The Blog

Random Thought

Those planning a destination wedding might want to start watching “White Collar.”  I am rather critical when it comes to television shows –an inevitable byproduct from years of learning and teaching cultural studies’ courses.  It’s mindless entertainment, yet a few steps up from realty t.v.  (Wow–what a sad measuring stick!) However, since I lack cable, […]

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Jefferson Market Garden Ceremony

I fall a little in love with couples, such as C+P.  An almost born new baby and a move abroad to London made their wedding plans extra exciting and intense.  As I read the passage below by Leo Marks before they exchanged their vows, they glowed. “The life that I have is all that I […]

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Elite Palace Ceremony

If you read this blog, you know my forehead crinkles in response to the concept of the catering hall wedding.  Visions of dated colors and mirrored ceilings flash through my memory.  I’ve encountered a few very nice reception halls, though, such as the Westbury Manor and Swan Club.  But those are in Nassau County.  Until […]

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Studio Square Wedding Ceremony

Located in Long Island City, Studio Square is fast becoming the site of choice for couples planning an intimate, modern wedding ceremony.  I entered in freight elevator powered by a human to a glossy loft space with a cute outdoor patio.  And smiled when I saw the heart place holders decorating the table where D+C […]

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Officiating at a Loft with a View

L+B married in the fun Manhattan loft of RamScale.  They opted for a standard ceremony, but requested I integrate two quotes they liked.  I wove them into a new mini prelude, which is below. Every urbanite has witnessed lovers lost in themselves on a train. They gaze adoringly and kiss without care. Delightfully unaware of […]

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Review

Extraordinary! 6/23/2011 Shauna V. says: I first contacted Judie about 8 months from our wedding date. She was very patient and helpful in helping us decide/plan how to make our day special. She has an amazing gift for words, as our ceremony was beautifully written with a personal and meaningful touch. Liam has an amazing […]

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Officiant for Same-Sex Weddings in New York

So for personal, philosophical, cultural, and political reasons, I am obviously still feeling the sweeping exhilaration of New York’s Marriage Equality Bill. To honor its passing, for the first week (July 24th-31st) any LGBTQ wedding ceremonies will be $75 to $150 in most areas of NYC….Staten Island, the Bronx, Westchester, and Nassau County ceremonies will […]

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Thank You Note

Today was our “six-monthiversary”, so I thought I’d venture onto your website to reminisce.  I really enjoyed thinking back to that memorable (and cold!) day in Central Park. Thanks again for everything y’all did…it couldn’t have gone any better…the ceremony was fantastic, and the pictures were amazing. Thank you for being a part of one […]

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Informal Destination Wedding in the Conservatory Gardens

Images below were taken in the lovely “Secret Garden,” which is the English styled garden in gorgeous Conservatory Gardens.  Remember that a permit is mandatory here! Convocation:A+S, you kindly invited us within your protective “bubble” to memorialize the past four years and celebrate the possibilities of your future together. This ceremony will not create your […]

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Hip Brooklyn Wedding Ceremony at Linger Lounge

EXCERPT FROM THEIR CEREMONY: You have requested I read a special piece entitled “A Parable” by Maynard James Keenan, which best captures your love: “We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment. We are choosing to be here right now, hold on, stay inside this holy reality, this holy experience. Twirling round […]

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Thank You Notes

Thank you so much for your amazing presence at our wedding on Saturday. It was so beautiful thanks to you and your kind and moving words. Liam, you were so patient and creative with your ideas, we can’t wait to see the photos! Thank you both so much for making our wedding so special. Thank […]

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Coney Island Beach Wedding Ceremony

Personalized Prelude We gather here in the company of this witness, a few strangers, and the loving spirits of family and friends to celebrate the joining of Kenneth and Alexa into marriage. Alexa and Kenneth, not so long ago, you were strangers. Despite earning a degree in psychology, Alexa nonetheless felt intellectually unfulfilled: she took […]

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Snug Harbor Wedding Ceremony

