SPECIAL: Celebrity Wedding Review

Photo Credit: Daily Mail via Pinterest

Photo Credit: Daily Mail via Pinterest

WILL SMITH & JADA PINKETT-SMITH'S

NEW YEAR'S EVE WEDDING

  • Wedding Date: December 31, 1997
  • Theme: The Intimate Blended Family Ceremony
  • Place: The Cloisters – Baltimore, Maryland
  • Wedding Planner: David Weinschel

REVIEW:

Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett married on December 31, 1997 at a medieval style mansion, The Cloisters, outside of Baltimore, MD. Today, they have one of Hollywood's longest marriages. Let's take a look at the distinct way they exchanged vows. The beautiful couple infused energy and personality into their traditional Christian wedding ceremony in three meaningful ways:

1. First down the aisle were three children dear to the bride and groom -- Will Smith’s 8-year old son, his 8-year old nephew and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s seven-year-old goddaughter. They had no other attendants. 

2. The bride was not presented or “given away” by anyone.

3. The highlight of the ceremony was the love letters they read to each other. Guests were swooning!

IDEAS: 

Keep your ceremony small, meaningful, and focus the attention of the ceremony on the love the bride and groom share for each other and the ones closest to them. If either or both of you bring children into the relationship, consider asking them to be your attendants. This is a wonderful way to formally celebrate the blended family you are founding. Also, reminisce on the gestures of love that have brought the two of you closer. Perhaps read the letters, texts, or love notes that have sparked you to create your loving marriage. 

Photo Credit: Jada Pinkett-Smith's Twitter Feed

Photo Credit: Jada Pinkett-Smith's Twitter Feed

If you are planning a New Year’s Eve or wedding ceremony anytime, families I have worked with will tell you that Kim Kirkley of Our Elegant Ceremony is always the ideal choice! An experienced ceremony and communication specialist, declared “The Officiant” by New York magazine, I love helping a couple authentically and meaningfully enjoy their walk down the aisle. My goal is to create a singular experience where everyone feels the power of love! All of my clients and their loved ones are treated like celebrities! Contact me today to see how if having me celebrate your vows is a good fit!”

Agnieszka and John Featured Wedding Review!

ArchCentralParkKimKirkleyOurElegantCeremony

Arch near King Jagiello statue, Central Park

An Intimate Central Park Wedding!

Since about 25 million people visit Central Park each year, the phrase "intimate Central Park wedding," may seem impossible. Having performed many, many weddings all over Central Park in places like the Ladies Pavilion, Bethesda Terrace and the Conservatory Gardens with park goers as witnesses and well-wishes, I wasn't sure Central Park could deliver. I am glad to report that I was wrong! My brilliant bride and groom found a quiet waterfront spot in this romantic, iconic, 843 acre oasis. Perhaps, even more magically they managed to find a location that aligns with the bride's culture!

In fact, every aspect of this thoughtful, non-religious couple's special day seemed to unfold effortlessly. Under clear skies, I met the couple and their two witnesses at the 79th Street and Fifth Avenue entrance to the Park. While walking to Turtle Pond, the wedding location, we passed under the gorgeous arch pictured above and where treated to a lovely version of Somewhere Over the Rainbow! 

A Cultural Connection

King Jaiello Statue, Central Park

King Jaiello Statue, Central Park

The Ceremony

Although the statue is being repaired and does not look like the gorgeous image in this post, the bride told me of how King Jaiello ushered in a golden age in Poland until thwarted by the Nazis. It was lovely to hear her speak of her homeland and learn a bit of this inspiring history. It was also fun to note that depending of the angle the legendary apartment building, the Dakota, and the Belvedere Castle, are a part of the background. 

Before we knew it we arrived at a serene spot along Turtle Pond. The wedding party and I formed a circle. We all teared up a bit as they exchanged the vows that each had written from the heart, honoring their 5-year journey of love and trust. Then I saluted them for all that they had experienced and heralded the grand adventure ahead as they go forward as husband and wife!

