Ceremony Locations

When planning your special occasion
Choose wise a well traveled location
For by thru-way or fair-way
Your guests must find their way
To get to your blessed celebration

When choosing your ceremony location, think clearly about all of the practicalities as well as the romantic atmosphere and beauty of the location you choose. Be creative but be realistic, the two need not be mutually exclusive. Ceremony venues can be odd or even downright outrageous, but with careful and intelligent forethought, many sites can work perfectly.

The following are examples of ceremonies that I’ve officiated at some spectacular locations:



Lisa is a personal friend of my niece Debbie. (I always consider it an honor to preside over the ceremony of a friend or family member.) When we met for the consultation, at a local diner, their combined vision was for a lightly spiritual, nondenominational ceremony that spoke about their own special union. Lisa is a New York native, while Greg is from Bermuda. They both articulated their wishes intelligently and clearly. So we set to work on ceremony construction. I found it tremendously touching as they revealed their personal story during the meeting.

The most surprising aspect of their plans was that they were holding the wedding celebrations in Bermuda. They had rented the most exquisite mansion named ‘Heron's Nest’ which sat on the water’s edge on Riddell's Bay, Southampton, Bermuda. The view across the bay was spectacular.

Lisa’s family were restaurateurs and had owned a fine up-scale Northern Italian restaurant in Manhattan. Her brother, the executive chef, had his cooking utensils and various paraphernalia, transported to Bermuda; He was to bake the enormous wedding cake right there on the spot. It was spectacular!

The bride’s, mother, mother-in-law and the groom’s aunt did all the flowers. Some of the blooms were actually handpicked on the day of the wedding.

Another surprise was that the rehearsal diner-for over forty guests- was prepared and served by the parents of the groom; this dinner was nothing less than gourmet- I was astonished at the talented collaboration of these families! The time, effort and planning that went into this wedding would have flummoxed even the most talented wedding planner. Wedding attendants and family members actually flew in from as far-a-field as England, Italy, Germany, California-and of course from New York- for this exquisite celebration. Because of the nature of the venue, there were not the strictures or limitations on time, that typically applies to conventional wedding hall venues; Celebrations continued deep into the night. The younger members of the wedding party began singing songs from ‘The Grateful Dead’. Because of the repetitious mantra-like quality of ‘Touch of grey’ everyone began joining into this mass chorus: “We will get by-We will survive.” I’m sure this collective ‘live’ performance was clearly heard across the bay. This perpetual atmosphere of joviality and celebration continued throughout the weekend and beyond. Nothing about this wedding was predictable or in any way typical. At the end, everyone who returned home did so reluctantly. It was just so moving and so memorable.



As a clergyperson, it is always an honor to officiate the wedding of one’s own child. So, there was no hesitation when I was invited to officiate the ceremony of my son, Joseph, and our daughter–in–law, Kerri. My husband Kenneth also co-officiate the ceremony. Joseph and Kerri planned a rather formal affair at a delightfully picturesque museum setting in northern Westchester County, New York. They were both particularly impressed with the ceremony site, situated on a small, natural stone island. This island, linked by a stone footpath, is nestled within a frog pond fringed with flowering shrubbery and so liberally covered with floating water lilies that the water is barely visible.

Joseph and Kerri hired a bagpiper to “lead in” the bride. The long and winding walkway from the museum to the frog pond offered the processing wedding party a dramatic, pageant-like bridal path.

Alas, after one of the most glorious weeks of May, the morning of the wedding began with a torrential hurricane-like rainstorm that continued throughout the day and long into the evening. Cousins who flew in from England were shocked at the unrelenting, thunderous downpour; it reminded them—a little too much—of the damp, overcast Yorkshire moors. So, within a tent appended to the museum’s main building, the ceremony commenced. To the monotonous white-noise hum of rain, punctuated with the crackle of thunder, the ceremony began with the haunting wail of bagpipes. It was truly dramatic.

The ceremony, reflecting both Joseph and Kerri’s primarily Celtic roots, combined English, Irish, and Scottish traditional elements. A surprising addition, to honor Joseph’s Italian ancestry, was the offering of an Italian reading by Joseph’s Aunt Nietta, who is originally from Italy.

The choice of wedding party attendants was clearly unique and creative—as were their titles. Joseph asked his sister to be his “best woman.” He asked his other sister to be his “groom’s woman.” Though she included her two sisters as maid of honor and bridesmaid, Kerri requested also that her brother be her “brides-man.”

The ceremony began with an opening benediction, followed by an opening welcome and a Celtic prayer. The bride and groom, predictably, decided to do away with tradition, once again, by asking their fathers to assist during the unity candle-lighting ceremony. They were appointed on-the-spot as “candle ceremony assistants” and “keepers of the flame.”

After the Celtic hand-fasting ceremony, the final pronouncement, the first nuptial kiss, and the presentation, the wedding party recessed to the sound of rain and howling wind, which competed unsuccessfully with the ancient Celtic jig-like recessional anthem played by the bagpiper. With his kilt flipping and swinging rhythmically, his shoulders squared, his chin tucked, he ceremoniously—and very seriously—marched them out. It was truly and breathtakingly dramatic!