Preeminent New York licensed associate real estate broker Jared Seligman is accustomed to popping Champagne corks when closing a deal on an architectural gem. But this year, he’ll be toasting with bubbly for an even more exciting event — his wedding to long-time love Max Schapiro.
Jared Seligman is currently in the thick of planning his nuptials. And it’s not just a gay wedding, but a Modern Orthodox Jewish one at that.
The broker took a moment with us to share what this wedding will mean to him and to the LGBTQIA+ community at large.
“I want to celebrate a beautiful day with the love of my life and show others that they can do it too,” said Seligman. “But really, it’s about us this day, and when you live your own authentic truth, it shows people that it’s OK.”
While the associate broker didn’t intend for his wedding to be a poster child for marriage equality, he acknowledges the weight it carries in the LGBTQIA+ community.
“I didn’t want this wedding to be a gay rights advocacy situation,” Seligman explained. “In the past, I didn’t want any press. I didn’t want photographers. I didn’t want any announcements in The New York Times. I feel that I’ve been there and done that, and lived a little bit in the public eye [before]. I wanted to have a more private lifestyle going forward. It is truly disturbing that we even have to have a conversation in 2022 about gay rights and gay marriage.”
While it was legalized on a federal level by the Supreme Court in 2015, and on the state level in 37 states, same-sex marriage is still banned in 13 states. Additionally, many states don’t have nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQIA+ people. Suffice it to say, the fight for marriage equality continues.
There’s also the religious aspect to Seligman’s union, which, for the associate real estate broker, remains a sensitive topic. And for good reason: While some strides have been made for acceptance of gay marriage, it still hasn’t been normalized by the Orthodox Jewish faith.
“We’re having an Orthodox Jewish ceremony, which is a controversial topic, which I will avoid other than that my partner is gay, but he is also Modern Orthodox,” said Seligman. “Those two things are an interesting pair at times, and this wedding process has been challenging. But he wanted to make it a point that just because you are gay, or whatever your sexual orientation is, it should not impact anything. If you want a special religious ceremony, you should be able to do that too.”
Jared Seligman and his partner Schapiro, a managing partner at an investment banking firm, celebrated their engagement in August 2018. Since then, the pair have enjoyed a storybook romance that didn’t come without a set of challenges. As if being struck by a global pandemic wasn’t arduous enough, the duo tackled one of the most battle-testing undertakings a couple could face: a home renovation. And they passed that test with flying colors.
“We’ve lived together for almost six years. And in that time, we bought a home together and did a renovation together during COVID. Doing that process of a renovation makes this wedding feel like more of an easier situation,” Seligman affirmed.
Wedding planning wasn’t always the real estate broker’s aspiration. Seligman told us how, with some coaxing from his fiancé, their wedding plans evolved from a small, private affair to the opulent event it will be.
“I wanted a small intimate wedding [just] the two of us. I wanted to elope, essentially, and use the funds for other things,” he said. “I honestly have been trying with every bone in my body for a few years to not have a formal ceremony and do something a little bit different and [have] a private celebration. [We were] on a vacation and my partner was insistent on having a large Jewish religious ceremony with tons of [loved ones], and at a certain point, I gave in — and I do that almost never. So, because it’s so important to him, I’m just happy to plan the most beautiful day [that] hopefully many people will see.”
Now that the two are on the same page, wedding plans are underway. Seligman, with his keen eye for design, will be at the helm of it all. But he won’t be going it alone.
“Now that we officially have decided as a team to do this, I definitely would say I’m in charge of all the creative and visuals and what people will touch, feel, smell, and see,” he shared. “We hired an unbelievably phenomenal team to help plan this event. So, as time consuming as it is, we really are relying on a team of people who dedicate their lives to making this day truly unbelievable, and I feel very blessed to be working with them.”
In the midst of the excitement and the whirlwind that is wedding planning, Jared Seligman couldn’t help but reflect upon the current circumstances that still prevail in the LGTQIA+ community.
“It is unbelievable how far we have come, but it’s truly even more unbelievable where we had to come from,” Seligman shared. “Like how these institutions were put in place by people who didn’t have electricity or any modern knowledge or technology, and people are taking what they said possibly hypothetically and not even remotely literally, and it’s been fought for thousands of years.
“It’s a disturbing concept in and of itself, and being born and raised as a Jewish liberal New Yorker, I am often shocked as to what a bubble we live in. It is truly upsetting to see how there are so many children and adults that live in this country who don’t live an authentic true life because they’re afraid to come out of the closet. They’re afraid to be themselves. They’re afraid of the consequences. They’re afraid that they may not be offered the same services or rights as other people and it really saddens me. So, if there’s something that I can do to show them that not only will this get better — you too can have the most beautiful Vogue-approved wedding possible. (God willing Anna [Wintour]).”
Still, the associate broker has faith in the future. “I’m hoping we’re going into a new chapter. I’m hoping — I say that not so optimistically, but realistically — in that I really believe in the youth of the next generation,” Seligman said.
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