Saturday, April 10, 2010

Natalie and Francis' wedding at Leonards of Great Neck

Every wedding crowd has it’s own personality. Some groups are unemotional and passive, some are rowdy and loud, and some are engaged in what is being said, and obvious in their support of the couple. This latter description best suits Natalie and Francis’ wedding at Leondards. Their family and friends were a public speaker's delight, showing interest during the ceremony and expressing appreciation after it. A choir group from their church sang beautifully, and it was evident that the room was filled with people of faith. That’s my persuasion also, so you can imagine I had a good time. It was like preaching at a revival meeting. The icing on the cake was this nice card from the couple. “Our sincerest apologies for the delayed response. We wanted to thank you personally for making our day so special. Your words of wisdom and kindness have stayed with us and will guide us through many years together. God bless.”  Francis and Natalie
When I do a wedding that includes a homily (some words about marriage), my prayer and hope is that my words will make a difference. After all, the couple will hear them on the wedding day, and then every time they watch their wedding video - even years later. I’d like to think that they will benefit from the truth in “The Surprises of Marriage” or “Life is Just One Thing After Another.” (I hear myself saying these things almost weekly, and they’re still helpful to me!)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Taneah and Rick’s Wedding in Central Park

If you remember, the weather lately hasn’t been that great. First we had a couple big snow storms, then we had days of soaking rain followed by sometimes hurricane force winds - and lots of downed trees and wires. What a great treat then to be given an amazing Spring day for a wedding in the middle of March. Taneah and Rick were ready for whatever kind of weather - but their wedding day could hardly have been nicer. It seemed that everyone in Manhattan was outside! We walked down to the Ladies’ Pavilion, where Adam from Elizabeth Solaka Photography (who graciously provided this photo) was waiting. The New Yorkers who were using the Ladies’ Pavilion gladly made way for us, and others climbing on the nearby rocks watched and took pictures. (You didn’t see us on You Tube did you?) It was just close family - and me. Taneah and Rick, thanks for including me in your special day.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Vinessa and John's Wedding @ the Irish Coffee Club in East Islip

The Irish Coffee Club in East Islip a perfect venue for a smaller wedding ceremony. The restaurant is attractive, easy to find, and has ample parking. The staff is attentive and the food is good. It's difficult to find a place when you have a smaller group, so it's good to know about this one. My couple seemed to appreciate the intimacy of the place, and how it allowed family and friends to relax and focus on what matters. Here's what Vinessa and John had to say about their wedding ceremony: "We enjoyed our ceremony with Pastor Bill tremendously as did our family and friends.  Everything we wanted and could have asked for it and more.  Pastor Bill made our special day truly special and we are thankful for it."


Saturday, December 19, 2009

Debra & Frank's Wedding in Kings Park

Debra and Frank had tried several times before, but never managed to actually tie the knot. This time they not only succeeded, but they dodged the huge, oncoming snow storm and managed to celebrate their traditional family Christmas - all in one. With friends, children and grandchildren (from former marriages) all together, they repeated beautiful personalized vows and kissed their way into the state of matrimony. As you can see from the photo, a home wedding can be very intimate and beautiful - and nothing compares to feasting with friends in your own home. Anyway, it was fun for me to meet both of them and some of their great friends - and they were very grateful. All in all, another very nice day - and afterwards, I returned to my own home for a Christmas party there.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Laura & Kahlil's Wedding @ the Prospect Park Boathouse

I hadn’t been to Prospect Park for a wedding for some time, and I don’t think I had ever seen the Boathouse. It’s hidden away in the park, and a little hard to find, but as you can see from the photo, it’s quite a pretty area. (I realize you can’t see the actual Boathouse, but if you go to the Prospect Park web site, there is a nice picture there.) The groom’s father took the photos, including this one (Thanks!), and music for the ceremony was supplied by an iPod through a boom box - very simple. Even so, we had a great day - with none of the threatened rain, the couple was fun, and their friends and family celebrated with them warmly. Here’s what Laura and Kahlil had to say weeks after: “Thank you again for everything. The ceremony was perfect and everyone was so impressed! It could not have happened without you. Thanks so much again.”

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Christina & Thomas' Wedding at Oheka Castle

Upon entering Oheka Castle one is carried back to the days of the Great Gatsby and the “Gold Coast” mansions of that era. That it was formerly some family’s home tests the imagination. It certainly shines though, as a wedding venue, and on this day it did just that. Christina and Thomas were married under clear, beautiful blue skies, with a warm breeze drifting through the grounds, and everyone dressed to the “nines.” They spoke to each other tenderly, and the guests listened intently throughout. As the wedding officiant, I don’t often stay for the wedding reception - but on this day I did stay for the cocktail hour. Of course the food was to be spectacular, isn’t it always, but in this case it didn’t disappoint. The couple and their guests were gracious and fun, and the staff managed the large crowd well. Everything was just so - as it should be on every bride’s big day. Christina and Thomas, thank you for including me in your special day at this very special place. (Photograph thanks to Counsins Photography -

