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Script of wedding ceremony

by andy altman-ohr

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At San Francisco Design Center, Sept. 22, 2012

Wedding of Mohana Amirtharajah and Jason Forman

Officiant: Andy Altman-Ohr


( LIFT ARMS to get people to rise for the bride)


(At the end, Raj and Mo will light a memorial candle in memory of their father.)

(Mohana first hands her bouquet over to Jessica.)

ANDY: The bride and her brother, Raj, are lighting a candle in memory of their father, Appiah (Awh-PIE-yah) Amirtharajah.

Raj and Mohana will move forward under the Chuppah and Raj will shake Jason's hand, then exit to take his seat.

Welcome & sermon

Hello. Welcome. I'm so glad you all could be here for such a joyous occasion, the joining together of Jason Forman and Moe Huh-NUH A-mirth-a-rajah in solemn matrimony.

At this point, I've been told to say please silence your cell phones and other devices. Thank you.

My name is Andy Altman-Ohr, and Jason is my cousin. My ONE AND ONLY first cousin. I'll break that down for you later, if you want. What I want to say here is just that it was a huge thrill and a tremendous honor to be asked to officiate his wedding.

After they asked me to do it, there wasn't really much for me to do. I didn't have to go to rabbinical school or take a become-a-priest in one day course. I just had to fill out some paperwork at City Hall, and now I have official certification from the City and County of San Francisco as a wedding official. But only on Saturday, Sept. 22, 2012. And only this one wedding.

Thank you so much to Jason and Mo for asking me to do it.

Jason and I are a little bit similar. We were both born in Cleveland -- me in the early ‘60s and Jason in the early ‘70s. And although we never lived there together at the same time, I got to know Jason pretty good through family visits. And then, lo and behold, here I am living in the Bay Area for decades when Jason decides to move here.

So now we both live here. We both like Blue Bottle coffee, we both like the San Francisco Giants, we both have an interesting connection to Saskatchewan, .... I've observed that we both have some of the same family personality quirks -- and - and we both kept our families worried by a lack of promising relationships (or in my case, just a lack of any relationships) through our formative years.
But just like I found a wonderful woman, Stacey, whom I still love and adore and want to spend my time with after nearly 16 years of marriage - Yes, just like I found my besheret after some not-so-unbiased observers had given up hope, so has fate done Jason right.

And just like I met my wife through a personal ad in the newspaper --- Jason met Mo through an Internet dating site. And just like me, all Jason has is one undergraduate degree compared to some pretty impressive post-graduate degrees by our partners. I mean, Mo ... doctor! A doctor! The dream of every Jewish mother! (Congratulations Karen!)

Mo and Jason met in 2009 - and their education levels actually figured into it. But not exactly in a good way. Mo had set up a preference on her dating profile to avoid anyone who hadn't done at least SOME postgraduate work.

Still, somehow, they got together for a first date. Jason says Mo asked HIM for the first date, Mo says it was the other way around. A bunch of mishigas that involves some sort of bug in some kind of database. Oy vey, it's a whole thing. You can read about it on

Whatever happened, they did manage to get together for that first date. It was at a bar, called the Liberties, kind of near Valencia and 22nd near Dolores Park. I now take you back to that fateful day in March of 2009, through the recollections of Jason and Mo. These are direct quotes from a conversation we had about it.

Jason: It was a pre-date, a Tuesday evening. You have one drink, and if things are going well, you have another. It's all VERY preliminary.

Mo: I don't consider THAT a pre-date. A pre-date is if we meet in a library. We had a DATE.

Jason: I NOW call it a date.

Jason again: So we met at bar on a Tuesday afternoon.

Mo: It was not afternoon, it was evening.

Jason: She was more chatty than she usually is.

Mo: HE just sat there and nodded.

Jason: NO, NO, NO!

Mo: I felt like I had to fill up the conversation.

Jason: So, anyway, we had a good time -- because we had a second drink. That's always a good sign.

Mo: Well, I didn't know YET. I was like, I don't know about this guy.

Jason: I was very laid back throughout the whole thing cuz I had been through this a bunch.

Mo: First of all, he didn't say a thing. He hardly said anything.

Jason: That's NOT true.

Mo: And then at the end, we're leaving, and he's like where are you parked? I'm like, I'm parked in this garage a few blocks over near Market street (which, by the way, I checked out on Google maps and looked about 9 blocks away)

Jason: You did NOT say that.

