Sunday, August 20, 2023

Turn the Tide

On Saturday, I officiated Sam and Nate’s wedding ceremony on the Glacier Park Lodge's back lawn, overlooking Dancing Lady Mountain, in East Glacier Park, Montana. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests: 

Sam’s initial impression of Nate was not promising: She thought he was loud and obnoxious and thought they would never be close. Nate acknowledges that she was right and that consequently they quickly became frenemies.

Now, if you have picked up on the fact that that is not where their relationship remained, congratulations, Sherlock; we are after all at their wedding. Indeed, Nate took a famous saying to heart, if you ever get a second chance in life, you’ve got to go all the way. 

That summer, due to a work schedule quirk at both of their places of employment, they found themselves at Friday happy hour together early, every other week, waiting for the rest of their friends to get off work. This gave them the chance to really get to know each other. Once Sam got to know the real Nate, she liked what she saw. It took Nate a couple of months to really pick up on the fact that the tides had turned, but once he did, it was smooth sailing from there. 

What a fascinating journey these two had just getting to the point where their relationship began. To me the lessons are simple. We don’t choose how we fall in love. For the most part, love, at first sight, is just a figment of Hollywood rom-com imagination. Relationships that are worth it involve stepping on each other’s toes. Relationships that go the distance are the ones in which we deal with some challenges along the way. Relationships that last are ones in which we allow each other to evolve.

It is this type of love that causes Nate to say that Sam makes him a better person. It is this type of love that causes Sam to say she couldn’t imagine a day without Nate. It is this type of relationship that brings Nate and Sam to each say that they want to spend the rest of their lives with each other and, of course, with their pup Lincoln.

Sunday, August 13, 2023


In July, I officiated Kelly and Michael’s wedding ceremony at The Astorian in Houston, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests: 

Michael says that the genesis of his meeting Kelly was at his 32nd birthday party: “A friend of mine asked me a few questions about my love life and future goals… She asked me if I would be interested in meeting one of her friends… We ended up meeting a few weeks later at a gender reveal.” Michael adds, with an air of intrigue, “I almost didn’t go to the gender reveal, but my friend was persistent.” 

Of course, on Kelly’s side, there was no hesitancy about attending, because said friend, Jacque, had said the magic words that melt every woman’s heart when she described Michael: “Michael Samuels… loves Disney, cruises, and Disney cruises.” Though their interactions at the party were halting, numbers were exchanged, before Michael proceeded to his next party. (I have no idea if it was Disney-themed.) 

Kelly says that things proceeded quickly after that: “Three days later we went on our first date to Little Woodrow’s. We talked for hours. I remember thinking Michael was so cute and interesting. We extended our date by getting burgers across the street. The night ended with a first kiss and plans to see each other the following evening. We went out three nights in a row.” By that point, Michael says, he was completely enamored. 

Now, I always ask people why they want to get married and why now. Michael’s answer? “Because she told me.” That’s not the whole answer, but that does make it funnier. Seriously, though, for Michael, it’s simple: “I love Kelly, she makes me better, and I can’t imagine a life without her.”

The teacher, surprise, is slightly more verbose. Here is what Kelly says: “I am so excited to be married because I want a partner to enjoy my life with. I want someone that I can be my authentic self around and for my partner to be able to be his authentic self too. I desire someone that makes life more enjoyable and sees the world with rose-colored glasses. I want to enjoy the highs of life, feel supported during my lows, and support my partner whenever he is experiencing his lows. And Michael is that man!”

Kelly and Michael, I think there is one word there that really describes the ideal marriage: authentic. The thing is that that word, and I think everyone here will agree with me, also describes each of you, individually and as a couple. Thank you for showing us how it is done, and for making it look effortless. May you continue to be blessed with authenticity, from this day forward.

Monday, August 7, 2023

Good Fortune

Last Saturday, I officiated Hope and Henry’s wedding ceremony at Hall on Dragon in Dallas, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests: 

Before I even talk to a couple about marrying them, I ask them to tell me about themselves, how they met, and what happened since. Not to make this about me, but one of the best things about asking these types of questions, and working with couples like Hope and Henry, is that they make me feel young. 

When speaking to Hope and Henry, though, I got to really feel young, because Hope told me, “Henry and I met at Greenhill School in Addison, Texas when we were 10 years old.” Now, Henry does clarify that they didn’t start dating in the 5th grade, which is good because this might be the one thing in which I am conservative, I’m not sure what dating in the 5th grade even means.

In fact, Henry says, “We did not become good friends until high school. Over time, I began to realize that I didn't just appreciate Hope as a friend but as someone I wanted to share my whole life with.” Hope clarifies that by saying, “We started dating during our final year of high school and we have been together ever since, even through four years of separate colleges.” 

How incredible is that? It’s not that you can plan your life this way. Sometimes it just happens, but how wonderful for Hope and Henry that it did for them. What incredibly amazing good fortune. It takes hard work too, though, to make sure that you complement and balance the other person out.

As Hope says, “Henry is my absolute best friend. He is the tall to my short, the soft-spoken to my verbosity, and the little-known sass to my well-known sass. He is my support system and my comfort in life.” 

Once you have that, it’s really not a question of if, but when. Here Hope and Henry are both rather practical. Henry says, “Getting married now is the right time because we are both settled in our careers, and we have lived together long enough to know we enjoy spending every day together.”

Hope agrees, but, of course, invokes the law: “I want to get married to Henry so that we can celebrate our love and can cement a legal connection… We both have happy and stable lives and careers, we finally feel like we have time and are in a headspace to enjoy a celebration about us.”

A Heavenly Algorithm

Last Friday I officiated Daisy and Samuel’s trilingual wedding ceremony at The Springs (the Ranch) in Aubrey, Texas. Here are the remarks I shared with them and their guests: 

Samuel says this about the genesis of this relationship: “Daisy and I met on Facebook Dating. We spoke back and forth for a few weeks and then made plans to meet. Unfortunately, Daisy canceled on me twice, which, of course, I still give her a playful hard time about to this day.”

Now, in a way, the genesis of their relationship is actually before that. Check out this almost mystical statement from Daisy: “As cheesy as it sounds, before I met Samuel, I prayed a lot for him. I prayed that I would find an honest, caring, sweet, loving man. A man that would not only be my partner but my best friend.” Wow.

Daisy describes their first date, and again there is something almost mystical about her description: “We finally agreed to meet… It was after a snowstorm. He was so sweet, making sure I was okay to drive. I've never been so nervous when meeting someone but with him it was different. So different that I was literally shaking when handing him something. Once we sat down and started chatting my nervousness went out the door. Samuel has the ability to make everyone feel calm. I felt like I knew him for a long time.”

Daisy’s excitement which turned into calm taps into a Jewish mystical tradition. The Ancient Rabbis believed that while we are still embryos, a heavenly voice proclaims who we will marry. We then wander the world in search of that person. Maybe if there was Facebook Dating 2,000 years ago, they would have called it a heavenly algorithm. And so, when we meet our soulmate, we may think that this is just random, but really we are predestined to meet.  

Samuel reiterates this very idea: “I believe with all honesty that Daisy is my other half. Every time we are together, I feel comfortable, and I can always be myself. She is so beautiful inside and out. She is determined, hard-working, honest, and loving. There has never been another that I’ve felt so deeply for. I know she is the one for me and the one I want to spend my life with. I can’t imagine a better time to make that a real thing.”