and be honest here: People go to weddings expecting an open bar. There are countless memes supporting that as well! The bottom line is, offering a dry wedding—as in, no bar—is fine assuming it’s a religious reason, but a cash bar is tacky and I hate it.”

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Gown choice crucial for brides

For nearly any bride to be, all plans begin with the right wedding gown.

Diane Ferguson, owner of Wilma’s Dress Shop in Grayson and Cannonsburg, is currently matching local models to gowns and accessories in preparation for the upcoming 6th Annual Grayson Bridal Show set for April 3 at Kyova Mall.

Bridal expo“I think these are just different. The back of these prom dresses make them more unique,” Ferguson said last week while test fitting wedding apparel by Alfred Angelo and another by Mary’s Gown with Olive Hill models Chanel Hedge and Kristin Brown.


“Wow. Somebody should marry me,” said Hedge, a member of the West Carter High School class of 2014, as she inspected the lace sheath dress with lace appliques, pearls, rhinestones and accented back beneath a tulle veil with pearl edging and a rhinestone tiara, accented pearl and rhinestone drop earrings.

Brown, 20, who is studying real estate at Bluegrass Technical will be modeling unique prom dresses with a sweetheart neckline, pearl and rhinestone accents, off the shoulder cap sleeves and an embellished sheer back, as well as a birdcage veil with rhinestones, crystals and feathers and crystal drop earrings.

“The bird cages are a big hit this year. In white and ivory,” Ferguson said of the distinctively styled veil, noting the option of ivory is much appreciated by many prospective brides. “For some reason we sell as much ivory as white.”

Ferguson said she remains uncertain about the exact number of local models participating in this year’s bridal expo, although she grins and says “There will be a lot! We’ve got plenty.”

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Real Wedding // Hannah + Samuel

ALMA MATER LOVE Hannah and Samuel met at South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, where they were both studying mechanical engineering and playing sports – he football, she volleyball. Samuel later proposed to Hannah under a brilliant starry sky in South Dakota’s Black Hills National Forest. FORGETFUL BRIDEHannah encountered a slight hiccup in her wedding preparations.

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“I realized I forgot my tiara halfway through my hair appointment and had to have my father bring it to the salon!” she laughs. “The same thing happened with my earrings when we started taking pictures.” JUST THE TWO OF THEM With all the hustle and bustle of the wedding day, the couple found their sweetest moment in an unlikely place: the limo on the way to the reception venue. “It was one of the only times we were alone together the whole day and could just enjoy being married and ridiculously happy,” Hannah recalls. PROPER RESPECTS The bride and groom’s escort table featured wedding photos of their parents, married siblings, grandparents and great-grandparents. “It was a really fun idea that celebrated marriage in both families,” says Hannah. KEEPING TIME Ornate gold clocks were tucked into decorations at the reception, adding an elegant, antique touch to their wedding theme, “Have the time of your life.”

MUSICAL CHAIRS Looking back, Hannah says the seating chart wasn’t nearly as important as it seemed in the midst of her planning. “A ridiculous amount of time was spent juggling people from table to table trying to come up with the ‘perfect chart.’ On the day of, people didn’t even spend that much time sitting in their seats.”JUST A NIBBLE Hannah made the same mistake a lot of brides do. “Make sure you eat on your wedding day,” she advises. “All I had was a smoothie in the morning. By the time I got to the reception, I was ready to pass out.” MOTHER KNOWS BESTHannah had the most reliable of wedding coordinators: her mother. “Having a mother who is also an experienced planner is a huge asset!” FOCUS ON THE BIG THINGS “No matter how much you plan, some things will not go the way you wanted them to,” says Hannah. “In the scheme of things, however, it really doesn’t matter, so don’t let the little things ruin your day.”

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The One Thing You Should Never Ask Someone Who Just Got Married

No matter what kind of wedding you had or what kind of marriage you plan on having, if you’re a newlywed, I’m willing to bet that at least a few people in your life have started acting a little weird. “Weird” might not even be the right word, exactly — it’s not like they’re acting like they don’t like you or anything. They’ve just started treating you a bit…differently.

This phenomenon can manifest itself in a wide variety of ways. Perhaps your best friends, who know that your entire financial philosophy is “never open any bills and hope everything somehow turns out alright,” suddenly assume that you’re together enough to buy a house. Maybe your old roommates expect you to now be a design blog-obsessed aesthete, instead of someone who keeps all her underpants in a cardboard box under the bed. Your buddies assume that marriage has changed you, and they’re still trying to figure out exactly how.

Which is all pretty understandable — marriage is a change, and it’s a different change for every person who does it, so it makes sense that people end up asking you some strange questions as they try to make sense of it. I am recently married, and I’ve had a few friends assume that I would be giving up some cherished activities — like hanging out one-on-one with my close male friends, or taking vacations with my female friends — just because those didn’t seem like things that a married lady would do. While marriage doesn’t change anything about those activities for me, I know it does for some people, and so asking those questions totally makes sense. There’s no shame in trying to feel out the parameters of what someone’s life changes mean.

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However, there is one question that you want to steer clear of when asking your newly married friend about their plans for the near future:

“So, when are you going to have kids?”

Now, I’d argue that there is actually no time when it is a good time to ask someone when they’re going to have a kid. But even if you think there might be times when it’s OK to ask, I’d like to make the case for not asking your newly married friends when they’re going to start making some fruit of their loins.

