After graduating from Indiana University, Lauren set off to Israel to volunteer in a 10-month program teaching English as a foreign language. Little did Lauren know, she’d soon meet her future husband!
While on my program, I met two amazing Americans, David and Miri Leichman, who were willing to host me for the Jewish Holidays and many Friday night Shabbats. The first time I saw Arishai, David and Miri’s son, was across the crowded room at the Leichman’s home. An immediate attraction was there, but nothing happened. I continued to spend time at the Leichman’s, and eventually, Arishai worked up the courage to ask Lauren out. And to your surprise, I said “No!”
A few weeks later, Alon, Arishai’s brother, was visiting. While he was there visiting he wanted to invite some girls to a New Years party. Arishai, of course, knew who he wanted to invite. So, for three days in a row, ALON called me, insisting I come to the party! I finally said yes and the rest is history.
A huge thanks to Miri, David, and Alon for helping Arishai find his partner!
The First Date
Well this is tricky! We met multiple times at Arishai’s parent’s house. But our first real night together was the New Year’s Party. Our first one-on-one date was a few days after the party. We went out for Thai food and were given a booth. We weren’t sure if we should sit on the same side or across from one another. In the end, our waitress told Arishai to sit next to me!
Three months into the relationship Lauren knew Arishai was the man she was going to marry.
Arishai says he can’t pinpoint the moment he knew he wanted to be with me forever… men!
The Quirkiest Things
Lauren steps in place to get all her steps on her fitbit #addicted
Arishai doesn’t go anywhere without his binoculars #birdnerd
Arishai is pretty simple. When it came to proposing, it just wasn’t his thing. Instead, we decided together to get married. But I had always dreamed of a proposal. So, we compromised, I would plan the “proposal” to the already agreed upon marriage.
So, we went together to pick out my dream ring. In the end it was custom-designed, featuring my mother’s engagement diamond. Once the ring was ready, I had Arishai drive to a beautiful lookout point where we had hiked around before, Tel Tzora.
We literally raced there to make it for the sunset because sunsets are gorgeous and it was part of my self-planned proposal. We parked the car and literally ran to the top! Arishai then slid the ring onto my finger and we were officially engaged!
I loved every moment. The Chuppah (wedding ceremony) was beautiful and I finally got to marry the man of my dreams. But our dinner was also delicious (thanks, Mary Catherine and Cuisine America!) and our party was so much fun!
We had two! John Legend’s “All of Me” and Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” –though we didn’t have an official first dance because Arishai doesn’t dance! Instead, when our songs played, we made sure we found each other and spent that song wrapped in each other’s arms.
The first time I saw The Haight I just knew we had to get married there. Its old rustic vibe felt like the most romantic spot to marry my best friend.
The Marriage & Advice
Honestly, not much has changed since I had already moved to Israel and was living with Arishai. But now, I get to say “husband” and it puts a smile on my face.
My advice for newly engaged couples: enjoy every minute! I know it’s cliché, and everyone says it, but it truly goes by so fast, and you never get this time back.
My mom always told me, at the end of the day, the only thing you’ll have other than your marriage, are your memories and your photos. I am so thankful I had the BEST photographer—Lauren Grace Vitiello and videographer—Nick Acosta Cinema. They captured my day so beautifully and now I can look back on my day with such joy.