Serena Anderson and Coral Newberry faced each other in the cozy main chapel of the Chapels at the Pawn and declared their feelings for one another.
About how important they are to each other. Their excitement about finding kindred spirits. How they look forward to sharing more experiences together.
The Rev. Scott Polek looked on, smiling, and offered a benediction at the conclusion of the short but surprisingly moving ceremony: That Anderson and Newberry “may ever remain besties for life.”
Because why should married people have all the fun?
The “Besties for Life” ceremony is just one of the ways in which the chapel, and owner Polek, celebrate relationships of all kinds. Polek and his staff preside over wedding and marriage vow renewal ceremonies, as well as “friendship ceremonies” that also include “Brother from Another Mother” for guys and an “I Love You” version for couples who are dating or involved but choose not to marry.
For those seeking a real twist on standard wedding chapel offerings, Polek also can organize cannabis-themed weddings and receptions, weddings on the set of “Pawn Stars” and just about any permutation of wedding or wedding celebration a customer may desire.
“We’ll do anything for people,” Polek said. “If people want to ride in on a pink horse, let me see if I can find a pink horse.”
Polek opened the chapel on Oct. 31 at Pawn Plaza, right across the parking lot from Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, home of the hit TV reality show “Pawn Stars.”
Friday will mark Polek’s first Valentine’s Day there, and while he expects it to be busy, not even a crush of prospective newlyweds or already-besties are likely to mar the chapel’s friendly, sincere vibe.
Polek’s resume includes 15 years working for psychic mediums from around the world. But when his mother died six years ago, “I needed to change direction,” he said.
When a friend asked Polek to officiate a marriage ceremony, it hit home. ”I became a reverend,” he said, and decided “this is what I needed to be doing.”
“To me this work is a passion. No two days are ever the same.”
On a recent afternoon, Polek and his staff officiated two vow renewals and a besties ceremony. He also greeted a few passers-by who discovered the chapel during a visit to the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. Count among them Aristide and Corinne Justeau from France, who saw the chapel on Sunday and arranged to return Monday to renew their vows.
They’ve been married for 29 years. During the ceremony, the Rev. Diana Moran told the couple that “we’re here to renew a promise” and had them adorn each other with the rings they’ve worn for nearly three decades.
After the ceremony, as Polek reaches over to hug Corinne, Aristide interjected. “Be careful, that’s my wife,” he said in mock indignation.
Also stopping in to renew their vows were Rose and Dave Mallory from Okeana, Ohio. They’ve been together 43 years and popped in after the guide on their tour bus asked if anybody wanted to get married.
Rose Mallory even was wearing a ring they had purchased during their Las Vegas visit. So it’s sort of a wedding ring, then?
“Whatever you want it to be,” Dave Mallory answered.
During Anderson and Newberry’s Monday ceremony — which included music by violinist Adrianna Thurber, whose regular gigs include playing in Rod Stewart’s band — the friends of two years talked about how they met and what they mean to each other.
Polek said he created the friendship ceremonies when a group of sorority sisters “walked in one day (asking), ‘What can we do? We don’t want to get married.’ I said, ‘You’re best friends. Let’s have a ceremony.’ So I developed a ceremony for people that is not legally binding.”
They often turn into as much therapy sessions as friendship ceremonies, “because you introduce it, and then the people … say why they’re best friends and let their emotions out,” Polek added. “These girls, it was 45 minutes and they were crying and hugging. It was wonderful.”