 

Agnieszka, John and Kim Kirkley, Celebrant

Agnieszka, John and Kim Kirkley, Celebrant

Wedding Crashers

However, everything was not hunky-dory. There was a trio of wedding crashers!

WeddingCrashersKimKirkleyOurElegantCeremony

We decided to celebrate anyway!

ChampagneKimKirkleyWeddingOurElegantCeremony

P.S. The happy couple will revisit the statue of King Jaiello on their first anniversary!

Nia and Nigel Featured Wedding Review!

WeddingVowsKimKirkleyOurElegantCeremony

A SOPHISTICATED WEDDING

(WITH SWAG) 

Giving their wedding a sophisticated and authentic feel was important to Nia Emani and Nigel Adams. They achieved this and so much more! In fact a photo from their reception is featured on WorldstarHipHop! (see below)

WEDDING VENUE

Although they met at Howard University, both are from New York State and it was important to them that their celebration take place in the Empire State. However, they now make their home in Southern California and the beach there is very important to them with this in mind, they chose the Surf Club on the Sound and my, did the Surf Club deliver! By the way, this was my first time at the Surf Club since Hurricane Sandy and it never looked better!

The Surf Club on the Sound, Credit: TimeFrozen.com

The Surf Club on the Sound, Credit: TimeFrozen.com

FAMILY & LOVE STORY FOCUSED CEREMONY

Nia and Nigel’s non-religious wedding ceremony is an event to be cherished because of their focus on the loving legacy they have inherited and are extending with their marriage. They enthusiastically took part in the relationship coaching sessions that I include in all of my full ceremony packages. Before my eyes I could see their already strong ability to communicate with each other become even more amplified and venerable. When their official wedding day arrived, there were beyond ready to celebrate their vows with their family and friends.

 

TimeFrozen.com

TimeFrozen.com

A SAND CEREMONY WITH SAND FROM BOTH COASTS

The groom was quite dapper in his fitted gold blazer. Escorted by her father, the beautiful bride stood before us. As we began, we honored both sets of parents for the many ways that they have nurtured their highly accomplished children’s happiness and growth.

Tears fell as I shared their love story. It began during their freshman year at Howard, extended through the groom’s service in the Navy and led them both to relocate to San Diego. Aside from their exchanging personalized vows, one of the highlights of the ceremony was the sand ceremony. Here is an excerpt:

Sand an enduring gift of the sea reminds them of their journey to each other and the legacy they are creating as they officially found their family. The sand Nigel is using is from San Diego, the place where they became engaged and where they make their home.  The sand Nia is using is from New York, the place where they started their lives separately and where they plan to start a family together.

The couple then signed their marriage certificate, jumped the broom and sealed their marriage with a kiss! Toward the end of their recessional, they each reached out to their parents. The phenomenal Keith Claytor of Time Frozen Photography captured this singular moment!

TimeFrozen.com

TimeFrozen.com

A DANCE THAT WENT VIRAL!

The newlyweds shared their first few minutes as husband and wife privately while their guests  and I headed inside to an upper floor of the Surf Club for the cocktail hour.  We enjoyed the beautiful view of the Long Island Sound as we dined and gushed about the gorgeous, palpable depth of Nia and Nigel’s commitment to each other. Later, the reception was filled with the joy of this new chapter in Nia and Nigel’s lives so much so that when their fantastic dj, DJ Anonymous DC, played Back That A** Up Nigel needed some assistance!

 

TimeFrozen.com

TimeFrozen.com

Here’s how Nia describes this joyful scene, “So apparently this pic from our wedding reception legit went viral this weekend. we're just glad we could put smiles on some faces, especially during times like these. Back That A** Up was absolutely the song playing and our wedding was definitely as fun as it looks!”  

Indeed, this truly was a swagalicious, modern, fairy-tale wedding. I am delighted to have been a part of this authentic celebration of love, marriage, family and fun. The stellar cast of professionals that Nia and Nigel assembled made the entire experience a joy!

