Margie + Jesus

Christmas Eve and it’s an unseasonably warm 65° in Central Park. A bride, escorted by her son, calmly starts her procession at the South East corner of Bow Bridge. Surrounded by family smiling ear-to-ear, she meets her groom at the apex. From her blush, backless gown to the rose shaped ring box, the bride poured attention into every detail. Today, head to toe, she shines.

Bride's son giving his mother's hand in marriage

Bride’s son giving his mother’s hand in marriage

The wedding ceremony is always important to the couple but for Margie, I could tell this ceremony was very, very important to her. Both her and her groom, Jesus wanted a ceremony that reflected their shared Catholic background. Coming from the same religious upbringing, I felt fortunate to incorporate my first faith into a spirit-filled service for this couple. Margie specifically asked if I would wear minister’s robes. I was more than happy to oblige. I even sewed a special stole of gold brocade with red roses for the occasion. You can imagine our delight when Margie and I saw how nicely the stole complimented her wedding color scheme. I love little serendipitous moments like that.

Margie, Rev. Mary-Rose, Jesus

Margie’s sister read to us in Spanish. The couple wrote their own vows and followed them up with traditional vows. Jesus gave his personal vows in Spanish and Margie started hers by thanking everyone. In keeping with the Catholic tradition, Jesus and Margie’s service started with an invocation and ended with a benediction. In the middle, I broke away from tradition by inviting everyone to share in blessing the couple.

Giving all the love I had to give that afternoon, was easy. Before the service started, I could feel the love and support from their family. A couple, passing by, stopped to watch the service. Hand-in-hand, their attention pointed, I could see they too could feel the love.

Ashley + Garett

I’ve walked by the Metropolitan Club on the corner of 5th Avenue and 60th Street maybe a hundred times. A few times I paused in front of the unmistakable wrought iron gate and peered in wondering just how beautiful the interior must be.  Never did it cross my mind that one day I’d officiate a wedding at this 125-year-old private club.

When I entered the foyer, it was all I had hoped it would be. I love old New York architecture and the interior of the club, with its high, ornate ceilings and grand marble, double staircase was no disappointment.  I was a little ahead of schedule and my couple were a little behind, so at the invite of the groom, I explored the first few floors. Every room, to my delight, had a fully decorated Christmas tree. The holiday lights covering the grand staircase made it even more dreamlike. I felt like a child exploring a magical mansion that called to the little girl in me to dance under its twinkling lights. Maybe if I wasn’t working, I would have answered the call.

Metropolitan Club Library

Photo by Bethany Michaela. All rights reserved.

I made my way to the ceremony room to find the mother-of-the-groom busy attending to the décor. She filled the room with white candles that only deepened the already warm and intimate setting – perfect for a winter evening wedding. The couple, Ashley and Garett, chose a private ceremony, simple and sweet with just immediate family. In the club’s library, the couple exchanged traditional vows and heard, “Love” by Roy Croft as they stood in front of the fireplace, flanked by white flower topiaries and more white candles. After the ceremony, holiday scents of evergreen with a hint of toasted marshmallow filled the air as the couple’s 3-year-old daughter, Sloan played under her mom’s cathedral-length veil. Ashley wore a chic V-neck, Duchess Satin dress with rhinestone detailing at the waist. Garett wore a dark blue suit and bow-tie. Little Sloan was dressed to match her mom including a mini-version of her mom’s red-rose bouquet, minus her own floor-length veil of course. When the cake arrived from Carlo’s Bakery, we were all delighted. Ashley mentioned the top tier was chocolate mouse and the second was Oreo cookie. Mmmmm. Before I left, the couple, their family, their photographer Bethany Michaela, and her assistant Abigail shared a champagne toast. What a lovely way to head into Christmas Eve.

Grand Staircase Metropolitan Club, NYC

Photo by Bethany Michaela. All rights reserved.

Helen & Johnny

“We spoke with 3 other officiants before we found Reverend Mary Rose. From the very moment I heard her voice on the phone, I knew she was the one for us. She spoke clearly, had a very soothing and pleasant tone in her voice and helped answer all our questions with ease. On our wedding day she arrived on time, which was all I could ask for considering it was Memorial Day weekend! She did a quick rehearsal with our parents and bridal party prior to the ceremony and made sure everything would go off without a hitch. The ceremony was absolutely beautiful. It was emotional, touching, funny, everything we could’ve asked for. There was a moment I had to read my personal vows and started getting choked up. Rev. Mary-Rose told me to take my time and helped me through the moment. I cannot thank her enough for her professionalism and support. I highly recommend her. In fact one of my bridesmaids will be working with her for her October wedding as well :)

Brilliantly Wed May 23rd, 2014

Helen & Johnny

Videography: Myther Ganibe
Photography: Cly by Matthew
DJ: Vincent Formanes
Venue: VIP Country Club

Double Happiness ~ It All Started in 8th Grade

Chinese Wedding TraditionsBrief excerpt from a Chinese-American wedding ceremony written and performed by Rev. Mary-Rose:

“An ancient Chinese legend holds that a couple is bound at birth by an invisible red thread which continuously shrinks over the years until the couple is united in marriage.  The legend states that nothing in this world can sever the thread, not distance or changing circumstances.  Marriage is their destiny.

