S: The Marriage Impressario
FC: The Marriage Impresario presents . . .
1: an officiant. I called myself The Marriage Impresario after briefly considering the more whimsical appellation, "da Rev'n DoWedRite." I presided over 9 ceremonies, including my niece's wedding and one of my godchildren, whose late father was my Best Man at my wedding. The latter, in fact, was my last and final service. It seemed like a poetic way to end this chapter of my life. I will remember these wonderful celebrations with great joy. N. John Garcia | It was a serendipitous event in 2007 that launched my life as a wedding officiant and it was a spur of a moment decision that it ended in 2012. A friend's daughter asked if I would preside over her wedding and it set off a series of events culminating in me becoming
2: Luanna and Ron's Wedding
3: This was not my first ceremony over which I presided but it certainly was the most memorable. The bride is my sister's oldest daughter, or my niece. What a thrill. It was a beachside wedding and strong winds played havoc with a sound system it ultimately drowned out. It in no way diminished the joy.
4: It was a Harley motorcycle that brought Ron and Luanna together through Mutual friends. The friends and Ron were going on a bike ride and Ron needed a riding companion. The friends introduced him to Luanna, then a lieutenant in the Tampa Fire Department. The ride was followed by a boat ride later that same day, then dinner, and finally a long chat on the couch into the wee hours. They obviously connected. The irony here was that the friends had been on the lookout for someone with whom to hook her up, but did not think Ron was that man. Oh, how wrong they were. What sealed the deal that first day for Luanna was that Ron spent most of the time talking about his four children and not about himself.
5: One of the things I enjoy most is finding out how couples met. Their stories are sometimes funny, romantic, serendipitous, ironic or a combination of delightful circumstances. In the case of Ron and Luanna, it was, at first serendipitous and then quickly romantic. It was a Harley motorcycle that brought them together through mutual friends. The friends and Ron were going on a bike ride and Ron needed a riding companion. The friends introduced him to Luanna, then a lieutenant in the Tampa Fire Department. The ride was followed by a boat ride later that same day, then dinner, and finally a long chat on the couch into the wee hours. They obviously connected. The irony here was that the friends had been on the lookout for someone with whom to hook her up, but did not think Ron was that man. Oh, how wrong they were. What sealed the deal that first day for Luanna was that Ron spent most of the time talking about his four children and not about himself.
6: A nephew's prayer, the ritual of removing the garter.... | and the traditional cutting of the cake to kick off a ruckus post wedding bash.
7: Ron's mom and Luanna's dad and one of Ron's daughters share an intimate moment after the wedding ceremony
8: Arvind and India
9: This was the last ceremony over which I presided. It was bittersweet because India's dad, ED, was my Best Man at my wedding in 1974, and, sadly, he passed away about two years prior to this ceremony. This was rather a unique celebration because it was the third "wedding' ceremony for India and Arvind within a 6-month period. Their first ceremony was a civil | service in Greenville, SC, permitting Arvind to put India on his General Electric insurance plan. Their second service -- and the official wedding ceremony -- occurred in November in Arvind's native country, India, in the state of Kerala. The service over which I was asked to preside was more a confirmation of their bond and staged primarily for the benefit of those in the U.S. who could not attend the official celebration.
10: This is a bed-like accoutrement that was part of the official wedding ceremony in India. The Indian celebration is quick and does not involve an officiant in the American tradition. Both family and friends are involved. The service is one more of gestures than of words.
11: India and Arvind are shown here in their official wedding attire for the service in native country.
12: India's mom, Betsy, and her brother, Martin, made the long trek | Arvind is pictured with his mom and sister. Almost 300 were in attendance.
13: New Orleans Arvind and India, recognizing many of their friends and family in this country would not be able to attend the official ceremony, elected to hold a “wedding celebration” in the Big Easy at which 100 or so attended. It was joyous but bittersweet in that the two most important men in their lives had past, Arvind’s grandfather who raised him after his father died when he was an infant, and India’s father, Ed McHale. Ed was also a very important person in my life.
14: The Way They Met It was January 2009 just off the campus of Penn State where both were working on their respective PhD degrees. Each was doing homework in a quaint off-campus Tea Shop. India was listening to music and Arvind approached. He complimented her on her headset. Not particularly imaginative but it was good enough to initiate the start of a friendship. They didn’t go on their first date until nine months later after they each terminated previous relationships. Things heated up quickly. | They didn’t go on their first date until nine months later after they each terminated previous relationships. Things heated up quickly. In rapid succession, they vacationed in Puerto Rico; visited Arvind’s relatives in Chicago; tried to run the Chicago Marathon and didn't finish, although India, who prepared less for the event, ran further than Arvind, and visited India's friends in Asheville. In September, Arvind made the decision to propose but went for a run to “clear my head and make sure it was what I wanted to.” It was. He returned, and in his sweaty running clothes proposed. The rest is history.
