February 2009


I’ve seen this video pop up on the blogs I read, but haven’t had a chance to watch it – and I just did, and it made me cry.  If you’re the same way (not that you have to cry, but with the seeing it around but not watching..), please take a minute to go to this website, watch the video, and sign the letter – you only have till March 2.

Have you heard that Ken Starr — and the Prop 8 Legal Defense Fund — filed legal briefs defending the constitutionality of Prop 8 and attempting to forcibly divorce 18,000 same-sex couples that were married in California last year? The Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in this case on March 5, 2009, with a decision expected within the next 90 days.

The Courage Campaign has created a video called “Fidelity” — with the permission of musician Regina Spektor — that puts a face to those 18,000 couples and all loving, committed couples seeking full equality under the law.

Please watch this heartbreaking video now. If you have the same reaction that I did, please help me spread the word by sharing it with your friends ASAP:

http://www.couragecampaign.org/Divorce

Over 1 million people have watched “Fidelity.” The more people who see this video, the more people will understand the pain caused by Prop 8 and Ken Starr’s shameful legal proceeding.

After you watch the video, please join me and over 300,000 people who have signed a letter to the state Supreme Court, asking them to invalidate Prop 8 and reject Starr’s case.

It’s amazing the strong connection we can have with words.  I’m a deep lover of words – I collect poems and quotes, and firmly believe in their power to uplift and inspire.  Incorporating someone else’s words, a favorite piece of poetry, or selection from a novel is a great way to personalize your ceremony, as well as imbue it with that wonderful feeling and strong emotion that only the well written word can instill.

When I’m writing a wedding ceremony, and want to include someone else’s words, that first things I think about are, “What is the theme of this wedding?”

Finding Words to Fit Inspiration
I’m not just considering the actual theme of the wedding, as the bride and groom have set forth (like Autumn, Rock & Roll, Vintage Glam, Renaissance, Literature), but the direction that I see the ceremony going on – I consider the relationship of the couple, the love story, their sense of humor.

I did a wedding that took place in the couple’s backyard – they were all about family, about turning their house into a home for their family.  I immediately jumped online and began searching to find some quotes that I could use in their ceremony.  And I found the perfect quote!

Jeannie & Toms beautiful backyard wedding

Jeannie & Tom's beautiful backyard wedding

As someone once said, “It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.” Tom and Jeannie have opened their hearts not only to each other, but to everyone in their lives.  This love is what makes their house into a home.

I always ask my couples who their favorite artists, performers, and authors are – and who their heroes are as well.  This gives me another jumping off point to find beautiful words that really fit well with the rest of the ceremony.

Let me give you an example – in a recent wedding I did, the bride told me she loves Abraham Lincoln.  I don’t think most people would think to include a quote by President Lincoln in the wedding ceremony, but I found this lovely quote that felt very much like the couple – and included it in the end of their love story.

And in the end it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

As the bride’s love for President Lincoln was a bit of an inside joke, I got a few laughs with the quote, too.

Finding Inspiration from Words
Often times, couples will tell me of a poem or reading they would like to incorporate as well – and I often use these as ways to extrapolate the theme of the ceremony, the overall feeling that the couple would like their wedding to evoke.  It’s kind of the backwards version of when I search for a quote – instead of trying to figure out the theme from the ceremony outline and THEN find a quote, I take the quote, find the theme, and keep that in mind when writing the ceremony.  It’s kind of like the wordy version of those wedding inspiration boards – a poem or reading suggestion can help me better understand what a couple is looking for.

I had a bride this past summer who came to her meeting with two passages she just loved and wanted to include in her ceremony.  They also wanted a very short ceremony, with little to no Love Story.  I adapted the passages into their Love Story, relating it to their relationship and their lives.  It worked out really well.

A good marriage must be created.
In a marriage, the little things are the big things.
It is remembering to say “I love you” at least once a day.
It is standing together and facing the world.
It is forming a circle that gathers in the whole family.
It is giving each other an atmosphere in which each can grow.
It is not only marrying the right person – it is being the right partner.

Lynn and Joe have clearly found the right partner in each other.  Joe says that Lynn is his inspiration.  Her selflessness, big heart, and drive to help others never ceases to amaze him.

The love and support that Lynn receives from Joe have been above and beyond her wildest dreams.  She admires the way he cares for her, provides for her, and protects her.  She says that he is always willing to help others, through good and bad, no matter how tough it is – whatever it takes.