If the legend is true, this couple’s thread must have been long, for the journey to this day has been an extended one.  Back in grade school, when Phong wrote his phone number on the back of his 8th grade picture, asking Jade to call him, little did he know he would be standing here today.  When Jade moved out of her parent’s house, she threw out that same picture thinking, “Oh, I’ll never see that guy again,” little did she know she would be standing here today.

During their college years and after, to their surprise, they would run into each other.  On one such an occasion, Phong decided to ask Jade out.  This time, he was not going to let chance get in the way; he was going to be the one calling her.  But with her phone number in hand, getting Jade to go out with him wasn’t so easy.  He had called several times to ask her out.  Jade’s initial response was, “Whatever.”  Fortunately, Phong is quite persevering and Jade eventually agreed to have dinner with him.  That was the beginning of their romance and the continuation of their long friendship.

Today in the presence of family and friends, Jade and Phong will commit their lives to one another. With the words “I do” they not only profess their love, but also pledge to remain by the side of their beloved in both the good and bad times and during the joys and sorrows of life.”

CONGRATULATIONS Davy and Pauline




CONGRATULATIONS Davy and Pauline

Married today in Central Park at Bethesda Fountain. You were real troopers in spite of the cold.

May Day Dream on Cherry Hill

Nestled into the gentle slope of Cherry Hill, the bride’s mother sang “Over The Rainbow” a capella to about sixty guests as the best man carefully passed to each person in attendance the couple’s wedding rings.  One by one, the guests held the rings tied together by a Caribbean blue silk ribbon and infused them with blessings and well wishes.   Once all the guests had a chance to hold their rings, I blessed them one more time and noted to the couple, “Carolyn and Roger, your rings have been infused with love by those you hold so dearly to your hearts.  From this day forward, when you look at your rings, not only remember the love you share with each other but the love your share with those here today. ”

Todd and I first met Carolyn and Roger when they came to our home to see about officiating their wedding.  I was impressed with how wise this couple seemed and how open and friendly they were.  Later I found out that they were looking for more than an officiant, but someone with whom they could make a real connection with.  They talked about how dear their friends were and how they love to entertain guests in their home.  Friends are truly important to Carolyn and Roger and they wanted their ceremony to reflect that.

They chose to be married on a bright, sunny day in Central Park; one of those days that can only describe as just gorgeous.  The park for them represented so much of their relationship.  Quite regularly they would take walks through the park.  It is where there they connect with each other and to nature; kind of a spiritual encounter.  The previous Easter Sunday, Roger had proposed to Carolyn at Shakespeare Garden.  They intentionally chose not to get married inside a church because as Roger put it, it was the “most boringest thing ever” he said with such matter-of-factness that we all had a good laugh.  Instead they like to find the spirit of things anywhere they go.  They commented that when they are together, they are like childhood playmates.  They wake up every day already laughing, they told me.

Not just the location but their wedding date had personal significance.  Carolyn loves celebrating May Day with all the flowers, ribbons and lights.  To commemorate May 1st, after the ceremony guests waived ribbon wands in colors lemon yellow and Caribbean blue.  Their wedding day was marked by the New Moon of Ashwini Nakshatra, an auspicious day for marriage in the Hindu Vedic tradition.

Among the many touching moments of this couple’s wedding day was the moment after Carolyn arrived at Cherry Hill with her mother via Pedi Cab.  Roger went out to greet the two.  As Carolyn’s mother made her procession to the ceremony, Roger and Carolyn took a moment to simply be with each other and enjoy the moment.  Together, they then walked hand-in-hand down the center of the assembly as Roger’s mother played her violin.  She was so happy to be performing at her son’s wedding.

Once the ceremony began, tears started to roll.  Many of the couple’s friends and family were so unspeakably happy for them.  The bridesmaids wore Robin’s egg blue and gold summer dresses with gold pumps and pale blue pashminas.  One of the bridesmaids was a long time friend of Carolyn’s who she hadn’t seen in ten years. Vibrant neckties in Caribbean paired with bright yellow flower boutonnieres wrapped in matching blue silk ribbon made a striking image wherever the groomsmen gathered.  The bride looked stunning in a retro style dress she had specially made for the occasion.  Peeking out from underneath her wide swing skirt were layers of soft peach-pink tulle.  If you looked closely, you could see scatters of tiny fabric flowers gently cast along her portrait neckline that so flattered Carolyn’s shoulders.  I love great design and this dress was a work of art.

To honor Roger’s Filipino heritage and Carolyn’s Celtic roots, they chose to represent their backgrounds with a fasting ritual that melded the Filipino cord ceremony with the Celtic hand fasting ceremony.  Both traditions draw upon the symbolism of binding two unique individuals to each other.  In the Filipino tradition, the cords are draped over the couple’s shoulders.  In the Philippines, it is a great honor to be chosen to place the cords over the couple.  In the Celtic tradition, hands are fasted together by a cloth that holds significant meaning; many times it’s the groom’s tartan.  While the cord lay over Roger and Carolyn’s shoulders, the couple recited traditional Celtic vows.  In both traditions and as was the case that day, the cord was wrapped in a figure eight symbolizing eternity and loosely draped to symbolize that neither is restricted by the other and that the binding is only enforced by both their wills.

After signing their marriage license, something they choose to make part of their ceremony, their ceremony ending with a nuptial kiss.  There was no formal recessional instead guests mingled, pictures were taken and everyone eventually jumped into a yellow cab and headed to the reception including Todd and myself.

It was a beautiful ceremony on a beautiful day filled with creativity, love, family and good friends.