Modern Family: A Penny for Your Thoughts (or a Franc, or Euro, or Forint)

Photo courtesy of Sugar Beet Photo (Monica Velez)
Photo courtesy of Sugar Beet Photo (Monica Velez)

The recent Supreme Court decisions striking down DOMA (the Defense of Marriage Act) and subsequent decisions by the IRS on the tax status of married same-sex couples, have opened a flood gate of gay couples, coming to New York to exchange their “I Dos.” Again and again, I am reminded by these pioneering partners that American families don’t look one particular way—not that they ever did. (I do know as a child, growing up in the Bible Belt, having an absentee father and grandmother as the head of the household was downright scandalous. Oh how times have changed!). Gay couples and modern families come in all shapes and sizes and often include children, biological or adopted. One of these contemporary families came to New York, from their native Indiana, for a small wedding ceremony a few weeks ago.

My brides brought with them their twin sons, two boys of middle school age who were delightfully distinctive in their personalities, but unusually charming and well-mannered. We pulled together a simple, but powerful, ceremony to honor their relationship of many, many years. Dressed in their wedding day finery (one bride even donned scrumptious cowboy boots), with lovely flowers, and well-heeled guests, the brides married at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park. The breathtaking staircase, above the Bethesda arcade, serves for a fabulous processional. And their arrival was accompanied by a local violinist, playing wedding standards. The traditional ceremony included a hand-fasting ritual, ring exchange, and vow of community support, along with personalized vows. As always, park goers love a wedding, so as we “privately” shared the moments together, a group of onlookers took in the event. As the brides said “I Do” and sealed it with a kiss, the applause immediately erupted. Champagne toasts commenced, with the boys partaking in ginger ale.

Having just returned from Europe on the eve of the ceremony, I had various international coins in my purse….Hungarian forints, Swiss Francs and Euros. So as a final gesture, I distributed coins to the newly married ladies and their kids and honored guests. We all paused for a moment, grasping the coins tightly, making good wishes for this family and then joyously tossed the coins in the Bethesda Fountain, where our dreams and hopes and aspirations were guided by the winged angel to the Heavens.

Thanks to Monica Velez of Sugar Beet Photos for capturing the happiness of the day.


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.