Words from Happy Couples and Families

Ceremonies

"Barb was the officiant for our wedding in June 2017. She did a fantastic job, and wrote us a lovely, personal ceremony that was perfect for our event. We worked with her for several months before the wedding, meeting with her several times and answering extensive questions about ourselves and our relationship that let her personalize our ceremony. She worked with us to organize the processional and recessional, as well as the ceremony, and incorporated readings that we chose. She held the rehearsal with us the day before, and showed everyone their part and place. The day of, she coordinated with our other vendors to pull off a lovely ceremony. Overall, it was an extremely positive experience for us, and many of our guests commented on what a lovely and personal ceremony we had. Several told us it was the best ceremony they had been to in many years." ~ Jesse and Aryn, WeddingWire review.

"Thank you for all you did to work and officiate our wedding ceremony.  It was lovely and special.  We really wanted a heartfelt, unique ceremony that reflected what's important to each of us and you  made it happen.  It was great working with you throughout the process.  Again, our  most sincere thanks and gratitude." ~ Sean and Elizabeth.

"You made Brianna and Mike’s wedding absolutely wonderful - meaningful and deeply touching - there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. The work you did with them to create a ceremony that was individualized and reflected their feelings and their relationship is just lovely, and Joe & I want to thank you so much for your work and the quality and love you put into it. Of all the people we worked with through Mirbeau- your work was the most important and meaningful. Coincidentally, I received Anne Morrow Lindberg’s book ‘Gift from the Sea’ just this May as a gift from my advisor for work I did on a research project we completed in Encinitas, CA where were ran everyday, just days after her mother died.  That book was an inspiration to her mother, a former English teacher, as I am. When you read the passage, I melted, as I knew it verbatim having absorbed the book just recently - as I so recently read it all in two days after our trip and before the wedding. You are dear to us. Please come and visit us in Rochester whenever you have a chance." ~ Much love, Carla & Joe ~ parents of the Bride

"Thank you for being a part of the most wonderful day of my life.  We've watched our ceremony over again and will do many times in the future.  What you said to us, inspired us.  What you guided us to prepare to say, nourishes our spirits.  Since our wedding, we have grown closer than ever....Thank you for all you are and all you do.  ~ Fondly, Kathryn

"Thank you so much for all your kindness, your patience, and your exquisite attention to detail when it came to creating our wedding ceremony.  It was so important to me to have something meaningful to us, and not just a cookie-cutter ceremony.  And you created just that.  No rabbi or cantor would have compared!  I am so grateful we found your website, so glad to have worked with you, and so thrilled with all the help you provided.  Thank you a million times over!  ~ All my love, Jennifer

“I want you to know how much we all appreciated the thought, preparation, and beautiful delivery you gave the couple and thereby all of us.  While I know I am prejudiced and had a front row seat, it was the absolute best wedding ceremony I have attended.  It was the highlight of many highlights.  Thank you.  ~ Tom, Father of the Bride.

“Thank you for helping us to create such a beautiful ceremony.  It was absolutely perfect!  We got dozens of compliments on the ceremony!  It was such a pleasure to work with you.  Thank you again.” ~ Andrea and Rob

[As appearing in the magazine, WellWed in New York]:  “Working with Barbara was a magnificent experience from start to finish.  She went above and beyond in getting to know each of us as individuals, while also developing a sense of our chemistry as a couple.  We were so happy to work with an officiant who was open to our ideas and wishes, could relay both wit and earnestness, and was open to accommodating our discrepant backgrounds and traditions.  Barbara created a ceremony imbued with personal meaning and we greatly appreciate the tremendous time and effort she put into crafting such a beautiful ceremony.  We will cherish the memory always.” ~ Jill and Brian

“Thank you so much for sharing yet another meaningful milestone with our (growing) family.  You have such a wonderful way with words and the naming ceremony is really so beautiful.  Thank you so much!”  ~ Katrina, Allan, and Liam