Joe and Lynn, today you are marrying the right person – you have found your perfect partner.  It brings us immense happiness to see that you have found each other, and to witness your marriage today.

Joe & Lynns Love Story

Joe & Lynn's Love Story

I love that passage – it’s in my Celebrant arsenal – I like to use it in my closing remarks.  Thanks, Lynn!

Ways to Include Words in Your Ceremony
You’ve probably heard of the old standard to include poetry or a text selection in your wedding – add a reader to your program.  This is an especially nice way to include family members, close friends, or bridal party members into your ceremony.  Make sure that you’ve told them before hand that they’re going to be reading, and, if at all possible, send them a copy via email so they can become familiar with it!

I always bring a copy for the readers, so they don’t have to worry about folding a piece of paper and sticking it in their pockets or purse.  Talk to your officiant about it, or see if you can leave a copy at the front, on your props table – it makes everything run much more smoothly if they don’t have to worry about that extra piece of paper.

The Matron of Honor reads e.e. cummings

The Matron of Honor reads e.e. cummings

As I’ve mentioned, if the couple doesn’t want to have a reader, I will often use the selection in the ceremony itself – perhaps in the Love Story or the closing remarks.  I like to weave it seamlessly into the ceremony, so it doesn’t feel weird to have me all of a sudden speaking in verse or reciting Shakespearean sonnets.

You can also include a quote or short poem in your programs, or even on your invitations! This is a really nice way to have your theme of your ceremony expand throughout your wedding.

Something I love is to include them in your vows.  I recently found a poem that just took my breathe away – and made me cry each time I read it.  It spoke really clearly to me, and I’ve tucked it away to use in my own wedding vows (and I can’t share it here because I know he reads my blog!).

And please, as always, feel free to think outside of the box!  I’ve had couples incorporate song quotes from musicals in their vows – or read song lyrics like a poem – or put a poem to music! – recite a passage in two languages (a great way to have a bilingual touch to your ceremony!).  The possibilities of including other people’s words in your ceremony are near endless, and incredibly inspiring.  Start your own quote collection today!

I’ve decided that, beginning with my 2009 weddings, to donate 10% of my Celebrant fee to an organization of the couple’s choosing, in their name.  I think it’s a great way to honor your wedding, as well as give back to these fabulous local organizations that need our support.

I’ve chosen these five organizations, though would be willing to donate to any worthy organization of the couple’s choice.  I think this is a great way to give back, especially in these tough times, when organizations like these are especially needed – especially on the local level.

The Bergen County Animal Shelter

The Epilepsy Foundation of New Jersey

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey

New Jersey Humanist Network

Strengthen Our Sisters

For anyone thinking of eloping to New York City or those New Yorkers or New Yorkers at heart who have thought about getting married at the top of the Empire State Building…

Well, you’re out of luck.  The Empire State Building no longer hosts private events or weddings.

Except once a year – this year, 14 lucky couples will be married on top of the Empire State Building, through a contest run with Brides.com.  And you can watch them live!

More information is over on Brides.com.  If you’re looking for a little romantic inspiration on Saturday.. why not watch the weddings?  Or take a look and see how they transformed the top of the building into a beautiful wedding site?  Or read about the romantic proposals and love stories of the couples being married?

Bonus V-Day Info:  If you’re looking for some super cute Valentine’s Day cards to print and send toyour loved ones or friends, check out these free cards from The Black Apple – she posted them last year, but they’re still up there! The High-Res PDF prints up really well – I printed them out on some card stock, cut them out, and sent them to a friend for a Valentine’s Day suprise.

Have a very happy and love filled Valentine’s Day!!

I was really excited to learn that I earned a Bride’s Choice Award from WeddingWire!

2009 Bride's Choice Awards presented by WeddingWire | Wedding Cakes, Wedding Venues, Wedding Photographers & More

In its inaugural year, the Bride’s Choice Awards recognizes vendors from the WeddingWire Network that demonstrate excellent quality of service, responsiveness, professionalism, value of cost and flexibility. Unlike other awards in which winners are selected by the company, the Bride’s Choice Awards are determined exclusively by recent newlyweds (brides and grooms) through surveys and reviews. Our winning vendors have set the bar high for this competition, demonstrating excellent service and expertise in their industry.

This year’s recipients represent the top three percent of WeddingWire’s vendor community, which includes over 100,000 wedding vendors from across the US.

It means so much to me that my couples are happy with their wedding ceremonies, and their Celebrant experience.  Thank you all so much!