Like the beginning of every modern-day love story, we met on an app called Hinge in July 2015.
Little did we know that when we matched on the app, our lives were going to change forever. From our first text conversation, we realized that we were both avid travelers, career-driven ladies, spin class enthusiasts, enjoyed going to concerts, and had a joint appreciation of Salt-N-Pepa.
Our first date was at the Varnish in Downtown, LA. We spent three hours talking non-stop. Never once looking at our phones or watches. It was a magical night, and dare we say love at first sight. Afterward, we knew there was something there that we had to explore.
Life moved fast for us after that first date. The last three years have been an epic ride. Through it all, Los Angeles has been one of the main characters in our love story. First date, first kiss, first home together, dual engagement proposals at Angel’s Point overlooking Downtown LA. And now, the city where we got married.
After we got engaged, we didn’t really have a plan for what kind of wedding we were going to have. One day it was courthouse, the next was a wedding and then back to eloping. One thing was certain though, Abbey was following a lot of wedding planners.
One June day, she was scrolling through Instagram and found a post from her favorite LA wedding planner on social media, Holly Gray of Anything but Gray Events. She was having an LBGTQ contest offering her services to one lucky couple. One thing led to another, we got picked and all of a sudden we were working with Holly, and she was going to help us plan a wedding in less than six months!
Our wedding was at a beautiful venue located in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. We picked the venue because it represented who we are as a couple. It’s a former chapel turned event space. It has a beautiful stained glass window in the main room that only features women. We loved it’s aesthetic and that it was vibrant, had very cool décor and important of all, it was colorful. We love color.
We called our wedding our big colorful Mexi-Jewish wedding.
We kept the guest list to 98 of our closest family and friends. Our only request of our guests was that they wear something colorful and they did. Our Wedding Officiant was Rabbi Keara Stein. Rabbi Keara serves as the Director of Interfaith Family Los Angeles, and she perfectly incorporated both Jewish & Mexican rituals into our ceremony. On the Jewish side, we signed a ketubah, got married under a colorful chuppah and had our loved ones share seven progressive blessings. Our wedding was on the first night of Hanukkah, so we lit the menorah and said the blessings.
From the Mexican side, mariachis played the processional and recessional songs. Martha gave Abbey a box of arras, 13 gold wedding coins that she gave to her new wife as she pledged to care for her and the home they will build together. The bride receives the coins and commits herself to working with her new spouse to use the gifts they must care for all in need. They were wrapped in the veil Martha’s maternal grandmother wore at her wedding in 1954 and wore the rosary that Martha’s parents used at their wedding in 1978. We also had a small “Challah Day Tree,” that displayed our favorite Christmas ornaments.
Rabbi Keara also incorporated quotes from Ruth Bader Ginsburg [RBG], Barbra Streisand [Martha is a Streisand Super Fan], Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges [U.S. Supreme Court case that gave same-sex couples in the fundamental right to marry] and Rabbi Alexander Alan Steinbach [Abbey’s Great Grandfather] into the ceremony.
During cocktail hour, the mariachis continued to play as guests enjoyed appetizers catered by Border Grill. We picked Border Grill because it is owned by two badass women chefs [Susan Feniger, who is very active in the LGBT Community, and Mary Sue Milliken], and they cook the most delicious Mexican food in LA. Top Chef Susan Feniger provided her latke recipe for the wedding, so our guests continued to be immersed in Mex-Jewish fusion with fresh latkes, plantain empanadas, ceviche tostaditas and honey cumin rib skewers.
Our open bar was tended by Cali Craft Cocktails and we even had four signature drinks. One of our favorite details during cocktail hour was our colorful Mrs & Mrs napkins complete with our wedding hashtags, #Riveraspan2018 and #ChallahDay wedding.
We were introduced as Mrs. and Mrs. Greenspan-Rivera to the Pointer Sisters Jump for My Love and even on cue and in unison danced and jumped as our guests cheered.
During dinner guests sat at long wooden tables that included a colorful tablescape adorned with a variety of plants, flowers and gold geometric shapes. The cups and napkins were each a different color. The most exciting piece of the table setting was the custom made souvenir spoon Abbey commissioned to give away as a wedding keepsake. Martha collects souvenir spoons from around the world, so the wedding souvenir spoon made Martha’s spoon dream come true. Dinner was also catered by the Border Grill. We had a taco bar with spicy fried chicken, carne asada and sweet potato & black bean tacos accompanied by green corn tamales. There were Mexican chopped salad and tableside salsas, chips, and guacamole too.
Our cake was created by Porto’s Bakery and topped with a custom 3D topper of the brides from Doob. We danced the night away to the sweet sounds of Yachty By Nature, a yacht rock band based out of Orange County. We handed out captains’ hats to all our guests. Seeing our guests dancing all night in their hats and colorful outfits was a sight to behold. Everyone was singing along to the hits of the 70s and 80s. The band even learned how to play the Hora for the wedding, and all of the guests circled us as we were lifted in chairs.
When we got engaged, never could we have imagined our wedding to be as epic as it was. Our wedding was a day to remember. It represented who we are as a couple on so many levels. We were surrounded by our village made up of our family and close friends.
It was a day full of love.
Photography Monica Linda Photography