Jenni & Karen

First Legal Gay Wedding In Dobbs Ferry New York

Karen Naimool, Anger Management Counselor for Children & Jenni Griffith, Program Manager at a Medical School & Doctoral Student * Photographer: A mix of close friends and the local press that showed up. Some of the best shots came from Stu Bayer who did an article about our ceremony for the Rivertowns Patch. * Soundtrack for reading: “Stars 4-Ever” by Robyn *

One sentence sum up of the wedding vibe: Queer femme pinup girl meets island ninja under a giant gay balloon arch with bubbles, giggles, and play!

A little about our wedding: Karen: Jenni and I are very different in terms of how we dress. I’m usually very low key and comfortable while Jenni is all about feathers, flowers, and vintage frocks. However, for our legal ceremony, we were both fancy! I found a champagne sari that complemented Jenni’s dress. I chose to wear traditional red bridal jewelry to represent my religion, Hinduism, and Indian Trinidadian culture. You can view some of our inspirations and ideas for our September Hindu wedding here on Pinterest.

Jenni: I had a Kate Spade dress sitting in my closet for a year, but I never found the right occasion to wear it. The polka dots and flared skirt remind me of the 1950s, which is my favorite era. I loved Valentino’s giant bow heels that came out a couple years ago but could not afford them. Luckily, Paris Hilton came out with this incredible knock off version in white! I adore birdcage veils, and I found this perfect white hat and veil at my favorite online store. I wanted our legal ceremony to be a queer spin on a traditional Western ceremony. Our September wedding will honor Karen’s Hindu religion and Indian culture.

Our ceremony took place at the Village Hall in the little Rivertown where we live, Dobbs Ferry, NY. We were the first legal same-sex marriage in the town of Dobbs Ferry, and it was extra special that our town mayor married us! After the ceremony, our incredible friends surprised us with a delicious lunch, champagne, and a slice of cake (with a candle on top) at our favorite local joint, Harper’s Restaurant. The restaurant harkens back to the 1950s and was the perfect setting for our impromptu reception!

Other cool stuff we should know about: We are a bi-racial and bi-national couple, which is difficult enough having to cross cultural and racial divides. However, our biggest challenge is proving to the world that we deserve to stay together as a family. We use our relationship, our love, and our family to fight DOMA, which makes it impossible for Jenni to sponsor Karen for U.S. citizenship. We don’t know whether Karen will ultimately be able to stay permanently in the U.S., but we are determined to make our story known and advocate for equality. Take a look at our website and some of our press.

Favorite thing about the wedding: Our Hindu wedding with all the pomp and ceremony will happen in September in New Jersey, which does not recognize same-sex marriage. So, we decided to have a legal ceremony in our home state of New York before the big gay Hindu wedding. We were (and still are) focused on planning our wedding in September but then found out in late February that our mutual friend and matchmaker, Alysia, would be in NYC in March. Alysia and Karen are best friends who attended Spelman College together. Alysia and Jenni were friends through graduate school. Alysia spent the better part of two years trying to get us together despite our refusals. She was convinced we were a perfect match and turned out to be right! All that hard work could not go unnoticed. We decided that it would be fitting to have a simple legal ceremony with Alysia as our witness while she was visiting NYC. Alysia was a part of both of our individual lives and the catalyst for our love. It made our legal commitment to each other even more meaningful to have Alysia witness our commitment as a wedded couple. Our legal ceremony is probably the best “I told you so” we ever had. Our ceremony at Village Hall turned out to be amazing and felt like a full-blown wedding even though it was somewhat impromptu.

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