On Sunday, 19 June 2016, in the Style section, the New York Times announced the marriage of Jon Carl Lewis and Stephen A. Slusher at 4 pm on Saturday, 18 June 2016, by the Rt. Rev. William Hallock Stokes, D.D., the twelfth bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New Jersey. Over 150 friends and family were in attendance, filling the main sanctuary of Trinity Cathedral on West State Street in Trenton.
The grooms wore matching tuxedos with royal blue bowties from Shaffer’s. They were attended by two witnesses: Katherine Slusher de Vilallonga (Steve’s sister, visiting from Barcelona, Spain) and Duane Alexander Lewis (Jon Carl’s brother, from Millville, NJ). Also part of the wedding party were the beautiful ring bearer in a white, fairy dress and a crown of white roses, and the Rev. Ricardo Shepherd, recently ordained to the transitional diaconate. Duane Lewis did a powerful reading of 1 Corinthians 13, Mssrs. Lewis’ father’s favorite scriptural passage about abiding love. The Bishop conducted the service with dignity and warm humor, delivering a touching homily.
A moment of silence was held for the victims and survivors of the shootings at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando the previous week, especially for Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, a committed couple who will have a joint funeral instead of the wedding they could have had were they not killed in a senseless act of violence.
A reception was held for 175 downstairs in the Cathedral Crypt, transformed into an elegant banquet hall by Janet’s Weddings & Parties. A variety of foods came from around the world via four Trenton area restaurants; Chencha y Chole (Mexican), the 1911 Smokehouse (Southern Barbecue), Hambone Opera (Texas Barbecue) and Dream Spicy (Indian Fusion). The food was expertly served by Enjoy Your Party and bartenders were provided by Shop-Rite Joe’s. The wedding planner for the event—and adept manager of the potential chaos—was Jude Martin-Cianfano.
The grooms made a dramatic entrance after all the guests were seated, appearing at the top of the stairs in complementary jackets, hand-painted in acrylics on cotton by locally-based artist Will Kasso, which bore the likenesses of the two grooms amongst a rich explosion of color and shape and line in Kasso’s inimitable, life-and-joy affirming style.
Toasts were raised to the grooms by Katherine Slusher who addressed the crowd in English and Spanish (eventually revealing the “Just Married” on the inside of Mr. Lewis’ jacket) and Duane Lewis, who spoke eloquently in English. The grooms took the occasion to thank the crowd for their attendance and outpourings of love.
Guests were entertained by Dan Kassel, cellist, and Dr. Kerry Heiman, harpsichordist. Kassel performed his special blend of modern compositions and Dr. Heimann played pieces from the Baroque.
After dinner and socializing, the grooms cut the delicious, four-tiered, chocolate and vanilla wedding cake from Nino’s Pastry Shoppe.
The party adjourned around 8:30 pm and continued at the after party at the 10th annual Art All Night celebration at the former Roebling Wire Works where 1500 pieces of art were viewed by 30,000 attendees over the course of the 24-hour event.
Many thanks to all those not named who gathered and gave of themselves to make this event a truly beautiful and powerful, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
All photographs on this page © Catherine ‘Cie’ Stroud Photography.