By Bobby Kyna Calvin – Associated Pess
NEW YORK (AP) — Some men wore flashy dresses and tuxedos, but others came in decidedly more casual attire. It was not an uncommon sight at Lincoln Center in New York. But Saturday evening was anything but ordinary, with artificial flowers hanging from balconies and the hustle and bustle of hundreds of dizzying couples, brides—yes, brides—roses. and a bouquet of wildflowers.
In total, nearly 700 couples arrived at New York City’s iconic venue to declare their love, new or long. Some exchange vows for the first time, while others, like Hazel Seybright-Kearney and her husband, Rohan Kearney, eloped years ago before coming back to take her vows anew to support her family. Some were discouraged.
“My mother never got a chance to see our marriage when we eloped 28 years ago,” the bride said.
On Saturday, her mother refused to discuss the matter, but waited patiently for the wedding to begin in the damp weather so she could finally witness her exchanging vows with the love of her life.
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This was just the second year of what could be an annual event at Lincoln Center. With so many weddings postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, center officials hope the event will help coronavirus-weary couples get engaged again after months of lockdown and quarantine. I wondered. None of the weddings were legally binding. More than 500 couples participated last year.
Last year’s overwhelming success convinced the organizers that it needed to be held again.
“We started this effort last year right after the pandemic, but we felt now was the time for us all to come together,” said Shanta Theek, the center’s chief artistic director. “There was a lot of sadness and mourning,” she said.
Alexander Fischer, who met while at Yale Law School, and soon-to-be fiancée Nina Oishi took the opportunity to make a mutual commitment on Saturday before their temporary split. After living together in New York for a year, they are preparing to move to another city at the end of the summer and start an office job.
“It just felt very New York,” said Oishi, who wore green for the occasion. “We know we’re going to get married, so why not celebrate now before we part?”
The couple never told their parents what they were doing.
“Our parents would naturally be very upset if we missed the real thing,” says Oishi.
“We just wanted to do the same thing by going to a celebration with a lot of people,” added Fisher, who wore a tuxedo.
JD Walsh and Shirley Medina met about ten years ago while working in Times Square. The two lost contact, but met again when they returned to the same company they met a year and a half ago.
“It must have been a sign of something,” Medina said. The couple are due to get their marriage license this month.
Milian Masakiza admitted she had to bring her husband, Oscar, and their two children to the festival. Her family wore traditional costumes that reflected Ecuadorian traditions.
“We are teaming up with two kids now, so I thought it would be a great opportunity to strengthen the team,” Masakiza said.
“That made me very happy,” she added. “He was like, ‘Okay, let’s try.'”
The apparent majority were couples who were using the event as a re-vow ceremony.
Archery Prudent and his spouse of 12 years, Hugh, got married as soon as same-sex marriage became legal in New York.
“We just jumped at the chance,” he said, explaining that he thought they would eventually have a proper wedding. “And 12 years went by. … So many other things happened in the meantime that we couldn’t work on it.”
Like their marriage 12 years ago, their decision to attend the wedding on Saturday was a haphazard decision.
“When the story came out, I was so excited I asked, ‘Why don’t we reaffirm our love?'” said Archley Prudent, looking around the hall lobby. .
“I’m thinking about all the participants and what we have in common,” he said. “We are doing this because I think we all love each other. We all care about each other and want to celebrate that.”
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