Posts Tagged ‘Weddings’

I just looked at the date, and realized we are halfway through March, and I haven’t even finished blogging about February, yet.  March has already been a very fun month for me, as I just got back from spending a few personal days in Atlanta, and had such a great time.

When I came back from the Puerto Rico wedding, I quickly got ready for Leah’s Bat Mitzvah.  I have a friend who tutors children, and they were looking for someone to officiate the ceremony, so we worked as a team together.  It was really enjoyable, and the family was so much fun to work with.  The Bat Mitzvah was held on a Saturday evening, so we held a Havdalah service, which seems to be super popular these days.  It happens to be my favorite service, because I love including the contemporary Havdalah music and including everyone in the song and ceremony.  What great fun!  Leah did a great job, as did her sister, who also chanted from the Torah.  It was a beautiful night!

Just before the Bat Mitzvah, I spent a few personal days in Orlando as well, and saw my newest favorite musician, Matt Shenk.  He’s so awesome, and his music is at the top of my “most played” list in Itunes.  He is a master guitar player, has an awesome voice, and his words are so relatable!  Check him out at www.mattshenk.com.

Last week, I had the pleasure of officiating the wedding of Micha and Sam.  I don’t have pics yet, so I am saving the blog story, but they were so adorable, I just had to mention them here.  One of the youngest couples I have married, they are also one of the most mature.  I can’t wait for them to get back from their honeymoon, so I can hear how their first week of marriage went!

This weekend, I am performing the wedding for Annie & Greg. Annie is working incredibly hard at pulling off her wedding on a tight budget, and I think she has done an amazing job.  I can’t wait to see the result of her efforts.

I am also performing a Baby Naming for Mason and Emily, Sage and Jonah.  This is the couple I wrote about last week, titled, A Baby Naming, For all the right reasons…I can’t wait for this beautiful event, and to meet these two lucky little boys.

Trevor is home, and in between, I’m going to try to spend as much time as possible with him.  It’s a busy month, and I am so blessed to be so busy!  And I count those blessings, every day…




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I have been sooooo tired of hearing all the bad economic news lately, that I have almost stopped listening to the news, or reading the paper.  But, today I stumbled upon good news, and it was so exciting, especially because it directly relates to what I do.  I’ve considered myself so fortunate this year, that while everyone has been lamenting about their economic conditions, times are good for me.  I have felt that my business is fairly recession-proof, as long as you provide value for what you do, and I think I work very hard at keeping my prices reasonable, especially for the service that I offer.

That being said, I was happy to read an article today, about brides continuing to book Destination Weddings in the Caribbean.  I have often said that the weddings I officiate in the Caribbean and Mexico are so worthwhile, and way more fun than a 4 hour soiree that costs a fortune, just because it has the word “wedding” attached to it!  When my clients get married at an All Inclusive resort in the islands, their guests get to enjoy a 3 day (or longer!) vacation together, rather than a 4 hour hustle-bustle with mediocre filet and lobster tail, and a dried out potato.

The families get the most amazing bonding time, and the experience can’t be beat.  The wedding planners I have worked with are proven professionals, and the whole experience brings the best memories I could ever imagine.  My clients are relaxed, their families and friends are having FUN, and best of all – they’re spending less than half of what they would spend in the U.S.

I’m so happy to hear that my brides in 2009 and 2010 are still going to be booking Destination Weddings, and that I might be fortunate enough to continue sharing the most amazing experiences with them and their families for the coming years ahead.  I can’t recommend the experience highly enough – and if you are just beginning to think about where you can take your family for your special day – be sure to ask me, because I’ve really had a world of experience the last couple of years.

Looking forward to discussing performing your Destination Wedding in the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and beyond!  Be sure to check out my Facebook page, as well as my blog, for photos, and writeups on my most recent destinations.  What a great job I have!  See you in the islands!


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Today I performed a wedding for Scott & Mara, one of the most lovely, down to earth, authentic couples I have met in a long time.

Just pronounced Husband and Wife!

Just pronounced Husband and Wife!