Mo: And then he's like, OK, well, I'm going this way - so goodbye.

Jason: You did not say you were in that garage, you said you were just a couple of blocks away. Otherwise I would have walked you down there.

Mo: He walked away and I said, I'll never see that guy again.

Jason: I thought she was right around the corner, just a block or two. I would have walked you down, I didn't know.

And Jason with the parting shot: I was not silent by the way, I was a good listener. I was listening.

And the rest is history.
And Jason, by the way, is still listening. Just like I listen to my wife. Smart man.

As the days and months went on, Mo fell in love with Jason's kindness, his politeness, the twinkle in his eye every time he is in her presence. The way he truly loves her and would do anything for her.

Jason fell in love with Mo's sensibilities and her sense of humor, her beautiful heart, her affinity for spending time together, whether on the sofa or at the symphony. He could see that she truly loved him.

I mean, how much were they meant to be together? For the holidays last year, Jason got Mo a book of comics that have been made about Star Wars. And Mo got him a Star Trek t-shirt. A match made in Comic-con heaven.

Six months after they started dating, they took their first big trip together, to Massachussets for a wedding -- and then drove up to Montreal. And that's when their love really became solidified, driving through the back roads of New England. At the end of the trip, Mo flew back home from Montreal alone to get back to work, while Jason drove the rental car back to the Newark airport. That's when it hit Mo: She realized she missed him terribly and didn't like traveling without him.

A month later, about 7 months after they started dating, they finally professed their love for one another. Well, sort of. Jason was about to leave for a trip to Cleveland for Thanksgiving. It was all hectic around the apartment. Mo was rushing to get ready for work, Jason was scrambling to get to the airport. And suddenly, while at the top of the stairs, Jason blurted out, "Mo, I love you." And Mo replied, "That's so sweet." Ugh! Not the answer a guy wants to hear. So Jason spent the next few hours, in his own words "FREAKING OUT." What kind of response was that? What did she mean? Finally, before he got on the plane, Mo called - or maybe even texted - that she loved him, too.

I could give you the proposal story, too. But again,

Maybe even more stunning than the proposal was the day Jason and Mo surprised me by asking me to officiate their wedding. Then we ate some bad dim sum. I think Jason and Mo asked me because we're cousins, but also because they can see how Stacey and I interact as a loving couple. The way we relate to each other with positive energy. Never does a day go by when one of us doesn't try to do something special for the other. And this can be the most routine of routine small things, A thank you. An unexpected IM. A short break a task at hand just to connect for a minute or two. These are the things that I try to put my energy into more than anything else in my life.

A short while after Jason and Mo asked me to officiate, my wife and I went on a hike on the northern side of Mt. Tamalpais, called the Two Lakes hike.

I was thinking about Mo and Jason, and being married in general -- and as we were making our way around lake No. 2, I began experiencing the hike as a metaphor for marriage: Before we started, I looked on my trail map and the hike looked like smooth sailing. Maybe the way things look to you now as you enter wedded bliss.

On the map, the lake was about the size of a quarter. There was little detail, and the perimeter looked smooth and easy. Almost like an oval. Easy peasy.

Well.... Had that map been magnified 100 or 1,000 times, I could have clearly seen all of the lake's nooks and crannies, all of the bays and inlets. But it wasn't.

So when the twists and the turns came up, they were unexpected. Some forced us to go way, way around some big inlets and forebays. A lake that looked like a perfect oval was actually an amoeba with a lot of inlets and outlets.

These quote-unquote "detours" made the hike a bit more difficult and definitely longer than I thought it would be, and what I had portrayed to Stacey.

But thinking of this in terms of the marriage metaphor, I was strengthened.

A few of the longer-than-expected trails led to a small unexpected adventure that we got to experience together, or to a site in nature that we would not have otherwise seen.

In marriage, there are a whole lot of unexpected trails. Every week, every day even. Take them together, with gusto, with love, with respect. Who knows what adventures they will lead to. What new experiences.

And by traversing them together, by finishing them, you come out stronger as a couple. More solidified.
And the love continues.
And the love grows.

Reading 1

ANDY: And now, Evan Ginsburg, a friend of the groom, will come up to do a reading.
(a traditional Hindu marriage poem)

ANDY: Thank you, Evan.

