Step by Step: Wedding at Alice Tully Hall

j and sj

The beloved movie character Forrest Gump famously said, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Happily, the same could be said of my wedding Celebrancy practice! You see, while my datebook includes weddings that are planned many months in advance, there are always “last minute” ceremonies that appear at a moment’s notice, adding unexpected excitement and sweetness to my work.

Last Friday, I received a call from Josh, a New York City groom, who was interested in arranging an informal ceremony the next day. This particular call had additional bits of intrigue. First, the wedding was going to be a surprise for his fiancé Sean Joseph. The pair had already secured their wedding license and intended to return to the Clerk’s office at some future date, to have a no-frills, “get the job done” ceremony, as only a local government office can provide. The legal ceremony will be be complemented with full-on celebrations in their respective homes, New Hampshire and Australia, in the coming months. But Josh spontaneously opted for something more and arranged for Sean’s two best friends to come to town, from California and New Hampshire, for a surprise wedding! An added bonus was his suggested location for the vow exchange: the artistic staircase in the outdoor plaza, adjacent to Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall. This, after all, had been the exact spot where the grooms rendezvoused for their first date, 1,039 days prior, a fact proudly shared with me by my romantic, wedding planning groom!

Since time was of the essence, Josh and I coordinated by email, text, and phone on the particulars of the celebration. I was happily impressed with the rich details he offered about their “romantic story,” including stories about their individual histories, how they met, their courtship and his astounding proposal of marriage in Thailand, all of which I was able to incorporate into the ceremony. He provided guidance on the vow selection and details about their rings, too. Despite the quick turnaround time, we managed to enhance the script with heartfelt words penned by the dynamic duo attending the wedding. The plan was hatched, and a day later…..voila! a personalized, fun—yet meaningful—private celebration, nestled in the heart of New York City’s Upper West Side. By the time I closed the ceremony with a sentimental quotation by the Sufi mystic Rumi, there wasn’t a dry eye among us.

The day was perfect—bright, breezy and sunny, after such a long dreadful winter. I stood atop the famous stair steps, outside Alice Tully Hall, in full celebrant attire. Josh and Sean Joseph and their friends arrived around 4:30. I had brought my usual “bag of tricks” which included cake and champagne to toast the Big Day, plus a few little extras, for amusement and photo ops after the license was signed. For me, it was a perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon in the City.

I think it is safe to say that the grooms and their guests were quite pleased with the celebration. I’ve no doubt this impromptu wedding will become part of their family folklore and a cherished memory revisited at their grander wedding celebrations, down the road. So, to my handsome, happy grooms I say, “Congratulations! Here’s to many happy, healthy years together!” Enjoy a few images from their special 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.