Tag Archives: getting married in nyc

How to Find an Interfaith Wedding Officiant in the New York Area

 
You are getting married.  You have been together and have made the big decision.  You come from different backgrounds or perhaps different countries.  Your family has accepted/made peace with the decision/ empowered you both/ or is very troubled.  Pick the option that fits you or add your own. 

Finding an interfaith wedding officiant

Now  the search begins.  As you may or may not know most synagogue rabbis will not marry an interfaith couple in the synagogue itself.  As an independent rabbi in NYC, I know that reform rabbis can at their discretion perform the ceremony in an outside venue.  Ministers generally will have an easier time than Catholic priests who often have to get permission to preside  outside of the church.  These are generalizations and of course there are many New York City officiants who don’t fit into these categories    If you know friends or family who have had such a wedding you should of course ask for recommendations. This is the single best way of knowing who you will work with since the couple is happy with him or her.   If you don’t know anyone from a personal referral on to the internet.

So now armed with your iphone, ipad, laptop, etc. you start searching the net for interfaith officiants.  It is important to check out their sites carefully, finding out how long they have been officiating, where they were ordained and of course what their philosophy on marriage and ceremonies is.  Hopefully you can see pictures of them in action and testimonials.  If any of this resonates with you both you should email or call the person and have a conversation on the phone.  That will tell you a lot about the person and also whether you are comfortable with what they say.  Are they willing to do a service that is creative and personal to you?  Are they comfortable to work with a co-officiant if your fiance wants the other religion represented as well.

Next step is meeting the person.  You should have an emotional connection with the wedding ceremony officiant.  After all, it is your wedding and you want someone who relates to both of you and listens to you.  Listen to your heart.  There are many people out there so you can interview a few but go with your gut feeling.  Make sure you have a contract that itemizes date, time, fee and is signed by both parties.  That way your date is reserved during a busy summer wedding season.  You should try and meet together a few times to fashion the service and be comfortable that it is respectful to both faiths.    

The picture below is of an interfaith wedding ceremony I performed in the beautiful island of Bermuda.   

Try and give yourself as much time before the wedding to do this search.  The ceremony should be the core of your special day and you want to employ the best person for you.   All this takes time and some effort on your part but is well worth the time.  I have officiated at many interfaith weddings the last three years and have helped to make the day magical to many couples. 

Happy hunting!

 

TESTIMONIALS FOR RABBI GLORIA

A Special Fall Foliage Wedding at the New York Botanical Gardens

     One of the co-officiants I worked with a year ago recommended me to a couple who planned their interfaith wedding ceremony to take place this past October. They had decided to make it a gorgeous, special wedding at the New York Botanical Gardens in the Bronx.  The colors were at peak in the area and the couple was lucky that they missed the beginning of Hurricane Sandy by one day.  They had lovely weather with temperatures in the 60’s for their early evening ceremony.

     The bride was an English teacher working on her doctorate  in English.  She worked with the other officiant and me choosing readings and music.  Being a former English teacher myself I was delighted to see a reading from e.e. cummings and a second poem of Shakespeare’s.  She even had an excerpt from the Book of Ruth set to music.  She had sung the very same lines herself at her cousin’s wedding.

     The night before at the TriBeCa Grill restaurant (owned by Robert de Niro) I met both sides of the family.  The bride’s family hailed from Charleston, South Carolina and it seemed as though every member from a few month old girl to an 80-year-old was present.  The groom’s family was scattered over the states and people from Michigan, and a number of other states made the trip.  The priest had been a long time family friend of the bride’s mother and so it was a family affair.

     The procession and recession were down a beautiful walkway of fall flowers.  The trees around the wedding site were shimmering gold and there was even an usual  fuzzy moon hanging low in the sky.  Picture perfect fall evening for this lovely couple who chose the venue due to their deep appreciation  of nature.

 

Google+ Profile

An Intimate and loving June Wedding

June 21A lovely couple contacted me many months ago to officiate their wedding.  These two people were very interesting: she a lawyer with poise and creativity, he a college teacher who was originally a psychology major but now was completing his PhD in mathematics.  They had known each other for 17 years and seemed already married; they were extremely easy with one another.

We first met at my apartment in NYC and then it was my turn to visit them at their house in Long Island . I love these visits because it tells me so much of what the couple is about: the treadmill machine in the den confirmed they are both runners; and all the art work on the walls – she actually sketched the drawing for her chuppah. He had traveled through 42 states in the U.S, and she had toured around Europe.

Over wine and cheese we spoke about their life together.  She said her high school teacher advised her to “marry someone smarter than you and you’ll live a happy life and never be bored.”  She thinks over the years they have discovered that each of them is smart in different ways and their differences make them a stronger couple.  How wise.  The groom wrote that his bride to be is a woman who cares for him fiercely and gives him a sense of security the like of which he has never known.

