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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Deborah and Frank’s Wedding in Huntington

Many believe that a wedding in a home is less expensive and simpler, but it’s almost never the case. The backyard wedding really shines not for these reasons, but because it can be so much more personal and intimate. Frank and Deborah’s wedding illustrated this well. Guests and family members mingled on the broad patio, and I made plans not to fall into the nearby pool during the ceremony like the famous ceremony that went viral on youtube recently. The photographer Dan Wagner and I had done weddings together before, so I was glad to see him snapping away. When you’re getting married, you don’t want a bad wedding officiant, and you don’t want an incompetent photographer. (The photo here is his.) Anyway, we managed to avoid the rain, the microphone worked nicely (I had had my doubts), and the guests were very attentive to the ceremony and supportive of the couple. The couple’s beautiful home provided a perfect backdrop for a perfect wedding, and I was glad that I was able to contribute to all the joy myself. (When I first talk to couples I often emphasize the importance of meeting together ahead of time to plan and "establish chemistry." In this photo, Deborah was sequestered away before the wedding and I was there to have her sign the license. Ilove this photo because I  think it demonstrates what that chemistry can look like. My desire is to connect with every couple in this way. It can't always happen, but when it does, it's magic.) When I heard from her months later she wrote, "You provided us with far more than we had ever hoped for or expected; we are forever grateful to you."


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Keri and Jack’s Wedding at Old Field in Southold

Until just recently, it seemed normal that it would rain every day. If it wasn’t raining at the moment, you could be sure it would be raining again soon. That’s what this day was like. As the wedding hour approached, the biggest question was “Outdoors, or under the tent?” We had the beautiful location - the Old Field in Southold - all we needed was for the weather to cooperate. The trolley company, North Fork Trolley, arrived about 3o minutes late after the driver got lost with the bride and her party, which essentially cost us our window of sun. We moved under the tent when it started to drizzle, and things were a little crowded, then the rain let up, and after a pow wow the bride made the call, “Let’s do it.” What followed was a wind-swept ceremony with guests that hung on each word as much as the couple did. That makes my job easy and enjoyable - and makes for a memorable wedding. Jack and Keri were radiant throughout, and afterwards, their family and friends also radiated friendliness and good will - a great group of people that could only reflect well on the couple. Photographer Michael Cody did a great job of capturing the joy and camaraderie of the day, and you can see more photos like this one on his web site. The people at the Old Field, Ros and Perry, were professional and attended to everything the couple and their guests needed. As you can see, it’s a beautiful location - and very intimate. The musicians, a string quartet, were troopers - succeeding in creating the mood musically in the midst of significant wind and precipitation. All in all, everyone stepped up, and the result was a great start to a great celebration. Congratulations Keri and Jack!


Monday, June 8, 2009

Unique Brooklyn Wedding Venue - Dyker Beach Golf Course

Would you like a Country Club atmosphere for your wedding  - and to keep it in Brooklyn at the same time? Then when it comes to looking any further .... “fagetaboutit!” The Dyker Beach Golf Course is a new, and still relatively undiscoved jewel of a venue. Yesterday I married Suzanne and Patrick there, and the beautiful location perfectly matched the beautiful weather of the day. Dawn Marie Gallagher, the director of catering and the Maitre’ D Chris Giacalone did a great job of coordinating everything and seeing there we no glitches. Bill Gillen set the mood for the ceremony by playing the bag pipes - and did it quite well. (Not everyone does that. If you're looking for someone to play for a wedding or funeral service, you can contact him through his day job at the Law Offices of Ronald Schwartz.) As for me, Suzanne and Patrick wanted me to do my homily entitled “The Truth about Marriage”, and I was gratified to see as Patrick said later that “You could hear a pin drop.” - people were definitely paying attention. So, if you've concluded that you have to travel to Suffolk County or to Westchester - think again. You can reserve your wedding with trees and grass and fresh air right (oh, and lots of good food also - did I mention that?) in the Middle of Brooklyn. Who would have guessed?