The Snug Harbor Cultural Center is among the places I often recommend to my couples: it is perfect for elopements, intimate weddings, and large weddings alike.  Why?  Its diversity!  When a couple invited me to officiate their ceremony in the Chinese Scholar Garden, I came early to snap a few shots (more are in the […]

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Swan Club, Long Island Wedding Ceremony

I am definitely appending the Swan Club in Roslyn, Long Island to the list of catering / reception halls in which I sincerely enjoy officiating!  The Swan Club is part of an older Spanish-esque designed estate overlooking or adjacent to a tiny inlet that gives way to the Long Island Sound.  The specially designated ceremony […]

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Wedding Ceremony Officiant Video

Now that the weather is beautiful, the office wedding ceremony, Justice of the Peace style, has moved to North Forest Park (80-30 Park Lane; Kew Gardens NY 11415).  S+C requested a simple, spiritual ceremony for their elopement. Memorable Memorial Weekend wedding 6/1/2011 Shirley C. says: Judie and Liam are so understanding and professional! The way […]

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A Baptist and an Atheist Wed

Hi Judie- A BIG thank you to you and Liam for making our day fantastic! We appreciated your friendly professionalism and your ability to roll with the punches due to the weather-related changes. We were a bit frazzled upon our rushed entrance, not being able to hail a cab in our garb and having to […]

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Excerpt for a ceremony

“Once Unknown, Two Become by J.Guild” In two strangers, love abounds. No harmony of thought. Click. Click. Click. Merciful moments mirror meaning. Wonder wishes words. Sound opens in silence. Neither perfect prey nor yet kindred confidants. Neither apathy nor yet synchrony. But peace resounds.

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Wedding Ceremony on the High Line

I believe the “prelude” expresses it all here… Today, we give thanks to Sean and Facebook for bringing together Clint and Bridget for nearly ten months before they had the courage to meet in person. While corresponding in writing first may stump our grandparents, it is actually an old-fashioned way to converse. Before transportation proliferated, […]

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Getting married at Rockefeller Center Tree

If you are self-described fun and adventurous couple (like Annette and Jim, featured below) who always dreamed of having a small wedding at the Rockefeller Tree, then please remember that the area becomes very, very congested on weekends and in the evenings.  Consider having your guerrilla style wedding on the Rockefeller Plaza in the morning, […]

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Example of a celebrant style marriage service

Welcoming Family and friends, from near and far, you traveled to witness this couple finally promise publicly to be life-long partners. Before we continue, I would like to express warm appreciation to each of you for freeing yourselves from busy lives, including text messaging addictions, to offer this couple well-wishes. Since we find the meaning […]

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Thank you note

Judie & Liam~ John and I were both THRILLED with absolutely everything about our wedding ceremony…thanks to both of you! It was perfect and neither of us could believe that we felt such a familiar connection with two people we’d just met. Judie, you had no way of knowing that Maya Angelou is my FAVORITE […]

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Thank You Note

Judie and Liam, Kevin and I just wanted to say thank you again for such a perfect ceremony.  We both commented several times about how kind and warm you both were.  Your kindness helped us to not only be relaxed and at ease, but allowed us to focus on each other and just enjoy the […]

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Wedding Program Template

If you are looking for a detailed wedding program, you’ve come to the right place.  Here is a template (of my own design, but based upon others) that does a nice job of comprehensively outlining the components of a marriage ceremony. For fun and history buffs, I used old wedding vows as examples. If you […]

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Thank You Note

Hi Judie! I feel like the rudest person in the world! I cannot believe I didn’t have a chance to talk to you and thank you for the PERFECT ceremony. Bob and I could not have asked for a more perfect day and you were one of the reasons why it was so perfect. Thank […]

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“I Do!” wedding vows

Yesterday, I married yet another couple who requested wedding vows posed as questions only.  This is not uncommon at all!  The multifaceted reasons range from public speaking trepidations to wanting to “keep it simple” to language barriers. If you review the old Justice of the Peace style marriage ceremonies of yore, you will notice immediately […]

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More & Original Wedding Vow Examples

Here are some examples of “repeat after me” wedding vows that I put together for my couples. While a few are obviously “traditional,” most are original vows you cannot find elsewhere. 21. I take you as my lawfully wedded wife/husband to have and to hold from this day forward. for better and for worse, for […]