“Just a quick note to thank you for the beautiful ceremony you put together for us.  We’ve had a lot of positive comments on it and some come from tough critics!  We’ll always remember that day and how beautifully everything came together.  We really appreciate the time and effort you put into the ceremony.  Once again, thank you.” ~ Kristen and Glenn

“Planning a wedding from out of town, I was looking for someone that could could provide a personalized wedding ceremony and incorporate some traditions from the Jewish faith. By searching through the local Jewish humanist synagogue, I got connected to Barbara. From the first email correspondence we exchanged, I felt an immediate connection and could tell she was truly committed to providing just such an intimate, personal wedding ceremony. We corresponded via email for awhile and over the phone, then we met in person. Each time, Barbara impressed us with her professionalism and investment in providing us a ideal ceremony. She had some great resources and ideas and was very open to our ideas.  One of the things that stands out is the way Barbara really made things personal. When we met in person, she “interviewed” my fiancee and myself individually about our love story and then incorporated these personal pieces in our final ceremony. We hadn’t heard each others’ reflections and this made for an incredibly emotional experience. I cannot emphasize how beautiful the ceremony was. Rarely is the ceremony the highlight of a wedding, but our guests never stopped telling us that this was the most beautiful wedding ceremony they ever attended (we, of course, thought so too). After the wedding excitement was over, we got a copy of the ceremony and treasure this as a great memento of our day.  From a bride perspective, it is a really intimate experience to be up at the alter with your fiancee and another person. I appreciated having someone as caring as Barbara there with us- it really emphasized what a personal experience the ceremony was.  Barbara and Jennifer were extremely organized and a pleasure to work with. I consider both family friends after the wonderful experience we had with them!” ~ Katrina

“Thank you again for a beautiful ceremony!  It was more than we ever could have expected!” ~ Sarah and Dom

“Thank you so much for marrying us last night.  We loved your ceremony and many people mentioned to us that it was perfect.  We also had a few people request copies of it….We also really appreciated your flexibility and patience in working with us.” ~ Jonah and Sarah

“Thank you so much for officiating at our ceremony!  We’ve received many compliments on it.  Our guests have said it was one of the most meaningful ceremonies they have been to.  It was a pleasure meeting you and thank you for making our ceremony a memory to last a lifetime!  We will be sure to send photos when we return.” ~ Kara and Jay

“Thanks for everything this weekend.  The ceremony was absolutely perfect!  Everyone really loved it.”  Thanks again.” ~ Kellie and Adam

“Thank you for the world’s most beautiful ceremony!” ~ Sue, Mother of the Groom

“Thank you soooo much for your wonderful job.  It was a beautiful ceremony and I speak for both of us when I say it was everything we had hoped for.  Thanks to you, everyone forgot about the weather and my father’s tardiness.  All of our guests who came from far places mentioned that the ceremony alone was more than enough reason to have come.  By the end of the ceremony, I personally felt as if a long time friend of both of us had officiated at our wedding.” ~ Maria and Bernardo

“Thank you again for officiating at our wedding.  It was an amazing ceremony and it totally captured who Scott and I are.  We’ve gotten such compliments!  We’d love to have you over for a glass of wine on our patio when the weather gets better.” ~ Laura and Scott

“Thank you very much for performing the wedding ceremony for Casey and Jason.  Many people have remarked that they have never been to a wedding like that and they enjoyed it very much.  Some commented on how personalized it was and how much research you had to have done to put it together.  Grandma Dotti said, ‘That was great!”  Forget all that religious stuff (she goes to church all the time)…that was wonderful…all about them…the best wedding I’ve ever been to.’  That sums it up for all of us.  You made Casey and Jason’s day very special and we will remember that forever. ” ~ Shelie, Mother of the Bride

“There are not words to thank you enough for everything you did for our wedding.  The service was absolutely the most amazing, touching, beautiful, personal testimony to our love I could imagine.   It exceeded my wildest expectations.  My mother has been passing out copies of your words to everyone and people expecting to read the service during a casual lunch have started crying and had to take the copy home!  Your personal connection to us made the ceremony feel like a close friend or relative was marrying us.  What an amazing gift. 