From the moment I met them, I was touched by their simple honesty and affection for each other.  In a very short time, I felt like I really came to understand the essence of who this couple was, what they stood for, and what they wanted to be to each other, in their lifelong partnership.  Mara had a 5 year old son, from a previous relationship, and they gave birth to Sophie about 9 months ago, so it was very important for them not only to create the perfect wedding ceremony, but to honor their children with a unity ceremony to join the family together.

They were married at Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens.  The location provided a beautiful backdrop for a simple ceremony.  Scott and Mara are a no frills couple, and their wedding matched their personalities so perfectly.  The important thing to each of them was to honor their love and future commitment with a simple, authentic ceremony that was all about them.  No pomp and circumstance here, and it was much appreciated, by guests, family, and an officiant who is used to lots of p&c!  🙂  This time, it was the two of them, their son Zack, their daughter Sophie, and 25 friends and family members who meant the world to them.  Their chuppa was a family tallit (prayer shawl) that were attached to bamboo sticks, and 2 of their younger guests held it over their heads.

Scott and Mara's homemade Chuppa

We created the sand ceremony to include Zack and Sophie, read the 7 blessings, and I sang the Birkat Cohanim, the Priestly Blessing, in my favorite Julie Silver style melody.  My comments, as usual, were strictly about Scott and Mara, who they are to each other, what holds them together, and what they wanted to be for each other in the future.  It was a beautiful service.  Mara was a beautiful bride, and the couple looked amazing together.

What I loved about it was how comfortable it all was.   It was easy.  There was nothing superficial, nothing contrived.  Just a story about Scott, Mara, Zack, and Sophie, and the lives they will all share together.  I was honored to be part of their day, and wish them many years of joy and happiness together.

Breaking the Glass...Mazel Tov!

Breaking the Glass...Mazel Tov!

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I was sitting here, thinking of all the overdue posts I have to write about, and all the organizing and task lists that need to be handled, and I realized that before I did one more thing, I wanted to reflect on what has made this month incredibly amazing.  Because, without the events of this past month, next month, and the months after just wouldn’t be possible. I think it’s soooo important to say thanks – even for the small things, like someone stopping by and saying hello on my blog.

First, my Mom had surgery last Thursday on her back, and I’m happy to say she came through with flying colors.  It’s been a long time (Thank You, G-d) since anyone in my family has had any health concern at all, so this one was scary, but she’s on the road to recovery.  I’m so thankful that I have both of my parents, and they are in great health.  The alternative is unthinkable, so I’d like to keep this status quo for a LONG time.

Second, I think Lauren and Trevor are beginning to settle in to this year, so I’d like to say THANKS to them both, for being great grown up children, and spreading their wings.

I have some great new weddings that I am planning – and I am so thankful that the calendar is filling up daily!  I looked at my spreadsheet yesterday, and every month is just jam packed with weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, and lots of other great events.  I’m co-officiating a Jewish/Catholic wedding in Gainesville in May, a 2nd wedding for a lovely couple right here at home, the wedding of a good friend’s son, and lots of upcoming events in Mexico, Puerto Rico, and The Bahamas.  (Doesn’t anyone want to hire a Cantor on the Amalfi Coast in Italy????)

On the Bar Mitzvah front, I’m going to do the Bar Mitzvah for my friend Jacey’s brother in law in Chicago, a Bar Mitzvah on a yacht, and then, of course, there is Andrew’s(Spencer’s brother) Bar Mitzvah next year, on the Majesty of the Seas.  I recently began working with 2 new families in Boca, and I’m alternating their tutoring sessions with live & video chat formats.  So, I’m really thankful for web technology that lets me do this, from my office.

Along the way, I’ve met many incredible people out here on the internet, and I’m also incredibly thankful for them, and wish them the best of luck.  The top few are Roz, from http://www.sayitwithecards.com.  She makes beautiful e-cards for Jewish holidays.  Then, there’s Alex Klein (Are you out there Alex??) who I feel very connected to through our writings, in the gulf coast.  I hope he has made his way online after Hurricane Ike, and I have been thinking about him daily.  Tomorrow, I  am meeting Lisa, from Torah Tunes, who just happens to be in South Florida visiting from the North.  Today, I heard from 2 new friends – Audrey & Rob.  Audrey just dropped by and said hello, and I can’t believe how happy that made me.  Just to hear from someone, who took the time to make me feel special.  THANKS.  And Rob – with his very cool Mitzvah Art.  I sent a link to his website around to my most special contacts, and I think I made him feel special too.  OH – And then there is Jenni – She was soooo funny when she sent me an email the other day, pleading with me to book a date for her (sight unseen) and telling me that I fit right in to her family so well, I was going to become a member!  I cannot wait for that wedding!!! (Mexico, May 09)  I actually DO feel like part of the family already!

