Saturday, December 22, 2018


Friday evening, I officiated Ashley and Raphael’s wedding ceremony, at the White Room, in St. Augustine, Florida. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

So, this couple is different. Now, that might be a true statement at every wedding. In fact, when I am asked what my typical wedding ceremony looks like, I often say that I don’t know. I haven’t met a typical couple yet; every couple is different. Still, take it from me, THIS couple is different. 

I’ll prove it to you. When I asked Ashley to tell me her story, she started with something I have never heard from any of the 400+ couples I have married: “Since I was born on 8/8/88, one would think my lucky number is 8; however, that is not the case.  According to numerology and 2 different psychics, my lucky number is supposedly 6.” You can’t make this stuff up…

Humor aside (is it ever, though), one thing that stands out about Ashley and Raphael is that they are extremely independent thinkers. They both have not been willing to abide by received wisdom. They have, as individuals and as a couple, approached life rationally and sensibly. They have contemplated big questions, and they have not shied away from the answers they have found, even when this meant they have been outside of the mainstream.

Thinking about big questions can sometimes make you a more abstract person, one less attentive of the needs of actual people. Not Ashley and Raphael. You get the sense that this approach has actually made them more grounded, kinder and more understanding.

Raphael sees this in how Ashley has been willing to inconvenience herself for him and for them: “She was willing to take a leap of faith, and move with me to Lake Worth, so that I could attend FAU. For her (this was) a four year commitment, (which was)... surely daunting, considering we had only been together for roughly one and a half years.”

Perhaps she was willing to do this, because she already knew what a kind and understanding person he was. Here is what she says: ​“I will never forget the day I met Tamir (Raphael Tamir Benaksas)...  I was bored, lonely, and happened to google something that led me to the okcupid website. I decided to sign up. I started randomly looking and reading through profiles, and found Tamir. Tamir’s profile intrigued me. Tamir seemed like... a genuine, caring person. Tamir’s profile made him sound too good to be true, so I decided to put him through the ultimate test. 

I emailed him the word “hi” without a profile picture. I figured a truly caring, nice person would not ignore someone. A perfect person would not judge someone based on their looks. As I waited for a response, I said to myself “I am going to marry this man if he responds”. Tamir responded. We have been together over 5 years. I get to marry the most amazing man alive...”

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