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A peaceful wedding at the Cop Cot

Thank you both so much for everything.  Our entire weekend was so much more than we could ever have hoped for! Judie, you were so patient and helpful and went above and beyond with the emails. And Liam…wow! What can I say? Nobody ever gets Ray to smile, and I’m usually the most uncooperative model […]

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Local Couple Elopes

That couples from elsewhere plan a small wedding or elopement when traveling to NYC makes perfect sense: coordinating schedules and finances for guests will prove difficult.  When local couples express interest in my services as their officiant for elopements (fewer than a dozen or so guests) I am especially elated: they could plan a larger […]

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Popular Wedding Vows

Below are the most popular contemporary wedding vows chosen by my couples over the past few years.  Since not everyone prefers vows in “repeat after me” format or to memorize them / read from a piece of paper, these vows can also be rephrased into a simple “I do” question or a series of questions […]

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Review & Thank You Note

Wonderful 10/28/2010 Helen A. says: Judie and Liam were amazing from start to finish and made the entire experience go smoothly. I can’t possibly recommend them enough! Thanks again, guys! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Hi Judie, Sorry it’s taken so long to contact you regarding the photos, but thank you so much, and please send a HUGE thanks […]

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Wedding Minister Services, NYC

This post is only for history buffs; I never actually used these ceremonies word-for-word, although I have adapted and incorporated some concepts into my standard ceremonies. Below is a marriage service from a 1900 handbook with texts for (Christian) ministers for weddings, baptisms, and funerals.  The person who put it together specifically included a sample […]

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Quaker wedding vows

Quaker marriage ceremonies are much like their regular services.  After a process involving proving maturity and desire to marry, the couple attends a regular meeting during which family and friends may recite anything that may be in their hearts — spiritual or earthy advice.  The couple stands when they feel the spirit move them, recites […]

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Carl Schurz Park Wedding

Kim and Dustin were the third couple I married on XXX.  Since their elopement plans unfolded with a few weeks to spare, they asked for wedding ceremony location ideas in Manhattan.  Liam and I were delighted that they took our advice and picked a site other than Central Park, which was particularly overflowing with brides, […]

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Tompkins Square Park Wedding

Socially conscious Colleen and Brian married on a glorious autumn day with dozens of their family members and friends surrounding them at the Temperance Fountain in Tompkins Square Park.  In addition to giving guests chocolates to reflect the sweetness and bitterness of life, integrating a Buddhist reading, and incorporating spilling wine to honor the tragic […]

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Yes, I do perform religious wedding ceremonies upon request…

It is true that the “traditional vows” for both civil and (Christian) religious ceremonies are identical.  Some denominations use variations, but the essence remains.  The vast majority of my couples opt for a civil, humanist, or generally spiritual ceremony.  Justice of the Peace style civil ceremonies are non-religious and contain generally straightforward language defining marriage.  […]

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Review & Thank You Note

Judie, thank you so much! You are incredibly articulate and understanding. Thanks for sharing that day with us, it was cool, fun, maybe as strange as any other day I’ve ever lived, but also so very happy. Thanks so very much! Steve & Sara ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1 reviews of Humanist Ethical Society of Spirituality Perfect Day. […]

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Notes on Destination Weddings in New York

Eloping in another city, especially one with only a twenty-four hour waiting period and no need to produce the birth certificate (a passport or US driver’s license is sufficient), is fairly easy!  Unless your plane experiences a delay.  With the winter weather soon emerging, please be sure to allow for two possible business days to […]

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Slide-show Wedding Ceremony at Manhattan Loft

RamScale is a wedding venue on West Street with stellar views of the Hudson River, the Jersey shoreline, Manhattan Rooftops, and even Lady Liberty.  There, K + T married before about forty loved ones in a most atypical ceremony. They put together a fabulously animated and humorously narrated multimedia slide-show with photos, video, and music […]

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Wedding at the Brooklyn Bridge Park