The actual wedding took place on a picture-perfect day in June at a beach club on Long Island.  Seventy friends and family watched as I officiated the service that the couple and I had written together. A low-key, warm and welcoming ceremony, it was a true reflection of this wonderful couple.

A Salsa/Jewish Interfaith wedding in New York

 

gloria march 5 2014 ninth

A good friend of mine, Harvey Averne, enjoyed a wonderful career as a multi-talented vibraphonist, band leader, producer and record label owner.  His best friend was Larry Harlow, who is a renowned salsa-music performing composer and producer. His mother was an opera singer and father a band leader at the Latin Quarter nightclub in NYC. Falling in love with the Spanish sound, Larry left to attend school in Cuba. He went on to produce over 260 albums for Fania Records.
latin grammy

Among his contributions to music was his insistence on creation of a Latin Grammy award.  In 2008 he was presented with a Latin Grammy Lifetime Award.

gloria march 5 fourth

Larry planned to marry a lovely woman who had first started coming to his concerts in Cuba when she was just 15.  She had been a runner there and has a striking face and athletic dancer’s body.  I was delighted to officiate the interfaith wedding for them.

We held the wedding ceremony in his apartment in New York City with a few close friends. I lent them my husband’s tallit to use as the chuppah. The bride was not Jewish (as Larry is) but wanted a Jewish wedding ceremony. They did the circling to all of us singing a Yiddish wedding song, recited the Kiddish Prayer and Shehechyanu and I did the benediction at the end. It was a very emotional experience for the people present; tears of happiness streamed down the couple and friends’ cheeks. We broke out a bottle of champagne and toasted l’chaim.

The moral of the story: It is never too late to find love in your older years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Central Park Wedding in Bloom: Rabbi Gloria Officiates An Interfaith Marriage

central park wedding april 2013      A couple contacted me from Miami to do a wedding at the Central Park Conservatory Garden in April this year.  They had met 11 years before and their paths had gone in separate directions.  After reconnecting it didn’t take long for the groom to say  “This is the woman I want to marry.”  

    They got engaged in Central Park and decided they also wanted to get married there so they could return and relive the moment.  It was an interfaith marriage ceremony and the groom’s father wanted to read from Corinthians which we put in as part of the service.

     The prior day was cold and rainy and the day of their wedding was cloudy in the morning but by the time the ceremony was due to start the sun started peeking out of the clouds.  The Conservatory Garden at 105th and 5th Ave is a public space  that the couple rented.  In full bloom, the cherry trees and flowers were exquisite in their pinks and whites.  

     The small group of people assembled was relaxed and warm; there was a laid back, relaxed feeling to the event.  Because it was a public space we had as many onlookers as guests at the ceremony.  I felt as though I  had performed a wedding for many more people than the ones invited.  There is nothing more gorgeous than a Central Park wedding in bloom; it was a truly beautiful day! 

     An appreciative bride and groom made my job a delight and  I can’t wait to visit Miami and catch up with them.

central park wedding april 2013  two

A Jewish Interfaith Wedding with a South American Feel

peru_map
 
A New Jersey couple from different corners of the world met in a restaurant five years ago and it completely changed their lives.  He was originally from Jersey, on track to a legal career, following in the footsteps of his father.  Living in Washington D.C. to gain experience prior to law school, he started working in a restaurant to earn some extra money.  He found he loved it and returned back to Jersey to begin a career in the hospitality business.
 
The woman was born and raised in Lima, Peru where as long as she can remember, she felt a burning desire to come to America.  She struck out on her own, made it to the states, ended up working at the restaurant where the groom worked.  The rest is history, as they say.
 
 
 
 
highlawn nj front
 
The venue they chose, pictured above,  was in Montclair, called “The Highlawn, and was set high in the hills with a view of NYC.  It was actually used by General George Washington during the Revolutionary War as a look-out point.  I created an interfaith service for them and it was truly magical to witness the participation by her friends and family who were able to come from Peru for the event.  The ceremony had a wonderful South American feel. Her grandfather was from a remote town in the mountains of Peru where they still ride donkeys and horses, while here,  she is on track to a teaching career in our 21st century world of technology.
 
nyc skyline
 
 
It was truly a privilege to officiate at this Jewish interfaith wedding. It was a union of two very diverse cultures. What a great moment it was! After he broke the glass Mazel Tov and Te Feliciato’s was shouted out by all!
 
 
 
 
 

You’re engaged! What now? Here’s Rabbi Gloria’s interfaith wedding guide.

Congratulations! You have made the big decision; you are getting married! You come from different backgrounds or perhaps different countries. Your family has accepted/made peace with the decision/ empowered you both/ or is very troubled. Pick the option that fits you or add your own. 

Cake, Tasty, Wedding

Interfaith Wedding Guide

Now the search begins. You need an interfaith wedding guide! How do you find an interfaith wedding officiant? As you may or may not know most synagogue rabbis will not marry an interfaith couple in the synagogue itself. As an independent rabbi in New York City, I know that reform rabbis can, at their discretion, perform the ceremony in an outside venue. Ministers generally will have an easier time than Catholic priests who often have to obtain permission to preside outside of the church. These are generalizations and of course there are many New York City officiants that don’t fit into these categories.

