Rainbow Wedding Clergy

      Rev. Alison Caiola     


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Wednesday, 04 July 2012
Rainbow Weddings PDF Print E-mail
Written by Jeff Chatterton   
Tuesday, 03 July 2012 20:13

In 2011, when the Marriage Equality Bill passed in New York State, it was still considered a hot button issue. However 40 years ago when gay people were considered both mentally ill and criminal, some ministers were already actively supporting same sex couples to realize their wedding and committment dreams.
Reverend Florence and husband Rev. Irwin became Interfaith Ministers in the late 1960s, and attended seminary in Greenwich Village. After witnessing the Stonewall riots in 1969 and being appalled at the way gay people were treated, they began performing same-sex commitment ceremonies. They became advocates for the gay community, and their daughter Alison Caiola followed in their footsteps, becoming an Interfaith Minister over 15 years ago, founding the Rainbow Wedding Clergy. 
Reverend Alison explained that before her mother’s passing in 2005 they had many talks about the fight for marriage equality, and Alison promised she would continue to work for the cause. When the bill passed last year, she organized a wedding celebration in her mother’s name at the Belvedere Castle in Central Park, a 10-hour event on July 31, 2011 called the NYC Marrython.  Dozens of couples were finally legally married that day, a moving tribute to something Reverend Florence fought so long for, but didn’t live to see. 
Both Alison and her parents had been performing ceremonies on Fire Island for years, so the next natural step was an event on the island as well. It was organized by Sal Piro, General Manager of The Ice Palace, called “Love & Marriage,”  and took place the weekend of September 16-18, 2011 in Cherry Grove. Several Grovers tied the knot that day, including longtime CG residents Bobbie Scherffius and Victor Alfieri  who had been together 60 years. 
One reason Fire Island appeals to many couples planning a wedding is the proximity to NYC. Reverend Alison, who marries many couples there considers it like a second home. 
“It’s like having a destination wedding without having to travel too far.”  
She also suggests, if planning a wedding on FI, to use vendors who are local or know the island well. 

Rev Alison articles and interviews:

NY PRESS July  20. 2011
Wednesday, July 20,2011

The More, the Marry-er

Reverend Alison prepares for a Marrython in Central Park

By Megan Finnegan
Reverend Alison Caiola.

Reverend Alison Caiola, an interfaith minister, has performed hundreds of same-sex weddings and commitment ceremonies. As a secondgeneration minister, she grew up witnessing both of her parents perform ceremonies for same-sex couples and is thrilled that now she can carry on the tradition—legally—in New York State. We spoke to Rev. Alison about her background and her upcoming "Marrython" in Central Park, in which she and her coofficiants at Rainbow Wedding Clergy will marry as many gay couples as possible on July 31—for free. (Couples can find information at rainbowweddingclergy.com.)

How do you prepare to marry couples?

There is no difference between a same-sex couple and a heterosexual couple, as far as my process is concerned. I sit down with them and I get a good feel for who they are, and what they mean to one another, and because I'm also a writer, I'm able to custom-craft a ceremony for them. People think that I've known the couple for a very long time, and really by the time they do get married we do know each other, and they do feel like they're being married by a friend.

Does it feel like something political to you, growing up with your family's history?

Because I was on board for so long, I'm now getting so many couples that are wanting to make it legal, and they're sitting in my office and we end up crying. Think about it: You're together with somebody for 25 years, all you want to do is marry that person, and you're told you cannot. Am I a politician, or political? Absolutely not, I'm a minister. But to me it's very important that people have the right to be with the person they love, legally and spiritually.

Tell us more about this 'Marrython.' The fact is that through the years, I've been performing the same-sex commitment ceremonies, and now these people can finally stand up, and they can finally, in the eyes of the law, be married: this is a celebration. So it's not a publicity stunt.

We're having individual ceremonies, with a choice of spiritual or civil, in the Belvedere Castle area. I want to try to make it as beautiful as possible. I wanted it overlooking Turtle Pond Bay; I do a lot of weddings there for people from the U.K. and Australia. We'll have flowers, there's a photographer who's going be there who's documenting it for his book.

I just want it to be mellow. I'm not doing four or five ceremonies at a time. A lot of people are doing that—and that's fine—but that's not me.

Do you think that we're going to see a big commercialization of a whole separate gay marriage cottage industry?