I’m so thankful for all the great contacts I’ve made, the word of mouth referrals that so many of my past clients have offered, and the work I get to do with close friends, because – that is the greatest compliment of all.  Thanks to everyone who supports me, who has been my greatest champions and cheerleaders, and for those who love me the most.  Those of us whose job it is to give from our hearts, cannot possibly continue to give without the love and support of those around us, and I am so lucky to receive so much love from my closest friends and family.  I am so excited about the coming months, and the opportunities ahead of me.  I am so thankful for my new clients, and my new friends, and I am so amazed at how the universe brings us just the right things, and just the right time, when we have faith it is so.


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This is a great article that I found on about.com, that I wanted to share. I especially appreciated Nina’s commentary on how important the officiant is. Many people forget about the officiant, but it really is what makes or breaks the wedding. Set yourself apart with a personal choice of an officiant, it’s sure to pay off in positive rewards!

What’s Worth It (And What’s Not!) – Splurge and Save Smartly on Your Wedding

By Nina Callaway, About.com

So many articles tell you how to save money on your wedding, but do you know where to splurge on your wedding? Here’s what’s really worth the cost, and how to be savvy even while you’re splurging.

  1. Wedding Photography

    Sad as it is to acknowledge, most of the wedding details that you worked so hard on will be mere memories the next day. The food will be eaten, the dress put away, the monogrammed napkins crumpled. But the photographs will be there to remind you of the memories and document your wedding day. So make sure that they’re top notch by splurging to get the best photographer that you can.

    Be Smart Take the time to shop around and find a photographer who you feel comfortable with, and who fits in your budget. Consider packages, which often give you a better bang for your buck. Be sure to ask to swap out things you don’t want, and be savvy about expensive extras like “Deluxe Wedding Albums.” Make sure that you get a set of pictures printed by the photographer – the finishing work (editing, cropping, printing) should be far better than what you could do yourself. But see if you can get a CD of the images so that you can cheaply print out extras for extended family members and friends who want a picture.

  2. Your Wedding Dress and Appearance

    If you’ve ever had a day where you just didn’t feel pretty (and really who hasn’t?), you probably didn’t have a very good time. Feeling confident and beautiful will not only help you enjoy the wedding, but it will help you shine in your wedding photographs as well. So don’t just buy the cheapest wedding dress you can find, but splurge a bit to get the wedding dress, tuxedo, makeup or accessories that will really make you feel great.

    Be Smart The right dress for you is not necessarily the most expensive. Shop sales, outlet malls, and discount stores, including national chain bridal shops. Consider buying a bridesmaid’s dress or an evening gown in white or champagne. And don’t forget used! You can get a designer dress for a fraction of the price from eBay or bridal consignment shops.

  3. The Right Wedding Officiant

    As far as I’m concerned, it’s all about the wedding ceremony. The reception is just gravy – a big party celebrating what happened during the wedding ceremony! So make sure that the person marrying you is someone you feel comfortable with and who shares your beliefs. So, if you need to fly in your childhood priest or rabbi, or simply take the time to find the right person locally, it will be worth it.

    Be Smart Found a beautiful wedding ceremony location, but don’t like the officiant? Find out if you can bring in your own minister or layperson. Don’t know where to begin? Here’s a guide to finding the right officiant to marry you.

  4. Your Sanity

    Planning a wedding is stressful! The pressures on a bride and/or groom to have the most perfect wedding are immense. So make sure you’ve budgeted some money for things that will help you relax. Whether that’s hiring a wedding coordinator, or a day at the spa with a friend, being relaxed will make a huge difference in how much you enjoy your wedding day.

    Be Smart Relaxing doesn’t have to be expensive! There are even free and easy ways to relax. And don’t forget to delegate. Your friends and family want to help – you don’t have to do everything yourself!

