WEDDINGS & OTHER SERVICES WE PROVIDE
Contact Reverend Gary Gudzik, Vicar of the Chapel of Saint Valentine, to arrange for any of the services listed below. He is always available to answer your questions, counsel you on the different ways to plan and carry out your function, or help with your individual, family, or group spiritual needs.

All About Weddings

10 Questions to Ask About Your Ceremony

Congratulations!

  1. Are there any religious or cultural rituals you’d like to include in the ceremony?
  2. How do you feel about the word ‘God’ or having prayers in your ceremony?
  3. Do you want any songs or readings in the ceremony?
  4. Do you plan on asking family or friends to do your readings, or would you prefer that the officiant read them?
  5. What did you like about the last wedding you attended?
  6. What did you dislike?
  7. Is there any particular aspect of the ceremony you want included (e.g. Unity Ceremony, Blessing of the Hands)?
  8. Will you be writing your own vows? Do you need some suggestions or sample vows?
  9. Will you have music or a soloist during the ceremony?
  10. Do you want a more formal or humorous ceremony?
You are about to take the first steps in a lifelong journey together, and your wedding ceremony and reception will be events you'll never forget. We thank you for considering our services, and would like to make a few suggestions about choosing an officiant who will help create your personalized wedding ceremony.

Sometimes couples get lost in the party planning aspect of a wedding. There’s so much to cover: from choosing a venue to picking flowers and photo packages. Of course, these things take a lot of attention. In the midst of all your wedding planning, it’s important to remember that no matter how much fun the party is going to be, the ceremony is the reason it’s all happening.

Today, wedding ceremonies are more customizable than ever, and that of course means communicating your wishes and feelings to the officiant is more important than ever. Many couples have chosen to depart from church weddings and the ceremony being standardized stuff..."dearly beloved, we are gathered here today..."
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Couples now have more options than ever before. If the Church is not an integral part of their lives, they can opt instead to choose a special site for the wedding or have the ceremony right at the reception venue, and therefore they can choose an officiant who is not tied to traditional church-based ceremonies alone.

Communicate your thoughts and desires to your officiant! As with all things wedding related, it’s putting in the work and planning ahead of time that will make the big day run smoothly. Ask questions. Express your ideas. Reverend Gary can guide the discussion based on his years of experience, but it is your wedding. 

Most importantly: Relax. Enjoy. Bask in the glow of your love for one another and the joy that it brings to you and those around you!

​Couples wishing to meet with Reverend Gary to discuss their upcoming wedding and/or book our services may schedule a meeting (preferably on a Monday evening) with Reverend Gary in person or via FaceTime or Skype. Use our "Contact Us" page to schedule a meeting.

Wedding Ceremonies

Our Philosophy on Marriage

Weddings can be formal events with hundreds of guests at a fancy catering hall; casual affairs at a winery, restaurant, or yacht club; informal gatherings in your back yard or on a beach, or they can take any one (or a combination) of countless other forms. We can tailor your ceremony to the type of event you want, and make your dreams of a beautiful wedding day come true! ​​

We welcome and provide services to all couples, regardless of race, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, creed, color, sex, age, disability, or country of national origin of any party.

Religious Ceremonies

  • Christian (Non-denominational)
  • Other Religious (Non-Christian) Traditions
  • Interfaith and Co-celebrated
  • Spiritual Ceremonies
  • Traditional ceremonies from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer, Methodist Book of Worship, or the Roman Missal, etc.

Secular Ceremonies
  • Non-religious Ceremonies
  • Civil Ceremonies
  • Simple or Formal Weddings
  • Elopements

Commitment Ceremonies

Vow Renewals

Blended Family Ceremonies

Destination  & Shipboard Weddings

Regarding Religious Marriages

We believe that God ordained the institution of marriage as a gift to humanity. We believe Holy Matrimony is an exclusive union between two people in which believers are called to love one another, encourage one another and serve one another, following the example of Jesus Christ. Holy Matrimony is more than a civil contract and establishes a covenant relationship that is united by God and illustrative of Christ’s relationship with his Church. We also believe that every person, being created in the image of God, must be afforded love, kindness, respect and dignity.

Regarding Secular Marriages

Marriage in the United States is a civil institution. As such, it belongs to all citizens, regardless of their particular moral beliefs or religious creed. That's why there is no requirement in law that marriage be approved by the church or any other religious community. The consent of two parties is all it takes to enter a marriage. Beyond licensing requirements, no approval of the state or of any other authoritative body is necessary. Religious officials -- whether priests, rabbis, ministers, imams, or others -- may preside at weddings, but in no sense do religious communities define what counts as marriage in the civil arena.
--William Stacy Johnson, A Time to Embrace

Regarding Commitment Ceremonies

For those couples who, for one reason or another, are unable to enter into a marriage, but want to express their commitment to sharing their love and support for one another throughout their lives, a Commitment Ceremony could be the perfect solution.  Reverend Gary can tailor the ceremony to fit your personal situation, and can make the ceremony as religious, spiritual, or non-religious (secular) as you wish.

Commitment Ceremonies are also perfect for blended families when included as part of a marriage ceremony. 

Personalized Wedding Ceremonies

Optional Ceremony Components

Whether you choose a ​​traditional religious ceremony,
a contemporary spiritual ceremony, an interfaith or blended ceremony, or a non-religious civil ceremony, Reverend Gary has sample ceremonies and will work with you to help you determine what you would like on your wedding day.  Reverend Gary is also willing to work with any custom ceremony you create.

In this day and age, more and more couples elope or have quick civil ceremonies (whether they announce them to the public or not) for tax, insurance, and any number of other reasons. We can accommodate your [perfectly legal] elopement to get you officially married, and then perform your "real" ceremony on your big day in front of your family and friends.  Shhh...no one will ever know!

