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.”

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Joyous Weddings

It’s not at all unusual in the New York metropolitan area to spend forty thousand dollars on a wedding. Why do  so many of us incur such an expense?  After all, it’s possible to elope or do do something small and personal in Central Park or at the beach - and these are definitely nice options - and obviously less expensive. So why isn’t that the typical thing?
    I think the answer is found in one of the greetings to the guests I often use at the start of a wedding:  “In these times the couple calls upon their friends and family to share their joy – for to celebrate alone would only diminish the joy of the day.” The idea is a Biblically based one, one clearly seen in the idea of “praise” in the Psalms of Israel. When we “praise” God, our joy in him is increased - it’s greater than if we just sat around alone at home thinking about him and saying nice things.
    Everyone already instinctively knows this. Watching the game is more pleasurable with others. Celebrating is too. When your team wins, you want to text a friend - “Did you see the game? Did you see that catch? Can you believe they made the playoffs?”, etc.  When you lose weight, or close a deal, or meet someone special, the first thing you want to do is tell someone else! And in the telling, your joy increases even more. Shared joy is multiplied.
    So, back to weddings. To celebrate with family and friends definitely makes the day more special. We want them to see the beautiful bride, to hear our vows, to see our first dance, to enjoy the great music we picked out, and to share with us the delicious cake.
    This is bad news for the pocketbook, but good for the wedding industry. It’s pretty good consolation also. So, next time you’re stressing over how much this ever-so brief event is going to cost you, just remember this - it’s all about maximizing the joy.  (The picture above is of my four sons, and my brother and best man at my Long Island wedding. We’re all just feeling the joy.)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Wedding Officiant Becomes a Groom

On July 19th, I switched places - from wedding officiant to groom! Suddenly I had to take some of my own advice about keeping calm and staying in the moment. And a few things went wrong too. When the flowers arrived, no one was there to accept them. My bride got a very noticeable lip stick smear on the front of her dress just before leaving home for the ceremony. At the church, I immediately misplaced the bag with the license, a lot of cash and gift cards, and our copies of the vows we were to say to each other. At the restaurant the air conditioning wasn't working in one area, and we got fed after most of our guests. There’s more, but you get the idea. Not everything went exactly like we had planned. (“White water” already!)
    On the other hand, both we and our guests loved the ceremony (We found the vows!), and two friends did a beautiful hymn they learned just for us. Another dear friend actually made us our three-tier chocolate cake – the best wedding cake I’ve ever had, and my new wife and I actually pulled off the “dancing with the stars” dance routine we practiced so hard. (You have to understand, I really don’t dance.) Several people have said since, that it was the best wedding they ever attended, and as for us, we had a blast. Others had told me that all the stress would melt away once the ceremony was over, and I can testify that it really works that way.
    Now it’s almost three months later, and I would like to recommend marriage to those considering it. It’s definitely not something to rush into “unadvisedly or lightly”, but when the right person and the right time come along, it’s ... nice.
    I’d like to give thanks to God, for his grace in it all, for our great friends, who celebrated so joyously with us and helped us in so many ways, for our family members who supported us and assisted us, for our many vendors (who will be blogged about more later) and for Pastor Tom Carpino, our friend and super special wedding officiant.
    So, do I know what you’re going through for your Long Island or New York City wedding? Probably more than you think. I hope that knowledge will make me an even better wedding officiant myself – your very own super special wedding officiant!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Keeping Things in Perspective

Every year I perform close to one hundred weddings either on Long Island or in New York City, so by now I've learned, if I didn't already know, that many things can go wrong at a wedding. Some within our control – some definitely not. An earthquake isn't what anyone expects. One minute your biggest concern are sore feet, and the next minute you're just hoping everyone has survived – and wondering if maybe you'll still be married at all on your day - or anytime soon. Near the Chinese town of Bailu, several couples we're marrying when the earthquake on May 12 occurred. Hopefully just this one photo from that day is enough to help us keep things in perspective when it comes to our weddings. The Photo is by Wang Qiang (The Associated Press)


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Kimberly and Tim's Wedding at Land's End

Kimberly and Tim got married last week at Land’s End in Sayville on Long Island. This beautiful location has always been one of my favorites, so this time out I was looking around and asking myself, “What is so special about this place?” I think I can illustrate it better than trying to explain. I looked at the tasteful mirror treatments in this great room with a  bar and a fireplace, and there wasn’t a single smudge on it. Later I watched one of the staff meticulously create symmetrical folds in the table covering for every table. Yes, the ambiance is warm and intimate, and the views of the water make a beautiful backdrop, but what impressed me most was the attention to detail - the excellence. It’s this kind of work that explains the difference in cost from one place to another. I don’t even know what the couple spent, but I know there were cheaper options. Why not choose one of those options? It’s about the views, the food, the wood paneling - but best of all, it’s about knowing that every detail has been thoughtfully given attention. May their tribe increase!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Raquel and Josh’s Wedding @ The West Side Loft in Manhattan

It seems like a million different places exist in Manhattan to tie the knot, and more venues are opening up every day. Sometimes it’s a rooftop, sometimes a space in a restaurant, and sometimes a loft. In to this case, the Manhattan crowd didn’t have to travel far to join the festivities. The “West Side Loft” at 336 West 37th street was decorated beautifully - as the photographs by Mel Barlow show so nicely. The wedding planners, Mayra Castillo and Xochitl Gonzalez of Always a BridesMaid, attended to the couples’ every need, and the wedding party relaxed and looked beautiful - especially the bride. When it came time for the ceremony, the several hundred guests were quiet and attentive - with only a few tears from the mothers to mark the moment. Raquel and Josh, thanks for including me in your day. From the moment we starting talking on the phone - in between your ski trips and other adventures, I knew it would be a nice connection.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Who's Getting Married?

I myself am getting married this year in July - a small restaurant in Rockville Centre on Long Island - informal, less traditional, and hopefully, less expensive! Anyway, after conducting close to 500 weddings, you'd think that I would understand what couples are going through as they plan their weddings! After all, I meet with most of them, and I always ask how they met, how they got engaged, how the wedding planning is going, etc. But I discovered what I should have realized already, that there is no substitute for experiencing something yourself! Now I'm the one asking the vendors "How much?" too soon in the conversation. I'm the one who shoves all the wedding planning papers into one big envelope (and where IS that envelope?) Now we're the ones who don't have a venue six months before the ceremony - and who keep having nightmares that go something like this, "Wait, did we get the wedding license?" (said as the bridal party gathers at the church) No wonder so many couples forget to prepare for the marriage itself! Now I understand. So, couples, you have my sympathy, my empathy, and whatever else might be left of me when this is over. I just keep repeating that quote from Herman Melville, "A smooth sea never made a successful sailor." I'm sure that applies.

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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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