There are couples whose lives are ruled by continual dating drama, and those who slide from friendship into a relationship as easily and naturally as Alexandra West and Benjamin Glerum. Both lived in the same dorm at Trinity University in Hartford, Connecticut. On Alexandra’s twenty-first birthday, a group gathered at the local watering hole to celebrate and Ben started a conversation with her. “I really liked him,” says Alexandra. “He was handsome, calm, confident—but not obnoxious, and just nice to be around.”
A year ahead of her in school, Ben graduated and moved to Washington, D.C., where Alexandra would visit, eventually moving there for law school at Georgetown University. After six years together, Ben knew it was time to give Alexandra the heirloom ring worn by several generations of brides in his family.
“I WAS HAPPY TO BE MARRIED TO BEN AND FELT I COULD RELAX AND ENJOY THE REST OF THE DAY.” ALEXANDRA WEST
In a move that he knew would please her, Ben traveled to New York to secretly meet her father, mother and grandmother, asking their permission for her hand. “It’s not expected anymore, but it was great and I recommend it to all my friends,” says Ben.
The groom-to-be knew his bride-to-be would be embarrassed by a showy proposal. Instead, while packing for a weekend vacation, he summoned her from another room saying he could not find the picnic blanket. “I was a little exasperated,” says Alexandra, “but when I came into the room he was down on one knee.”
With her family in New York, they decided to wed at Cipriani 42nd Street. “Its soaring ceilings, white marble walls, inlaid floors and gothic structure felt right,” says Alexandra. Having just started her first job as a lawyer, and knowing that event planning was not her forte, she turned all arrangements over to her capable mother who created an enchanted winter forest wonderland. White carpet anchored the scene with mirrored tables and more than a dozen sparkling chandeliers clustered above the dance floor.
Alexandra, raised Jewish, and Ben, Catholic, found a rabbi to marry them and incorporated a few Jewish traditions into the wedding. “One of my best moments was walking back down the aisle after the ceremony. I was happy to be married to Ben and felt I could relax and enjoy the rest of the day,” she remembers.
Cocktails and most of the reception were a blur of greeting people, except for the couple’s first dance to “I Will” by the Beatles. “There was literally a ‘people tunnel’ leading to the dance floor,” says Ben, who loved being surrounded by friends and family.
Although Alexandra had requested a small cake because of all the other dessert offerings, the bride says, “With my mom planning it, I should have known better.” The confection was a towering five-layered masterpiece of three flavors.
The best measure of the success of the night, according to Alexandra, might possibly be the fact that when things were winding down it was impossible to get Ben to leave.
Maui and Kauai were the perfect honeymoon destinations for ten days of rest and relaxation mixed with leisurely exploration and water sports, followed by a return to Washington, D.C. to continue their work in the legal community.
> Written by Francine Kaplan
The newlyweds returned to Cabo for their honeymoon – booking the same hotel they stayed at for their engagement – and filled their days with walks along the beach, plus fine dining experiences at the Waldorf Astoria and Nobu.
Location and Caterer: Cipriani 42nd Street, New York, NY; Cake: Sylvia Weinstock Cakes, New York, NY
Event Design and Planner: Harriette Rose Katz/Gourmet Advisory Services New York, NY; Floral Design and Linen: Ed Libby & Company Events, Inc. New York, NY; Rentals: Something Different Party Rental, New York, NY; Lighting: Star Group Productions, New York, NY; Entertainment: Starlight Orchestras, New York, NY; Stationery: Fancy That NYC, New York, NY; Wedding Dress and Veil: Vera Wang