Sunday, January 28, 2018


Saturday evening, I officiated Ashley and JP’s wedding ceremony at the Asia Society, in Houston, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

One of the unwritten but quite explicit rules of our American society is that if you work hard and play by the rules, you can succeed. And, Ashley and JP are really hard workers. The event industry, where they met, is defined by very hard work, coupled with extremely long hours.

This is not only true of Ashley and JP, in their professional lives. These two, like most smart couples, have never taken their relationship for granted. They have carefully nurtured and cultivated it, and it shows.
What is important to recognize, though, is that that is not enough. The comedian, Conan O’brien’s phrasing of the unwritten rule I began with acknowledges this. He says, “If you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.” Talk to Ashley and JP’s friends, and you will know they have this one covered too.
Still, hard work and kindness are not enough. The whole quote from Conan clarifies this, “Nobody in life gets exactly what they thought they were going to get. But if you work really hard and you’re kind, amazing things will happen.”
What else do you need, then? Well, it helps if you have a little bit of luck. For instance, and I’m just spitballing here, if you want to find your soulmate, it helps if you work in the same industry. It helps even more if your employers do business with each other. It certainly helps, if through that, you end up spending many hours together by necessity, and get to know each other really well, as friends first.
Luck can be extremely humbling. Now, I know, when you think of JP, humble is not the first word that comes to mind... Listen, however to what he says about how he feels about having Ashley in his life, “I can’t say enough how lucky I think I am to marry her. As I told her dad when I asked him for permission, ‘I always thought I would marry my dream girl physically, my soulmate, or my best friend. I never, in my wildest dreams, thought I would be able to find all three of them in one person.’”
And Ashley feels the same, “Everyday, I cannot wait to wake up next to JP, and know that I will be in the same place together when we go back to sleep. He is my best friend, my #1 pest, my prince charming, and the highlight of my day... I feel like I am... the luckiest girl for winning his heart.”

Sunday, January 21, 2018

More Romantic than Love-At-First-Sight

Saturday evening, I officiated Kathryn and Zach’s wedding ceremony at the Joule Hotel, in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:

Kathryn and Zach met at the ripe old age of… ten years old. Like you do! You think I’m joking, when I refer to this as old age; I’m not. They probably would have met much earlier, had Zach not arrived at the school Kathryn had been attending since kindergarten, just in time for fifth grade. If only he had known, I’m sure he would have gotten there much quicker…
Now, they didn’t start dating immediately, of course, though they did become friends pretty quickly. Here is how Kathryn describes the subsequent development of their relationship, over the ensuing eight years: “As we grew in age, our friendship strengthened, and we began to develop feelings for each other. Over the years we watched each other date different people, make difficult decisions, and slowly... grow into the adults we are today. We began ‘officially’ dating during the last week of high school, and about three short months later, my resolve fortified by liquid courage, I told Zach that I loved him.”
Even after that, as is often natural for young folks who have a long-distance relationship during college, they practiced a little “catch and release”, in their dating relationship, before they decided to make each other permanent life partners.
Now, it’s not like we get to choose how we meet our mate for life, but Kathryn and Zach find the way their relationship came into being and evolved along the way, to be perfect. As Zach says: “Our story is not a fairy-tale love-at-first-sight story. But I would argue ours is more powerful. The gradual nature of our relationship ensured that the relationship was based on the character and qualities of the other. This can’t be the case in love-at-first-sight situations. I believe loving someone after knowing them for fifteen years, seeing them in their best and worst times, and having the quality-time to become best friends, is more romantic than love-at-first-sight.”
Well, Kathryn and Zach, in that respect, tonight, you have made believers of us all…

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Go with the Flow

Saturday afternoon, I officiated Alana and Colby’s wedding ceremony at Hotel ZaZa, in Houston, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests:
I ask every person I marry to write an autobiographical essay about themselves. When I run across a sentence in such an essay that says, “I’ll never forget the day,” I pay extra close attention to what the person tells me next.
Here is how Colby describes the day he will never forget: “I was struggling with which direction life was taking me, trying to decide between going back to College for a second Bachelor’s Degree in Engineering, going to work for Lockheed Martin as a Financial Analyst, or finishing up my law school applications. It was that morning... when my spirituality changed from religion and ritual to going with the flow of life. My mom told me to not fight life, that I would never know which direction life would take me, who I would meet, or what challenges lay ahead.  She told me to go with the flow of life, not fight my love for math and go back to school for Engineering.”
Wow. Is that profound or what? I find it to be, not only profound, but especially meaningful and refreshing, in this highly goal-oriented society, where there seems to be a pressure to always look forward, never look back, and keep climbing the professional ladder regardless of how it feels.
Colby took this approach to his first date with Alana, and immediately found a kindred spirit. Alana describes who set them up, a great yenta in the cloud. No, not the clouds, the cloud: “We are very traditional. We met on We [then] met up... [in person]. We sat on the patio and enjoyed the fun ambiance and beautiful patio with firepits at each table, good drinks... and even better company. We had so much to talk about and were there for a few hours. While the frozen mojitos were pretty tasty, it really was Colby’s easygoing and loving nature, his charming good looks, intelligence and great sense of humor that captured my heart. I couldn’t wait for our second date!”
Now, Alana leaves out how going with the flow may have worked for her and Colby, but for her friends, not so much… Colby picks up the story: “At 11 Alana looked down at her phone and had missed around 100 text messages from her friends asking where she was! They were concerned about online dating, and that she hadn’t gotten back to them!”
It wasn’t long before Colby knew this was the one, who could go with the flow with him, long term: “I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with Alana, when I couldn’t imagine opening my eyes and not seeing her next to me every morning. She is my best friend, soul mate, lover, and adventurer. Life is chaotic, always moving in a million directions at a million miles an hour, but I know we’ll move in them together, through the ups and downs, and conquer them together.”
And Alana, cites this other guy who gave her the final proof that she had made the right decision. You may have heard of this other guy, who went by his first name only, Harvey. And, keep in mind, most of what Alana describes here, Colby only told her later: “I know he will support me through anything, and recent Hurricane Harvey is proof. He walked me to work through the flood waters, filled with fire ants and sewage water, walking ahead of me to make sure I didn’t fall through an open uncovered manhole into the sewers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle style.”
Well, that gives a whole new meaning to, “going with the flow,” doesn’t it?! All that’s left for me to say is, cowabunga, let’s get to those vows!