Taken only about a week after the new Brooklyn Bridge Park opened by the dock area where the Bargemusic and Ice Cream Factory reside, this photos of a couple I married in the Spring. Yesterday, I had the pleasure of marrying another couple in the vicinity during the day — fortunately before the heavy winds […]

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Commitment / Engagement Ceremony

Katie and Shane’s intimacy as a couple glows saliently in their images.  Mutual, warm, and affectionate glances and touches make their photos all the more real, animated, and earthy.  That they’ve been together for years could not be more obvious!  Furthermore, I cannot get over how sharp they looked.  Nearly navy blue seems to suit […]

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Queens Botanical Garden Wedding

I’ve officiated at weddings in the Queens Botanical Garden a number of times.  I admit that the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and the Snug Harbor Cultural Center are possibly more romantic and intriguing for photos.  Yet the QBG is convenient, has a friendlier staff, and is more democratic when it comes to weddings.  Yes, it is […]

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Weddings on the Beach, New York

Summer is not over yet. It’s only over for small people and the college bound. The weather forecasts in September, October, and even early November are usually ideal for weddings… on a beach … in the middle of the day … during the week. With fewer bathers, especially school aged children, running about, the beach […]

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The Ideal Wedding Ceremony

“What is the ‘normal’ ceremony?” and “I want my ceremony to be unique” are often spoken lines with much cross-over. “Normalcy” and “traditional” are relevant concepts.  It’s true that the “I take you to be my lawfully wedded spouse to have and to hold from this day forward, for better and for worse, for richer […]

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Wedding at NYC Historic Site

The Old Stone House is a great site for a small wedding in any season.  It’s not alone, the Voekler Oth House in Queens and the Merchant House in Manhattan are wonderful alternatives.  Getting married in a historic site in New York is ideal for those, like me, who love the warmth of more intimate […]

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Elegant Glen Island Harbor Club Wedding

Imagine: A cozy waiting area for your guests.  Clean bathrooms — and plenty of them.  Soft colors in ivory/cream-ish, beige, and dashes of greens and pinks on the carpeting (not that tacky over-done carpeting with bright gold and pink).  A huge, tall room with windows on three sides that can seat 200 guests comfortably and […]

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Wedding Ceremony Sites in Queens

If you are looking for a more off-beat wedding ceremony site in Queens, New York, here are a few ideas. Crossing Art Gallery Flushing Town Hall Oak Ridge, Forest Park Voekler Orth House Bayside Historical Society Flushing Meadows Corona Park Gantry State Plaza Park Astoria Park Alley Park Baisley Pond Park Queens County Farm Queens […]

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Tie the Knot on a Boat!

Felice and Graeme married on the bow of the Lucille at East 23rd Street and FDR Drive as about forty or fifty guests watched and cheered from the pier and twenty or thirty family members surrounded them on the boat’s front deck.  A writer and phycisist respectively, this intercultural couple thoughtfully placed phycisist textbooks in […]

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Wedding Ceremony in a Theater! (+thank you note)

Brooklynites Jessica and Brian came to Forest Hills, Queens for their wedding ceremony in search of an inexpensive, yet creative option for their wedding.  They married on Friday the 13th in an old movie theater (Cinemart Theater) with family and friends surrounding them with tons of warm support.  They requested a “sweet and simple” civil […]

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Exchanging vows on the Brooklyn Bridge

About half my couples marry in small weddings with fewer than a few dozen guests, another twenty-five percent have between forty and ninety guests or so, and the other twenty-five percent invite over a hundred. This decision has its origins in finances and personal preferences.  I’ve married eloping couples who clearly had the means for […]

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Queens County Farm Wedding

The Queens County Farm is a brilliant choice for any nature-loving, local couple.  It is cozy, quaint, and affordable.  Lindsay and Rick needed few decorations: they used fresh-cut flowers, including daisies, in classic jar bottles, some candles that will surely flicker beautifully against old-fashioned lead windows, and gave their guests hot sauce, which perfectly matched […]

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Elegant Wedding at The Glass Houses

Some four or five years ago, Liam (spouse-to-be then) and I were wandering around the galleries in Chelsea.  Having drank too much coffee to try to get rid of a headache induced by teaching six classes at various New York colleges at the time, I really needed to find a restroom.  We came across one […]

