Ira The Wedding Officiant

Posted by: on Jun 19, 2015 | 2 Comments
Kim & Ben's Wedding. "I now pronounce you man and wife."

Kim & Ben’s Wedding.
“I now pronounce you man and wife.”

Ira The Wedding Officiant

Add one more title to my ever expanding job list – Ira Berkowitz, Wedding Officiant. Yup, that really happened. I still can’t believe that someone actually trusted me enough and gave me the honor of presiding over their marriage…but they did…and I nailed it!

Back in January, my nephew Ben and his then fiance Kim, came out to Jersey to spend a day with us. We went down to the Highlands for beer and chowdah. FYI, Ben is Jewish and Kim is 1/2 and 1/2 but the Jewish half seems to have taken a back seat in her life. On the ride back, I inquired as to how they were handling the ceremony. They said they had yet to decide but little did I know what was about to come.

A couple of hours later, with our newly purchased Carton Brewing Company beers in hand, Kim asked me if knew what a wedding officiant was. Having been at a wedding or two presided over by an officiant, I knew what one was but was still clueless as to what was coming next. “We would like you to be our wedding officiant” were the next words I heard. My response was pretty simple, “Get the fuck out of here!”

As this was occurring, Linda was upstairs, so I screamed “Linda, guess who’s marrying Kim and Ben? Me!” At this point I started laughing, laughing so hard that I actually started crying. I could not believe that I was going to be given the honor of performing marriage, and I still can’t believe they actually let me do it. Kids do the darndest things these daze.

Over the course of the next few months, I took my officiant role very seriously. First, get my Universal Life Church Marriage Officiant Certification for the State of New York, and register in the City of New York. Online ministries….what a concept.  For $30 bucks, you too can became an ordained minister complete with certificate, parking pass, bumper stickers, press pass and ID card.

Next came the fun part…researching, prepping and writing the ceremony. Honestly, I did not write the whole thing but I did write and edit a good chunk of the ceremony. I took bits and pieces from what other folks had posted on websites, picked out a ring ceremony, took some advice from my clergy and other friends who were also officiants, found some great quotes, and wrote other parts myself (the best parts).

Last Saturday (June 13, 2015), was the big day. The first hurdle I had to overcome was my nephew’s best man’s 2 year old daughter, who tried to upstage the whole damn thing by being way too cute. As they used to say when I worked in the TV commercial biz, never work with animals and little children. After that, all went smoothly, or so I remember. Some of it is kind of a blur. Most of the time, I stuck with my script, but of course me being me, I took every opportunity to ad lib, crack a few jokes, and add something special to the ceremony. From the pictures I’ve seen, I certainly seem to be enjoying myself.

In the end (and as far as I know), Kim and Ben are now married. The reviews of my performance were all glowing. Even made my father cry.  How often does a person get to watch his only son perform the wedding ceremony of his oldest grandson. My favorite post ceremony compliment came from a young couple who were at the ceremony. They told me that they had told the newlyweds that they wanted to “come to New Jersey, hang out with Uncle Ira, so that that he could get to know them a bit and marry them.” Don’t think you could do any better than that.

Minister IraSez and kids with the post wedding mug shot.

Minister IraSez and kids with the post wedding mug shot.

So, if you know anyone looking for someone to preside over their wedding, send them my way. As for the person who asked me when I was going to become a mohel (that’s a Jewish person who’s trained to performs circumcisions), I think for now I should stick with weddings. It’s a lot safer for all involved and I don’t work for those kind of tips.


  1. Ina
    June 20, 2015

    With just a little bit of editing, maybe you can get this published! It’s a great blog

  2. Caryl
    June 24, 2015

    Awesome! Wish I was there