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Phil's Wed Blog

Cozy June Wedding In The Woods @ Masker's Barn

Masker's Barn
is a quaint hideaway
in the forests
of Berkeley Heights, NJ.

It's by the
Historic Deserted Village Site,
and run by the County of Union.

I officiated Anastasia & Maciej's
wedding there in early June.


Cool place! They have an outdoor wooded space surrounded by trees, with "pews" (benches) for the guests,
and an awesome wooden arch up front that you can decorate. Anastasia chose some lovely flowers to accent it.



There was some rain in the hours before the ceremony, and of course Maskers Barn has a tent set up just in case,
as well as the interior of the barn, which is gorgeous yet rustic. But we weren't rained out...
busy groomsmen dried off all the benches, draped linens over them,
all was well and we did the ceremony in the woods... and it was magical.



I played some acoustic guitar "Here Comes The Sun" as the bride walked down the aisle, and then I officiated. It was a simple yet lovely ceremony, with some slight Catholic touches including 1 Corinthians 13 "Love Is Patient". But as with most of my weddings, it was just the right amount of spirituality, not too much but not too little. We kept it lighthearted. Then at the end as the bride and groom walked back down the aisle, I busted into "Nuthin' But A 'G' Thang" (Snoop Dogg) on the acoustic guitar, as they requested! And then threw in a bit of Led Zeppelin's "Over The Hills & Far Away", which was a huge hit among the guests! You can see a clip of that on YouTube above, filmed by Jozef of who took excellent video and the photo on top of this blog post.


The cocktail hour was in the tent (this photo is during the earlier rain) and featured mouthwatering Polish food catering by Piast of Garfield. Wow that stuff was good. And I had time to have a bottle of Polish beer, hang with the bride & groom a little, and catch up with some dear friends whose wedding I'd also officiated, before I had to go. Na zdrowie! Congrats Anastasia & Maciej!


I didn't stay for the full reception but here's what the interior of Masker's Barn looked like before the festivities.


Photo by


Photo by

Officiating Alexa & Danny's Wedding on "Glam Fairy"! 

It was a real thrill to officiate Alexa & Danny's wedding on the Season 2 Finale of "Glam Fairy" (Style Network). It took several hours to film. Originally it was going to be a sunset wedding on a NYC rooftop. I arrived at 6 pm, but we ended up doing the wedding later that night. I think they were busy filming all the little tender moments between the bride and cast members throughout that time.

The cameras eventually started rolling at about 10 pm. This was great because early evening had been very hot, and the evening was a bit more bearable! Especially since I was wearing a hot black clerical robe :) I remember drinking many bottles of water.

The cast and crew were relaxed and fun. I was surprised to find out that the bride and groom are originally from my hometown (Wayne, NJ). Small world...

As we began the wedding, everyone's casual manner put me at ease, since I'd never done a TV shoot before. So I was able to be myself, and I even let out a celebratory "woo-hoo!" after the couple kissed, which made it into the episode!

We did the whole wedding twice. The first time, there were lighting problems. It ended up being a dress rehearsal... and that was fine because everyone, including myself, was better the second time around. The second take is what made it into the episode. Parts of the ceremony didn't make it, including some nice words I wrote that evening. But maybe the full ceremony will be on the Season 2 DVD?

P.S. Alexa and Danny, I also do a very nice and personal baby blessing/christening for when your baby girl is born :)

December Wedding at the Bethwood, Totowa, NJ  

Yesterday I officiated a bilingual wedding in English and Español for Vanessa and Jose. They are a young couple who met at work. Jose was a teller at a local bank, and one day Vanessa was assigned to be a substitute teller there. That's how they met. On their first day working together, Vanessa was a bit perturbed when Jose poured himself some coffee and didn't offer her any. It's funny what people's first impressions sometimes are! That was their only day working together, until a few months later, Vanessa was permanently assigned to his bank. And Fate took over from there. They eventually hit it off, and now a year and a half later, they tied the knot! The Bethwood does a great and highly professional job with every wedding they do - as always, it was great to work with the managers there to make this wedding special and fun.

Dreamy December Wedding at the Stone House, Warren 

On Friday Dec 7, I officiated a wedding at the Stone House in Warren. One of the cool things about winter weddings is the cozy glow of candles and other lighting in the cold weather. It's a different kind of vibe than a summer wedding, but can be quite magical.

Bob & Samantha's wedding built upon this idea: they held it in a roofed outdoor pavilion at the Stone House restaurant, with plenty of space heaters... foot lanterns along the procession aisle, filled with glowing white candles... and a backdrop of lit votive candles on ledges in the wall behind us. Now do you see what I mean about a "dreamy" vibe? Add a gas fire pit and you have a very cool setting.

Fun, quirky touches reflected this fun couple's personality. The bridesmaids wore red dresses and galoshes/rubber boots. There was much laughter in the ceremony. It was raining over head but under the pavilion we forgot the wintry mix and enjoyed some special moments!

December Weddings 

Yes, in December people still get married. On the first weekend in December this year, I was honored to officiate two very nice ceremonies: one on a boat in Weehawken, and one on a heated back porch in Robbinsville, NJ.

