Monday, September 11, 2017

Rev Shari will marry you up good!

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of marrying two dear friends, at a rooftop venue in Little Neck. I've known A for 25 years or so, and J for about 5. It was an amazing wedding, filled with family and friends, old and new.  Everyone could feel the tremendous love in the room.  L was my trusty assistant, a role he loves. The food was delish, the drinks were flowing and we danced and laughed the night away.  It was an absolutely fabulous wedding and a joy for all.  And I personally received kudos from many in attendance, if I do say so myself.

Now, many people who did not know before have discovered my secret identity as The Rev.  I answered many questions about how I got here, why I run around marrying people up good.  So I've dug back into the archives to show you my first post as Rev Shari.  I still feel the same way:  Love is good.

Best wishes to the bride and groom.  May we celebrate many happy occasions in the future.

This is what I was thinking about when I woke up this morning:

Religion: all cultures seem to have some, as far as I can tell. Culture and religion are often intertwined and it's hard to know where one begins and the other ends. In the best scenario, religion makes us stronger and better. We all know what happens in the worst scenario. Is there a God who watches us? or one who set the universe in motion and then keeps hands off? Is there no God? Many gods?

So I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Ritual: some people say that ritual without belief is hollow or wrong. I know that for me, ritual has meaning that is independent of faith. Ritual gives shape to our days and our years. Would you start a new semester with old notebooks? Not me. The ritual of purchasing notebooks, pens, perhaps a special accessory is part of preparing my mind for the new term. It marks the importance of the fresh start at hand.

Similarly, when I marry a couple, I try to make the service fit the needs and desires of each of them. I encourage them to respect the religions, traditions and rituals of their families of origin. Legally, I can marry you up in a minute or two (cue the rushed sitcom wedding--"I do," "I do" "Inowpronounceyouhusbandandwife youmaykissthebride") but why not make it as meaningful to you both as it can be?

My own wedding vows were straight up Jewish. I met the rabbi that day (we were using a synagogue with a catering hall, not the local rabbi I grew up with) and held the napkin without really knowing what was happening. The words that he said under the chuppah were a mix of ritually required (all good with that!) and puzzlingly odd platitudes on the nature of marriage. Something about a house with no doors you can only get in from inside...huh? One of his pronouncements was later found on a box of Celestial Seasoning tea!

Years later, I watched my cousins get married by a Justice of the Peace on Cape Cod. That was a job I wanted! To stand with a couple on one of the most hopeful, special days of their life--to use the power of my voice to actually create a new relationship! I kept this dream on the back burner for over 15 years, but now, finally, I am doing it. Reverend Shari will marry you up good!

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Rev Shari marries them up good with Marriage Equality in the Pop Up Chapel

See me marry Melvin and Alphonso in the Pop Up Chapel!

Read about the day at CNN's blog

The Pop Up Chapel event in Central Park on July 30, 2011 was just...tremendous!  I was scheduled to use the chapel made out of rainbow ribbons both times...kind of like a chuppah, but not quite!  Melvin and Alphonso were so sweet, and their moms and friends were so supportive.  They loved the broom I had decorated for the Jumping of the Broom, which you can see in the above video clip.  Congrats to Alphonso and Melvin, best wishes for many years of happiness together.

Gabrielle and Jacqueline were married an hour or so later.  The vows they wrote were so sweet, even I was tearing up!  What a beautiful young couple--all the best to them!  I'll post any photos I can find was a bit chaotic!  Brides, grooms, if you are reading this, send me some photos and videos.

The volunteers were great, the couples were great, the guests, the photogs, the was an incredibly positive day and I was happy to be a part of it! 

As I told the interviewer from CNN:  Life is short.  Love is good.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Rev Shari will marry 'em up good in the Pop Up Chapel!

In celebration of New York State Marriage Equality, a wonderful group of volunteers has created the Pop Up Chapel. There is a competition afoot to design a small outdoor chapel, which will be popping up in Central Park. On July 30, 2011, there will be ceremonies going on all day long, and Rev Shari will be performing two of those ceremonies! I can't tell you too many details yet, but click thru to follow along as the details emerge.

Happy Marriage Equality!

Edited to add: here is an article about it in the New York Times with a few more details!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Rev Shari marries them up good on Governor's Island

How fun is Governor's Island? This past weekend was the Jazz Age Lawn Party, where you could go to get your Gatsby on. A and R decided to have a simple ceremony in the shadow of the Castle, with lower Manhattan as their backdrop. What could be more beautiful than that? I took the free ferry across from Atlantic Avenue, and the bridal party took the free ferry from lower Manhattan, right next to the Staten Island ferry.

If you have a small wedding party, it is pretty easy to find a little nook or cranny to get married in with relative privacy anywhere in the city. As soon as people see my "Judge Judy" gown, they realize it is a wedding, and keep a respectful distance. Weddings that occur early or late in the day are most likely to feel private while being out in the open air. It's a great way to get married--especially when you have a bright, sunny day, with a few puffy clouds in a perfectly blue sky.

The ceremony leaned heavily on what the bride and groom requested, and what they told me about how they felt about life, marriage and each other. It took me a while to figure out how to work in a reading from My Personal Penguin, but I did, and it was an excellent touch. Everyone thought the ceremony was spot-on, which of course, makes it all worthwhile for me! I sure love to marry people up good!

There are magazines, TV channels, elderly aunts, and snooty acquaintances who are all ready to tell you the one right way to get married. They will tell you what to wear, what to serve, where to go, down to the last detail. Well, here's the real deal: you can do whatever you like and you need not apologize for it. Why not take advantage of the free or low-price offerings around the city to create the backdrop for your day--it's great fun, and it might be just your style. Make your wedding your own, starting with the venue, and, of course, the officiant--me.

Mazel tov and congrats to A and R, and all the best for their future together.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marriage Equality arrives in New York!

Reverend Shari will marry you up good, and now, she will marry you up good if you are both "fancy on the outside" or both "fancy on the inside" (as Mr. Rogers said). Special prices in August for you early birds who have been waiting for same sex marriage in New York to become law and are READY to book a date. Let's cook up some great fun weddings, everybody! Woo hoo.

Here's a link to the FAQ about the nuts and bolts of getting a license, etc. Can you get married in NYC if you live elsewhere? YES! Take a look. New York is the best place ever to get married!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Reverend Shari marries 'em up good in the South Bronx

Those of you who know me, know that I have an excellent sense of direction. I even have a friend who calls me Rand McNally as a running joke. So was it the fact that I was busy talking to my trusty assistant, or the fact that I did not write down the exit number, or the fact that the South Bronx always confuses me...well, for whatever reason, I was a bit off track, when a handsome, young police man said "just follow me" and guided me to my location for K and T's wedding. My luck changed at that point, because I got a parking spot so good it was a shame to go home afterward!

K and T's wedding was in the Community Room of their building. Everything was decorated in yellow with a touch of green, to match the attendants' outfits. The room was transformed into what felt like a garden wedding, and the DJ had the music ready to rip. The couple looked stunning, the photographer was snapping, and the ring cutie!

I followed the wishes of the bride and groom, and crafted a ceremony with some poetry, some Bible, and some personal stories. I switched back and forth between Spanish and English throughout, which suited the (mostly bilingual) crowd just fine. The couple met on City Island, one of my favorite stomping grounds, so I was sure to work that into the ceremony. Who was it who made the first move that fateful night? Let's hope the couple continues to debate this for many years of health and happiness to come. Best wishes to K and T!