Featured Wedding: Mayim Bialik & Mike Stone
You may recognize Mayim Bialik for her lead role in the early-1990’s television sitcom Blossom as well as her current Emmy nominated role as Amy Farrah Fowler on The Big Bang Theory. After starring in Blossom Mayim earned a BS from UCLA in 2000 in Neuroscience and in Hebrew and Jewish Studies, and went on to earn a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, also from UCLA, where she was also an active student leader at UCLA Hillel. Bialik is currently a board member, co-founder, and chair of Jewish Free Loan Association’s Genesis branch, and is an avid student of all things Jewish. She studies Torah on a weekly basis with a study mentor through Partners in Torah. Most recently she authored the attachment parenting book Beyond the Sling: A Real Guide to Raising Confident, Loving Children the Attachement Parenting Way.
In 2003, Bialik married a fellow graduate student who she met in calculus class at UCLA. She and her husband Mike now reside in California where they live with their two young sons. This is Mayim Bialik’s wedding story in her own words:
Mike and I had a short engagement. We had dated for four years so we were ready! We got engaged Dec 2, 2002 and married August 31, 2003.
The Engagement Party
Three months prior to our wedding, we held a vort (legal engagement party) at our UCLA Hillel. It was a Sephardic themed party, including an Indian Jewish sugar sealing ceremony (in which the parents of the bride place sugar on the tongue of the bride for good luck), and a signing of the tena’im (legal engagement contract). Both our tena’im and ketubah were Victorian replicas that I found in a vintage jewish wedding book. I basically had them photocopied, blanked out the middle, and had a skilled artist write our text and insert it. She printed them out on nice paper, and voila!
Prior to the wedding, I had studied with an Orthodox kallah teacher, to learn everything there was to know, and decide later what I wanted to take on. Surprisingly, I got a lot out of it and I ended up taking on pretty much all of the customs and traditions. During our engagement period, we were not touching at all (we had not been shomer negiah prior) and that was actually neat. We also had an aliyah at our Hillel before the week of separation. We were under a tallis, so it was like a chuppah warm-up! We did not see each other, speak, text, or email seven days prior to the wedding, and we didn’t live together until after our wedding night. The night before our wedding I went to mikvah and Mike went to the ocean.
During the period of time that we were not seeing each other, I also had a henna ceremony (again, I love Indian Jewish traditions) performed by a Persian girlfriend. Mike and his best friends came, and I was hidden in a room as they painted his hands. The photographer took some great photos of me in my Yemenite headpiece, with my hands and feet painted.
We had a tisch for Mike, and I greeted people all hysterical at my bedecken. (I fasted and prayed all day, so I was pretty emotional!) My mom knit a white blanket for my “throne,” which was really special. We had an Egalitarian signing of the ketubah – Mike signed first and then it was brought to me to sign. The Rabbi then took it back to Mike and the men danced him to me through the gardens. It was really emotional when Mike and I saw each other for the first time after our week of separation.
Our wedding was held at at Descanso Public Gardens in Pasadena, California. Our ceremony was in an opening in the forest part of the gardens near a natural fountain. The chuppah was constructed from a tallis that I got Mike from Israel complete with p’til t’cheylet which are the biblically referenced blue-dyed fringes made of ink extracted from snails from the Dead Sea.
Mike’s childhood best friends and his brother held the chuppah. We had a Victorian themed wedding–they wore Edwardian suits, and Mike wore a top hat. My cousin and childhood best friend were my ladies, and they wore black lace dresses of their own choosing. I got my Victorian and European lace dress at a vintage clothing store in Santa Monica called Paris 1900. It wasn’t originally a wedding dress, but a party dress that reached my ankle. My veil, which was waist length, cost more than the dress, and was made of Irish lace. I am very much into DIY and therefore had no florist. I made all the bouquets and boutonnières out of vintage flowers and velvet ribbon, and made my own corsage the same way, with a hankie of my Grandma’s. We also used my Grandpa’s tallis to wrap around us. I wanted to incorporate some special family heirlooms into our wedding because I’m super sentimental.
The band was comprised of four musician friends who played two of my favorite Klezmatics songs for the processional. Our parents carried candles down the aisle, and we did all the traditional stuff—I circled Mike seven times. Mike placed a ring on my finger under the chuppah, and I gave him a ring and recited the harei line as well. Our family and friends recited the sheva brachot (seven blessings). We wrote no vows– the rabbi knew us for years, and he conducted a great service.
After the ceremony we had yichud inside my family’s camping tent, which the groomsmen had covered in ethnic fabrics.
Since Mike had proposed to me in the Japanese Gardens, we decided to hold our reception at the Japanese Teahouse. Although the Gardens provided their own caterer, we had to bring in our own because we wanted our affair to be kosher. We basically had to pay for two caterers!
The reception was held by a koi pond. There were no seating arrangements. We had a buffet with Asian style food, and no wedding cake. Instead we had a tiered chocolate babka and vodka shots (an Eastern European custom).
For the table centerpieces, we had fish-bowl style vases filled with water and plain rocks, which was very symbolic since my name is Mayim, meaning “water” in Hebrew and Mike’s last name is Stone. Another special touch was the silhouette artist that we hired to do portraits of our guests.
Our wedding was small and modest, but a true expression of our covenant!
Photo Credits: Beth Beljon
Editor’s Note: If you are a fan of Mayim Bialik, you may be interested in her new book Beyond the Sling: