Saying 'I Do' with Celebrity Wedding Officiants

Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta re-married wife Shawn with Celebrity Wedding Officiant Mike Jerrick


We've noticed a wealth of weddings officiated by someone not ordained or elected – not a priest, rabbi, judge, mayor or ship’s captain – but rather, someone regal in his own fashion. Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead married Live Nation's Geoff Gordon and Sayeeda Kibria (now Gordon) between sets during his show at Philadelphia's Tower Theatre. Good Day Philadelphia host Mike Jerrick presided as Mix 106.1 FM’s Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta re-married his wife Shawn. Throughout November, Grammy-nominated blues pop singer Elle King will be marrying couples during her "Matrimony Tour."

Bob Weir means a great deal to the Gordons, so when they sought to tie their union to their love of a specific music, they got Weir's blessing. A surprise for friends there to see Weir's show and celebrate Gordon’s 50th birthday, the Live Nation magnate said that night, “Look at all the artists I deal with on a daily basis. A lot of them I love. But Weir means something to me…. I grew up with him and the Dead. I think that they are the biggest touring act of all time. When I mentioned backstage how much I appreciated it (him marrying us) and that he didn't have to do it, Weir told me ‘No I know I didn’t have to do it, I WANTED TO DO IT for you."

Not everyone is in a position to request that a musical superstar marry them. Then again, it never hurts to ask. Soul singing god Al Green is also a Reverend, and is famed for marrying couples whenever he has the opportunity. My wife Reese Amorosi and I asked Green to officiate when we were planning our wedding, and he would have, save for one problem: he was touring in Tokyo at that time. "Music is a part of my house," he said talking about loving couples linked to his songs. "It’s an honor if it’s so much a part of theirs." (Mr. Green later sang "Let's Stay Together" to us over the phone – it was thrilling).

Two recent couples who went with an unusual wedding officiant – Fox Philly television morning host Mike Jerrick – did it in the name of quirk and uniqueness. “What better way to have something to talk about than having ME as the guy who marries you,” questions Jerrick, who wore graduation vestments and wings to the blessed occasion.

Those who got married by Jerrick found the unusual ceremony no less lacking in spirituality than if they married in church. Mix 106.1 FM’s Timothy “Chio in the Morning” Acosta, who got re-married to his wife Shawn after a bitter divorce, and couple Jackie McBride and Rich Stillings, two under-30-year-olds from Springfield, Delaware County, all got married live on air on Good Day Philadelphia and Mix 106.1 FM.

McBride and Stillings started as contest winners for Chio’s “bit” as the young couple “financially haven't been able to get married,” says Stillings. Yet, the lovebirds never thought of this as a routine, but something celebratory and near-religious. “The ceremony was beautiful and never lacked in spirituality at all,’ says McBride. As for how it was a reflection of their personalities, McBride states, “We’re both outgoing and adventurous but we definitely didn't think we would be doing something like this.” Adds Stillings,”it was not necessarily 'normal' for us to have gone through something like this, but it was cool.” Each recommend having an unconventional officiator as an expression of their personality, “Plus Jerrick really put us at ease because he was fun,” says McBride.

“What better way to give couples something to talk about 25-years from now – ‘we got married live on television and on the radio'” says Chio, who instigated his re-marriage live-and-on-air as a stunt, yet with an earnest romanticism that went beyond his calling. See, the Acostas filed for divorce in 2008 after four kids and 20 years of marriage, but the radio-man known for frank discussions of his life and relationship on his “War of the Roses” radio segment never stopped loving his wife Shawn, a far-more private person than he; a paralegal who “isn’t always fond of that frankness,” she giggles softly.

Though separated, their children (especially Tristan, their 15-year-old who lived with Shawn in Cherry Hill after the separation) kept the divorcees talking, and when Chio wound up having an operation in 2015 that left him unable to tend to himself (“a pocket of fat brought us together,” he says; “one we named Fergus,” she says), Shawn welcomed Chio into her home. They began rekindling their flames, and the pair reunited and planned a wedding. Only for Chio, it felt right to make it public and with a unique officiator in Jerrick, “a man who seems up for anything, which makes sense as I’m like that too,” notes the radio maven. “I built my career on being real, putting everything out there. I think making choices in who we wanted to marry us – someone in this business I respect – made sense and I recommend it to anyone.” (Jerrick says Chio cried during the ceremony “like a baby”).

“The idea of marrying on air came incrementally which is good because I don’t think I would have gone for it,” says Shawn, “I would recommend the uniqueness of it to anyone as it was joyous and fun. I’m just glad Chio didn’t tell me everything about where we were going and who was marrying us until the morning of the wedding. I might have freaked out.”

Photo courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Acosta

Posted on Wednesday, November 23, 2016