If you know friends or family who have enjoyed a successful interfaith wedding, you should of course ask for recommendations. This is the single best way of knowing who you will work with since the couple is happy with him or her. But if you don’t know anyone from a personal referral, head to the internet.

Armed with your iphone, ipad, laptop, etc. you start searching the net for interfaith officiants.  It is important to check out their sites carefully, finding out how long they have been officiating, where they were ordained and of course what their philosophy on marriage and ceremonies is. Hopefully you can see pictures of them in action and testimonials. If any of this resonates with you both you should email or call the person and have a conversation on the phone. That will tell you a lot about the person and also whether you are comfortable with what they say. Are they willing to do a service that is creative and personal to you? Are they comfortable to work with a co-officiant if your fiance wants the other religion represented as well.

Here are additional questions to keep in mind:

  • Availability? Spring and summer weddings can be a busy time!
  • Do you sense warmth, kindness, connection, spirituality?
  • Experience: how many years has the person performed weddings, and are there good testimonials or references on their site?
  • Does the officiant accurately reflect and support your spiritual ideals and that of your fiancé? Does he or she have experience working with officiants of other faiths?
  • Will he or she meet with you and your fiancé before the wedding day?
  • Will the officiant be flexible with regard to the actual ceremony and focus on creating the ceremony that suits you both perfectly?
  • Is the wedding officiant warm and helpful during your interaction, whether on the phone or by email?
  • Is he or she willing to travel to your wedding location?
  • Is the price in your budget?  Remember you get what you pay for, and this is one of the most important days of your life. You want to be sure you select someone who is a leader; he or she must be warm, kind, helpful, and able to soothe your nerves and support you.

Next step is meeting the person. You should have an emotional connection with the officiant. After all it is your wedding and you want someone who relates to both of you and listens to you. Listen to your heart. There are many people out there so you can interview a few but go with your gut feeling. Make sure you have a contract that itemizes date, time, fee and is signed by both parties. That way your date is reserved during a busy summer wedding season. You should try and meet together a few times to fashion the service and be comfortable that it is respectful to both faiths.

Maldives, Sunset, Wedding, Bride, Tropical, Island

The right interfaith wedding officiant realizes that couples choose interfaith ceremonies for their spiritually inclusive approach. It is a way of rejoicing in our differences and celebrating our communality in an atmosphere of love and respect.  All should come away feeling honored and respected, with his or her uniqueness celebrated.

Try and give yourself as much time before the wedding to do this search. The interfaith ceremony should be the core of your special day and you want to employ the best person for you. All this takes time and some effort on your part but is well worth the time. I have officiated at interfaith weddings the last three years and have helped to make the day magical to many couples.

Happy hunting! And many blessings and great joy to you in your wedded life!

 

Google+ Profile

 

A Beautiful Jewish Wedding – Of My Best Friend’s Daughter!

       I recently officiated at the Jewish wedding of a bride who is the daughter of close friends of mine, going back 35 years. When I first met the bride, a day after she was born in 1984 at NY Hospital, I was looking at her through the glass window in the baby nursery. She has long been a part of the fabric of my family’s life and is just two years older than my son. He used to enjoy playing with an ”older woman!”

   I watched her through her childhood, adolescence and college years. She was always a woman of definite opinions. Everyone admired her spunk and confidence even for one so young. She started dating a military man and it turned out he had been deployed to Iraq twice. She ended up enlisting in the reserves herself and goes once a month to an army base for her commitment. I got to know him over their several years together and grew to appreciate his sensitivity, loyalty to her, and his quiet confidence. They decided to marry and asked me to officiate.

   Seeing them together is a study in complimentary attributes. She bubbles over with enthusiasm and energy and he looks at her in sheer amazement, but is beaming. Together they support and compliment one another. When I spend time with them I feel uplifted by their loving and easy relationship.

 

   The wedding was at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden the first weekend of June. The night before and even into the early morning the rains came. But two hours before the service the sky cleared and it turned into a picture-perfect June day. They did the wedding in the open air, as was the traditional Jewish custom and they had a lovely chamber music trio setting the tone.

     It was the first wedding I conducted where I felt I might be in tears throughout because of the closeness to the family. But because the bride bounded down the aisle, all smiles and beaming I took my cues from her and didn’t lose it.

   Her father, however, was crying throughout the service . He ended up delivering the benediction which is done at the end of every Jewish service. It was so very touching. Afterwards the reception was warm and filled with music and love. My son and his girlfriend came in from out of town for the event. I felt like I had everyone who loved me around to celebrate this wonderful event.

 

Check out the wedding planner Leigh who makes it all seem so easy   http://www.palmhouse.com/