What I'm hoping is that we don't say gay marriage anymore; we don't say samesex marriage—because it's legal. So now, it's just marriage. I think that this is very good for the wedding industry, because it just brings so many more people, their target audience has just grown. It's going to help the economy a huge deal, because you'll have people booking venues that wouldn't have done it a year ago. I don't think you're going to see a commercialization: It's going to be like the regular wedding industry. The more people that get on board, the better it is for everyone.  

Interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.

NY1 TV News Report July 18, 2011 click on the link for the report

EDGE Media Network
  July 15, 2011

New York City Marrython: Ten-Hour Ceremony at Central Park’s Belvedere Castle

NEW YORK, NY - Rev. Alison Caiola, was overwhelmed with emotion when she received news that The Marriage Equality Bill had finally passed. Rev Alison is a second-generation wedding officiant whose mother and father were among the few wedding officiants during The Stonewall era and beyond to officiate same-sex commitment ceremonies.

"Being an officiant who performs all weddings, including same sex ceremonies and because of my lineage, I knew that I had to do something for the community that would uniquely celebrate this historic event." said Rev Alison Caiola. She immediately gathered her co-officiants to brainstorm and The New York City Marrython was born.

On Sunday, July 31, from 10AM-7PM, Rev Alison and her co-officiants at Rainbow Wedding Clergy, will host a 10 hour long same-sex wedding event in Belvedere Castle area, Central Park (mid park 79th Street).

"We didn’t want to perform group ceremonies; it is extremely important to us that each couple experience an individual, beautiful and personal ceremony. Each officiant will have their own scenic area so couples can enjoy a more private experience. It’s going to be an incredible day" continued Rev. Alison "I just wish my mother were alive to witness it."

There will be professional wedding photographers there to capture the couple’s moments as well as representatives from Brooklyn’s popular flower shop, Floral Heights who will be on hand with bouquets and boutonnières.

There will be professional wedding photographers there to capture the couple’s moments as well as representatives from Brooklyn’s popular flower shop, Floral Heights, who will be on hand with bouquets and boutonnières.

They advise everyone to pre-register but they will accept walk-ins. For more information on the event and how to obtain a marriage license, please go to the websitewww.rainbowweddingclergy.com . To register, call 917-828-0619 or email info@rainbowweddingclergy.com

About Rev Alison Caiola (www.rainbowweddingclergy.comand www.nyweddingclergy.com )

Rev Alison is a second generation wedding officiant who custom crafts and joyously performs wedding ceremonies in Manhattan & all Boros, Long Island & Westchester county.



 Staten Island Advance July 25 Elise McIntosh

Same-sex couples heading down the aisle once the new law takes effect have many decisions to make

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With New York becoming the sixth state in the country to legalize same-sex marriages, those planning to take advantage of the new law, which goes into effect July 24, have an enormous — and thrilling — challenge to take on: planning a wedding. 

While it may feel like uncharted territory, many decisions homosexual couples will encounter as they map out their nuptials are the same as their heterosexual counterparts, with a few tweaks here and there. 

No matter your sexual orientation, the No. 1 rule for planning a wedding these days is there are no rules. Anything — well, almost anything — goes. 

“There is no right or wrong; it’s whatever feels right from the heart,” said the Rev. Alison Caiola of Rainbow Wedding Clergy, who’s presided over countless same-sex ceremonies. The New York City officiant notes she was inspired by her own parents, who, she says, were the only two ministers who performed same-sex ceremonies during the Stonewall Era. 

Rev. Caiola suggests those opting for something simple, inexpensive and stress-free should consider taking their mate to Central Park July 31 for “New York Marry-thon,” where she and other officiants from Rainbow Wedding Clergy will perform same-sex ceremonies for a nominal fee.  For details, visit rainbowweddingclergy.com.

And for those wanting the total experience, we consulted a couple experts for some tips on everything from proposing to planning the perfect wedding.

Go Hitched Magazine  July 10, 2008

"As a second-generation interfaith minister, Reverend Alison Caiola (917-828-0619, rainbowweddingclergy.com) is devoted to creating personal ceremonies for gay and lesbian couples, actively incorporating children, parents and guests into the service according to the wishes of the happy brides. In fact, her parents, both interfaith ministers, officiated same-sex weddings beginning way back in the Stonewall era. Her many favorable testimonies on her website prove Rev. Caiola takes time to get to know her clients, and thereby customizes the ceremony to best fit their desires."

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