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  • Karla Villar

Carmen and Lindsay's Wagner Cove Palindrome Elopement

Updated: May 7, 2020

Candid Love Elopement Team:

Karla of Once Upon A Vow • Judson of Judson Rappaport Photography

Location: Wagner Cove in Central Park

Post elopement ceremony officiated by queer officiant at Once Upon A Vow, Asian-Canadian and Anglo-American brides holding hands and looking at each other lovingly under a wooden canopy near the 72nd street entrance of Central Park; they're wearing white outfits, one in a halter-top jumpsuit and the other in nice pants and a sweater blouse; each wearing a corsage.

Carmen and Lindsay decided, after 15 years together, that they were getting married this February! They said ‘I do’ on 02.02.2020 - a beautifully rare palindrome date!

Aside from the numerological significance, the series of 0’s and 2’s themselves feel precise and romantic somehow - fateful even! Perhaps the numbers are like an algorithm of sorts - a sacred code - a fitting metaphor.

There is a synchronicity in the Lindsay-Carmen dynamic. They’re not the same, but they match up well and flow just right! They each serve as a mirror for the other, revealing core truths and reflecting back light and love.

Commitments and Beliefs

Lindsay and Carmen had been talking about marriage for several years. The truth is that they've been living that married life [sans papeles] for a while! They’ve been choosing each other over and over again for a decade and a half! They’re not newbies, they’re committed; they just needed to make it official - become part of the public record.

For most of us, regardless of how long we've been together, our wedding is a CONSEQUENTIAL event even if it feels like little will actually change! After all, it is the day you and your beloved become a legally sanctioned family!

We each have our own reasons for wanting to sanctify our unions in the tradition of matrimony, including the very real need to secure certain privileges and protections. Of course, choosing to get married goes way beyond legal considerations and social implications. Some of us see marriage as a sacrament; an affirmation of the spiritual connection between spouses and between two married people and God ( a.k.a the universe, a.k.a. source energy).

As a queer WOC who is reconnecting to my own spirituality, I am grateful for the privilege of blessing the union of my queer siblings and for creating a ceremony that honors their faith - their beliefs and shared values.

In addition to a Rainer Maria Rilke poem and Mary Lambert lyrics, Carmen and Lindsay chose to incorporate a biblical verse often heard in weddings to highlight the significance of their commitment to one another. The verse is a declaration of devotion - one that Ruth made to Naomi, another woman (her mother-in-law) - NOT a man.

This ancient scripture I’d learned as part of my own Catholic training had never before felt so relevant to me until now. Ruth’s message suddenly felt empowering! It spoke to my secular feminist heart - of a sisterhood that transcends time, tradition, and beliefs,

Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the LORD do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you. - Ruth 1:16-17

To Elope or Not To Elope; That is the Question

More than ever before, we have the opportunity to design a very custom wedding experience that incorporates aspects of traditions that personally resonate with us AND leaves behind the components that create dissonance for us.

Rather than following some stale doctrine of must-haves and must-dos, we can now create personalized celebrations that reflect our personalities, embody our values, project our vision, and embrace the fun of it all!

For Lindsay and Carmen, eloping was definitely the way to go! Marriage was their obvious next step, but they were fuzzy on what it would be like; they just wanted to keep it simple. Special but easy and playful is what they asked for; a day just for them without any of the stressful planning and worrying that goes into bigger affairs. As NYC doctors, they don’t have time or energy to fuss about things that, to them, weren't essential.

A NYC elopement offered Carmen and Lindsay an opportunity to focus their wedding day on them and make it their own.

Honoring Your History; Even Your Medical History

You see, Carmen and Lindsay have been very busy since they started on their journey to get that medical degree and now they are extra busy navigating the power and responsibility of healing people and saving lives.

They met at Sarah Lawrence College where they were volleyball teammates before becoming life mates. They were both also members of the pre-med club. They knew they were physically and mentally well suited for each other from the start. And soon enough, they’d discover they were kindred spirits with brains for days, lasting endurance, and big hearts to boot!