TimeFrozen.com

TimeFrozen.com

CEREMONY REVIEW

INTERVIEW WITH THE COUPLE

Advice for other couples planning a wedding?

Nia: Decide on what's most important to you about the wedding and focus on those items early on. Stay true to what you and your fiancé want because the two of your opinions are the ones that matter most. Lastly, remember that the marriage is more important than the wedding.

Nigel: Do your research so you can be as helpful as possible to your fiancé. Get your groomsmen and bridesmaids on the same page as you and your fiancé and keep a paper trail with your vendors.

Anything you are really glad you did?

Or wish you didn’t?  

Nia: I'm really glad we took lots of time after we were engaged to focus on our relationship first. Spending that time on us made it easier to plan the wedding around what was truly important to us and to eliminate elements that weren't necessary. I don't have any regrets :)

Nigel: I'm glad we had no children at the reception because it allowed our guests to enjoy themselves without having to keep up with their kids. No regrets!

From the Photo Booth, Credit: FreckledDragon.com

From the Photo Booth, Credit: FreckledDragon.com

Any stand out vendors from your wedding?

Nia: I was VERY selective about each and every vendor we hired and it definitely paid off. Of course Kim was AMAZING. She set the tone for the rest of the day - focusing on our love for each other, our family, and friends. Our guests are still raving about both her and the DJ. Our day-of coordinator, Victoria was so great. I don't know what I would have done without her and her team that day.

Nigel: Our photographers Keith and Chinenye were PHENOMENAL. Keith really got to know us and we all hit it off instantly. We dubbed him “Cousin Keith.” He had great ideas for unique shots and he stayed with us all day long.

A NOTE FROM KIM

When you are looking for a wedding officiant/Celebrant for your ceremony, families I have worked with will tell you that Kim Kirkley of Our Elegant Ceremony is always the easy choice! An experienced ceremony and communication specialist, declared "The Officiant" by New York magazine, I delight in helping each couple authentically and meaningfully enjoy their walk down the aisle. My goal is to create a singular experience where everyone feels more alive and euphoric than when the ceremony began!

PROFESSIONAL CREDITS

Wedding Planner: Victoria of Victorious Events NYC

Photographer: Keith Claytor of Time Frozen Photography

Venue, Catering, Cake & Rehearsal Venue: Surf Club on the Sound

Photo Booth: Freckled Dragon Entertainment

Flowers: Diva Blooms

DJ & Emcee: DJ Anonymous

Makeup Artist: Makeup Entice

Videographer: Mae B. Films

Dress: Ines Di Santo via Bridal Reflections NYC

Rings: Hers, Zales and His, Kay Jewelers

Bridesmaids Dresses: Adrianna Papel

Centerpieces and Throne Chair Rentals: Exceptional Party Rentals

Dance Instructor: Dancing Together

Hotel: Residence Inn

Shoes: Badgley Mischka

Andrea and Nan Featured Wedding Review

A TOASTMASTERS WEDDING?

What’s a Toastmasters' wedding? Well, a Toastmaster is a member of the premiere international public speaking and leadership organization. Of course, I cannot define every Toastmasters’ wedding, but I am a Toastmaster and a Celebrant who had the honor of marrying two beautiful Toastmasters. I am thrilled to share a little of the glow of their wedding here.

Ceremony space, Deity, Brooklyn

Ceremony space, Deity, Brooklyn

TANGO, TOO?

I met my stellar brides, Nan Min, Ph.D. and Andrea Christie, Ph.D., during my tenure as President of Pride Toastmasters. Their love story is the stuff of legend! They met at an Argentine Tango class and rather quickly noticed that a remarkable, synergistic chemistry ignites when they are together.

