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This weekend I officiated a wedding for Odalisa & Jorge en Español at The Vanderbilt, Staten Island. It was in a big gazebo right on the boardwalk overlooking the beach. A picture perfect day, a bit warm at noon, but very nice. The wind was kicking up a bit, it knocked over a plant right before hand, and nearly blew the trellis down during the ceremony but we were grateful for the breeze! It did nothing to take away from the ceremony.
I also officiated the first wedding ever held at the Laurelwood Arboretum in Pines Lake, Wayne, NJ. It was for Claire and Don in the new Memorial Gazebo there. Those gardens are beautiful! with a uniquely-crafted wooden gazebo overlooking a pond with fountains. This location is the best-kept secret in North Jersey for a small ceremony! Really nice, tranquil and inspiring.
Today I did another ceremony at The Bethwood in Totowa. The gazebo and the perfect weather combined for a magical setting. Some unique touches to Shannon & Patrick's ceremony: I loosely tied their hands together reminiscent of old Irish traditions, and blessed their hands as I spoke about the gifts their hands are to each other. Then I removed the cloth that held their hands together. Later, after heartfelt vows they wrote themselves and read, I said a special Cherokee prayer and blessed them with sweetgrass incense, which has a unique and very nice scent. It is considered sacred by many Native American cultures. Shannon & Pat's Catholic families really loved both these touches and the bride & groom received many complements on the ceremony!