Written by Rachelle Blidner and Christy Hinko Friday, 05 August 2011 00:00
Hosted by the Long Island GLBT Services Network, many donors made the complete event possible, from the venue and services of the Carlyle on the Green, to Andrew Scott Events and Floral, Top Tiers cakes by Jason Ellis, All Star Limousine Service, Ltd., Todd Barrie Music & Entertainment, and JoVon Photography.
Eighty-three couples, mostly from Long Island, registered to be wed in an inclusive ceremony, complete with catered reception, donated by the Carlyle. Several couples from Virginia and New Jersey, and even one heterosexual couple, registered to be a part of the historic vow exchange.
Carlyle owner Steve Carl and Chief Executive Officer of the Long Island Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Services Network David Kilmnick, PhD, MSW delivered opening greetings to the crowd of about 1,000 guests and the couples.
Sharing a lesson learned from his own (late) father about kindness, Carl said, “When you become successful in life, the most important thing is to give back and I’ve lived by that rule.”
“Tears or laughter, love has given you wings. Your journey begins today. If there is anything you remember of this marriage ceremony, remember the love that brought you here today,” said wedding officiate Dr. Beverly Boyarsky. “It is only love which can make your marriage the greatest union.”
Boyarsky asked each of the couples to face each other and join hands. Each partner took turns reciting “I take you to be my legally wedded spouse. I will continue to love you, comfort you, honor and keep you, in sickness and health, in the good times and the hard times until the end of our lives,” after Boyarsky.
Most couples exchanged rings. Boyarsky, seeing everyone smiling overjoyed asked how everyone was feeling during this most exciting time. Cheers, laughter and sighs of relief exploded from the newlyweds.
Boyarsky said, “Having chosen each other in love and in freedom, and having declared your purpose before this gathering and have made your vows to one another, by the authority invested in me by the laws of the state of New York, I now declare you have married each other in the presence of witnesses and you are now united in love.”
Cheers rang out from the courtyard. Newlyweds hugged and kissed and waved to their guests.
Mari and Abi Cielo of Hicksville were one of the newlywed couples in attendance. They have been together for 13 years. Mari said, “I feel loved; it feels awesome, feels like something we never thought would happen.” They shared that on the same day, 13 years ago is when they began dating. Abi said, “It’s our anniversary today, the day we started the start of our relationship; we’re celebrating our anniversary on our anniversary. It was meant to be.” They agreed that they were overwhelmed and grateful with the generosity of the community for providing such a wonderful celebration.
As the newlyweds each held their glasses of champagne Kilmnick said, “You have waited years, decades and a lifetime to declare your love and have it recognized. Today is that day, and we are all so very happy for you. So, as we raise our glass and toast and celebrate the love and joy you bring to each other, thank you for sharing that and bringing that joy to all of us today. Here’s to a lifetime of love, happiness and everlasting memories. Congratulations, mazel tov, l’chaim, to life.”
The couples moved a smaller meeting room to privately sign their wedding papers before they were formally announced as spouses to hundreds of friends and family, the guests eagerly waiting to greet their newly united loved ones in the reception hall.
Rosanne Amari was in attendance to witness the union of her friends Jim Lawrence and Art Guilmatte of Coram, who have been together for 53 years. Amari said, “It was spectacular, the ceremony alone, the way she [Boyarsky] spoke was just absolutely beautiful and it was so wonderful of the Carlyle to present this.”
Each couple moved in to take turns cutting the massive wedding cake while Todd Barrie and his staff provided the celebratory entertainment and music. A lunch buffet was served to all of the newlyweds and their guests.
Town of North Hempstead Clerk Leslie Gross said of the celebration, “It’s really the coming together of so many people who have been working so hard for so long just to allow people to love each other, a simple right of life.” Gross was one of several local officials in attendance, including Assemblymen Harvey Weisenberg and Charles Lavine, in support and sharing in the celebration.