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Kristen and Rob's Wedding at Tobay Beach

Tobay Beach is another little known location for a wedding - but it's a hidden treasure. If you can manage to find it (I had trouble even after I was in the parking lot!), you'll be surprized when you "round the bend" and discover that there is not only the expected beautiful beach, but facilities for catering and sheltered dining. There's plenty of sand, but it doesn't have to be between your toes, and if you have 3" heels on, there are no walking hazards. Anyway, on this particular day we had only amazing, beautiful weather (the kind that explains why we continue to live on Long Island), and everyone was primed to celebrate. Kristen and Rob wanted to keep it simple, and we did. Here's what they had to say about their ceremony: "Thank you so much for an amazing ceremony. We have had countless compliments regarding how intimate and sincere it was. You understood what we wanted and were the perfect choice for us. Thank you so very much."   Love, Kristin and Rob

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Laura and David's Wedding in Levittown

On Saturday I officiated at Laura and David’s wedding at David’s mother’s home in Levittown. The beautiful day was one of a series that characterized the week, and the wedding had a very laid back feel to it that suited the couple well. This wedding was especially meaningful to me because I had married David’s brother Mark and his wife Sarah last August at Pelligrini Vineyards in Cutchogue. In both cases the weather cooperated and the beautiful surroundings complemented the joy of the occasion. A second wedding in one family definitely signifies a vote of confidence - and appreciation for the first one. I am glad to have met both couples and to be able to help them make their wishes for the day come true.  Working with me on this day were photographer and photojournalist Brad Ross from Brad Ross Photography, and Jason Bencivenga from Party Up Productions. Both of these guys handled themselves professionally and with class, and were just nice to work with. If you’re still looking for a photographer, check out Brad’s work, which I liked. And to the Evans brothers and their brides - may you live long and prosper together!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Carol and Michael's Wedding @ The Manhattan Penthouse

Everything came together perfectly for this wedding - and it's partly because the venue, the Manhattan Penthouse at 80 Fifth Avenue, provides spectacular views and is very well run, and because everyone the couple hired to work for them was doing just that. James Abel, the wedding planner, was on top of everything, and the DJ, Anthony Gelo, was easy to work with and did a great job of creating just the right mood. Here's what Carol had to say about my services that day: "I've been meaning to email you but things have been hectic since we returned from our honeymoon. First, I am SO sorry we didn't get to a chance to say goodbye to you.  Michael and I had wanted you to stick around for the cocktail hour and celebrate with us but I realized we probably never told you that. Second, you did an AMAZING job!!!!  We can't thank you enough for all that you did to make our wedding so special. I can't wait to watch the video to see it again.  Everyone said the ceremony was perfect.  Thank you for all of your help with it. If there is anywhere Michael and I can write a review for you...please let me know."  -- Carol & Michael

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Meagan and Eric’s Wedding at Wagner Cove

Central Park never fails to captivate and amuse. On this day, at least as much as usual, since it had rained and was threatening to do so again. We had our window so we grabbed it, and the bride's and groom’s family members and friends were treated to a wedding ceremony in the heart of Manhattan, but that seemed in the next hour to transform into something like the Louisiana Bayou (which would have been familiar since both were Southerners in NYC for their destination wedding). Wagner Cove personifies true quiet, and when the rain finally came - and it poured with a vengeance - the effect was eerie and beautiful. During the ceremony we had sun-bathing turtles as extra witnesses, and a large water-bird of some kind (No one could say what kind.) that stood at attention in the green mossy water. A friend of the couple who plays in a blue grass band sang and strummed a song whose chorus included the words “Strawberry Fields” - and another friend took pictures - like the beautiful one here. The ceremony was simple, the repeated vows heartfelt, the mood joyous. Meagan and Eric, thank you for making me part of your special day, and may God’s blessing be upon your new family!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Heidi and Jimmy - Wedding at Tavern on the Green

It’s had been raining almost steadily for the last month, and even though none of my couples have been soaked yet, I was a little worried about this wedding. The traffic noise and sirens created a typical Manhattan experience, and the guests from California took it all in stride - as if they would have been disappointed otherwise. Heidi, the bride, arrived late, and I joined the groom in  “waitin’ on a woman.” He remained as patient and wise as Andy Griffith himself, and the delay actually allowed us to take advantage of some cooler temperatures.  Members of his family provided beautiful music (guitar and vocals) that set a spiritual tone - including the song “Charity”, which is a sung version of the famous love poem in 1 Corinthians 13. David Kerry Hannan was everpresent, snapping candid photos that promised to be beautiful. Of course the setting at Tavern on the Green was intimate and beautiful - and the break in the bad weather was all we could have hoped for. I had extra time to talk with family members and friends, and this group was not only good looking, but charming too. The icing on the cake was that in my previous visit I had discovered that the Tavern has it’s own parking (duh!) - so I paid less than half of what I would have otherwise - and saved some wear and tear on my shoes and legs.

Pastor Bill serves families 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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