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Pandemic Weddings Honored at Lincoln Center Event

by Jersey Lady

Actress and comedian Lee DeLaria surveyed the crowd that gathered at Lincoln Center’s Damrosch Park Bandshell on a recent Sunday night.

“A drag queen, three different religious leaders, a Broadway star, a mayor and one raucous butch dyke,” she told hundreds of people from the park stage. “Kids, it’s just New York.”

If the mix she described was the hallmark of the city, it was the same reason so many people came to Manhattan’s performing arts campus that day. Specifically, for the opportunity to participate in mass weddings for those whose weddings were delayed or derailed. of a pandemic.

About 200 couples attended the free event, Celebrate Love: A (Re)Wedding, according to organizers. It was part of Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City series. Some wore formal wear such as white gowns and suits, while others donned Party City tuxedo t-shirts and veils and winked at the theme.

As the evening’s host, Ms. Delaria, noted, the event also attracted high-profile guests, including New York City Mayor Eric Adams. A party goer, he took the stage as the band played his notes on the opening of “New York, New York.”

“New York is invincible,” said Adams. “Nothing can destroy our spirits. Nothing can destroy our love for each other.”

The hours-long affair began with an illegal and symbolic ceremony, preceded by event staff handing out bouquets and wreaths to some of the guests, while others got henna tattoos, rainbow streamers and treetops. I took a picture under a lantern.

After the attendees were seated, performers, including actor Mario Cantone, serenaded them with love songs. Sprinkled between musical numbers were blessings from Rabbi Matt Green of Brooklyn congregation Beth Elohim. Imam Khalid Latif, executive director and pastor of NYU’s Islamic Center. and Reverend Jackie Lewis, senior pastor of Manhattan’s Middle Collegiate Church.

The ceremony concluded with a reunification ceremony in which the couple simultaneously held several yards of pink, blue and yellow ribbons. Raising the ribbons for some at once proved to be a logistical challenge, but how many weddings would go off without a hitch?

For Hjordys Perez Matos, 35, who runs fashion partnerships on Instagram, and Marcus Moore, 36, who runs celebrity partnerships on Meta, the problem is that the pandemic hit months before the first wedding of summer 2020. It was the arrival. Upper She lives in Manhattan and postponed her wedding for about a year before marrying in May 2021 at First Congregational Her Church of Marion in his hometown of Marion, Alabama.

Perez Matos and Moore, who got engaged at Lincoln Center’s Midsummer Night Swing event in 2019, welcomed the opportunity to celebrate their marriage at a place they care about when they heard about their (re)wedding and welcomed their love story Did. “Free and public programming has been a major part of our lives since we were teenagers, so it was definitely something we wanted to do,” Moore said. .

Kimberly Lawrence Lopez, 28, and Jeffrey Lawrence Lopez, 33, also said their wedding plans were upended when Covid started. They were originally scheduled to get married on a cruise around Manhattan in May 2020, but canceled that event. Pandemic hit and we got married in a Zoom virtual ceremony the same day instead.

For the ceremony, the couple, who live in Queens, rented a house in Westhampton, NY through Airbnb. Their only direct guest was the mother of the bride.”Our officiant was on her Zoom,” said Lawrence Lopez, who works as an assistant at the clinic. Her mother aside, “Our guests were using Zoom,” she added.

Lincoln Center allowed two guests for each couple, including Lawrence Lopez’s mother, who was watching the wedding on screen. He and his wife celebrated the marriage with his mother physically present and, as Lawrence Lopez, a residential accounts manager at a real estate firm, said, “normally we have this chance.” I rated it.

Naish McLean, 37, and Katisha Gloucester, who were married before the pandemic, attended the event for similar reasons. I didn’t.

Gloucester, who works as a program manager at a higher education institution, said of (re)wedding:

The Middlesex, N.J., couple saw the event both as a way to renew their commitment to each other and as a moment to reflect on the 13 years they’ve spent together since they met in 2009. McLean, who works for the charity, said:

Esther Friesner-Stutzman and Walter Stutzman, both 71 years old, were drawn to the chance to renew their vows. Friesner, author of her fiction and fantasy books Science Her and Mr. Stutzman, a college music professor, lived in Madison, Connecticut, and were married in December 1974 at Yale University.

In the years that followed, they re-engaged each other in multiple ceremonies, including sci-fi conventions, Valentine’s Day in Times Square, and the now-closed 24 Hour Church of Elvis in Portland, Oregon. I was.

Love-loving Friesner Stutzmann said he attended “to see everyone happy.”

Happiness is certainly the right way to describe the mood of the ceremony and reception that followed. Meanwhile, several couples and their guests danced, kissed, laughed, soaked in the plaza, spun under a kaleidoscope of rainbow party lights, and watched the £1,300 discos hanging above them. ball.

Stutzman got advice from 47 years of marriage on how to have a happy relationship.

“Tell each other that you love each other every day,” he said. Then, “Don’t get into the argument.”

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