16: Jenny and Justin Wedding
17: The Apache Wedding Blessing Now you will feel no rain for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold for each will be warmth to the other. Now there will be no more loneliness for each will be companion to the other. Now you are two persons with but one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place and enter into your days of togetherness and may those days be good and long upon the earth
19: I want you to remember that love and commitment to each other shall not negate the truth to one's own self. For it is only by making yourself whole that you will be able to fulfill the commitments of a loving relationship. You must first care for, and tend to, your own life needs and problems. You must come to this union whole. Only then can you bring to each other your greatest strengths, your most tender kindness, and your deepest wisdom.
20: Jenny and Justin grew up within an easy driving distance of each other in Virginia, and both attended Radford College at the same time but never met. A member of the school's math department used a unique algorithm to conclude heir paths must have crossed at least 43.8 times! Well, so much for love at first sight. Upon graduation and within a few months of each other, both moved to Charleston. Jenny found a position teaching and Justin landed an assignment with Blackbaud, one of the nation's more prestigious, | small niche software companies. Even then, it was several months before their paths crossed thanks to a mutual friend. Justin showed up at this friend's house unannounced and there sat beautiful Jenny and cupid took aim. Friends at first, than committed partners and finally their marriage on this glorious day in an absolutely beautiful setting on the banks of the Wando River, just outside the Dunes West Clubhouse about 100 feet from the 18th green. So if you hear anyone yell, "fore," remember to duck.
21: I recommend a service to be no shorter than 12 minutes, and no longer than 20 minutes.. It may or may not include biblical references, witticisms on love or vows written and delivered by the bride and groom.
22: Liza and Mike Wedding
23: Charleston provides numerous outdoor options for a wedding ceremony. It is a waste not to integrate the natural beauty and charm of the area.
24: This was a lovely wedding again performed just off the Ashley .river on John's Island. I work very hard to make each ceremony unique by including as much information possible on how they met, fell in love and ultimately became engaged. I particularly like to find those funny moments that occur in almost all courtships.
25: Always remember that there are two very important elements of your love in a marriage. One is your friendship, or your ability to like one another. It is unique in a family relationship. You don't have to like any other member of your family, but you must like your spouse. And, second, there is laughter, that wonderful lubricant of the soul. If you can't laugh through life it will be a long and arduous journey as you struggle as a partnership to deal with those curves life has a way of throwing at you.
26: I like to spend as much time as possible with a couple as necessary to gather the pertinent information. They get to see the final script before the ceremony to ensure accuracy.
27: Liza and Mike met late last year through some mutual friends and within a short time became a committed couple. After about four months, Mike initiated his plans to prospose and the first step was to honor an old, quaint but refreshingly respectful custom...he called and asked Liza's father for her hand. But before he said anything, John put Mike on hold, rushed to get his wife, Christine, so she, too, could hear Mike's proposal. After all, what one man says to another is hearsay, but what he says to two people is a contract!! There was no backing out now.
28: Cleo and Phil Wedding
29: This wedding took place in the backyard of the couple's home. The two lit candles either side of the flowers were in tribute to two deceased parents, the bride's mother and the groom's father.
30: I had known Cleo and Phil for sometime before I presided over their wedding. Hers is a remarkable immigrant story that certainly came as a surprise to me. She immigrated from Brazil and worked as an aid to a wealthy invalid, operated her own garment factory and worked as an exercise jockey at the Meadowland Racetrack in New Jersey. She and Phil met through his mother and as Phil described, "It was love at first sight." He was living in Indiana when they met but moved to South Carolina after that meeting. He is a building contractor and she owns her own housecleaning service. They are a joyful couple.
32: We live in a time of increasing uncertainty, particularly in the decline of the meaningfulness of relationships, which brings into question the very purpose of life. Yet, through this all, love remains the enduring quality of human existence. In love there | is strength and triumph over despair. In love there is beauty. In love there is freshness, joy and happiness. It was the late Judy Garland who said it best in a book of poems: "Twas not into my ear you whispered but into my heart. Twas not my lips you kissed but my soul."
33: The only way to end a wedding is with a joyful party with family and friends, good food and libations.
34: Laura & Mark Wedding
35: Consider a portable sound system. At a minimum, have a backup plan. | There are several things you want to keep in mind if you elect a beach location -- high winds, and, of course, inclement weather. Sound can be lost, especially in high winds. .
36: Beach sites for a wedding, no doubt, have their charm. But Mother Nature has a way of providing some anxious, frequently funny moments. Wearing a hat, as Laura discovered, can be problematic at times. It provided a light moment she handled with grace.
37: Mark and Laura first encounter can only be described as ironic. They share a passion for the stage. Both are actors. . In 2005, Mark was starring in a theater production on a Baltimore stage. It was one of those quirky Neil Simon plays and they needed someone to play opposite Mark as his nagging ex-wife. Laura read for the part and Mark immediately had a prescient sense about her. They very quickly became a committed couple and within four years became husband wife. They followed up their wedding a month later, starring as husband and wife in a play all about love. You might say their lives were a case of art imitating life, imitating art. I'm sure they will have many opportunities in the future to play opposite each other while they nourish their lives together as husband and wife.
39: The second, the best way for a husband to remember his wife's birthday is to forget it once. | There are two husband axioms to which I subscribe. In a marriage, one party is always right and the other is the husband.