I was so touched by the part of the service where emotion broke through in your voice.  We were so happy to share such a beautiful moment in such a beautiful place with you.  The way you incorporated the Jewish elements into the ceremony was perfect.  Both Allan and I felt comfortable and connected to your words – not an easy task.  We loved the traditional elements and the two tries that it took to break the glass added such a wonderful lighthearted moment.  I hope you do  many  more ceremonies at Sage.  So many people told me it was the  most beautiful ceremony they have ever seen and it made even the most stoic shed a tear. 

I also want to thank you for all the coordination with wedding details you did, as well.  You and Jennifer were a dream team and you felt like family.  A million thank yous!

Love and thanks,” ~ Katrina and Allan

“I just wanted to tell you again how appreciative we are that Katie and Josh found you to celebrate their wedding.  You captured their joy, their individuality, their bond so perfectly.  Thank you for reminding all of us why we choose to marry and for strengthening the ties that intertwine us.  Your words were inspirational, practical, soaring, and accessible.” ~ Barbara, Mother of the Bride

“Melissa and I could not have hoped for a more special ceremony.  You captured exactly the feelings and tone we wished to communicate.  You connected with us and our guests and conveyed a celebration of love, family, and friends.  Everyone commented on how wonderful you were and how beautifully you presented the ceremony.  Moreover, you really listened to what we had to say about each other and your remarks at the ceremony absolutely captured how we each feel about the other.

We also want to thank you for your part in helping us plan the wedding.  Melissa and I had never planned anything like this before and we doing it completely on our own.  While everyone feels stress planning a wedding, we often felt just plain lost.  You helped to keep us focused and grounded.  Your knowledge of local vendors and expertise in planning an overall project and “day-of” timeline can simply be described as invaluable for us.  Every vendor you recommended was fantastic a hundred times over. Melissa and I truly enjoyed working with you and we would be extraordinarily pleased to recommend you as both an officiant and wedding coordinator.  We cannot thank you enough for helping to make our wedding an absolute success.” ~ Richard and Melissa

“I just wanted to let you know that all night people were telling us how beautiful the ceremony was.  All of our guests said how much they enjoyed having our stories and traditions inter-weaved into the ceremony.  More people than I can even count said it was the most touching, heartfelt and moving ceremony they had ever seen!  Even more than that, I want to thank you from Chuck and me.  The wedding ceremony was everything I could have dreamed of.  Thank you for everything!” ~ Hillary

“Thank you so much for performing our ceremony and for all the support you offered in the days leading up to our wedding.  We truly could not have asked for a better day, which you made special by providing a very personal ceremony.” ~ Karen and Paul

“We both love what you have written….Thomas says he didn’t realize this is what he wanted until he saw it. I can tell you that you made quite a first impression on him and he continues to think very highly of you.  That’s not something that happens often with him. And I am personally overjoyed and in awe of what you’ve done. Thank you so much from the bottom of our hearts.”  ~ Zoe and Thomas

“We owe many, many thanks to Barbara for creating the perfect ceremony. When the time comes for the next wedding in our family, Barbara will definitely be the first person we ask to organize and officiate it. ~  Alla, Mother of the Bride

“We could not have been more pleased with Barbara’s officiating. She helped us incorporate some lovely and meaningful traditions of a Jewish wedding into our secular service that pleased both of us, as well as my wife’s Jewish family. We’ve recommended her to friends looking to have a non-religious service and will continue to do so.” ~ Therese and John

“Barbara discussed with us our thoughts about the ceremony, what traditions we wished to include and the degree to which we wanted to incorporate religion.  She created a beautiful, eloquent ceremony that exceeded our expectations and helped create a day we will remember fondly for the rest of our lives.  We are very pleased with our decision to include Barbara in our wedding and highly recommend her. ” ~  Jason and Denise

“Barbara was absolutely essential in bringing together all the different elements of our ceremony into one beautiful and unique moment with friends and family. From her initial interview with us to explore our dreams for our special day, to our rehearsal and ceremony, to creating a special keepsake program for us, Barbara brought style and sensitivity in making our wedding truly meaningful, memorable, and fun!” ~ Carol and Gordon

