Ceremonial Painting

It was a real pleasure to work with Alexander and Melanie and to be the officiant for their wedding.  The couple resides in Louisiana and until recently we did most of our planning by online video conferencing.  These two are former Marines and met as they were being deployed to combat duty. The worked hard to build their relationship when they had months of active duty in which each was assigned to different parts of the world.  A very unique aspect of their ceremony was a painting they did for the Unity Celebration. They each had a canvass on an easel on the opposite side of the room from each other. They pre-painted the background on the canvass and then each did ½ of the painting on their canvass.  When they were done, they took their pictures off the easels and met in the middle of the room holding them together so that everyone could see that they blended together in one picture. The guests applauded their work.

Ketubuh Tradition

Ron and Christy were married at the Enzo and Lucia Ristorante in Long Grove on Saturday, July 14. We had originally planned to have the wedding outside by a beautiful fountain in the back garden area of the restaurant, but it was raining lightly and the wedding was moved inside to one of the private banquet rooms. Everyone at the restaurant was extremely helpful to make things work for the wedding.

This was the first wedding I officiated for in which the couple had a Ketubuh signing. The Ketubah is a Jewish marriage contract, outlining the responsibilities of the bride and the groom. The Ketubah confirms that the couple are both willingly accept each other and assume obligations to one another. One of the oldest elements of a Jewish wedding, the Ketubah dates back over two thousand years. Today the Ketubah is more spiritual, and not usually legal covenants that the bride and groom make with one another. Often the bride, groom and Rabbi signed the Ketubah in the presence of two witnesses, family and friends. Ron and Christy chose to have it as part of the ceremony and it was a wonderful addition to a very nice family oriented wedding.

Bridal Train

Sarah and Mike invited me to be involved in their wedding ceremony at Kuipers Farm in
Maple Park on Friday the 13th of July. I had a great time officiating their ceremony and
they were fun to work with. Kuipers Farm is a great setting for an outdoor wedding and
they have a fun train ride that the wedding party and guests can take after the

Sarah and Mike use the Unity Cross for their Unity Ceremony. They got the cross
online and it was a nice addition to the wedding. There is a base for the cross with a
small drawer in it for them to store a love note to each other. The main cross in put in
the base by the groom and represents his leadership and protection of the bride. The
bride then has an ornate cross that is placed inside the larger cross that represents her
beauty and the many capabilities of women. The crosses are held together by three
pegs placed by the couple which represent the trinity and the scripture stating that a
three stranded cord cannot be broken.

1800s Chapel

I had never officiated a wedding before at the Trinity Episcopal Church in Wheaton for Juan and Jenice on June 16, 2018.  The original chapel of the church is a beautiful building that dates from the 1800’s and is a perfect setting for a wedding.  The all dark wood building has super high arches and beautiful stained glass windows.  We are pictured in an adjacent modern fellowship hall next to the chapel.  Juan is a Marine and wore his dress uniform.  This was a very hot day even for a 10 AM wedding but the building is air conditioned and very comfortable.  Several family members were involved in the ceremony including both of their mothers for the candle lighting unity ceremony.

Beautiful Lakeside Ceremony

The Weston Hotel in Itasca was the setting for the wedding I officiated for Leo and Mary on June 15, 2018.  I had not been at this venue and is it ever a beautiful setting for a wedding.  Attached to the hotel is a giant air conditioned/heated tent that overlooks the lake and is a wonderful place for a wedding and/or reception.  There is a great patio outside the tent and then a walkway down to the lake.  The bridal party walks down the walkway with guest seated on either side for a lakeside wedding with a great giant fountain off to the left.  Both Leo and Mary were easy to work with.  We did not have a rehearsal but everything went flawlessly in this relaxed wedding.  The wireless microphone I was using kept cutting out and the sound guys immediately ran a wired mike up to me from their sound booth about 100 feet away & all was good.

Campground Ceremony

I officiated the ceremony for Robert and Rachel in a forest preserve on Saturday, June 16 which was a day that came close to setting the record high temperature and the wedding was in the full sun at 1:00 PM.  Guest had to park about ¼ mile away and they had a golf card shuttling them to the remote campground where the ceremony took place.  Robert and Rachel got engaged at this very spot and it was an ideal location for their wedding.  The bride and bridesmaids all had lanterns instead of flower bouquets.  The guests waited under the trees in the shade before the wedding started.  There were coolers of cold water and hand held fans for all the guests.  Robert and Rachel wrote their own vows and both got an applause from their family and friends when they were done.  It was a very warm day but we all acclimated to the heat and it was not as bad as you would think it could be.  This was a very fun wedding with a very down to earth group of people.