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bride in Wedding Dress Saves Family From Fire

Only last year I was married, so I remember the emotions and thoughts that go with the day. For instance, “This is my special day, it should be about me.” - and this is something both the bride and groom think, even if they never say it. And there’s nothing wrong with thinking that way. Being a bridezilla relates more to the way such a conviction manifests itself - and to taking it much too literally. Anyway, when a bride in Bridgeport Conneticut stops the car, wades into the mud, and then into a smokey house - in full wedding attire on the way home from her reception - to save neighbors who don’t know about the fire - well, that’s a reason for commendation and a new found hope in humanity. It’s definitely “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  I’ve never met Georgette Fogarty-Clemons, the brave and fiesty bride in this story, but I’d like to, and I’d be glad to have her as my neighbor.

If you’d like to read the rest of the story you can read
the original account by John Christoffersen. (The AP photo is by Douglas Healey.)



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Matt and Jenna's Wedding at Georgio's at Foxhill

In searching for something else today, I found Jenn's nice comments about the ceremony I did for them on June 21 of 2008 at Georgio's at Foxhill. The things she liked I do routinely, and are simply what every bride deserves. Thanks Jenna, I hope you guys are doing great!

Officiant – Pastor William (Bill) Britton – A++++

Pastor Bill did an amazing job and put together a really personalized ceremony for us. I met with 2 different pastors and spoke to a few on the phone and decided I just loved Pastor Bill’s voice, demeanor and ceremony options! We only had to meet in person with him once to go over the details and any requests we had. Then we kept in touch over email and made edits to the ceremony as needed (which readings to do, etc). He kept in VERY good contact over the course of our 6 month planning period and always sent me reminders of information he needed from me.

On the day of the wedding he showed up on time and was very professional. He delivered a beautiful ceremony I thought he did a wonderful job….he had his notes but never seemed to be reading from his book – I think he memorizes most of the stuff! Also I wanted to say that he adds in a small part about how we met which was very cute and a nice touch! Overall this was the most important and memorable part of the day and I am so glad we chose him! Many thanks to Pastor Bill for such a beautiful ceremony!

Thanks for Katie Lyman Photography for this great photo. You're other work in Jenna's review (lots of photos) is great!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Janet and Michael's Wedding at 70 Park Avenue Hotel in Manhattan

We weren’t able to meet ahead of time, because Janet and Michael came from Maryland for their NYC destination wedding, but I felt like I knew them already because of the great time we had on the phone. They had also send me a photo - of them on their honeymoon in Hawaii - yes, before the wedding! Anyway, the initmate ceremony, which took place in a beautiful suite at the 70 Park Ave Hotel in Manhattan, was a delight to do, since the couple, each in their own way, showed real  affection for each other. Sometimes life experiences make for a more powerful moment, and this was one of those times. The couple had discovered their guitarist, Hanan Harchol (also a successful visual artist), when dining at Tavern on the Green in Central Park. He regaled us with skillful renditions of a wide variety of songs from Bach to Neil Young - including “To Make You Fell My Love” by Dylan, which was a special treat for me. Jerry Grigory promised me a photo for this blog, but he has to return home to Hawaii, his home and more regular location for wedding photography.  (Look for that here soon.) Finally, Inga Taper and Jazmin Callazo from the hotel were attentive and worked hard for the guests and wedding party, and were very professional. Note well couples marrying in NYC, this is one of the few available, really nice, indoor venues for a small party!


Friday, March 13, 2009

Robert Guskind Funeral - The “Blogfather of Brooklyn”

We gathered at the beautiful historical chapel at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn to remember Bob Guskind (50), the “blogfather” of Brooklyn. Bob’s blog the Gowanus Lounge covers Brooklyn in a way that set the standard for alternative media. You might know him from days at Georgetown University, or from stories in the New York Post, or as a regular voice on WYNC’s Brian Lehrer show. About forty to fifty family members and friends shared their grief and memories. Words like “brilliant”, “compassionate”, “beloved” and “big-hearted” where chosen over and over by others to describe Bob. Everyone also made a point to thank Bob’s mother, and his beloved wife Olivia Kissin for their loving care for and impact on the life of Bob Guskind. The funeral arrangements were made with the help of Doris Amen from Jurek Funeral Home in Park Slope. Friends who spoke included Lockhart Steele from the blog curbed.com, and Neal Peirce, newspaper columnist and a founder of National Journal. Bob’s long-time friends Loye Miller and Marc Farre also shared memories - mostly funny and with great appreciation and poiniency. I ended up officiating at this funeral because Olivia Kissin found me on this web site - and explained that I “looked like someone who would help.” How could I say “no” to that - and anyway, Clergy on Call ministries exists, not just as a business - but also as a ministry. Today proved to be a fulfilling time for that. Olivia, may God bring much healing into your life - and later, much joy again. I know that’s what God would want for you too. (Photo credit by Miss Heather.)


