The first time around — with almost anything — is the hardest, and Yaniv Aronson’s first wedding back in 2018 was no exception. Three or four “I do’s” later, things have gotten progressively easier. Becoming more familiar with the process, including the rotating venues and shifting cast of relatives and friends at each, has helped. In fact, his April 26 marriage to Sarah McGlinchey was (almost) a piece of cake.
According to several sources, October has replaced June as the top wedding month. September isn’t far behind, and June is still in high demand. But as Aronson has learned since he was sworn in as Conshohocken mayor in January 2018, weddings take place year-round, and local mayors and district justices are popular — and accessible — officiants. So far, Aronson has overseen at least a half-dozen ceremonies. Along the way, he has learned to adjust to each couple’s requirements and…well, expect the unexpected. That said, nothing compared to “the unexpected” he and his bride encountered when they tied their own knot at Media’s Tyler Arboretum.
The garden setting was lush and beautiful. Nearly 200 guests were in attendance from as far away as Israel. But, as the truism goes, “Man plans, God laughs.” The groomsmen had just begun to line up in the Tyler garden when “a massive storm” — thunder, lightning, torrential rain — moved in, and things went dark in a hurry. Literally. Happily, a savvy wedding planner quickly lit the interior of an adjoining 19th century stone bank barn with a flotilla of candles, a friend who’d belonged to an acappella group in college provided music, and officiant Jacob Kim, a personal friend who is lead pastor at Liberti Church Montco in Plymouth Meeting, “couldn’t have done a better job of (conducting) a beautiful ceremony.”
In short, things worked out.
A lesson for the ages. Or, at least, for a 36-year-old mayor who will most likely be called upon to officiate at several more weddings over the next three years or so.
“Performing weddings as the mayor has been an interesting evolutionary process,” says Aronson, who teaches film at Montgomery County Community College. “There wasn’t much in the way of official guidelines, but I talked to a couple of other mayors to see what they did, and they were very gracious with their advice. I improvised the rest. My first wedding as mayor, in the middle of the Christmas season, at Mary Wood Park House, was kind of overwhelming. But, now, having gone through the process myself, it’s a lot easier.
“One thing I’ve learned is to keep the responses people have to make — or the words they have to repeat — short…at weddings or even at the official swearing-ins a mayor has to do. People get nervous, and breaking up what they have to say into shorter (segments) makes it easier for them to remember.”
Aronson says he’s also learned “a lot” from Liberti’s Kim.
“Jacob is just a model of patience…at making you feel comfortable,” he continues. “He’s done hundreds of weddings, and he asked Sarah and me the kinds of questions that personalize a ceremony…something I try to do now.”
Aronson, who ran track and cross-country at Wissahickon High School, met his bride when she joined the popular CRC. The new Mrs. Aronson, a digital marketer, is a Kennett Square native who’d previously worked as a teaching assistant for the French government and now teaches conversational French and French culture in Plymouth Whitemarsh High School Adult Evening School.
The future mayor did his own share of traveling before settling in Conshohocken. Following his 2000 graduation from WHS, he earned a bachelor’s degree in film at Penn State University, a master’s in fine arts at Boston University and a second master’s in secondary education at St. Joseph’s University. A Stanford University Hollyhock Fellow, Aronson is finishing a thesis focused on “female student persistence in STEM college programs” as part of doctoral studies at Immaculata University.
Along the way, he spent a number of years in Los Angeles doing TV production work, and prior to his recent appointment to MCCC’s full-time faculty, Aronson juggled his day job as a film and video teacher at Philadelphia’s Northeast High School with an adjunct post at the Blue Bell college.
These days, he and Sarah are focused on their upcoming honeymoon in Grenada and “many happy years in Conshohocken.”
“I got Sarah a ring right around the two-year mark (of knowing each other), but I waited to propose until December 2017 — on the running trail, which seemed appropriate – right after the election,” Aronson says. “We had our first 'date' at Scoops and our second 'date' at Yoga Home, and we took our engagement pictures at the community garden. So it’s all been pretty local, and Conshohocken’s residents have been really rallying around us — from the engagement to the wedding — (with) lots of warm wishes and advice from just about everyone in town.”
Post-Grenada, Aronson is already looking forward to officiating at his next wedding. Details are available via the mayor’s link at www.conshohockenpa.gov.