Photo credit Luis Flores

Photo credit Luis Flores

NON-RELIGIOUS, ELEGANT CEREMONY

When they became engaged to marry, they talked with each other about asking me to co-create and officiate their wedding ceremony. However, fate beat them to it! During a Pride Toastmasters holiday raffle, I offered a Happiness and Authentic Success Coaching package as  a prize. One of our members politely chided me, saying, “I want Kim to offer a wedding ceremony!” I was on the spot! Families who have worked with me will tell you that my ceremonies are a premium offering and worth every penny. I was hesitant but I remember thinking, what is the likelihood that anyone is engaged at this moment and would actually have their raffle ticket pulled from the bag. With this in mind, I say, “Sure! I will donate a wedding ceremony package.” Then, I pull the next raffle ticket out of the bag and Nan starts to come forward to accept her prize. Then she quickly turns back to the crowd and takes Andrea’s hand and they both come forward! They are amazed and so am I. They had recently become engaged! It was so new that they hadn’t even told some of their key loved ones of their plans! All of my reservations melted away because I was so happy for them and delighted that I would have the honor of serving as their Celebrant!

As the weeks unfolded they told me that they value my craft and intended to ask me to officiate anyway, so they insisted on paying me! That is just a glimmer of how phenomenal they are. We discovered that a non-religious ceremony that focused on universal values and their love for each other, their family and friends, would be the best way to celebrate their marriage.

What a celebration we had! Deity is a great place for a wedding. From the doorman to the venue manager to the bar staff, everyone is charming and happy to help. The ceremony space is warm, sparkling and inviting. The interplay of candle lights and the brick walls creates a classic yet contemporary setting. I love performing weddings at Deity!

Photo credit Luis Flores

Photo credit Luis Flores

SUBSTANCE & STYLE

In fact, their wedding was so phenomenal that it was hand selected for coverage by the New York Times twice! Once for their personal accomplishments and the marriage itself and the second time for their exquisite style! It's always fun to see how couples from every background (lesbian, gay, trans, religious, non-religious, interfaith, classic, contemporary, quirky etc.) express themselves on their wedding day. Andrea and Nan's elegant style sparkled on every level!

When you are looking for a wedding officiant/Celebrant for your wedding ceremony, families I have worked with will tell you that Kim Kirkley of Our Elegant Ceremony is always the easy choice! An experienced ceremony and communication specialist, declared"The Officiant" by New York magazine, I delight in helping each couple authentically and meaningfully enjoy their walk down the aisle as the ceremony invokes an experience where everyone feels more alive and euphoric than when the ceremony began!

Indeed, Andrea and Nan’s wedding ceremony was a joy to be a part of it. It was enhanced by the contributions of the stellar vendors listed below.

PROFESSIONAL CREDITS

Photographer: Luis Flores

Tuxedo and Gown Designer: Jussara Lee

Make-up Artist: Tishonna Ferguson

String Quartet, Natalie Kress, Elizabeth MacCorquodale, Jay Yiu, Miho Zaitsu

Dance Party DJ's: Leigh Christie and Kara Henderson

Wedding Favor Designer: Sam Graves

Caricature Artist: Ruben Min

Venue: Deity

 

LGBTweddingKimKirkleyofficiantDeityBrooklyn

Nuria and Raven Featured Wedding Review

Nuria & Raven (On Air - Good Morning America)

Nuria and Raven's love story is so genuine and memorable that they won a stellar all-inclusive wedding on Good Morning America! I had the honor of being their officiant. Here are some of the many highlights!

PERSONALIZED CHRISTIAN WEDDING

When you hear “Wide World of Weddings” what comes to mind? For the couples I married in the Good Morning America studios, it can only mean one thing -- an extravaganza! For 24 hours Good Morning America live streamed wedding celebrations all around the world from Britain, Scotland, Korea and right here in Times Square, New York City!

CEREMONY SITE

I had the privilege of performing three of these wonderful weddings. For a behind the scenes perspective of what it was like to participate in this phenomenal event, I interviewed, Nuria and Raven!

 Here’s what Nuria and Raven say about being in the contest, “Entering in the Good Morning America contest was the best decision we could've ever made! We thought about eloping or even having a very small intimate beach wedding but the experience we had was beyond our biggest dreams."