Other Ceremonial Services

“Thank you so much for sharing yet another meaningful milestone with our (growing) family.  You have such a wonderful way with words and the naming ceremony was really so beautiful.  Thank you so much!” ~ Katrina, Allan, and Liam

“Thank you so much for all of your guidance and patience composing our wedding ceremony.  We feel it is truly a unique and exceptional piece….Thank you again for all your help!” ~ Lindsay and Russell

Planning & Consultation

Destination Weddings

"We can't thank you enough for all of your hard work up to and on the day of our wedding.  You helped streamline the overwhelming tasks to put together our outside-the-box event!  Everything went so well and we hope you enjoyed the day.   Thank you so much for orchestrating the happiest day of our lives!  i hope you're available in 50 years to help us plan the second happiest!  In the meantime, I'm sure you'll be an instrumental part of many more joyous occasions!" ~ Catherine and Basem

"Thank you so much for all your hard work, suggestions (the best!) and patience with my wedding planning.  I truly feel so lucky that you were available to help me organize my big day from afar!  I can't thank you enough and happily, it's a small world and we will bump into each other again!  Thank you!" ~ Christine

“Jennifer (and Barb) were wonderful! My daughter’s wedding was the most elegant, joyful, well-planned affair I’ve ever attended and there’s no way that could have happened without these lovely, attentive ladies. For two days – the rehearsal and the dinner which was opened to all the guests, and then the day of the wedding, when anyone had a question, they just had to turn and find one of these wizards. They made sure everyone and everything was where they needed to be, and amazingly my daughter was able to relax and really enjoy all the fruits of the meticulous planning and execution. We so highly recommend these warm, wonderful planners!” ~ Marci, Mother of the Bride

“Thank you so much, Jennifer, for making our special day perfect!  Everything exceeded our expectations and was so wonderful.  We know we were very difficult to get motivated, but you worked with us, patiently and kindly.  We will miss our planning meetings with you as you had become such an important person in our lives.” ~ Sarah and Steve

“Words cannot express how grateful we are to you for all you did for us.  It gave me the opportunity to be a guest at my daughter’s wedding, rather than having to worry about details.  That was worth everything.  Bill and I talked about it on the way home and there is nothing we would have changed.  You and Barb will be forever in our memory.  Thank you seems a bit weak…but THANK YOU!!!” ~  Diane, Mother of the Bride

“We worked with Jennifer who was awesome. She understood our vision and made our dreams come true. She worked behind the scenes to ensure everything was perfect. I would very much recommend!”

“There is so much to remember over the past 1 1/2 years as we worked on wedding planning together.  Yet, at the same time, we have a very simple, sincere message.  We could not have done it without you!  From the first phone call to the last week of crazy, frantic preparations, we loved working with you!  Your organization, combination of big picture thinking with great attention to detail, and, of course,  your warm, engaging, friendly personality, helped keep us on track and made it all work.  Simply amazing!  We have lots of wedding memories to cherish forever, but the planning process is part of that, too.  And we loved it!  Thanks again, Barb,  for everything and for just being you.” ~ Marc and Jonathan

[As posted on offbeatbride.com]:  “  Barb helped us craft the most beautiful, personal, and heartfelt ceremony possible.  So many people commented on how our ceremony was unlike any other wedding they had been to, and uniquely us.  Jennifer, our wedding planner…pretty much saved my sanity as I was trying to plan a wedding from several states away while working ridiculously long hours.  She thought of EVERYTHING and I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the day the way I did without her.  They are amazing!” ~ Cara and Kit