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sergi & Lena's wedding in Belarus

In early 2000 I left Long Island to visit Belarus several times, twice with a church group to do humanitarian aid, and two times with fellow pastors to teach in a Minsk Bible school, preparing future pastors and Christian workers. My students were mostly young, but very determined - overcoming many hardships and taking risks to follow such a course. Of course I loved them. Several of my students went on to marry (each other!), and today, in 2009, I came across pictures they sent me later. This picture of Sergei and Lena makes me miss them, and wonder about them - and wish and pray that they are well today! Maybe they'll see this and contact me! I just wanted you to celebrate with them.


Thursday, March 12, 2009

Vladimir & Zhanna's wedding in Minsk

Another pair of students, both from my class, now married. (See the previous post.) Vladimir and Zhanna, I hope and pray that your faith is strong and God is prospering whatever you're doing for him these days. I was blessed to know you. May God's rich blessings be upon the faithful church in Belarus.


Monday, November 24, 2008

Diane and Robert's Wedding at Bryant Park

This couple became a favorite of mine from our first meeting. We had fun together and established that special chemistry that makes for the best ceremonies. Weddings in Manhattan always include a special intangible - and this one was no different. We started at dusk, the temperature was perfect, and the typical crowds streamed by - and even in the city, people show interest and offer congratulations.  The DJ from Eclipse Entertainment set the mood with classics from the American Songbook, and when the bride finally appeared, she was radiant. Some of the tallest buildings in the city formed our backdrop - along with the grassy, peopled expanse of the park. It was a beautiful, fun evening - with the couple’s great friends - and a reception to follow at Bryant Park Grill overseen by Banquet Manager Thomas Ferretti. Thanks for including me Diane and Robert!


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Lori and Sam's Wedding at Peppercorns

On November 1st Lori and Sam tied the knot at Peppercorns Restaurant in Hicksville. I was pleased to discover this place, because it’s very nice for a smaller group, and more intimate venues for receptions are hard to find. The ceremony room upstairs was attractive and decorated more nicely than many bigger wedding halls I’ve been to. I stayed for the cocktail hour and the service and food were great. The event coordinator Lynda Brolin was attentive to all the details. I also met the DJs, Patty and Jimmy from Mobile Music Masters. They handled themselves and and the music-related issues in a professional manner, and I found them likable and easy to work with. When it came time for the ceremony, Lori was a little nervous, but Sam was a steadying influence, and they were definitely “in the moment” during their ceremony. Both they and their guests were a delight. Her dress was beautiful, and the photographer promised me photos - which I’ll post here as an update later. All in all, it was the kind of wedding I like to do - working with professionals, bringing joy to a great crowd - and a couple that is doing their part thoughtfully and beautifully. Lori and Sam, as I said to you during the ceremony, “May the happiness you’ve found together be yours throughout a lifetime of love.”




Clergy on Call ministries was started by Reverend William Britton. Pastor Bill is an ordained minister (clergy) serving as a wedding officiant or wedding minister – helping couples to write their wedding vows and plan their wedding ceremony so that they have “no regrets” on their day of celebration - whether religious ceremonies or civil ceremonies. (Pastor Bill is also available if you’re renewing your marriage vows, or eloping or doing a destination wedding.) Pastor Bill serves couples planning a wedding in the Greater New York area including Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County), Queens, Brooklyn, New York City (Manhattan), and Westchester County. If you’re thinking of using a Judge for your wedding, or a Justice of the Peace – or if you’re thinking of going to city hall for your wedding – or perhaps you’re working on a last minute wedding plan –in any case, Pastor Bill would love to speak with you. (Pastor Bill is also available for families that have suffered the loss of a loved one and are planning a funeral.)


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