Such a Friendly Family

Michael and Tina choose me as their wedding officiant for their June 23, 2018 wedding at Venuti’s Italian Restaurant & Banquet Hall.  I had the opportunity to attend the rehearsal dinner in the restaurant and it was a wonderful meal and what a friendly family to meet!  Michael and Tina wrote their own vows and when they read them to each other it was very emotional for both of them.  Their guests and family were very fun loving and they had a great ceremony filled with family involvement.

Cool Tradition

I officiated the wedding for Johnny and Rabiya at Chateau Ritz in Niles on Milwaukee Road on June 23, 2018.  It was my first time at this venue and it is a great setting for a wedding,  There is plenty of parking, a great upstairs room for the bride to prepare and it is big enough that they took lots of pictures in it before the wedding.  The hall was very large and they can actually handle two events at the same time.  This was a fun wedding.  We did not have a rehearsal but things were very well organized and it was a flawless ceremony.  In Rabiya’s heritage is a tradition in which the bride’s family accompanies her down the aisle and they hold a large veil above her as they walk in.  It was really cool to see and they both have fun families.

Great Customer Service For A Deserving Couple

I just had a wedding at Blumen Gardens in Sycamore, my second time to officiate a wedding there.  This venue has a rustic indoor setting that is absolutely great and a wonderful outdoor wedding setting and they have huge garden areas scattered about.
The outdoor wedding today was scheduled to start at 6 and everything was set up early.  There had not been rain in the forecast, BUT it was coming down steady for over an hour before the wedding.  When I arrived the bride and groom, Candace and Doug, told me they were going to hold off making a call on moving inside until 6:15 when radar showed the rain leaving the area.  Sure enough, at 6:15 it stopped and a few minutes later the Blumen Gardens staff went out and started drying off the chairs with a huge box of towels.  Then they followed up with a leaf type blower on every chair.  Within 15 – 20 minutes they had things dried and ready to go.  Another 15 or so minutes later the guests were seated and we got started.
The staff at Blumen was excellent and went above and beyond the call of duty to help Candice and Doug have the type of wedding they had always dreamed of.  We could have moved inside but everyone probably would have been standing throughout the ceremony – so outside was the better choice.  I watched and listened to the staff as they repeatedly checked in with Candace regarding what to do.  They did not try to pressure her to move the wedding inside so that everything would fit their time schedule.  I have been in similar circumstances in other venues and there usually is not much patience to wait out the rain.  (to be fair, other venues often plan more than one wedding a day AND they want to get their staff out of there on time at the end of the day)
The staff told Candice they could get the job done.  They talked to the caterer and worked it out so that hors d’oeuvres could be brought out before the wedding and then announced to the guests that there was a delay and they would be served.  This took care of the guests and they ate and drank and visited with each other.  The staff fixed everything, covered all the bases and did a lot of extra work.  There was no fuss about it!  They were there to serve and did their level best so that Candice had the wedding she had dreamed of and planned for.
About  20 minutes after the wedding was originally supposed to start I spoke with Candice as she struggled with what to do.  I told her, everyone is here to spend the evening at your wedding and reception. This is YOUR wedding and you should have the wedding you wanted if we can pull it off.  Everyone will be fine if we start later, so I think it is worth the wait.  She thanked me and said she liked my thinking.
This wedding was in the top ten of those I have officiated.  These two really love each other and it was so evident in the ceremony.  I always have two brand new handkerchiefs in my pocket in case the bride or groom needs one.  Debbie buys them by the dozen for me.  In this case I gave away two brand new handkerchiefs.  The bride and groom each prepared vows to read to each other.  The groom was even more emotional than the bride as he pledged his love.  It was very moving and the guest broke out in applause after each of them finished their vows.
I commend Blumen Gardens for their patience, extra hard work, understanding, creativity, ability to go with the flow, problem solving thinking and desire to serve others to the best of their ability.  Doug and Candace got what they paid for and it was delivered with a caring attitude and a smile.  I am so glad for them.
I got away from the wedding at least an hour later than I had originally planned, but that was no problem.  Debbie and I cooked supper together and ate after 8 PM.  We had fun working on it together and I was able to put together 2 suppers for next week from the leftovers.  We have a good marriage and that is probably a big part of why I am so passionate about marriage and helping people get theirs on the right track.  This was a really good day to be alive and involved!
Oh . . . by the way . . . about 5 minutes after I left the venue and was on my way home a light rain started up again.  By the time it hit the Blumen Gardens I am sure everyone was inside for the reception.  Thanks God for holding it off just long enough!