“We hired Ceremonies and Event Planning of the Finger Lakes to help with our wedding planning needs a little over 2 months before our actual wedding day. We used their “day of” planning services with several hours of advanced planning added in as well. I had been planning the wedding by myself for 9 months prior to that point (so all of my vendors etc had already been booked) but the logistics were getting very complicated. I was living in NYC at the time and planning an Ithaca wedding (which included 200 out-of-town guests staying at 4 different hotels…and we were providing transportation from each hotel to the ceremony, from the ceremony to the reception 15 minutes away, and back to the hotels at the end of the evening). I also had vendors coming in from all over the state of NY, both inside and outside of Ithaca, many of which had never been to either of my venues. I was starting to feel a little overwhelmed and I decided that I needed some official help. I could not have asked for a better teammate than the one I found in Jennifer Lawrence Birnbaum. From the start, Jennifer was very professional and highly efficient, which I really needed. She was also understanding and compassionate during the times when I was feeling stressed, which I also really needed. She kept me focused and she got me organized. She ultimately made me think about things that I had not even considered before working with her, but which ultimately led to a smoother wedding day for me and my wedding party and a better overall experience for my guests. Jennifer is well versed in what goes into successfully hosting a large wedding in Ithaca and she knows what works and what doesn’t. Throughout the months leading up to my wedding Jennifer was more than generous with her time, often exchanging late night phone calls and e-mails with me, and she was extremely responsive. I was pretty stressed at times, but ultimately I took comfort in knowing that Jennifer was there for me and that she would be with me, helping me, on my wedding day. She organized my entire rehearsal, which I was incredibly grateful for, so by the time we were at the chapel on wedding day everyone was completely relaxed and prepared. On my wedding day, I was finally able to relax a little myself and I let Jennifer take over. We had worked out a wedding day timeline for ourselves as well as for each individual vendor and I knew that I was safe in Jennifer’s hands after that. I cannot thank her enough for all of her help in making the most important day of my life such a happy one. I could not have pulled it off half as well without you!!! ~ Jessica

“Thank you for helping us coordinate our wedding.  It was quite a production and everything went beautifully thanks to your hard work, attention to detail, and creativity.  We really enjoyed working with you and appreciate the organization, planning, and wonderful sense of humor that you brought to everything.  Thank you so much for making our day wonderful!” ~ K-T and Jay

“Kevin and I would like to extend our heartfelt thanks and appreciation for all that you did to make our wedding day everything we hoped it would be.  We had a wonderful event and greatly appreciate all of the time, patience and professionalism that you & Jennifer put into helping us bring this day to realization ….it was a pleasure working with you. ” ~ Kelli and Kevin

Local Wedding Clients

"Could I have done it without you?  Maybe, although doubtful.  Would I have wanted to do it without you?  Absolutely not!  You were wonderful to work with, talk with, be with! Much love and gratitude," ~ Janis.

“Ceremonies and Events did everything we had asked and more. I hired Barb to do our ceremony, and she delivered exactly what we asked for. I had no idea how to plan the procession, recession, music, candle lighting, timing, etc. She did it all and it was great. Jennifer was our day of coordinator with a little of advanced planning. By the time I hired them I had almost everything figured out and they helped put the final pieces in place. Jennifer did our day of excel sheets, with timelines, who was bringing what, etc. She reminded me about little things like coffee and tea, things that I would have never thought of on my own! I did contact almost all of the vendors on my own, mostly because I had everyone booked up already. She helped a lot with suggestions and advice about who to talk to. On the day of Jennifer was running around and making sure everything went smoothly. I was certainly disappointed with several of my vendors, so I am by no means easy to please. But Barb and Jennifer did exactly what we had agreed upon, and they did it well. Jennifer helped out beyond what was expected with her vendor recommendations during the final planning process. So if you are a bride that is trying to do everything herself, and needs just a little help in the right areas, I think Ceremonies and Event Planning of the Finger Lakes is perfect for you!” ~ Lisa

“Wow!  The big day is here at last!  Thank you for your patience, grace, and good humor in the  midst of what was a very fluid and often chaotic situation.  I am very grateful to you.”       ~ Sarah

“We are incredibly happy with how everything went! All of our vendor choices worked out really well and we very likely wouldn’t have known about them without you.  Jennifer did a phenomenal job of keeping things going.   The night of the event, we were able to sit back and enjoy all of our family and friends.  It was a wonderful to have everything go the way we imagined it, while also being able to enjoy the event as though we were guests ourselves.  We’re very happy that we met you, and that you and Jennifer coordinated our wedding!  ~ Lisa and Justin

