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Anto’s Blog

Cigar Date 5/19/17

I don’t suppose that the Pasadena Weekly has the circulation of the New York Times, but, nevertheless, I had the honor of “gracing” its cover two weeks ago.

The Weekly’s offices are right across the hall from mine, and it was during one of those conversations you have with people whose offices are right across the hall from you that I mentioned that we have something truly unique coming up this summer. The gentlemen of the Fourth Estate decided that it was unique enough to put me on the front page of their publication.

No, it was not a slow news week. I really had news.

We’re having a wedding at Cigars by Chivas.

Yes, an honest-to-goodness wedding, between two of our most faithful clients, Erin McLaughlin and Nathan Riedel.  The ceremony is to take place on August 12, in the morning, before the shop opens for business. The ceremony will be private, although there’s nothing to stop people from watching from outside.

I don’t know that there has never been a cigar shop wedding before, but I’ve never heard of one. I’m taking it to be the first cigar shop wedding in the Los Angeles area, and I’m obviously proud to be the host of such an event.

I’m actually more than the host: I’m to be the officiant.

I’m sure I have a copy or two of the Weekly around the shop, if you want to read their account of how the wedding came to be, but I might as well offer my own version here – for the people who can’t lay their hands on a back issue of the Pasadena Weekly.

Rin (as she’s known to everyone) and Nate (as he’s known to everyone) have been steady clients ever since they moved to Pasadena from Minnesota. We all knew they were a couple, and a serious one. During the winter, the word “ring” started to make itself heard, and shortly thereafter, Rin came into the store with a sparkling diamond on her finger.

They had decided to tie the knot.

That meant they had to set a date and find a place for the wedding. One evening, they asked whether they might have it in the shop. I was a little surprised at first, then I thought, why not?  Rin and Nate are members of the Cigars by Chivas family, so why not solemnize their nuptuals in a place they know and love?

No one had ever heard of a cigar shop wedding, so, at that point, no one really had any idea of what it might include. There was also the obvious question of who would officiate, as, although my family and I are Armenian Orthodox, the shop has no official chaplain.

“Why don’t we have Anto do it – the way the captain of a ship can marry people?”

Turns out, it’s actually not all that difficult to perform weddings: the Universal Life Church, working from the philosophy that everyone is entitled to be their own minister, ordains ministers online.  So, one evening in the shop, I pulled out my trusty laptop and got myself ordained. The process took less than five minutes.

Not that there wasn’t an online store to visit. Very cleverly – and conveniently – the Church offers a wedding “kit” with everything you need to officiate at the perfect wedding. There was a book – By the Power Vested in You –  as well as an identification card (I carry it with me in my wallet), blank marriage certificates, and even a “Clergy” hang tag for the car when I’m marrying people. I also sprang for the extra bucks to get a Doctor of Divinity certificate.

There’s a lot more news to come about the wedding, so watch this space. We’re anticipating it to be the event of our summer here at Cigars by Chivas