Weddings at Home: Part One
Throughout the year, Bill and I perform weddings not only in particular public venues but also in private homes and residences. It could be the bride’s or groom’s home, the parent’s home, a grandparent’s condo or a rented house in the Hamptons. Weddings in a home are among our most memorable. I will write another blog on this topic, but at this time I would like to describe two theme weddings that Bill and I performed in the homes of couples we married.
In this first wedding story the bride and the groom were both divorced and between them they had six children. It was Halloween, the perfect day for a theme wedding! The inside and outside of the house were decorated appropriately, from real jack-o’-lantern to ceramic ghosts and goblins. The bride had amassed a huge collection of Halloween over the years.
The bride and groom, costumed as a corpse bride and as a zombie set, the mood for the evening. For me, the black roses in the bride’s bouquet were absolutely stunning. The scene was hectic with guests in fantastic costumes arriving at the suburban home, the caterer delivering platters of food and lots of kids in ninja and princess outfits running around.
The ceremony was delayed until we could figure out just exactly where the wedding should be performed. This was a “plan as-you-go” wedding. After rigging a little light fixture to the railing at the front entrance, I found a perfect spot above the steps where I could stand and pronounce the scary pair “husband and wife.” A small table for the special sand ceremony was set up. We placed a big glass salad bowl in the middle and surrounded it with eight glasses of sand: black for the groom, white for the bride and blue, red, green, purple, yellow and orange for the children.
The guests were invited to gather on the lawn. I took my place, and the bride and groom soon came out of the house and were standing before me. I looked out and down at the all the guests. What a sight to behold: there were at least a hundred men, women and children in the most delightful, crazy-fun costumes. The “spirits” of the occasion were palpable.
The ceremony was traditional, dignified and beautiful. The sand ceremony was the part of the wedding that everyone loved most. The bride and groom poured a portion of each of their glasses of black and white sand into the big salad bowl, and then each of the children poured their glasses of sand into the big bowl. Then the bride and groom emptied their black and white glasses of sand to further symbolize their bond of marriage and the unity of the family. The moonlight struck the glass bowl making the multicolor layers of sand sparkle. I ended the sand ceremony by saying, “Just as these grains of sand can never be separated so will your marriage and your family be.”
I have another story about a memorable home wedding with a great theme; this wedding was performed by my husband in a local home. Bill was asked to marry a couple on New Year’s Eve in a home not far from our own home. The bride and groom wanted to be pronounced husband and wife at the stroke of midnight, which would coincide with the beginning of the new millennium.
Bill and I went to dinner with friends, and then we all went to the couple’s home, which was beautifully decorated for the holiday season. The guests were gathered in the living room and dining room; all were in a nostalgic Auld Lang Syne mood!
Midnight was approaching, and Bill found a nice spot in the living room for the ceremony. Minutes before midnight, the groom and best man stood next to him, and the guests gathered around them. Everyone could see the TV. The bride wore a lovely wedding gown and was smiling as she entered. Cameras were flashing. Bill performed the ceremony, and yes, at the stroke of midnight he said, “And now with the powers vested in me by the State of New York, I pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your lovely bride.” Simultaneously, the “Times Square New Year’s Eve Ball” completed its descent. After the wedding kiss, champagne glasses were raised for a toast to the bride and groom, and everyone began to sing “Auld Lang Syne.” We celebrated the beginning of a new year full of hopes, challenges, changes and dreams and wished the newly married couple much joy and happiness all the days of their lives together.
A photo of Bill and the Happy New Year wedded couple appeared in the local newspaper. We keep the clipping in one of our many albums of weddings we have performed.
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The most important and most anticipated part of a wedding day for the bride and groom and their loved ones is the marriage ceremony. Bill has performed marriage ceremonies for over 30 years and I have performed marriages for over 10 years on Long Island, in New York City, the metro area, throughout New York State and beyond. Both of us are graduates of a two-year interfaith seminary. In addition, Bill is a Retired Judge and I am a Former Village Mayor. We are experienced professionals who understand the hopes and desires of couples as they plan their wedding day and a lifetime together. We want it to be a joyful and memorable occasion. When we meet we get to know the bride and groom and begin to become a chapter in their lifelong love story. In order to perform weddings in New York City as qualified Marriage Officiants, we registered with the City Clerk’s office. After performing a marriage as a legally registered officiant, I sign the marriage license and insert my registrati