Just as they’d decided they would invest 7-14 years to their vocational training after graduation, they chose to go for it and invested in a future together. Soon began the series of u-haul expeditions from dorm room to off-campus apartments - from NY to Michigan and back. They were there for each other through big transitions - growing up together as undergrads, heading off to medical school, choosing residencies and specialties and fellowships, and finally becoming attendings with bonafide medical practices.

These two have history! And their wedding day is now part of that history.

They chose to preserve their wedding day in a wine box/love note time capsule. As part of the ceremony, this unity tradition requires each person to place a love note in the box along with their favorite bottle of wine (or other preferred beverage). They’ll hold on to this special box - their time capsule - and open it sometime in the future - perhaps on an anniversary or whenever they need a reminder.

They'll read each other’s words and imbibe their wedding wine and remember. They’ll take some time to honor who they were - who they are; two people who do not fear commitment and are always willing to take risks. They are women who go for what they want wholeheartedly and focused on what matters most to them.

Carmen and Lindsay are a powerhouse duo! They’re ambitious, highly skilled and accomplished people, but what struck me most about them is how they spoke of their growing faith and the role it plays in their lives - the faith they have in themselves, in each other, and in a higher power.

Making Space for Faith

I take comfort in knowing that those with such a burdensome power and responsibility over human life, seek out guidance and comfort from God - a divine force - source energy.

Sure, numbers and facts should always inform our decision-making, but hard data alone cannot drive it. From what I know, doctors do their best work when they have time to get to know their patients, their medical histories, their stories. Many of those I know, speak of the trust they must build with their patients; the trust they place on them and their need to invoke the power of faith to counter human doubt.

Faith is not incompatible with science; it seems to me, in fact, that faith covers the parts of science we don't yet or fully understand. There is faith in science. And for medical professionals, it seems more like a job requirement. How else can they endure the loss of life they will experience.

In this time of COVID-19, I’m deeply grateful for married doctors, like Lindsay and Carmen, who are all about the science and empirical evidence AND who also believe in miracles, the power of prayer, and the healing benefits of a little tender love and care.

I believe in them. I believe in love. I believe LOVE is source energy - a divine force - a God I defend and celebrate, pray to and honor; love is why I live by, live for, and return to when I die.

Kind Words from Carmen and Lindsay:

"My partner and I decided we had to get married 1 week prior our chosen wedding date (02/02/2020, a perfect palindrome). Fortunately, she had already been following Once Upon a Vow and Queer Officiant on Instagram, so we quickly emailed them and made this insane request: “We’re getting married 1 week from today and we need an officiant and maybe a photographer. Can you make this happen?” Within an hour we had an email back from Daniela saying that they would help us make this happen. She sounded super excited for us and would help us work out the details of the ceremony and obtaining a photographer. We also scheduled a FaceTime for the following evening with her sister, Karla, who would be our officiant. She asked us a bunch of questions to get to know us better and made suggestions for things to include in our ceremony and vows.

Throughout that chat, Karla was also very upbeat, funny and her enthusiasm for our wedding was infectious. I have to say, that Karla and Daniela were our BIGGEST CHEERLEADERS was probably the most important part of our ceremony process and the ceremony itself. It’s nice, when you’re unsure about making such a big move, and having a gay wedding in public, to have people who are genuinely rooting for you. So, long story short (and I can make this a VERY long story), we had a beautiful, personalized ceremony conducted by Karla at Wagner Cove in Central Park, Judson Rappaport took amazing photos while Daniela shot video, played music, and helped drag our little suitcase of supplies as we took pictures after the ceremony. I almost cried as we ‘walked down the aisle’ to “Tale as Old as Time”. They are a beautiful group of people who made our special little day one that we will always remember. You must have them as your storytellers. If I got married (to the same woman) again, I would have them do our ceremony again."


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