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Wedding Ceremony at Vetro, Howard Beach

Jennifer and Eddie were going to the Clerk’s Office in Kew Gardens, Queens to get married.  Then they planned to invite a few dozen family and friends for an early afternoon celebration at Vetro on a Monday, which is a semi-new reception hall space associated with Russo’s on the Bay that is ideal for weddings […]

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A Few Thank You Notes

Below are a few thank you notes sent by my couples recently. Hi Judie- We are finally back home and we wanted to thank you so much for our beautiful ceremony. It was exactly what we wanted, and we will always remember it! …When we got home, our marriage license was in the mail…Thanks again! […]

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Check-list for the wedding day

Hurray!  You are getting married in ten to twenty days!  Do not procrastinate on these items. __Acquire marriage license from same state in which you marry: put this in a very safe place and be sure to present it to your officiant before the ceremony. __Pick or write your wedding vows: serious and/or funny, it […]

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Blue Hill at Stone Barns Wedding

I am totally in love with this site.  Tucked away in Westchester — but conveniently only a ten minute taxi drive from the Tarrytown Metro North stop — Blue Hill is a restaurant situated on a farm.  A real farm.  A very picturesque farm.  And a farm that yields much of the food served in […]

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Alger House Wedding

Down-to-earth Traci and Dave secured my services back in March.  When I met them, I knew we were likely to be a great match.  They selected the Alger House as their ceremony and reception site.  For those not familiar with it, the Alger House is a townhouse/brownstone renovated to service various events, including weddings.  I […]

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Betrothal or Engagement Ceremony

Laura and Jonathan plan to marry in a large celebration with all their family and friends.  With Laura just out of school and starting a career as a pharmacist and Jonathan about to enter a nursing program, a wedding extravaganza was a bit much to handle at this point in their life together.  Still, they […]

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Note of Thanks

Couples sometimes ask why I leave so much room in-between ceremonies.  The simple answer: about fifty percent of my weddings begin a little late — about fifteen minutes — and a quarter begin more than thirty minutes late.  Most of the time, no one really is to blame: accidents are inevitable.  Take Kembilin and Dereek, […]

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Writing Your Own Vows: Example of Personal Vow

Not all feel compelled to write their own vows.  Some prefer the timelessness of classic, traditional vows.  In traditional vows, you promise to take each other in marriage “come rapture or ruin.”  This is a straight-forward promise conveying the unconditional essence of your commitment and needs little more embellishment. Others find contemporary vows online that […]

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Top of the Rock Wedding

William proposed to Heather about one year ago at Top of the Rock.  Throughout the past year, they considered approximately twelve wedding plans, including running to Vegas to elope, which they rejected for its overt showiness and, well, inelegance.  Finally — or so they thought — they decided to simply go to their local courthouse […]

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Joys of Weekday Weddings in the Park

Nothing else could have made this elopement stick more closely to the true spirit of the concept.  First, Kristi and Chris choose a Monday evening as their wedding date.  Secondly they planned to pack up their East Village apartment to move to Colorado the next day.  Thirdly, they married in a public place with only […]

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East Village Community Garden Wedding

Kristen and Michael married in the lovely 6BC Botanical Garden, which is an intimate community garden located in the East Village.  It also happens to be one of my favorite sites for small weddings in Manhattan.  Locals do gather there, but since few tourists think to visit tiny community gardens while visiting NYC, the feeling […]

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Chateau Briand Wedding

If you are inviting lots of guests who are traveling from both NYC and Long Island, the Chateau Briand should probably be on your list for possible sites.  It’s close to the LIRR (walking distance!) and has a nice outdoor space complete with television screens. Most probably know that I am not personally inclined towards […]

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Ritz-Carlton Hotel Wedding (Battery Park)

A small wedding need not be held at home or in a public park.  Some couples, like Danielle and Lee, dream of a small wedding in a beautiful location.   Since their ceremony highlighted the virtues and joys of friendship, it was most appropriate that their most cherished friends and family celebrated with them.  In fact, […]

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