Steven Gittelman and Elaine Trimarchi met in 1981 and became engaged in April 2015, when they were visiting property they had purchased in Connecticut the year before. Steve’s plan was to take Elaine for a walk to the far end of the lake and propose to her there. Unbeknownst to Steve, Elaine put her purse on the back seat, thinking she wouldn’t need it. Steve was a bit nervous, and when he shut the door of the truck, he realized immediately that he had locked the keys inside. Not wanting to spoil the moment, he took her on a romantic walk, and on bended knee, he asked his beloved for her hand. Then, with a smile, he asked her for her keys. She responded that they were safe in the truck. The property is in a very remote area, so they had a long wait before help arrived, but they managed to keep warm by building a fire.
The couple had always loved the barn at their Long Island home. It has a huge cupola and plenty of happy memories. Elaine was considering holding their nuptials there, but the deal was sealed when Steve’s younger daughter got engaged and wanted to be married at home. Since Elaine and Steve would have their wedding before hers, she made them promise that they would get married in the barn, and she would be the first to get married in the house. They planned for one year, non-stop. Elaine was in charge of taking care of the traditional wedding arrangements, and Steve was responsible for making sure the grounds and barn were up to snuff.
Not long after that, Steve retired and totally immersed himself in working on the wedding and all that it involved. “Each day felt as if I was building a huge love note to Elaine,” he said. He would be up at sunrise and back after dark. Elaine would meet him after work in the barn to see my progress. When he finally laid down the wood floor, Elaine walked in after a long day at work and her jaw dropped. They decided to have their first dance together on the floor they had built. Steve said that he knew then that they were going to make it. “My stroke and all the fear that had accompanied it just a few months before seemed very far away.”
Steve and Elaine were married on June 19, 2016, under a pergola decorated with flowers that Steve built just outside the barn. Usually used to store and repair equipment, the barn had a dirt floor, and the mixture of dust and grime made it impossible for any bride to comfortably appear in white. Many of the grimy plows and engine parts found new life on the walls of the barn. Even a piece of driftwood made an intriguing corner decoration. A beautiful touch was added with the twenty-six window frames, each with a half dozen or so panes, that were filled with photographs of everyone who was invited to the wedding. Each frame was softly highlighted by a battery driven LED light. A parent who had passed away was featured there, with angels placed next to the frame. The lake in Connecticut they both love so much appeared in a dozen or so happy pictures, and their new grandchild was there to look back at them through her baby eyes. It added a special dimension that seemed to make everyone feel at home.
Two highlights were the first dance and the first look. Steve was not expecting the first look to be so moving while he waited for Elaine in the garden. She came down and he burst into tears when he saw her. The photographer caught it all. The first dance was a waltz to “All of Me” by John Legend. Because Steve is not a natural dancer, they both took lessons on Friday nights, and on the night of the wedding it was like magic. They seemed to glide over the floor as if in a dream.
If you’re planning a wedding in your own barn, Steve and Elaine advise you to keep in mind that you’ll have plenty to do, so give yourself plenty of time. Unlike booking a wedding venue, when you’re envisioning an event in your own barn, you’ll probably want to change quite a bit. Life on a farm may seem romantic, but it leaves something be desired when it comes to having a formal party: The roof might leak, the floor may not be good for dancing, and all the equipment that was stored there has to go if you want to fit in all of those tables. Steve added encouragingly, “If you have a barn and you’re brave, go for it. You will never forget it. It takes quite a bit of effort, but it’s worth it; in fact, that’s the case with any good marriage.”
Photographer: Michael O’Neil Fine Arts Inc.