Katerina and Quincy's wedding was on a yacht called Royal Princess which is available for cruises. The continuous motion of the waves on board, although we were docked, made for an interesting spin on a wedding. It was very mellow though, so no Dramamine was needed.

The ceremony was very nice and heartfelt. Quincy wore his U.S. Marine uniform (he is still in active duty). Of course the bride looked great. They wrote their own vows, which were very moving. This was a couple deeply in love!

Jessica and Adam's wedding, also that weekend, was truly unique and awesome. This was on the back porch of a spacious house in Robbinsville. The back porch was decorated creatively with "icicle" crystals and a snowy theme, which went great with the chilly weather. There were rented space heaters that kept the guests warm.

The warmth in the bride & groom's hearts helped too. They wrote their own vows, which were brief and humorous. A young flowergirl kept quietly weeping throughout the ceremony. I was wondering why; afterwards we learned that she thought the bride, her aunt, was now going to be moving away. The bride comforted her, "I'm not going anywhere. I'll see you for dinner tomorrow night, remember!"

Double Rainbow!! After a Rainy Wedding on 6/3/12 - The Waterside Restaurant, North Bergen, NJ 

The weather couldn't make up its mind this Sunday 6/3/12 at Tom & Diana's wedding at Waterside Restaurant, North Bergen, NJ... sunny, then rainy, then sunny, then rainy, then sunny in the hour beforehand. I finally set up my guitar and the guests were invited outside into the sunshine. I played 5 or 6 songs while the bride got ready for the processional... and then a downpour started. The guests fled indoors. Someone grabbed my amp, and I, too, retreated indoors with my wet acoustic guitar.

Five minutes later, the sun shone anew. The guests were seated again, and we finally started the processional and the ceremony. The bride came down the aisle. All was well. Then we began the wedding... and five minutes into the ceremony, it started to rain. HARD. Someone brought Diana & Tom an umbrella, and we continued with the rest. As the rain intensified, the guests let out a whoop! and started cheering. It added an excitement to the festivities!  We proceeded with the rest of the ceremony, I sped it up a bit, and then as they were about to kiss, the guests again started to scream with elation! It was like we were all riding a roller coaster together. Very thrilling ceremony, I'll never forget it!

After Diana and Tom kissed under their umbrella, I launched into the recessional song "Movin' Right Along" (Muppets) exuberantly, as the bride, groom and guests sought shelter in the restaurant. After all the guests were safely indoors, I ended the tune, the best man grabbed my amp, and we ran with my wet Taylor guitar to my car! I dried everything off and all was fine. All in all, an awesome ceremony if you ask me!

Five minutes later, it again stopped raining, only to reveal a HUGE "DOUBLE RAINBOW oh my God" encompassing the entire Manhattan skyline! It was breathtaking! Diana & Tom certainly earned it with what they had to go through. What an abundance of watery and rainbow blessings for this newlywed couple! May they always have a lot of nourishment and magic in their new life together!

March 2012 Weddings 

Here are some nice comments I received from 2 couples I married in March :)

"Hi Phil,
Thank you so much for such an "amazing ceremony!" Everything was beautiful and perfect, and just the way we imagined it."
- Amy & Mike (Married 3/31/12, Woodbridge Hilton)

"Hey Phil,
First off, thank you a million times over for your services in making our wedding awesome.
So many compliments from friends and family about how beautiful the ceremony was.
Couldn't have done it without you!"
- Alexandra & Brian (married 3/25/12 at Kirkpatrick Chapel, New Brunswick)

100 Degrees From Belmar To Brooklyn... To Andover 

Had a busy weekend in late July 2011 that took me from the Jersey Shore all the way to the quaintest B & B in Sussex County... First was the wedding of Jackie & Ray on the sand of the 4th Ave. Beach in Belmar. This was the week of Jersey's 100-degree heatwave... so I had Gatorade stashed behind the bridal archway :) We had fun in a lively, upbeat & sunny ceremony.

Later in the evening was a wedding on Sheepshead Bay at Baku Palace (Brooklyn), where the food just doesn't stop coming. It's a gourmet food onslaught! Anna & Ruslan exchanged beautiful vows in a Russian-themed wedding. Meanwhile, outside in the evening heat... an Asian couple was catching crabs in the bay with a flashlight & a net on a long pole, while standing on the Sheepshead Foot Bridge. The crabs were attracted to the light and were easy pickin's. A crowd had gathered to watch.

Next day was Woodney & Gabriela's bilingual Spanish & English nuptials at the ultra-quaint Crossed Keys Inn (Andover, NJ). This is a blissful nook in the woods. The bridal suite is a barn. Awesome. "Lucky" for the couple and I, we were standing in the bright 100-degree sunshine for the ceremony, while all the guests were seated in the shade. I made it a point to stay hydrated, and the groom and I took a few breaks to dab our brows with a handkerchief. Guests later told me they were making bets on how long before I fainted, but would I let that happen? NOOOO. The ceremony came out really nice, with the special kind of bonding people feel when they have gone through an intense heatwave together. I'll never forget it!