40: Catherine and Alex Wedding
41: The bride elected to have both of her grandfathers bring her down the aisle. One brought her halfway where she was passed on to the other. A sweet touch
43: The Summerall Chapel provides an elegant setting for a wedding. You can sense the tradition as soon as you enter. | One of the traditions is for the newly married couple to walk under a canopy of sabers..
44: Tradition extends beyond the university and touches families as well. The groom's two older brothers were previously graduated from The Citadel.
46: Signed, sealed and delivered. The newlyweds display the official document that is provided the courts to officially record their marriage.
47: Catherine and Alex is a story of two people who for four years kept a very tenuous link to each other . . . one that was breeched for a year and then reconnected. It was Alex at first who drove the connection . . . but it was Catherine who ultimately reached out to bring us to this wonderful moment . . . nine years after they first met. Catherine and Alex grew up close to each other in New Jersey and met for the first time in 2001 as sophomores in high school. It was a romantic setting . . . Driver’s education! They went on one date with several other couples and still another romantic experience . . . they went bowling! They went on to spend their remaining time as sophomores as casual friends. There was no magic . . . no love at first sight. Alex switched high schools after that year and they weren’t to see other again for another three years. Now, while nothing magic happened on that bowling date . . . something did happen for Alex who had this feeling he needed to stay in touch with Catherine. He began sending her repeated emails on an infrequent but steady basis that Catherine found progressively annoying. During this time, both had graduated from high school . . . Catherine went on to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y. . . . and Alex, first at Valley Forge Military College in Stratford, PA. And the emails kept on coming. | It was when Alex was at Valley Forge that an annoyed Catherine established an email block so Alex could no longer reach her. Finally, our erstwhile Romeo realized it was time to get on with his life. Ya think, Alex? Not so fast . . . A year later, Catherine terminated a previous relationship and guess who it was she needed to contact. Our man Alex – hey, a woman can change her mind. So she unblocked him and fired off an email”Hi, Alex. This is Catherine. Do you remember me?” Now, a cynical man after having experienced what Alex did might have greeted that query, sarcastically, with, “Catherine? Catherine who?” But not our Alex . . . too much of a gentleman . . . who warmly greeted Catherine in an email she has saved to this day and one I know she will keep and treasure for the rest of their lives together. They had frequent communications for the next two months and agreed to meet for the first time in four years over a Thanksgiving break. They only had time for one evening together . . . and they spent it at Alex’s parent’s home watching a movie. At least that’s their story and they’re sticking to it. I say that because neither can recall anything about the movie. All they remember is that was the night the magic happened . . . and they agreed to become an exclusive couple. | For the next three year . . . oh, after that one year at Valley Forge, Alex transferred to The Citadel where his two older brothers were previously graduated. Anyway, for the next three years they saw each other only in the summers, and holidays. That their bond to each other survived this kind of separation is testament to the love they grew to have for each other. In 2007, upon graduation, Catherine moved to Charleston while Alex completed his final year at The Citadel. On the 4-year anniversary of their Thanksgiving date . . . you remember . . . the one they spent watching (yawn) a movie . . . Alex rose to the occasion. It was a cold November night in 2008 when Alex took Catherine on a romantic stroll on the pier at Waterfront Park above the Battery. When they got to the end of the pier, Alex turned to Catherine and dropped to his knee. Ever the romantic, Catherine said to herself: “Oh, God, I hope he’s not tying his shoe!” Fear not sweet Catherine, our man came through and here we are 17 months later . . . and nine years after they first met . . . to celebrate the culmination of one very long courtship. You gotta love it.
48: Irma and Marcello Commitment
49: This was a special ceremony, a commitment by two people -- Irma and Marcelo -- with the strength and courage to proclaim their love for each other for all eternity. This was not a marriage since the groom had not obtained his divorce from his wife in Mexico. They had been together for 12 years and felt the need to go on record with one and all. | The ceremony took place on the beach on the Isle of Palms. There were about 30 in attendance, all dressed in white on white. Two Mexican traditions were honored, the lighting of a candle to symbolize their love for each other as well as the "Lasso," two rosary beads tied together, looped into a figure eight and placed over the heads of the two to seal that bond.
50: Irma's son, Xavier, and her aunt, Nayeli, helped both with the lighting of the candle and the placing of "el Lazo." I had planned to do the service in both English and Spanish but when no gringos showed up I decided to do it in the latter. Since I don't speak Spanish, I had a friend do the translation and I simply read the script, hopefully clear enough to be enjoyed by all.
51: Irma very much wanted a "certificate" documenting the service and I was happy to oblige. I titled it, "A Certificate of Eternal love which, like everything else was translated into Spanish. It was an unofficial ceremony but made extra sweet because of the couplle who still wanted to proclaim their love before family and friends.
52: I | This album represents my life as The Marriage Impresario. It reflects fond memories with hopefully more to come. I had no idea when I started down this path that it would give me such joy. | I hope you enjoyed browsing through my wedding memories as much as I enjoyed putting them together. N. John Garcia