Mike Sidman and Raffi Petrosian are lifted on chairs during the hora.

‘We wanted a wedding that was going to be meaningful’

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‘We wanted a wedding that was going to be meaningful’

Mike Sidman and Raffi Petrosian are lifted on chairs during the hora.

When Swampscott native Michael Sidman and his husband Dr. Raffi Petrosian got married on Sept. 17, they decided to make their parents part of the ceremony.

Mike’s parents – Alan and Barbara Sidman – and Raffi’s parents – Sevak and Annette Petrosian – all spoke at the ceremony at Chandler Hovey Park in Marblehead, with Barbara officiating. The reception took place at Congregation Shirat Hayam of the North Shore in Swampscott, in a tent in the courtyard.

“Who knows us better than our parents?” Mike Sidman said. “Who can speak about us better than our parents? Who means more to us than our parents?”

He reflected, “It was exactly what we wanted, more than we could ever have imagined. People were so moved by the idea. It was such a moving ceremony.”

Sidman has strong North Shore roots. He was born and raised in Swampscott, going to the former Cohen Hillel Academy from kindergarten to eighth grade, and then to Swampscott High School. He was bar mitzvahed at the former Temple Israel in Swampscott.

However, after high school, Sidman began living in other places, going to college at McGill University in Montreal and graduate school at The New School in New York City.

While in New York, he met Petrosian through a dating app in 2016. Petrosian was in medical school at St. George’s University in Grenada, doing the hospital portion of the curriculum at the former NYU Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Persistence worked in their favor that Labor Day weekend.

“We tried to set up a few dates,” Petrosian said. “We both kept on canceling. We lost touch for a few months. We ended up somehow crossing paths again and saying, ‘hey, we never did that first date.’ We set something up.”

They met at a bar called the Sea Witch.

Raffi and Mike at the ceremony.

“It was supposed to be a drink,” Petrosian said. “As soon as we started talking, there was just something really special about Mike. It’s really hard to explain. I felt I knew him forever. I didn’t want it to end.

“We had dinner afterward. The next day, we had another date. The next day, another date. I don’t think the feeling has ever gone away.”

“Raffi is just the most caring person I ever met,” Sidman said. “He puts my happiness at the forefront.”

Less than six months after their first weekend together, Petrosian got his top choice for a residency – in his hometown of Glendale, CA at the Glendale Adventist Medical Center. Sidman made a decision.

“I decided to go with him,” Sidman said. “It’s been wonderful ever since. We’ve been together over six years already.”

When Petrosian decided to propose to Sidman in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic complicated things.

“I was planning on proposing to him in 2020, because his family had planned a big family trip to Mexico at a resort, but they had to cancel because of the pandemic,” Petrosian said. “I had already told his parents my intentions.”

Then he got an idea: “We’d been going on all these hikes during the pandemic. Mike had never been to Yosemite.”

At the national park, they climbed to the top of a mountain, where Petrosian dropped to one knee and proposed.

The couple celebrates on the rocks by the Atlantic.

“It was just really romantic and stunning,” Sidman said, “with the most incredible view of Yosemite around us. It couldn’t have been more surprising. I was so happy. We were both happy.”

Due to the pandemic, it took some time between the engagement and the wedding, Sidman explained: “It wasn’t until things got a little easier to have a wedding.”

During that time, the couple established a presence in LA. Sidman is the director of communications for Jewish Family Service of LA, an organization dating back to 1854, while Petrosian practices family medicine at UCLA Health. However, the couple wanted to have their wedding across the country, on the North Shore.

“We wanted a wedding that was going to be very meaningful to us,” Sidman said, “and really feel close to home, intimate and special.”
Mike was also grateful to Bruce Silverlieb, a family friend who also planned and catered the wedding. “He was a major part of our decision to get married back in the North Shore,” he said.

It was an interfaith celebration: Sidman comes from a Jewish background and Petrosian has a background that he describes as Christian and agnostic. Petrosian was born in Armenia, in a city called Abovyan that is an hour north of the capital of Yerevan. His family moved to the US when he was four years old.

“My dad actually bought the Armenian cognac he brought to the wedding in an Armenian market he found near Boston,” Petrosian said.
It has been a busy year that has also included buying and renovating a house, and a honeymoon in Kauai, Hawaii.

“It was just so relaxing,” Petrosian said of the honeymoon, “to reflect on how wonderful the year was.”

Sidman thinks back on his decision to follow Petrosian westward when Petrosian got his residency.

“By then, we were already so close that we were going to do it together, whatever was going to happen,” Sidman said. “Everyone, I think, was really surprised … I knew in my heart it was meant to be. He and I were going to be together. It really turned out that way.”

One Response

  1. Mazal Tov!
    Love,
    All the Schulers!❤️❤️❤️

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