  5. What’s Most Important to You

    Whether you’re a gourmet who wants to make sure the food is top notch, or a sports nut who’s dying to have a special grooms cake, it’s worth it to spend money on those little details that make your wedding special to you. In my wedding planning questionnaire for the newly engaged, I ask couples to individually rate what’s most important. This information can then be used when you set your budget, allowing you to allocate a little extra cushion for those important things.

    Be Smart Be sure to use a wedding budget worksheet, and remember that you’ll have to cut the budget in other areas in order to accommodate the splurges. Remember that there are many ways of including special personal details that are free or inexpensive, including special wedding readings at the ceremony, naming your tables after places you’ve been together, or using family heirlooms such as your mother’s wedding veil.

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Wedding at Broken Sound

Wedding at Broken Sound

Stacey & Bruce Wedding Ceremony

I love summer, because it is the season for weddings, and I’m so fortunate to have the privilege of working with so many amazing clients this summer. First, and most especially, I just officiated the wedding of Bruce & Stacey Herzer. This was another amazing couple, and I was very much in awe of their quiet, simple personalities, yet, these were anything but simple people. I don’t think I’ve ever known anyone so smart, but incredibly relatable, down to earth, and easy to know. My friend Jerry had officiated at their friend’s wedding at Broken Sound, but because he was not up to taking a wedding at this time, he referred me to Stacey’s mom – Susan. Susan called me one day, to try to set up a time to meet, and it just so happened, she was going to be right around the corner from me, at the hospital in Hollywood, visiting Stacey’s Grandmother, Edith. So, we arranged to meet there, and because Edith was not well, I offered to visit her too, and say the Mishabeirach, the healing prayer, with her. It was at that moment that I really felt like part of the family.

Susan lives here in Boca, but Bruce & Stacey live in Raleigh, NC, and strangely enough, I was in Raleigh this past December, officiating the Greer wedding, and was able to get some time away to meet Stacey and Bruce in person. What great timing! They came and picked me up at my hotel, and we went to lunch, and this is where I fell in love with my newest wedding couple!

Stacey was just finishing her PHD, and works in the fascinating field of Genetics. Bruce is an amazing guy who wants to make a difference in the world by helping companies become more environmentally conscious. They are both the most wonderful people, with pure hearts and energies, and such a beautiful love for each other. I loved the moment when we were walking out of the restaurant to the car, to go back to the hotel, and Bruce was walking ahead of us, and Stacey leaned in to me and whispered…”Isn’t he SO cute?” He really was! And he loved her with everything he had, and she loves him just the same way. But, what I loved most is that they didn’t need to flaunt it. It just sat out there, so you knew it, without anyone having to demonstrate it. It’s hard to explain, but they were just so easy to be with, and you couldn’t help but love them.

The wedding was beautiful, and they were heading off to an amazing honeymoon adventure that I cannot wait to hear about when they return. I left feeling like one of the family, my favorite feeling in the world!

Now, looking forward to the rest of the summer, I have some adventures coming up. I haven’t traveled in a while, so this summer, I’m looking forward to the weddings of Michael & Larissa in the Bahamas, Evelina & Felix in Aruba (Friends of Dan & Rita’s), and will also be going to Mexico and San Juan, PR in the upcoming months.

Right here at home, I have the honor of joining Wendy & Kristin in a Gay commitment ceremony on Ft. Lauderdale beach, with their son, Cody. Then, in a couple of weeks, stay tuned as I tell you the wild and crazy story about Dana’s beach wedding with Dora the Explorer. Life is such an adventure!

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As if helping people, working with them at their happiest times in life, and traveling all over the world isn’t good enough – there’s yet one more reason why I absolutely LOVE what I do. That reason is my friend Liz’s family, for whose family I have truly become “Their Personal Cantor”. Let me tell you more….

I became invested as a Cantor in 2004, and shortly after my investiture, my friend Liz, who I worked with professionally at the time, was also single, and dating. Since I was a bit older than she was, I always had to check out who she was looking at and talking to, and give my approval to. Well, in a separate post you can read about Scott & Liz’s courtship and marriage, but – because I was so closely involved with their first meeting, they asked me to marry them, and I did! I had performed weddings before, but this one was SO special. She was my friend, and now, so was Scott.

