Kevin and I met at a large dance class in the midst of Times Square in NYC. Conveniently paired up as partners, we anxiously awaited until it was our turn to dance. We then decided to take a few more classes just so we can get to know each other and dance in each other’s arms. As the studio was closing for the night we had nowhere to go, so Kevin walked me across town to the Grand Central Station, we shimmied through the city holding each other’s dance shoes, not wanting the night to end.
Consecutively for a couple of months, we met up for our weekly dance class and began seeing each other. We would do picnics at Gantry Park during sunset, roller skate under the Verrazano bridge and go on adventures all over the city. We share more than a passion for dancing. We each had very strong relationships with our grandparents and on one of our first dates Kevin took me to re-discover my late-grandparent’s home in Brooklyn where I’ve spent nearly every weekend as a child, before they passed away. (Ironically their home was just a few blocks away from the house where Kevin grew up and lived for over thirty years.)
A few months into our relationship Kevin got the call that he was accepted into the long-awaited journey into the FDNY and very quickly started his Academy Boot Camp training. I took care of him during those grueling months and with just a few days before the Academy graduation, Kevin proposed to me at the FDNY family day on the Academy grounds, after he dramatically propelled off a building by a single rope, of course with the “Star Wars” theme music track in the background.
We got married at the Shadowbrook At Shrewsbury in Shrewsbury, New Jersey on August 11, 2018. The wedding ceremony was officiated by Kevin’s grandfather Frank Papia. It was a rainy, romantic and intimate evening surrounded by both of our families, friends and our extended family of FDNY firemen. Parents and close friends joined us under the chupah. The ceremony featured traditions from my Jewish faith like breaking the glass as well as an operatic Italian song, “The Prayer” performed by my friends, Kalean and Kyle. A beautiful Irish wedding knot performed and lead by Kevin’s Aunts Eileen and Virginia and sealed with our very own personalized handwritten wedding vows to one another. Our wedding had a 1920s Art Deco/Great Gatsby theme and The Shadowbrook was covered with feathers glitter and lots of candles. I surprised my husband to be and sang him the song “My funny Valentine” accompanied by my cousin Dr. Ilya Likterov on acoustic guitar. Jointly gave an even bigger surprise to our beloved guests by performing dances from “Dirty Dancing” and “Saturday Night Fever”... with a special Latin dance twist in the middle, performing a dance in the style of the Latin dance class where we’ve met, A bachata dance to the song, “Promise.” Last but not least, Kevin’s cousin Genna Cottingham, performed an exhilarating Irish step dance, honoring Kevin’s Irish roots, and the crowd went wild. - Sandy
Venue: Shadowbrook at Shrewsbury
Photography: Jimmy Chu Photography
Video: live picture studios