A Once in a Lifetime Wedding: Set to Music at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts

I‘ve come to appreciate that as a celebrant, I, too have a bucket list.  And, sometimes I come upon a ceremony that is truly once in a lifetime– it was on my bucket list and I didn’t even know it!   The wedding of Colette and Mike was one such event.

The wedding was a few weeks ago and took place at the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.   As some of my clients know, I will go anywhere I can for a ceremony, if some form of public transportation allows.  So while I knew where I was going…. I didn’t really know where I was going.   Bethel Woods is the location where the fabled Woodstock Festival was held back in the 60’s (many assume, incorrectly, that the Festival took place in Woodstock, New York).  While Woodstock has a powerful counter culture reputation, the spot is a much more conventional these days, with an amphitheater style performing arts center and beautiful museum and venue, perfect for wedding ceremonies and receptions.

Although my bride and groom live in New Jersey, they were smitten by Bethel Woods; for, during their courtship they’d attended a Brad Paisley concert there.  They explain, “We knew we wouldn’t want to have our wedding anywhere else.”

As I prepared the ceremony, I worked to tie together the threads of their romantic story.  It occurred to me that perhaps Mr. Paisley had song lyrics we might use.  Although I wasn’t terribly familiar with his songbook, I had to think he had produced some romantic ballads.  After all, he is married to the actress Kimberly Williams Paisley.  Over 20 years ago, she had her breakout role as the cheerful daughter of Steve Martin in the remake of the classic Spencer Tracy film, “Father of the Bride.” So, after some investigation and polling of my country-loving music friends from Oklahoma, I found “We Danced,” with the following sweet lyrics, which were perfect for the ceremony script:
And from that moment
there was never any doubt
I had found the one
That I had always dreamed about
And then one evening
When she stopped by after work
I pulled a diamond ring out of the pocket of my shirt
And as her eyes filled up with tears
She said, “this is the last thing I expected”
And then she took me by the hand
And said, “I’ll only marry you on one condition”

Like no one else had ever danced before
I can’t explain what happened on that floor
but the music played
We held each other close
And we danced.
Yeah, we danced. 

Check out a performance of his song below.  The stunning photograph is courtesy of Kevin Ferguson.


Whether your wedding is an impromptu affair or has been months, or even years, in the making, I want to help you fashion a ceremony that reflects your history, philosophy, creativity, personality, and style – as individuals and as a couple.

Let’s craft a wonderful, meaning-filled ceremony that expresses the most significant aspect of your lives…one that recognizes the profound commitment you are making, as well as the sheer joy of the occasion.