Reading 2

ANDY: Now, Sonia Partap, a friend of the bride, will also do a reading.
(" e.e. cummings I carry your heart")

ANDY: Thank you, Sonia.


ANDY: Please face each other and join hands

Jason, do you take Mohana (Moe Huh-NUH) to be your wife?

Do you promise to be true to her in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love her and honor her all the days of your life? -------I do---------

Mohana, (Moe Huh-NUH) do you take Jason to be your husband?

Do you promise to be true to him in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, to love him and honor him all the days of your life? -------I do----

Jason, please repeat after me:

I, Jason Forman, /
take you, Mohana A-mirth-a-rajah, /
to be my wedded wife,/
to have and to hold from this day forward, /
for better or for worse, /
for richer or for poorer, /
in sickness and in health, /
to love and to cherish all the days of my life.

(Moe Huh-NUH) please repeat after me:

I, Mohana A-mirth-a-rajah, /
take you, Jason Forman, /
to be my wedded husband,/
to have and to hold from this day forward, /
for better or for worse, /
for richer or for poorer, /
in sickness and in health, /
to love and to cherish all the days of my life.

Exchange of garlands

Andy: Now Jason and Mo will exchange garlands, as part of a Hindu tradition that represents the joining of two souls into one.

(If necessary, ask Radha to please come forward)

ANDY: The flowers are being held by Mohana's (Moe Huh-NUH) cousin Radha (Rodd-aw)

(Mohana's cousin Radha will hold the tray with the garlands. Radha will be seated in the 1st row, and then walk up with the tray to the chuppah.)

(After the garlands have been exchanged Radha will return to her seat.)

Blessings by Mo's cousins

Andy: Now performing a blessing on the couple will be Mohana's (Moe Huh-NUH)cousins, Yaso and Thalini (Tie-YAH-Lee-Nee)

(They will come up from their seats and perform this. As they do, I say:)

Andy: This is a Sri Lankan tradition and is a blessing from the married women of Mohana's (Moe Huh-NUH) family for the new couple and their life together.

(They will then return to their seats.)

Exchange of rings

Andy to Dan: The rings please.

(I ask him with both palms up and open. I then give Mo's ring to Jason, and then Jason's ring to Mohana. Then they hold hands again).

Whisper: Hold hands again (if needed).

Andy: " ... As unbroken circles, your rings are symbols of Eternal Love, from which you may draw endlessly for comfort, inspiration, strength and encouragement."

Andy: Jason, repeat after me:

I give this ring /
in token and in pledge /
of my constant faith and abiding love /
with all that I am /
and all that I will become.

Andy: Mohana, (Moe Huh-NUH) repeat after me:

I give this ring /
in token and in pledge /
of my constant faith and abiding love /
with all that I am /
and all that I will become.

Final words by Andy

(There will small round table under the chuppah for the glass in a bag. At this point, Andy TAKES THE GLASS FROM THE TABLE AND PLACES IT NEAR THE STANDING JASON)

Andy: Jason and Mo, you have joined yourselves today in solemn matrimony. The love and passion and devotion that you feel for one another right now are beautiful and amazing things. May you strive all your lives to keep feeling the same way. May you always delight in each other's company. Never take the other for granted. Never let a even a tiny opportunity for affection and kindness pass you by. When your heart swells with love for the other, make it a rule to always share that feeling. If things around you get tough, come together, don't inch apart.

And as the map of the lake gets closer and closer, delight in taking the unforeseen and unanticipated trails together. Some might be windy and narrow, steep and difficult, but traverse them together. Who knows what amazing adventures they might lead to? And even if the unexpected path proves to be difficult, then just think about how much greater the bond will be after you two tackle it together -- and the path straightens out again.

And now, by the power vested in me by Grandma Shirtl, our 98-year-old grandma who still lives on her own in Cleveland, in her own apartment, and who would still be driving if it wasn't for her son taking away the keys. For her I say the words that the City and County of San Francisco has sanctified me to say:

And now, by the virtue of the authority vested in me by the State of California, I now pronounce you husband and wife!

As Andy utters the final words, Jason BREAKS THE GLASS
(with his right foot)


(After the Kiss, Jessica gives Mohana back her bouquet, then she and Jason FACE FORWARD....)


"Ladies & Gentleman, your Bride & Groom - Mo & Jason!! "



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