LOVE STORY FOCUSED

I did my best to stay centered in the ceremony discernment process that has helped me to create memorable one-of-a-kind ceremonies for nearly 14 years. I interviewed the couple via FaceTime and the three of us decided that a God-centered, traditional Christian wedding ceremony with their love story being woven into the script, symbolically and literally would be the best fit for them. In order to help create a wedding ceremony experience that would genuinely reflect their union and vision for the future, I asked this lovely bride and groom about their initial attraction to each other, the characteristics of the love that is leading them to their beautiful commitment and the love that intertwines their lives with family and friends. The result was outstanding!

ON-AIR

On-air, their wedding began to unfold with some fun chit-chat with ABC News Correspondent Mara Schiavocampo.

 

FIRST VIEW

Then, Raven, Nuria’s handsome groom was ready to see his lovely bride for the first time on their wedding day!

PRESENTATION OF THE BRIDE

Escorted by her father, Nuria was gracefully presented, as we honored her mother, father, family and friends for the all of the love and care that they offered our beautiful bride her entire life. Nuria was gorgeous in her Kleinfeld wedding gown and I believe her groom and many of us fought back a tear or two. As a love story ceremony specialist, I really enjoyed describing their first meeting.A wedding is often a time of intense emotions and reflection upon the ideals that really matter in life. Nuria is exceedingly happy to share this day with her mother and father. Both of her parents have dedicated themselves to her happiness in many, many ways. In these cherished moments, Nuria honors her mother for all that she has done for her and the ways that she has given of herself. We also highlight the joys of the relationship between a devoted father and a loving daughter. Indeed, the bonds between parent and child embody some of the most precious ties of our world. In these sacred moments, as Mr. Kalifah stands before us, Nuria’s father represents all of us, as he also represents his wife and their family, and today in a special gesture he symbolizes his own love for his daughter. Mindful of these values, ‘Who presents this woman to be married to this man?’ If you would like to view Raven and Nuria’s wedding ceremony, click here.

CEREMONY REVIEW

Interview with the Couple

1. Anything you are really glad you did? Or wish you didn’t do?

"Entering in the Good Morning America contest was the best decision we could've ever made! We thought about eloping or even having a very small intimate beach wedding but the experience we have was beyond our biggest dreams."

2. Any stand out vendors from your wedding? Who did you connect with? Who went above and beyond?

"Kim.... We truly loved our ceremony!! Our family/friends all over the country thought we knew you before the ceremony because it was so personal! We truly felt like it was specially designed just for us."

"We absolutely loved our engagement photographer Rhea Whitney. Our photo shoot at the United States Capitol was absolutely breathtaking!"

CELEBRANT KIM KIRKLEY'S REFLECTIONS

I continue to hold Nuria and Raven and their distinct love story in my heart. They have so much in common and a truly inspiring love story! Thank you Nuria and Raven and the staff of Good Morning America for this honor!Here are some more beautiful images from the other ceremonies I performed for Good Morning America on that magical day! Here is a quick video clip of one of the grooms’ vision for his family, and some comments from the couple!

VIDEO

For many years I have been the go-to-teacher of professional Officiants and Celebrants. Having been declared, “The Officiant” by New York magazine, families whose milestone events I celebrate will tell you that choosing to work with me is always the easy choice! I delight in helping each couple authentically and meaningfully enjoy their walk down the aisle, as the ceremony invokes an experience where everyone feels more alive and euphoric than when it began! It is also a joy to work with the amazing wedding professionals like the ones that the Good Morning America staff assembled. For example, the wedding photographer, Roberto Falck of Roberto Falck Photography did a phenomenal job of capturing the memories of this once in a life time experience. As you might imagine, Good Morning America invited the best of the best vendors to participate in this remarkable experience. It is my joy to share these ceremonies with the seasoned, stellar professionals listed below.

