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He's Got the Beat

Some grooms aren’t content being spectators. Meet three locals with a nuptial specialty.

The Groom: Neal Cohen, 43, lawyer
The beat: Music
How he owned it: Neal’s August 2010 wedding to Andrew Gotlin came together in just six weeks, but what began as a joint planning effort took a turn when Andrew decided that none of the musicians the couple interviewed “sounded like the actual bands” they were covering and went on to suggest alternatives: Klezmer, no music at all, or “manicures, pedicures, and massages.” That’s when Neal took over (“I just had this image of guests getting their feet scrubbed during dinner”), hiring string quartet Fensgate Chamber Players (617-868-2692) for the ceremony and D.J. Scott Lesinski (860-267-6590) for the reception. The D.J. promised to keep people on the dance floor with eighties hits; “It’s Raining Men” was the night’s biggest success, the grooms recall in unison.

The Groom: Rob Longert, 27, senior digital-media strategist
The beat: Social media
How he owned it: Rob and his fiancée, Alissa Miller, were planning a Jewish wedding last September and wanted a rabbi they could relate to. “I Googled one Alissa’s dad had suggested, and it turned out he had over 2,000 Twitter followers,” says Rob of finding a match in Rabbi Anchelle Perl (@rabbiperl). At Rob’s urging, Perl posted tweets throughout the ceremony (“#longertwedding watch robert break that glass”) and encouraged others to do the same—as long as their phones remained silent.

The Groom: Hansel Perez, 33, animator
The beat: “Guatemalan-ness”
How he owned it: For his July 2011 backyard wedding to Kali Sanders, Guatemala City–born Hansel enlisted family members to help create an atmosphere that would please the American guests but also honor his heritage. Using his mother’s recipes, Hansel’s aunts prepared all the food for 100 guests: traditional chicken and pork tamales, pollo guisado, rice and beans, and chicharrones, made from a whole pig bought at Long Island’s Wells Farm (631-722-4680). His cousin led the bilingual ceremony, and Hansel recruited five-piece band Mariachi Nuevo Mexico (201-993-8373; to perform before and after it. “The best part was seeing my, you know, illegal cousins dancing with my American friends,” he jokes.


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