Love Pops Up

The Norfolk Street Wedding Chapel opened the morning of July 12, and just a few hours later, Nolita sweethearts Sandra Mariano and Joshua Griffler became the first couple to get married there. The tiny (350 square foot) venue was created by brothers Ben and Hall Smyth as part of Grand Opening, their revolving art space that reinvents itself every few months. “We’ve done a ping-pong parlor and a drive-in movie theater here—the wedding chapel is just the latest grand opening,” Ben explains. “Plus, we already had all these white chairs, so we thought we could put them to good use.” It’s not exactly Vegas, where couples can apply for a marriage license and hit the altar in minutes; at Grand Opening, they still have to go to City Hall to make it legal. Collaborator Kevin Fey, who officiates many of the weddings, has seen all kinds of nuptials, from an L.E.S. husband and wife renewing their vows after 35 years of marriage to a pair who video-streamed their ceremony to the bride’s family in the Philippines. “We’ve had couples in their 50s and 60s, couples who were leaving for a destination wedding but wanted a little ceremony for their New York friends, even a girl fake-marrying her best male friend for the fun of it,” says Ben, who expects the chapel’s doors to remain open at least into November. Here, a sampling of the weddings that have taken place so far.

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Our Man on the Street Visits the Chapel

139 Norfolk St. nr. Rivington St.: 646-875-8078

Joshua Griffler and Sandra Mariano, July 12 Photo: Courtesy of Grand Opening Gallery, New York

Taleen Kalenderian, after getting faux-married to her best friend, Dickson Wong, August 26 Photo: Courtesy of Grand Opening Gallery, New York

Natalia Roudenko and Stewart Roberts, July 17. Photo: Jon Vachon

Guests shotgun beers at the vow renewal of Chantal and Jim Glancy, July 15 Photo: Courtesy of Grand Opening Gallery, New York

Grand Opening’s Kevin Fey, who became an ordained officiant with the Universal Life Church earlier this year. Photo: Courtesy of Grand Opening Gallery, New York

Groom Tim Trevathan with guests, July 18. Photo: Jon Vachon

Dana Chomko and Brian Dolphin, August 31. Photo: Jon Vachon

Christa Boeke and Tim Trevathan, July 18. Photo: Jon Vachon

Sandra Mariano and Joshua Griffler. Photo: Courtesy of Grand Opening Gallery, New York

Love Pops Up