PROFESSIONAL CREDITS

Wedding Photographer: Roberto Falck Photography

Engagement Photographer: Rhea Whitney Photography

Florist: Good Morning America

Venue: Good Morning America Studios

Dress: Kleinfield Bridal

Reception Gown: David's Bridal

Catering Reception Dinner: Del Fresco's Double Eagle Steak

Rings: Zales

Hair Stylist: Ann Hanible of Encore Hair Boutique LLC

Makeup: Good Morning America

Videographer: Good Morning America

Shoes: Davids Bridal

Travel Agent: Erica McKinney at CruzDiva

Other Desserts: Desserts by Gerard

Accommodations: New York Marriott Marquis 1535 

The Couple also really loved their engagement photo shoot and their wonderful photographer, Rhea Whitney. Photo by  Rhea Whitney Photography.

The Couple also really loved their engagement photo shoot and their wonderful photographer, Rhea Whitney. Photo by  Rhea Whitney Photography.

Irim & Mahmud!

CLASSIC GARDEN WEDDING

Irim and Mahmud wed at the gorgeous Park Savoy Estate, Florham Park, New Jersey, an idyllic oasis just minutes from New York City. 

glenmarphotographers-kim-kirkley-officiant

CEREMONY SITE

Their non-religious, love story ceremony was authentically theirs and unforgettable! The Park Savoy Estate with its lush gardens, historic and serene courtyard provided the perfect setting for this heart-centered wedding ceremony! 

Park-Savoy-Estate-Bride-Kim-Kirkley-Officiant-GlenMar-Photography

PRE-MARRIAGE COMMUNICATION COACHING

Although initially they were not interested in marriage coaching sessions, after the first session they told me that they found the tips I shared to be really helpful! Another benefit of coaching is that I really get to know and love the couples I marry.  With this always being my goal, I must say I especially adore and appreciate Irim and Mahmud, a pediatric anesthesiologist and a vice president of an investment firm because their hearts are even more beautiful than their impressive careers. By the way, their wedding was featured in the New York Times.  

groom-Park-Savoy-Estate-Kim-Kirkley-Officiant-GlenMar-Photography

POWER OF LOVE

Their custom-tailored wedding ceremony celebrated the transformative power of love in all of its forms -- the love of parents for their child; the love of peers who pledge their lives to each other; the love that unites family and friends.

DavidSDiamonds-Kim-Kirkley-Officiant-NYC-GlenMar-Photography

EXCHANGE OF RINGS

This is how we celebrated the exchange of Irim and Mahmud's rings:

"Rings are an ancient symbol. Circles-the symbol of unity, of wholeness, and of perfection; of the sun, the earth, and the universe. These rings are singular and individual, yet they represent a unity that has no beginning and no end."
Park-Savoy-Estate-Kim-Kirkley-Officiant-Ceremony-GlenMar-Photography

On this sprawling, peaceful estate, we were able to create an experience that invited all in attendance to connect with the love that lives in every heart. 

The Park Savoy Estate

The Park Savoy Estate

VENUE & VENDORS

There are so many beautiful places for pictures and for your guests to explore the splendor that is the Park Savoy Estate and GlenMar Photographers did an outstanding job documenting these once in a lifetime moments.

Also, the staff at the Park Savoy Estate is top notch! Every one is professional, welcoming and attentive to the needs of the couple, their guests and vendors. Performing a wedding at the Park Savoy Estate and collaborating with the exemplary team of staff and professionals was a magical experience. 

When you are looking for a wedding officiant/Celebrant for your wedding ceremony, families I have worked with will tell you that Kim Kirkley of Our Elegant Ceremony is always the easy choice! An experienced ceremony and communication specialist, declared "The Officiant" by New York magazine, I delight in helping each couple authentically and meaningfully enjoy their walk down the aisle as the ceremony invokes an experience where everyone feels more alive and euphoric than when the ceremony began!

And I love collaborating with wedding professionals like the amazing ones listed below!

PROFESSIONAL CREDITS

Photographers: GlenMar Photographers 

Flowers: Teaneck Flower Shop

 Venue: Park Savoy Estate 

Rings: David S. Diamonds 

Invitations: Fourteen-Forty

 Music: Choimatic

Dance Instructor: Wedding Day Dance

 Cake:  A Little Cake