Rebecca Kaplan and Scott Kopel met at a bar in New York City to watch Sunday football with friends. “We later discovered that we had mutual friends, but our ‘meet cute’ was completely up to chance,” Rebecca notes. After their initial encounter, the two made plans for their first date, which just so happened to be Rebecca’s grandfather’s birthday. “We like to joke that it was a lucky day from the start.”
Four years later, Scott got down one knee, and the couple was pulled into the wedding planning process, blissfully unaware of what was to come. Setting the date for October 31, 2020 at The Liberty Warehouse in Brooklyn, the couple was looking forward to a fall affair shared with family and friends.
While the uncertainties of COVID-19 loomed over them, Rebecca and Scott made the decision to postpone their ceremony to October of 2021. As the months went by, however, the two realized that nothing was certain, so they decided to say their “I dos” in a micro-wedding with only their family and closest friends. “With so many unknowns, the one thing that remained constant was our love for each other,” the bride notes. “After some back and forth in the early summer months, we soon realized that we wanted 2020 to be our year, so we jumped on the opportunity to do so.”
The big day was now scheduled for September 6, 2020, at the bride’s family home in East Hampton. “At this point, we only had about a month and a half to plan the whole thing. My mom and I took the reins, and Karen Precel Events came through in such a big way,” Rebecca says. Luckily, their photographer, Virginie Carolina, and Mimosa Floral were available on the couple’s new date and could execute the initial vision the couple had dreamt up.
In the days leading up to the ceremony, Rebecca and her father earnestly hoped for pleasant weather, as the event was being held outdoors, and thankfully, they were rewarded. “We could both officially relax on the morning of when the forecast read 75 and sunny for the entire day…Scott was never worried though—it’s safe to say he is the laid-back one,” Rebecca teased.
To complement the new vision of the summer-formal event, the bride chose to forego her original gown for something that was “still timeless with an understated elegance,” Rebecca explains. This led her to a Halfpenny London dress that perfectly suited the classic, scaled-down backyard nuptials. “The day I chose my new gown in a way signified that I could actually get excited—it was really happening! It ended up being the perfect dress for me.” She adorned the look with earrings from her grandmother, who was there to help her put them on while getting ready for the day. Rebecca also prepped with Dion Moore and Alexa Rae to perfect her bridal beauty look.
When it came time for the wedding, the couple knew they wanted to retain the rituals performed in Jewish ceremonies. Having met virtually with their rabbi beforehand, Rebecca and Scott were able to explore the importance behind these traditions and what they meant to them moving forward. “She even assigned us a book to read together that further explained the history behind Jewish wedding traditions so we could really grasp the meaning behind each custom, which we found so valuable,” Rebecca notes.
During the ceremony, guests gathered at the bride’s family home, as Scott and Rebecca exchanged vows underneath the chuppah, decorated in florals and her grandfather’s Tallit. Rebecca remembers, “We felt such a sense of calm and purpose. Like it was exactly where we were supposed to be. We both immensely value our relationships with our families, so the fact that they—along with a couple of close friends—could be there considering all that was going on in the world, just meant everything to us.”
When thinking back on how the planning process was organized while pivoting to a more intimate setting, Rebecca notes, “The ‘flow’ of the wedding was key to us, so we planned to do everything we had envisioned for our original wedding celebration.” This included a cocktail hour after the ceremony, followed by the bride and groom’s first dance and the hora. Later in the evening speeches took place while guests enjoyed a seated family-style dinner among candlelight, ending with hours of dancing. Even after the band had turned in for the evening, the bride and groom’s siblings surprised them with a mini after-party—complete with decorations—and the smaller group of family and friends “boogied the rest of the night away under the stars,” Rebecca remembers. “We just feel so incredibly fortunate to have been able to celebrate our love the way we did on that day…It all felt so right.”
Making the decision between planning a larger-scale wedding for a future date or celebrating with a smaller gathering has been a popular topic among engaged couples in the past year and a half. For Rebecca and Scott, however, they couldn’t imagine having done it any other way. “It was the best decision we could have made and when we think back on it now, we honestly can’t believe that we were ever going to do anything different,” the bride says. “We, of course, wished our extended family and all our friends could have been there, but everyone completely understood and respected that we were making a decision that was best for us as a couple.”