We have many people to thank for the wedding proceeding as well as it did. Without the help of our family and friends, the day could never have happened. We want to acknowledge at least a few of the people who made the greatest contributions.
Yefim and Galina
You couldn't ask for better parents. They helped enormously with the wedding. Since we were planning the wedding from California, we had to do much of our arrangements through them: for instance, they visited a dozen restaurants in an exaustive search for the perfect place to hold the wedding. (And they found the Primavera, which is likely better than anything we could have found even if we had been there to do the search.) The list of things with which they helped is too long to be mentioned, but as a sampling: they booked the hotel for the wedding night, found the photographer, put up guests (not to mention us), found a Rabbi willing to do a mixed marriage, and got us our ketubah.
They also helped a great deal financially, and were a constant source of emotional support. (Sonia: I think as far as inlaws go, I hit the jackpot.)
As mother of the bride Subdhra helped with a lot. She bought Sonia's jewelry and accessories, gathered all the (many) things needed for the Hindu ceremony (with the help of relatives), discussed the details of the ceremony with the pundit, assisted with last minute preparations for the Hindu ceremony, and went through a lot to come down and be there for us.
Usha was the Maid of Honor at the wedding. She helped pick out Sonia's dress, shopped for jewelry and accessories for the bride, rubbed dye on Sonia the first night, was there with Sonia for almost all the wedding preparations, and was a big part of the ceremony.
Maria was originally one of the bridesmaids, but she did so much that she became Matron of Honor. She is by nature an extremely sweet and helpful person, and was eager to assist us from the start of the wedding planning. She arranged for much of Sonia's bridal preparations (beauty treatment), helped with food during the bachelorette party, helped rub dye on Sonia the second night, got Sonia some nice bath stuff to help relax her for the wedding, helped shop for bridal makeup, helped Sonia get dressed, and generally smoothed things for before and during the wedding. And during the bachelorette party, she partied hard, well beyond the point of exhaustion.
Alex was the Best Man. In that capacity, he arranged the second part of the bachelor party, spent a nice long while dressing up his car (with great results) to take us to the hotel after the wedding, took us on shopping excursions before the wedding, got us Russian music (with Maria), bullied the DJs, was involved in the ceremonies, took lots of photos, didn't lose the ring, and did a wonderful toast (which wasn't taped, but which he promised to write down in the guest book).
We couldn't have asked for better or prettier bridesmaids. All of them helped and fussed over Sonia during the preperations, and the wedding, and the batchelorette party. At one point in the final minutes of preparation, most of them were clustered around Sonia, each with a piece of bridal jewelry, putting them on all at once (while the Rabbi was calling for Sonia) while the rest were quickly putting the finishing touches on the maro.
Sandra and Darshani drove down all the way from Ontario (getting turned back from the border once, and later passing through Pennsylvania) to be there well before the wedding. They assisted with dye, helped out with various preparations, helped hold up the huppah, and nearly killed the DJs (we have it on tape). And the morning of the wedding, after everyone else had enough of dye, Sandra applied it to Sonia one last time.
Tina and Amala came up from New York city along with their mother, aunty Beti. They were anxious to help, they brought music for the bachelorette party and Tina brought a DVD of wedding songs from different Indian movies to play during the day on Friday. They went out of their way to make a good impression on David's family, helped gather items needed for the ceremony, and wrestled with Sandra and Darshani to keep the huppah upright. And whenever songs from Bollywood movies came up, Amala danced expertly mimicking the movies' dancers. They also took photos, and Tina directed some of Sonia's poses.
Yang came up from Pittsburgh (along with the ill-fated Wik), overcoming an apparent extreme fear of travel of any kind. She was a big hit with a number of Sonia's family members and was a big help at the wedding. She snuck hors d'oeuvres to Sonia (who had not had lunch) during the cocktail hour and helped with the panicked (but beautiful) process of getting Sonia ready for the wedding.
Bernie... did you see this girl's face when she caught the bouquet? Bernie drove up from Pittsburgh to be with us for yet another wedding (and she caught the bouquet at the first one, too). She helped the carpentry-ignorant Wik and David get materials for the maro, and took part in the rush to get Sonia ready on time.
Aria was in the midst of the rubbing of dye, helped get Sonia ready, took (with Matt) Sonia to the hairdresser - and then had to drive back to get the hair accessories Sonia forgot, beautifully supported the end of the wedding procession, and did not make even a token attempt to eviscerate David during the reception.
Tolik practically saved the day when Sonia forgot her bridal undergarments at home. He had to drive 40 minutes, gather up every piece of feminine attire in sight (how was he to know which was needed?), and then drove 40 minutes back to the Primavera to deliver the items with no time to spare. He also stoically videotaped the ceremonies and reception, only failing in his duties when he was unable to resist the chance to catch the garter.
If Sonia had known how much help Alisa was going to be she would have made her a bridesmaid. She went out of her way to make it to the bachelorette party, helped coordinate at the party, joined the bridesmaids in the bridal dressing room to help Sonia, and took lots of pictures during the preparations. She also fussed over and complimented Sonia a lot, making sure that the bride felt perfect for her day. (And she had really cool earrings.)
Uncle Buddy, Aunt Radha and Sonia's cousins
Uncle Buddy, Aunt Radha, Kenny, Andy, and Dennis came up from New York, and helped with much of the Hindu ceremony. They built us a beautiful bench, and are largely responsible (particularly Uncle Buddy) for the construction and decoration maro. They got last minute things for the wedding (such as flowers), picked up food for Friday, Aunt Radha made sweets, and they all took lots of photos. Uncle Buddy was Sonia's father for the Hindu and Jewish ceremonies and Kenny was the brother. And Kenny, of course, caught the garter (despite having a girlfriend back home... his brothers made sure to take blackmail photos of him dancing with various girls throughout the reception).
Aunt Beti (also from New York) helped gather things for the ceremony (such as the wedding kit), assisted in picking out last minute things for the wedding, and was the one who checked Sonia's sindoor under the sheet. And when she realized that there were no flowers to toss at us during the Hindu recession, she grabbed a bunch of bouquets from the maro and tore them up for ammunition.
A lot of people took photos during the wedding. Many of them are mentioned above, but there were a few others who took many pictures (as opposed to the occasional shot or two). Lena took lots of photos, as did Mitya. Wik, Yang and Libby took turns on Wik's camera. Someone in the Berkovich family was nice enough to break the Rabbi's ban on photo taking during the Jewish ceremony. There were others... but if you are one of them, and aren't mentioned, that's because you haven't sent us your pictures. Those of you who have prints, digital or otherwise, please let us know.
Arkadi Moiseevich Levinov and Mark Chulsky served as the Hebrew-speaking (or at least signing) witnesses for the signing of the Ketubah. (And Arkadi Moiseevich was one of the people who took pictures during the Jewish ceremony.)
wasn't able to make it to the wedding, but she helped gather some things for the Hindu ceremony, and made sweets called para to share at the parties before the wedding.
Susan Smolens wasn't able to come either, but she has to be mentioned - she helped us a great deal with Sonia coming into the US. She is a fine ally in our battle against the INS. (now the U.S. Department of Homeland Security)
So many people helped us and took part in the wedding, that we are afraid we may forget some of you. Please forgive us for any omissions, and let us know if there is someone deserving of praise.