My husband and I got married at Westbury Manor on 8/20 dispite the rain storm that kept coming and going Marie April was fantastic! From day one she was very attentive and took care of us no matter how many questions or emails we sent. We truly are very thankful and lucky to have found her. We truly appreciate everything she has done and are beyond ecstatic that we choose her to do our wedding ceremony. Everyone who attended the wedding complemented her in more ways than one and thought the ceremony was beautiful. She truly took the time to make our wedding day special and our own.
Where do I even begin to describe how incredible Pastor April was for us; She was kind, caring, and genuinely helped us in our journey to the big wedding day. When we had any questions at all about the marriage process, from paperwork we needed to obtain, or pointers and reminders as the day was approaching, April was amazing. Along the way in the months and weeks leading up to the wedding she closely worked with us to make sure our ceremony was absolutely perfect and that it was catered to us. On top of it all she was at our wedding before we even arrived! Making sure she was punctual and as helpful as she could be on the day of the wedding. I highly recommend her for your ceremony, you won’t be disappointed.
We had Rev. April officiate our wedding and she was great. We had a simple ceremony so we just dealt with her through email in the months leading up to the wedding. She made the process so simple. You can either use a sample ceremony on her website or work with her to form your own. On the day of the wedding, she was extremely organized and helped us with everything including the marriage license/certificate process. She is a great public speaker and did a fantastic job officiating our ceremony and conveying our feelings to everyone. We've gotten so much positive feedback on her from our family and friends. She was always easy to reach and communicate with. We'd definitely recommend her.
We were more than happy with April! I would absolutely, 100% recommend her to anyone. The ceremony she personally wrote for us/with us was beautiful, and we got a very nice copy of it as well. She's wonderful to work with, a wealth of knowledge, the perfect personality for what she does, a beautiful person. We got wonderful comments from our guests about her and our ceremony, as well.
April Gismondi at the Church of Ancient Ways was absolutely wonderful to work with from day one. She custom-wrote two full ceremonies for us - our legal civil ceremony which was held privately, and our unity ceremony which was held during the larger reception - after spending nearly 2 hours talking with us to get to know us individually and as a couple and to learn our interests and values. She really listened to us and worked hard to make sure our ceremonies would be meaningful and thoughtful and would achieve exactly what we envisioned, despite our unconventional approach. She even helped us put together a truly unique-to-us unity ceremony in which we combined 8 spices to make a custom blend, aligning the spices to the four elements through traditional symbolism and spoken pledges offered by several of our closest friends. We got so many compliments on our spice ceremony - all of our guests recognized how much of us was in it, and we never would have gotten there without her insight and creativity in putting it all together. She also officiated our legal ceremony and was warm, down-to-earth, and genuine with a healthy sense of humor - our nearest and dearest who attended had so many kind words afterward. She made everyone feel calm and welcome and was so excited for us that it just felt like having another member of the family there! Afterward she followed up with an email giving us tracking info for our marriage license, and provided links and instructions for handling my name change, which was super-helpful. April clearly loves what she does, and it makes all the difference. I would recommend her to anyone looking to do something truly special for your wedding!
'The ceremony shouldn't be the thing that you and your guests have to suffer through to get to the good part. I promise you a meaningful, enjoyable, ceremony that everyone will remember for years to come.'
What type of services do you offer?
I have performed all kinds of ceremonies, secular, religious, multi cultural, traditional, untraditional, sections that include children, even bi-lingual. I call what I do a “Couple Centered Ceremony” and my goals are always the same. I want to be the mirror that is held up high enough for everyone to see the couples own reflection in it. What ever aspects of traditional structure are important to the couple, we keep. The personal details are, in my opinion, that parts that really make a ceremony shine. When I ask 'Tell me about your guests. Who are these people to you and what does it mean to have them with you on your wedding day?' From that answer comes the welcome of the guests. 'What do you love and admire most in one another?' I love looking right into the eyes of the couple's mothers as I recount what has been said of their child. Although they know it already, to hear that someone sees and loves all the wonderful qualities that they have known all along in their child, moves them to tears. 'Why are you getting married? What is marriage from your perspective?' closes this nicely and it's interesting the answers that I get. My favorite is the oldest and truest of all. 'Because we love one another and want to spend our lives together.' My ceremonies are enjoyable in that everyone is emotionally and intellectually connected to everything that is being said, and then we are on to the next good thing!
Other services include, Baby Blessings, Memorial Services, Writing Services, and Elopement Specials.
What types of religious ceremonies can you perform?
This is an interesting question. I am well versed in world religion, - Christian - Jewish - Islam - Buddhist - Hindu - Earth Based Spiritualities - and always add the aspects of religion that my couples request. However, as an Interfaith Minister and a Professional Wedding Officiant, I don’t like perform any one religion’s ceremony in it’s entirety. It seems disrespectful to me in some way. Couples looking for a traditional religious wedding go to the church or temple. My couples want the aspects of their religion they love, yet in a more personal ceremony.
Do you conduct interfaith ceremonies?
I do! I conduct them most often as a single officiant, but I have worked with a Hindu Priest, Catholic Priest, and I have a favorite Rabbi to work with. Another important point, especially in our area of the country, is knowing how to be culturally as well as religiously considerate.
A quote that I have always admired, although it is a bit wordy, with respect to Interfaith is “The cause of human sectarianism is not a lack of sympathy in thought, but rather in speech. And this it is our not unambitious goal to remedy.”
A nice way to start an Interfaith Ceremony is to acknowledge this commonality with something like:
“Every marriage ceremony is unique, and today, not only are two special people being joined together, but two faiths, as well. Out of two different and distinct traditions, they have come together to learn the best of what each has to offer, appreciating their differences, and confirming that love, which is spoken of in all religions, is our true home, our true meeting place. So this is not only a joyous occasion, but a spiritual one, as well. May we all see the love we share and offer this couple in their marriage as truly a gift from God.”
How far in advance should a couple book with you?
Most couples meet with me a year to a 18 months in advance, but others are within weeks. Both ways work, it depends on your comfort levels, and if your date is in the popular months. However if you have your heart set on my being available, meeting early is always best.
Do you have any special requirements for marrying a couple?
Nope! I eat sleep and breathe wedding, so I am overjoyed to be at every ceremony I perform. I also consider it quite an honor to be chosen and trusted with these once in a lifetime words and moment.
They have a great story captured here by Rob Coup of Couped Up Productions
Great personal section shot by the wonderfully talented Capture The Moment Productions
Beautiful couple, video shot by Capture The Moment Productions to show an originally written ceremony
Thank you again Capture The Moment Productions!
One of my awesome Church of Ancient Ways Officiants Aviva Sala, captured by Capture the Moment!
After 17 years together, they each have a husband.
I have been doing many a quick signing of the license for my couples sometimes a year or more in advance of their wedding date. Why? Many reasons, insurance, buying a house, immigration, having a baby and IT'S ALL GOOD. How you live that long and happy life together is tricky to negotiate in today's world and 'what ever works' is different for every couple.
I do many showcases at the best venues on Long Island all year long. If you have been stressing how and where to secretly be married COME SEE ME. It's a great opportunity visit some of LI's most beautiful halls and whether I perform your next ceremony or not, bring me a license at a showcase and I would be honored to sign it for free.
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