Job of The Day: City Hall Wedding Officiant

I came across this old Times piece yesterday and it made me cry in a coffee shop (doesn’t take much). It is about James Mitchell, who works in the Manhattan Marriage Bureau performing city hall weddings all day. He and his mustache perform about 200 weddings a week, which can be emotionally exhausting and is definitely still a job, but one Mitchell loves and excels at, “surrounded by love all day.”

Mr. Mitchell, 47, has performed more than 27,000 wedding ceremonies. He still loves it, and he still tears up from time to time.

“On Sundays, I look forward to coming to work,” he said. “It might be my 50th or 100th, but it’s still their only marriage ceremony, and I want to do my last as well as my first,” he said.

Mr. Mitchell can complete a ceremony in about a minute, but some couples want to personalize theirs, so many last longer. Some write their vows, others bring music to play over the stereo system and still others Skype the ceremony to their families in places like Italy, Russia or China.

Mr. Mitchell said he and his colleagues do their best to accommodate special requests, and try to follow the maxim “Don’t interfere with anyone else’s happiness.”

Okay this is the part that did me in: Mitchell gives each couple a quick speech before the ceremony, telling them, “There’s nothing to be nervous about. The hardest thing is finding the person.”

He says he loves busy Fridays, and Valentine’s Day, because there is so much excitement, but by far his favorite day was July 24, 2011, when same-sex marriage became legal in New York State:

“We were a part of history,” he said. “And then the love and excitement and the joy. Everyone who came out of the chapel got a cheer. It was like you were in a stadium. It was phenomenal.”

Okay now I want to both get married at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau by James Mitchell and I want to work in the Manhattan Marriage Bureau and BE James Mitchell.

Photo: sadsnaps

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