By Nicole Barley
As single-and-fabulous Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest honorees, Ellen Goldberg and Benjy Grinberg met at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser’s annual photo party, held at the Cork Factory in 2007. They shared hellos and business cards that night, and bumped into each other a few months later, exchanging hellos, but nothing more. Soon after that chance encounter, a friend of Ellen’s called her to suggest a setup. The guy she had in mind for Ellen? Benjy. After their first date at Eleven, they both knew, “That was it! We’ve been together ever since,” says Ellen.
Five years later, the couple was enjoying a bit of time off from work, preparing for a trip to France later that week. Ellen was hoping Benjy would propose while they were on vacation, but Benjy had other plans in mind. Benjy went to get a haircut, and invited Ellen along to get her nails done at the same time. (Later that day, Ellen would be happy that her hands displayed a perfect manicure.) That evening, they had “plans” to meet Benjy’s family at Habitat Restaurant at Fairmont Pittsburgh — the perfect place for dinner because Benjy, who is CEO of Rostrum Records, wanted to say hello to a band manager friend staying in a suite at the hotel. When it came time to leave for dinner, Benjy told Ellen that his family was running late. So, he extended their drive, stopping at places around the city that are special to them, including where they shared their first date and their first kiss. They finally arrived at the Fairmont, and, after checking in at the front desk, went upstairs to his friend’s suite to say hello. They arrived to the 21st floor, and, without hesitation, Benjy proceeded to open the door to the Hong Kong Tea Room Suite. “I said, ‘Aren’t you going to knock?’ but then, I saw rose petals and candles everywhere,” says Ellen. The dinner plans and the story of the friend staying at the hotel were a ruse. Dropping down to one knee, Benjy proposed in front of a wall of windows overlooking the city. A surprise party with their families followed at the home of Benjy’s grandmother, Edith.
On the morning of the wedding, Ellen enjoyed a private yoga class with her close friend Jennifer Ferris-Glick of BYS Yoga, which she says was the perfect, blissful beginning to the day. The wedding festivities kicked off at the Omni William Penn Hotel, where the couple wed in a traditional Jewish ceremony. Proceedings began with a bedeken ceremony for the bride and a tish for the groom, during which the women and men gather separately to greet and pray with the couple. The groom is then taken to meet his bride, upon which time he lifts her veil and they sign the marriage document. A ceremony with 300 guests, led by Rabbi Chuck Diamond, followed in the hotel’s Urban Room, where Benjy and Ellen were wed beneath a beautiful chuppah, woven from orchids, tea lights, and crystals by Bill Chisnell Productions. Nate Sherer Video Productions captured the magical event on film.