Almost immediately, as was their plan, Scott and Liz got pregnant with Jordyn, the cutest little girl ever! (Well, except for my niece, Alexa – sorry guys…) As her pregnancy was moving further along, Liz called me and asked me to officiate her baby naming, which I would have LOVED to do, but she did it on Thanksgiving weekend that year, and I had already been hired to officiate a naming in Atlanta for a friend, so I was unable – that made us very sad, because it just wasn’t going to be the same. “Next one”, I promised…and they agreed.

Since I had worked with Liz, I got to know her mom, Debra, who is one amazing woman. I love her. She is rough and tough on the outside, and as soft as a marshmallow on the inside. Debra would give her life for her kids, and I’m sure, many times, she felt as though she did. Through my relationship with Liz, I also got to be quite friendly with Jamie, Liz’s brother, who also worked with us in the same office. (We were all in the recruiting industry at the time. They still are, but obviously, I left to follow my heart..)

Jamie’s dating adventures were frequently topics of interest in our conversations, but one day, Jamie met Camille, and the rest was history. Camille is stunning – inside and out, but I’ll talk more about her later. As I got closer with this family, I always knew Liz and Jamie had a super special relationship with their grandma, Agnes. Agnes lived an amazing life, and was so fortunate to live a long one, full of love, children, family, and good times. She died just a few months ago, and at the time she passed away, Liz called me to tell me about her grandmother, and asked me to officiate her funeral. The family couldn’t possibly want anyone else to do it, she said, and I was there. I put all of my other work aside, and immediately became immersed in this family, the brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, everyone. No different from any other family in mourning, but this was somehow MY family, and I felt their pain as if it were my own. I chanted El Malei Rachamim at the funeral, and when I sang this beautiful melody, I was transported to a different place somehow. My feet on the floor, but my heart rose above, and again, I knew, I was in the perfect place. Helping this family through a difficult time, I somehow felt that I could take some of their pain away, and I hope they would tell you that I did.

Well, we all knew at the time of Agnes’s funeral that we had happier days to look forward to together. Jamie and Camille’s wedding was scheduled for June 7th, and we were so excited! Just knowing we had that happy occasion to celebrate made everyone feel better, in joyous anticipation of the day that they would walk down the aisle, and of course – I would officiate their wedding.

Ok, so, back to Camille. Last December, I officiated a Bar Mitzvah for a mutual friend of ours on a RCCL cruise ship, and Jamie was a guest on that cruise as well. I knew he was bringing Camille, but he hadn’t yet officially proposed. I was excited to meet her, and she was everything everyone had said – and more. She was the perfect balance for Jamie – fun, beautiful, a little bit bad girl – but mostly good – and very grounded. She had a little boy named Gaige, who Jamie had really become a father figure to, and they had just bought a house together, and were getting ready to move in. I told them I wanted to do their wedding, but that was a bit off in the future, and they weren’t ready to think about that yet.

Until a few months later, when they were settled in, and then I got the call from Liz. “Jamie and Camille got officially engaged, and you need to call them”, she said. So I did. Jamie and Camille wanted a very different wedding than what Scott and Liz had, but, it was still beautiful, warm, spiritual, and most of all – it focused on what was important. The very special love between Jamie and Camille, that anyone can see when they are together. It was simple and non pretentious, but it was personal, and all about Jamie and Camille. That’s how I want my weddings. Camille called me yesterday to say they had just gotten back from the honeymoon, and to thank me for performing a beautiful wedding. There’s no greater feeling than to stand at the union of two very special people, feeling their love for each other, and everyone’s love for them as a family, and to know that I made it official. But not only did I make it official, I became even more so, this family’s “personal cantor”, friend, family member, and spiritual partner. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be part of their lives in this way, and now, I’m looking forward to next week, when Liz gives birth to her 2nd child on June 27th. (a boy this time… Again, I won’t get to do the ceremony, but I will get to say a few prayers) Of course, Liz had to go schedule the bris on another holiday – so July 4th, when everyone is lighting fireworks, we will be welcoming a beautiful little boy into the family, together. Truly a cause for celebration…

Jamie & Camille\’s wedding ceremony

Scott & Liz\’s wedding ceremony

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