We had the good fortune of connecting with Ann Kurtzman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ann, putting aside the decision to work for yourself, what other decisions were critical to your success?
The decision that Weddings with Serenity sprang from was the belief that every couple deserves to have a ceremony that is as meaningful and memorable as mine was. And that I can totally make that happen. I decided to choose JOY! I’ve had a variety of jobs. But when a position I held was coming to an end due to the facility relocating, I was talking to a friend and fretting about what to “do” next. Her words change my life. “Why don’t you concentrate of doing weddings full time? You’re so good at it and it gives you so much joy!” At that moment, I decided to choose JOY! My husband and I were married almost 37 years ago. I created the ceremony and we wrote our own vows. We had a close friend (who was the mayor of Miami Beach) officiate. Our family and friends loved our short ceremony and remarked that it was SO us. (there was a social justice theme with poetry from Gibran). Well, to this day, when he makes me a cup of coffee… he set’s it down in front of me and whispers in my ear, “tenderly caring for you!” (from our wedding vows) My heart just melts! I guess I’m a hopeless romantic. I think every couple deserves to have a ceremony that reflects who they are as a couple, as individuals and as families. I have a unique set of skills. As a writer, I know that I will create a ceremony that honors and represents the customs and traditions of both families. My couples have the security and serenity of knowing that this professional officiant truly cares and is determined that each of my couples experience the same “magical memorable moment” that warms our hearts and creates lasting memories. that warm out hearts forever.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think that what sets me and Weddings with Serenity apart from others (and I know this will sound rather simplistic) is that I am a really good listener, a good problem solver and I believe Love is Love. And I really care. It’s not a job, it’s a calling. I take the time to listen to what my couples want. I pride myself on creating ceremonies that reflect their personalities, values and love story. I’m still a hopeless romantic and absolutely delight in the joy of my couples and in sharing my experience to make their path more stress free. I honor family traditions and delight in including them and as many people as they wish in their ceremony. I know that nobody wants to cause hurt feelings on an occasion that celebrates love. A perceived slight on such an occasion might forever mar that relationship, I believe that Love is Love. Always have. Back before it was legal for the LGBTQ community to marry, I officiated many commitment ceremonies. When the right to marry was passed here in Florida, I posted an offer on my site that any couple that I’d officiated a commitment ceremony for, I will gladly officiate a wedding free of charge. My offer still stands. Perhaps some of them will read it here.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We have relatives that live up North and we LOVE to introduce them to the amazing sights, sounds and diverse flavors of Miami! No visit to south Florida would be complete without having dinner at Versailles Restaurant to sample Cuban Cuisine at it’s finest. A leisurely breakfast at Greenstreets Cafe will definitely be on the agenda and so will lunch or brunch at Peacock Garden. Our friends and relatives with kids have to check out Miami Seaquarium with lunch on Key Biscayne at the Lighthouse Cafe (for ceviche) or maybe Rusty Pelican. I loved the old Parrot Jungle Grounds and always suggest a trip to Pinecrest Gardens to our visitors interest in plants and the coral rock formations and bridges. Our cigar smoking nephews must experience 8th street and see cigars hand rolled. I encourage our visitors to explore the wonder of our Everglades. Our now grown nephews still talk about the 15 mile bike loop at Shark Valley! (“Wasn’t it like 50 miles you made us ride?” one said) Coral Castle, Zoo Miami and the Miami Children’s Museum will be on the list too for those with kids. No visit to Miami would be complete without sampling our culture of cafecito and pastelitos at CAO Bakery & Cafe. Obviously our relatives love to eat great food! The Deering Estate may be next on our must see list. Maybe have lunch at Lincoln Road. Then we’ll explore Miami Beach and the Art Deco District. Viscaya has always been one of my very favorite places! I grew up in “The Roads” and when I was a girl, my friends and I would sneak onto the grounds (don’t tell!) and I would spend hours in wonder! That probably where I developed my appreciation of beautiful gardens. I love to share Viscaya’s beauty with our visitors. I truly love all of the wonderful sights, sounds, colors and tastes of our diverse culture and I’m delighted to share all of these with our visitors. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout goes to my husband, Alan Kurtzman C.P.A. He’s my biggest fan and truly the wind beneath my wings . He’s the loving and supportive father to 2 daughters, 4 grandkids and a broad assortment of nephews, nieces and their kids. He is truly the “glue” that holds our scattered family together. When he’s not accompanying me to set up sunrise wedding ceremonies (or charming little kids at vow renewals), Alan is President of Sundial Realty Corp, a division of Sundial Advisory Services. Alan brings a wide range of experience including public and private accounting, extensive managerial background in the legal profession, real estate lending, development, property management and wealth management. In our wedding vows, he promised to tenderly care for me and to encourage my growth as an individual. He certainly has. This brilliant man has supported all of the changes of my life. He encouraged me to get my degree and wholeheartedly supported every other course/workshop that has shaped my direction and honed my skills. He’s ready to hop on a plane to take care/ pitch in. whenever he’s needed. Our youngest (my stepdaughter) has metastatic breast cancer and he’s been there from mastectomies to oncologist appointments. His love and support encourages and helps sustain her hope for a cure and he’s a pillar of support for her daughters. He promised to love me in sickness and in health. And has nursed me through 6 different surgeries over the years. The latest in March 2020 when the we had to deal not only with the pandemic, but also my diagnosis of breast cancer. He’s never once complained. Any success and where I am in this life is most certainly due to the sustained efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of this brilliant and incredibly giving and loving man. I’m truly humbled and blessed.