Blake teared up as he expressed his love for Christi

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Christy Lim and Blake Barnes were married November 29 in the hospitable environs of the Paracel Restaurant in Westminster.  Through Great Officiants of Long Beach the couple secured the ministry of Rev Dr Gary Barmore, and when they met with him at his Costa Mesa home they discussed the marriage relationship and planned the ceremony.  Blake and Christy joyfully yet calmly rehearsed the vows and other elements of the big day’s main event.   So it was a bit unexpected that when during the actual ceremony — after Rev Gary said to the guests that “words can never express the hearts of these two, but that they had composed, each in their own way, words that will do a pretty good job this day and forever” —  Blake teared up as he expressed his love for Christi, and after composing himself, again broke into tears.  Eventually he expressed all he wished to say to his beloved, and the good Reverend commented to everyone’s affirmation that Christi was the envy of all the women …  to be marrying a sturdy and studious man who was also deep with feelings of affection, appreciation and awe  … and not ashamed to let it show!

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An outdoor wedding in late November is risky business…

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An outdoor wedding in late November is risky business, but Miranda Grey and Kevin Roberts really nailed it on the beautiful SoCal afternoon of November 23.  Their venue, the Unitarian Church of Palos Verdes, offered a clear vista from the Pacific Ocean to the Hollywood Hills, and Rev Dr Gary Barmore, secured through Great Officiants of Long Beach, led a ceremony that lifted the couple and their guests into a celebration of life and the gift of God that makes life so worthwhile … love.  Kevin and Miranda chose not to stand with a wedding entourage, so the intimate setting made it feel like everyone attending were their “best men” and “women of honor.”  

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Adrian and Inez’s Malibu beach wedding

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From France with a small group of family and close friends, Inez and Adrian reached out to Great Officiants for a turnkey wedding on the beach.  The permits, chairs, Chuppah, flowers and even a sound system were all provided and set up seamlessly.

The forecast was for thundershowers on the eve of Adrian and Inez’s Malibu beach wedding.  Driving from San Clemente for two and a half hours in pouring rain didn’t exactly comfort me.  With no alternative for a dry ceremony, I plunged forward until I turned onto the quiet winding road toward Point Dume.  I was only ten minutes from the location when the clouds began to part and slowly the sun peeked through the gray.  Arriving at the end of the road, I noticed the unmistakable van from So Cal Beach Weddings.  Moments later, Michael drove up with the couple’s wedding license, issued on the spot and location.  When all was set up, Inez and Adrian arrived. The license was signed, witnessed by the rabbi and the ceremony began.

There are no words to describe the beauty of the beach in the midst of a passing cloud bank. The sun lighting the coastline and the iconic Point Dume surrounded the party with beauty that could not be staged by man.  It was a wonderful wedding gift from Nature herself.

We began with the signing of the couple’s beautiful custom Ketubah. With the designs given to me by Inez, I was able to complete what she envisioned.  As we moved into the ceremony, it was so touching to see tears of joy falling from Inez’s eyes.  The service was personable and lighthearted. When it was over, I was thinking that everyone would leave for their reception as it became quite cold and cloudy. Instead, I was surprised and moved when Adrian connected his smartphone to the speakers and played music that provided them a moment to be dancing on the beach, in Malibu, celebrating their dream wedding .  Mozel Tov Adrian and Inez!

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LaKeith and Jessamine…Everyone seemed unusually connected to one another-

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Lakeith Ghoston experienced hearing difficulty as a child, and by the time his hearing and speech were restored he had become skilled at signing.  So at Cerritos College when he saw and met Jessamine Maglantay — the girl of his dreams — she happened to be completely deaf.  No Problem — they could converse through sign language.  A match made in heaven for sure!  Great Officiants of Long Beach suggested the wedding ministry of Rev Dr Gary Barmore, and when they met at his home in Costa Mesa, Gary was put right at ease in communicating the wedding aspects, because the groom signed the words of ceremony and explanation to the beaming bride.  For the afternoon wedding November 16, a professional signer stood next to Rev Gary, instructing him to gaze, as usual, upon the couple and their guests, and she would hear his oratorical voice and sign to the bride as well as the hearing-impaired guests,  Everyone seemed unusually connected to one another, fostered by the high level of empathy and joy throughout the crowd.

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Taylor and Natalie used broad strokes in bringing Jewish and Vietnamese traditions to their families

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As guests arrived at the Delta Marriott in Garden Grove, they entered into a photo op with the bride and groom, Natalie and Taylor.  Then off to the cocktail hour with many tasty dishes traditional to Viet Nam.

The blending of cultural tastes and customs is like a beautiful art piece of mixed mediums of expression.  Taylor and Natalie used broad strokes in bringing Jewish and Vietnamese traditions to their families.  With the traditional Vietnamese ceremony performed in the morning, the evening service was devoted to the Jewish aspects of love and marriage.  We had the master of ceremonies help translate with this trilingual ceremony. 

It was clear that the Jewish symbols were unfamiliar to most of Natalie’s side, but they all were so gracious and thankful for the explanations of the customs and the meaning of the prayers.  The most interesting challenge was the breaking of the glass.  In Viet Nam, it is bad luck to break something on your wedding day.  I did not know that.  What we did was take the more traditional explanation of the breaking of the glass, that the sound of the glass breaking, scares away evil or negativity.  Instead of using a wine glass, I replaced it with a plastic cup.  When crushed, it sounded just like breaking glass.  Not knowing how the bride’s family would understand or if the Jewish guests might be offended, I encouraged everyone to shout Mozel Tov and when they did, the sound was deafening.

As the wedding party recessed out of the ballroom, shouts of joy surrounded them. 

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Whittney Clark and Sean Jarne went to the beach for their wedding

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Whittney Clark and Sean Jarne went to the beach for their wedding.  Nevertheless elegance and style were on parade at the beautiful venue located at Newport Beach’s Crystal Cove.  At 4pm on first day of November on the front deck of the home used in Bette Middler’s “Beaches” fifty family and friends celebrated the marriage vows of this very happy and grateful couple.   Through Great Officiants of Long Beach Whittney and Sean had secured the ministerial services of Rev Dr Gary Barmore, who met with them in his Costa Mesa home to plan the ceremony and get further acquainted.  As is his practice, he began the ceremony with Sean and Whittney not yet hooked up but facing one another as the guests stood in honor, and then after they came forward together Gary turned them toward the seated guests for mutual affirmations, as he approached the guests to welcome them.   But there was an added reason for these positionings — so the Good Rev would not have to try to look over Sean who is six and a half feet tall.  The guests discovered themselves inspired beyond their expectation, and Mr. and Mrs. Jarne were so thrilled with fulfillment of their vision of the perfect wedding.

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Ashley and Jene we’re smiling and laughing with love and joy

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Ashley and Jene we’re married at the Ebell in Long Beach California on a very hot day but these two were cool as ice and relaxed on their special day on October 25, 2019.

The Ebell was set up with beautiful chairs, lovely flowers and a wonderful arch and with its Spanish style charm created a wonderful air of excitement for Ashley and Jene’s ceremony.

Megan and her crew from Sweet Peach Planning made sure that every detail down to the reserved seating signs for the ceremony was perfectly placed and all parties involved in the ceremony were ready to go on time.

Ashley and Jene we’re smiling and laughing with love and joy at the altar and they truly had a great wedding by Great Officiants.

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