It's your wedding day. Let's make it special and memorable together!


Elements of a Ceremony

Basic Elements of a Wedding Ceremony

  • Processional - Entrance of the wedding party
  • Invocation - Introduction of the couple​​​
  • Declaration of Intent - Verbal declaration of couple's intent to wed
  • Exchange of Vows (and Rings)
  • Pronouncement - Marriage is delared official
  • Recessional - The wedding party exits
Traditional and Modern Additions to the Ceremony

Many weddings also include additional parts to reflect the beliefs, values, and personal preferences of the couple. Some common additions include: 

  • Blessing - A blessing to the couple can be offered by the officiant or a member of the wedding party. Blessings can be religious or secular.
  • Charge to Couple  - Similar to the Declaration of Intent, a charge has the officiant emphasize the seriousness of the marital contract to the couple. It is often punctuated by acknowledgements such as, "I agree" or "I understand."
  • Giving of the Bride - The officiant calls out to the wedding party and asks who gives the bride in marriage. Traditionally, the father and/or mother of the bride reply that they consent to giving their daughter in marriage.
  • Prayer - Many religious ceremonies include a prayer given by the officiant.
  • Readings - Poems, religious texts, literary passages, and/or song lyrics can be read by the officiant, members of the wedding party or family and friends.
  • Sermon - Many religious ceremonies include a sermon given by the officiant.
  • Blessing of the Hands - A spiritual and moving ceremony in which the officiant blesses the hands of the couple just prior to the exchange of rings.
  • Handfasting, Lovers' Knot Ceremony, or Fisherman's Knot Ceremony - A number of spiritual ceremonies symbolizing the unity of the marriage can be customized for your ceremony.
  • Rose Ceremony - The couple exchanges roses with each other as their first gift to each other as a married couple, and/or gives roses to important people in their lives (parents, grandparents, other family members) as an expression of their love for them. 
  • Unity Candle - A unity candle ceremony involves the ceremonial merger of flames. Two candles are lit and the couple joins their individual flames together to light a third candle (representing two lives joined as one). Variations include participation by family members, such as candles for children to join in the union of the new family.
  • Sand Ceremony - Sand ceremonies are a variation of the unity candle symbol. Two vessels of sand are poured together, mixing the sand. Each grain of sand is representative of a thought, feeling, or experience. A common variation is to give each member of the wedding party a small pebble. Each person offers a blessing as they deposit their pebble into a container, which the couple uses to combine their sand.
  • Unity Wine (Loving Cup) Ceremony - A variation of the unity ceremony involving blending two glasses of wine into one common cup, and the sharing of the combined wine by the couple.
  • Love Letter Box - A sort of "time capsule" for the couple, in which they've exchanged letters expressing their love for one another, often sealed in a box with a special bottle of wine, to be opened and shared at some future date.
  • Ketubah Signing Ceremony - In a traditional Jewish wedding ceremony, the ketubah (marriage contract) is signed by two witnesses and traditionally read out loud under the chuppah. Close family, friends or distant relatives are invited to witness the ketubah, which is considered an honor.
  • Breaking of the Glass - A Jewish tradition in which the groom breaks a glass (wrapped in a cloth) by stomping on it with his foot at the end of the ceremony. There are many interpretations of the symbolism of this action, which is why so many other traditions are now adopting the custom as a part of their ceremonies.
  • And many, many more...

Remember, there are no limitations! We will work with you to craft a unique ceremony that reflects your wishes.
Some useful links regarding Marriage Laws:

Here's a link to the New York State Department of Health's page on Getting Married in New York State. It lists the laws and requirements for obtaining a marriage license and details the process.

Here's a link to a useful site listing state-by-state registration requirements for marriage officiants.

  1. Marriages
    Reverend Gary is an ordained Christian Minister, and a Licensed Wedding Officiant in the City of New York. He can officiate at your marriage anywhere in the State of New York. Religious, civil and blended ceremonies are fully customized in accordance with your wishes.
  2. Baptisms & Baby Namings
    Reverend Gary can baptize your baby (or an adult) at the location of your choice. Baby naming ceremonies and special blessings for infants, children, and adults can also be arranged for any occasion or event.
  3. Burial at Sea
    We can arrange for a dignified ceremony of Burial at Sea (Long Island Sound) to release the cremated remains of your loved one. Our partner in this service is One More Drift Charters, Inc. Captain Bob Bochiccio is fully licensed by the U.S. Coast Guard.
  4. Funerals & Memorials
    Reverend Gary is available to perform funeral and memorial services at the funeral parlor or chapel of your choice. He is also available for graveside commital services, Memorial Day and September 11 Memorial services, and other types of commemorations for the dead.
  5. Worship Services
    Reverend Gary is available to celebrate with you at a morning, noon or evening prayer service, vespers, compline, or Scout's Own. Worship and prayer services, silent or guided meditations, and custom ceremonies can be arranged.
  6. Blessings & Dedications
    Moving into a new home? Buying a new car or boat? Adopting a new pet? Reverend Gary can bless your home, vehicle, furnishings, or pet(s). He is available for all types of dedication services, ship's Christenings, Fleet Blessings (yacht clubs), and many other types of services.
INVOCATIONS, BENEDICTIONS, and PRAYERS
Reverend Gary is an experienced public speaker, and he is available to attend your civic organization, fire department, fraternal group, business association or other meeting for the purpose of offering an invocation (opening prayer/blessing) or benediction (closing prayer/blessing).

Alternatively, he can prepare an appropriate prayer or blessing for delivery by one of your group's officers or members. Prayers and blessings for Fire Departments, Emergency Service Units, Fraternal Organizations, and Scouting Units are his specialty.
Photo Credit: ​​​​​ Andrew Tetreault