I’m still swooning over a recent wedding I officiated for two fellows from Denver. It was a lovely, sophisticated autumn event at the chic NoMad Hotel in Manhattan (28th and Broadway). The guests had flown in from all over the world, for a cocktail party and ceremony at the hotel, followed by a celebratory dinner at the famed Eleven Madison Park Restaurant.
The grooms Noah & Andrew came to me with a variety of wonderful ideas they wanted to include in their ceremony, creating a meaningful, eclectic script. They selected Buddhist inspired vows that offered a unique take on promise-making, as they jointly responded to each statement, which intertwined thoughts about personal commitment and a broader responsibility to family, community and the world. With a nod to their home in Denver, with a robust Native American population, an Apache blessing, closed the ceremony. And in addition to their personal narrative, which offered a mix of subtle humor and impactful words, there were plenty of personal details sprinkled throughout the ceremony.
It was family traditions from Andrew’s Spanish family that really made the script soar. Andrew asked if we could include the traditional arras ritual in the wedding, a coin sharing custom between the couple, expressing support, care and shared blessings for their new family. The 13 coins used for the presentation had been used by Andrew’s grandparents in their wedding, 52 years ago! In another breathtaking moment, Andrew’s mother offered a poem (in both Spanish and English) that his grandmother had penned for her beloved a few weeks before their October nuptials more than five decades before. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
I closed the ceremony with a couple of gifts, of my own. The grooms own an organic restaurant in Denver, and I thought a most meaningful gift would be a favorite of mine: a book of blessings to offer before meals: A Grateful Heart: 365 Ways to Give Thanks at Mealtime, by MJ Ryan includes a wonderfully rich collection of inspiring prayers from all traditions (from Buddha to the Beatles, as the author proclaims). And finally, knowing that the grooms had fallen in love years ago in Paris, I presented them with a padlock to be placed on the famed Ponte de Arte bridge—locks of love, if you will—on their next trip to the City of Lights. The bridge is a famous location where much-in-love couples leave tokens of their commitments, for all to view.
I am so grateful that I was able to participate in their beautiful day.