Zelie mayor presides over Skype nuptials
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
By Steve Ferris
December 6, 2017
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Zelienople Mayor Tom Oliverio, center, presided over the weddings of two couples this year that were shared with family members from around the world who watched via the Internet chat application Skype. Left, are Nuno Ferreira, originally from Portugal, and his wife, Spain native Maria Cortigo, who were married by Oliverio on Sept. 15. Right, are Argentinian natives Valeria and Carlos Guzman. Oliverio presided over their ceremony on Feb. 18.

ZELIENOPLE — Mayor Tom Oliverio has performed about 80 weddings in his 27 years in office.

He's helped couples tie the knot in all sorts of places and circumstances.

His only rule is that the ceremony include the Lord's Prayer.

At two weddings he performed this year, his recitations of the prayer were heard by the families of the brides and grooms thousands of miles away.

The couples, whose families live abroad, used the Internet chat application Skype so their loved ones who weren't able to travel to Butler County for the nuptials could watch and listen to the ceremonies.

“I think I've done about 80,” Oliverio said Saturday, estimating the number of weddings he performed. “I always include the Lord's Prayer. That's the only requirement I have.”

On Sept. 15 Oliverio married Maria Cortigo, a native of Spain, and Nuno Ferreira, a native of Portugal, in their home in Cranberry Township, as their families tuned in from their respective homes.

“We got married Sept. 15, which happens to be our birthdays. We share the same birthday,” said Cortigo, who has a doctoral degree in Spanish culture and has been a Spanish language professor at Slippery Rock University for 12 years. “Now it's a triple celebration.”

She and Ferreira met through a mutual friend on a hike near Morgantown, W.Va., in 2013 and they got engaged on Valentine's Day last year.

Cortigo said her mother, sister and other family members watched the wedding in Spain, and her brother gave her away from his home in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Most of their family members speak English and those who can't were still able to follow along.

“They understood what was going on,” said Ferreira, a mechanical engineer for Elliott Co. in Jeannette and a former paratrooper in the Portuguese military.

“They all watched the wedding on Skype,” Cortigo said. “So we had a traditional wedding in a nontraditional way.”

Ferreira jokingly called it a “virtual wedding.” They set up two computers and a tablet to provide a full view of the wedding.

“It worked perfectly,” Cortigo said.

Some of their family members met before the wedding, but they talk all the time now using Skype.

Cortigo moved to the United States in 1995 and Ferreira relocated five years ago.

They plan to travel to visit their families over Christmas.

On Feb. 18, Oliverio married Carlos and Valeria Guzman, Argentinian natives who now live in Cranberry Township.

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Spanish native Maria Cortigo and Nuno Ferreira, originally from Portugal, were married by Zelienople Mayor Tom Oliverio during a Sept. 15 ceremony that included family members from around the world who watched via the Internet chat application Skype.

They said they met in Argentina in 2015 and moved to Cranberry last year.

“Our dream was to be in this country,” said Valeria, who taught English in high school in Argentina. “We wanted to get married and we met Tom and he married us.”

She said she moved in December 2016 right after the school term ended. Carlos, who has a master's degree in fire prevention, moved in September and landed at an oil and gas hose manufacturer in Warrendale.

Carlos, a volunteer firefighter in the township fire department, said Cranberry manager Jerry Andree introduced him to Oliverio.

The ceremony was held at The Haven at Cranberry Woods. Valeria said Carlos went all out decorating the hall and the restaurant where the reception was held.

Their families watched the wedding in Argentina, but the friends they made since relocating attended the ceremony.

Carlos, a former special forces soldier in the Argentinian air force, said he wore his fire department dress uniform at the wedding.

The two sets of newlyweds, who didn't know each other, met with the mayor and his wife for lunch at the Spring Street Cafe on Saturday.

The couples exchanged telephone numbers and planned a multicultural dinner in which they promised to prepare their best dishes from back home.