Weddings at Home: Part Two
In my first blog I talked about officiating at theme weddings that were held in private homes. I have found home weddings to be unique and all of them memorable, but a few do stand out in my mind and I will tell you why.
This first story begins with my husband Bill being asked to perform a marriage ceremony in a backyard tent at a home in a nearby community on Father’s Day. The couple said it was okay for me to attend the wedding so that Bill and I could both go to the family dinner right after the ceremony.
When we arrived at the home, no one was ready for the wedding. The bride was one of the first-ever disabled fashion models. Her jeans covered her prosthetic leg, and she was in no hurry to don her bridal gown. The groom, a famous Russian concert pianist, was entertaining guests in the living room at the piano. The caterer and family members were beginning to set up a bar and buffet table for the reception.
It was a steamy-hot day, but I decided to stay outdoors in the backyard tent that was set up with chairs and flower arrangements for the wedding. I would say it was a few hours before the entire wedding party was ready for Bill to perform the ceremony. The guests filtered in, and I sat in the back row.
The wedding music was provided by someone playing a keyboard. The groom and best man took their places up front next to Bill, and then the wedding procession got under way. After the maid of honor took her place, the ring bearer darted down the aisle. It turned out to be a dog on a leash led by a groomsman, with the wedding rings tied in a fancy bow attached to the dog’s collar.
As Bill was about to ask for the rings, one of which had diamonds befitting the expectations of a high-profile model, the dog dashed off, running into the street. It took 15 minutes to corral him and retrieve the rings.
It was the first of several weddings that Bill and I performed in which a dog played a role!
The next story is a bit sad, but one of my favorites about a home wedding. I accepted an engagement to conduct an October wedding at a home located on an island off Long Island’s North Shore. Unfortunately, there was a freaky ice and snow storm on the day of the wedding. To complicate matters, I learned early in the day that the groom’s mother had passed away the evening before.
Bill was concerned about the weather and about my driving to a house located on the water, so he rushed home from a wedding in Brooklyn to drive me. As we entered the driveway, I realized this was no ordinary house; it was a magnificent mansion. I went to the door and rang the bell, and a butler answered. I was soon greeted by the groom who was wearing a pink rose on his lapel; he appeared melancholy and grief stricken.
I expressed my condolences, and then I was immediately guided to an upstairs sitting area with an adjoining powder room. The bride and groom were most gracious. I performed the wedding on the first floor with guests gathered around us. The groom spoke of his mother.
Following the ceremony my husband was invited to join me for cocktails and appetizers. The most amazing part of this experience was that we had the rare opportunity to view this gentleman’s priceless porcelain collection. It was just such an unbelievable experience to see curio cabinets floor to ceiling filled with hand-painted treasures. I am so thankful that we had enjoyed such an incredible day despite the weather and the sorrow we shared and witnessed. I’m sure the groom’s mother must have been very proud of her son.
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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