Bill and I want to extend our sincere appreciation for all you did to help make our daughter’s wedding so special.  Leslie said, “My wedding day was just as I imagined – I would not have changed anything!”  If I had not met you we never would have had the most wonderful caterer and bar service, nor would we have had such a great florist.  The timeline was so helpful the day of the wedding and I had peace of mind with all the contact information at my disposal.  I think the best part of meeting and working with you, Barbara, was that you were so accessible.  If you were unable to talk, you would get back to me as soon as possible.  You were always there to listen to my concerns, give advice when asked, and if you were concerned about an idea, you would tell me.  Thank you.  I will miss you.” ~ Carol, Mother of the Bride  

“Before I started working with Barb at Ceremonies and Events of the Finger Lakes, I was planning a wedding for 150 guests by myself. The details were overwhelming and I was losing sleep worrying about forgetting something important.  Once Barb and I met, she started organizing everything into timetables, lists and spreadsheets. Tasks began to fall into place neatly and I was able to relax. I feel so relieved that Barb is so thoughtful and creative in helping me get all my ducks in a row before The Big Day.” ~ Corinne

Other Events

“The party was a wild success, and was a perfect reflection of my personal and professional style. Thanks to Ceremonies and Events for your attention to detail, even to those details that were completely off my radar screen. Your recommendations for caterers, entertainers, and all other suppliers were completely spot-on. Thanks, too, for your “day of” supervision of the event, which made set up much less stressful.  I am normally an anxious hostess; a characteristic which is painfully obvious to all. But with Ceremonies and Events on my side, I felt so proud of the quality of the gathering, and relaxed enough to enjoy the party, myself.   Many kudos to you both!” ~ Carol Bushberg of Carol Bushberg Real Estate

“Our 50th anniversary was bigger in every way than our original wedding and Barbara and Jennifer made it work beautifully. We contacted Ceremonies and Events when we realized we needed help and this pair really did the job. We outlined what we had in mind – a full weekend of events. They did the legwork and presented us with options for venues and vendors. We made some choices and they did the rest, handling negotiations and execution all along the way. They even set up a comparative chocolate tasting so we could pick the local artisanal supplier that suited us best. They helpfully suggested possibilities we hadn’t considered. Our Fri. hospitality, Saturday ceremony and luncheon, family reunion picnic and Sunday brunch were all superbly done. Barb and Jennifer even custom blended trail mix for our guests’ welcome bags!  As our working relationship developed, I discovered I could relax. I no longer woke a 3 a.m. with details racing around in my head. These ladies were taking care of the details!  Each site was beautiful, all the food was delicious and attractively displayed and the entertainers they recommended were superb. The mood was right throughout!  ~  Toni

“Jennifer worked with us for 2 years plus to arrange a graduation weekend in Ithaca for our Cornell grad son, our family and friends. She was creative, professional, detail oriented, and responsive. She found our house for the long weekend after our search of bed and breakfasts and other homes was not fruitful, and also located the perfect caterer and bartender for our party for 50. She told me where to go for flowers after meeting with them herself and sending a photo of a sample arrangement!, She also showed me where to purchase added food items for meals at home other than the party, and recommended someone to lead a private wine tour on one of the other weekend days. We think she is fabulous!” ~ Kim

“I wanted to drop you a note to let you know how much we appreciated your efforts in making Bob’s 60th a wonderful celebration!  I couldn’t have done it all without your help.  From the decorations, the wonderful band and every small detail, you didn’t miss a beat with knowing just what the party needed.  I asked many people what they thought and I received comments of ” Best Band Ever” and “Great Time.” Again, thank-you so much!”       ~ Yolanda

“Barb managed the planning of our event with aplomb — she was organized, had an eye for detail, followed through on everything and was always calm and cheerful.  Her work was crucial to the success of the event. We’re definitely engaging Barb to collaborate with us on next fundraiser!”  ~ Connie Bruce and Diana Riesman, founders, Ithaca Motion Picture Project.