No matter how close your are with your friend, you must trust that if and when they want discuss having a kid, they’ll bring it up. You probably have no idea if your friend is struggling with infertility, doesn’t want kids, or wants kids but feels that they can’t afford them. You have no clue if this very topic is a hot button issue between them and their partner, or between them and their partner’s family, or anything else — honestly, the number of ways this question could touch on something that makes the askee uncomfortable are infinite.

But most people who bring up the pregnancy question after you get married, I’ve found, are not actually people who are close enough that you’d ever tell them about your own baby plans (or lack thereof). Rather, it’s usually people you barely know, trying to make small talk.

So let’s all agree, right now, that someone’s future parental potential is not a good topic to bring up when you’ve run out of questions to ask about their honeymoon pics. I know I’m not an official etiquette columnist, but I feel like Emily Post would have my back on this one. Allow your friend to bring up their own plans for parenthood, or lack thereof, on their own time.

2. It Supports The Idea That Adulthood Is A Contest

1. It’s None Of Your Business

As you surely know by now, adulthood isn’t a contest; it’s an unremitting nightmare. Kidding! (sort of) But this doesn’t stop lots of people from treating adulthood as some kind of relay race, where instead of trying to be the first to hand off your baton, you’re trying to be the first to update you “Life Events” with graduate school graduations and weddings, babies and cool new jobs.

And the second you get married, people start trying to sweep you up into this thinking, whether or not you like it. They start asking you, “Now what?” or “What next?” — implying that now that you’ve crossed this one off your list, it’s time to get chopping on some other adulthood to-dos. Better get crackin’ so you can have something else to post social media updates about!

Asking people who’ve just gotten married if they’re now going to have kids plays right into the hands of this kind of thinking. This question makes the “adulthood as relay race” philosophy seem not just sensible, but almost aspirational — “Hey, you’ve knocked one thing off the list! Great work! Now take off your pants and knock another thing off the list, cowboy! I’ll just wait out here while you try!”

We should fight this attitude for a lot of reasons. To begin with, even a small wedding is a big deal emotionally (if not financially), so let people chill for a minute before you start trying to peer pressure them into some other life choices. If two people are getting married and having a wedding, getting married and having a wedding probably feels pretty meaningful to them — so don’t urge them to stop thinking about it and move on to the next thing.

And furthermore, this attitude suggests that no matter what you do, it’s never enough for people to view you as “accomplished” — after you get married, it’s time to have that baby, and after you have that baby…time for another baby! Also maybe you should go back to grad school. The Committee Of Strangers Who Have Decided They Should Run Your Life will let you know when they decide.

So don’t treat your friends’ lives like some checklist. Let them abide by their own schedule. Don’t act like getting married, in and of itself, is somehow not enough in this moment.

3. It Implies That There Is Only One “Correct” Way To Approach Marriage & Parenthood

Asking your newly married friends when they’re going to have a child implies that there is a “right” order in which to do things: marriage, then kids, then…I don’t know, try to pay off your mortgage and then wait to see which one of you is going to die first?

This kind of thinking isn’t only potentially shaming (implying that folks who don’t follow the “love, marriage, baby carriage” order of operations are somehow doing it wrong) and a bit naive (how do you know that your newlywed friends weren’t already trying to conceive for months, even years, before they picked out china patterns?). It’s also totally out of step with how people live their lives now — today, nearly half of all first children are born to unmarried women in the U.S.; 40 percent of marriages involve children from a previous relationship; and on the flip side, 6 percent of married women have no children at all.

There’s often a subtext when folks ask the question from this specific angle — there’s an implication that doing it “right” will keep your marriage together, while deviating from the “proper” way to be a married person will ensure your relationship’s doom. This kind of thinking also often stigmatizes families the involve children from previous relationships, pressuring the couple to add to their family by having another child that is “only theirs.”

But guess what? Your marriage license doesn’t expire if you don’t have a fertility plan in place within your first 90 days of wedded bliss. (And plenty of couples with children end up divorced, anyway). You’re not helping your friends by drawing them into any baggage you may have about how children are the only path to marital happiness.

4. It Just Doesn’t Matter

Why does it matter? What do you even get out of asking? Do you think your friends are trying to slip one by you? Do you fear your friends will adopt a very hip baby and then refuse to introduce you to said hip baby because you’re so uncol? Do you think your friend is going to get pregnant and just spend all nine months holding a giant purse in front of her stomach, like they do on TV? And then one day, she’s gonna just show up with a baby, and be like, “LOL this dude was in my ute the whole time, SUCKER” and you’re gonna be like, “OMG, I feel sooooooo dumb”?

If you ever ask people who’ve just married if they’re going to have kids soon, I urge you to get up right now, go look in a mirror, and ask yourself: What is my end game here?????

Now, I know that many of you who ask this question aren’t trying to imply all of these things — maybe you feel like your friend’s new marriage is the elephant in the room, and you’re just not sure what to say about it. Maybe you think all people get married because they want to have babies, and you’re just engaging the couple in talk about their interests — which you were raised to believe was polite, thankyouverymuch.

But trust me: if and when your friends want you to know about their reproductive plans, they’ll tell you. And if you actually just want to make some small talk with people who’ve recently gotten married, ask them about the real thing all married people are dying to talk about: their helpless rage regarding the exorbitant cost of wedding floral arrangements.

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