When I came to celebrancy work, I was called by the desire to create and perform meaningful rituals, rites of passage, and ceremonies to help in the healing process. I firmly believe that the network of Celebrants, as trained by the Celebrant Institute & Foundation, is uniquely prepared to serve the eclectic mix of people in America today. With great care to personalizing the experience, we delicately position our ceremonies on a multi-dimensional spectrum that takes into account the distinctive cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds of our clients, be they individuals, couples or families.
Yet beyond the powerful work of creating ceremonies, I have been delighted again and again by the sheer beauty that I come across in weddings of all sorts—experiences that truly satisfy all of the senses. These outstanding events are lovingly organized and tended to by top-flight wedding professionals in our great City and the surrounding areas.
This union of a powerful ceremony and an extraordinary sensory event was evident at the recent wedding of Kayla and Jared. I am personally inspired and enriched when I’m asked to officiate weddings of interfaith couples who wish to honor both traditions in their ceremony. Kayla was raised in a Midwestern Protestant family. Meanwhile Jared was from a Jewish family on the East Coast. I believe that these traditions, under the watchful eye of the bride and groom, were beautifully woven into a breathtaking winter ceremony.
Prior to the public wedding, the couple signed a traditional Ketubah with the assistance and leadership of the groom’s family. Although a variation on a traditional Ketubah signing in a wedding led by a Rabbi, it was a moving family gathering that served as an emotional prelude to the ceremony. And, of course, the couple will cherish their hand-crafted document for the remainder of their lives.
The wedding began with the couple choosing a typical Jewish processional, with the bride and groom entering individually with both of their parents. They stood under an extraordinarily lovely chuppah, while their parents stood proudly with them throughout the entire ceremony. The ceremony included the Christian-inspired unity candle lighting and a New Testament passage read by the bride’s dear aunt. This ritual was complemented by a wine sharing ritual, associated with the Jewish faith. And, of course, we ended with the always popular glass breaking, followed by a hearty Mazel Tov!
As a Celebrant, I was pleased with the richness of the ceremony; however, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the stunning venue Gotham Hall. (The building was constructed in the early 20th century as the Greenwich Savings Bank and boasts truly breathtaking architecture.) Everything was perfect—from the dropped dead gorgeous women serving in the ceremony string quartet to the luxurious lights and flowers, all against the backdrop of a truly historic building. No detail was too small—from the beautiful wedding programs to the place cards. The cocktail hour music was provided by a fantastic stage band, with delicious food all along the way—and that was just the beginning of the celebration! The exceptional photographer Ira Lippke captured the entire stunning event with his usual flair. I have to believe the evening was not only a feast for the senses but one for the heart, too. Thank you to everyone who made it such a beautiful experience.