November 2009


This year, I’m thankful for a lot of things.

I’m thankful for my kitties, who bring so much love and joy and cuddles into my life every single day.

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Maeby and Friday, the cutest kitties around

I’m thankful for my awesome fiance, who listens to me, supports me, and always brings me cold glasses of water when I’m working.

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Dan and I

I’m thankful for my family and friends, especially my mom, who is the most giving and generous person I’ve ever met (and it’s her birthday tomorrow, too!), and my best friend Lindsey, who helps me to find my way through the world.

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My mom and I at her wedding.

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Lindsey and I on her wedding day

I’m thankful for every couple who emails me, calls me up to chat about their wedding, meets with me, and those with invite me to be a part of their wedding day.  Because of you, I get to follow my dreams, which is just about the coolest thing ever.  Thanks for choosing me as your wedding officiant!

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Giant Wedding Collage! Click to take a better look!

Enjoy your Thanksgiving (I’m so excited to make the stuffing this year – my favorite!), and take a moment to think of the moments this year that have taken your breathe away – and the reasons you are thankful, too.

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I frequent the Weddingbee message boards, and one of the frequent questions I find myself answering over there is “Where do you find a wedding officiant?”

Sometimes I think the Wedding Industrial Complex has forgotten about the wedding officiant.  I’ve met with couples who have been planning their wedding for 18 months – but didn’t think to hire an officiant until three weeks before.  Many couples worry about who is going to marry them if they don’t get married in a church or a temple, or if they are non-religious or don’t want a minister or a rabbi.  The WIC tells brides that they need to match their bridesmaid’s dresses to their shoes exactly, that you need monogrammed napkins and signature drinks – but tells you nothing about customizing or personalizing your wedding ceremony, which is one of the most important parts of the entire day – otherwise, it’s really just a party.

Here’s the thing:  wedding officiants and Celebrants are out there!  And we want to perform your wedding ceremony – exactly how you want it to be!  My weddings have NO requirements when it comes to their structure or content.  Sure, I’ll guide you in certain directions, based on my past experiences on what works, but you can basically choose exactly what you’d like to include in your wedding.  It’s always personal, and truly reflects the people being married.

And I’m not alone in doing this – there are Celebrants all over the United States (and a few scattered across other countries, too!) who want to work with you to create a beautiful wedding ceremony.  You just need to find them!  And we really do all that we can so you don’t feel like you’re being married by a wedding vendor or professional – we try to make it feel like you’re being married by a friend (well, at least, I do).  A friend who knows a lot about wedding traditions and the ins and outs of ceremony, that is.

So here are some tips when you begin your officiant search:

The best time to start looking for an officiant is when you decide WHERE your ceremony is going to be. Not only is it a peace of mind to know that you can be confident in your ceremony being as beautiful as your venue, but we also book up around four to twelve months before the wedding.  We may not be available or able to put together a great ceremony on very short notice (but it can be done!)

Start by Googling “wedding officiant in [your state]” to find some jumping off points. You can also check out websites like WeddingWire that have reviews from real brides (i.e., we can’t edit the responses) or TheKnot to see who is out there, too.

Schedule a meeting or phone call before signing a contract. There are some wedding pro’s that I think is OK for just one person to check out – but try your best to BOTH be at the phone call or meeting.  All Celebrants offer a no-obligation meeting, and I think it’s important to click and have a real connection with the person who is marrying you.  [Personal note: my fiance and I met with a few officiants for our wedding.  I spoke on the phone with one who I had a good connection with, but my fiance did not connect with her at all at the meeting – I was ready to hire her over the phone.  Meetings are important.]

Ask good questions at your meeting! I find that I almost always answer all of my couple’s questions in my initial wedding spiel, but here are some good questions to ask:

Are you legal to solemnize marriages in my state?
How do we get our wedding license?  Who files it?
Can we customize the ceremony?  Can we write our own vows?
Do you have a PA system you can bring, or a preference for amplification?
What do you wear?
Can we see the ceremony before hand?
How long are your typical wedding ceremonies?  How long do you think our wedding will be?
Do you prefer to communicate via email or phone?
Is a rehearsal included in the fee?  Do you recommend a rehearsal?  Do you attend the rehearsal?
How early do you arrive on the day of the ceremony?
Do you stay for the reception or the rehearsal dinner?
Do you have a backup?  What happens if you can’t make it to the wedding?
If we forget to get the license, will you still perform the ceremony?
Do you provide props for the ceremonies (handfasting, unity candle, etc)?

I think you should walk out of your meeting with your wedding officiant excited about your wedding and your ceremony, with a clear picture of the ceremony in your head.  A good officiant should be able to offer you assistance with your vows (either suggestions if you don’t plan on writing them, or editing if you do), reading suggestions, and help with rituals you may want to include.

I hope this helps with the daunting task of finding a wedding officiant who is right for you.  Have you found your wedding officiant yet?  How did you feel after meeting him or her?

Cathleen and Matt were married at the spectacular Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange, NJ in late September.

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It was a beautiful, sunny day.  Their ceremony was sweet, funny, and meaningful, and included this reading, from Plato’s Symposium (a great non-religious reading!):

Humans have never understood the power of Love, for if they had they would surely have built noble temples and altars and offered solemn sacrifices; but this is not done, and most certainly ought to be done, since Love is our best friend, our helper, and the healer of the ills which prevent us from being happy.

To understand the power of Love, we must understand that our original human nature was not like it is now, but different. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. Due to the power and might of these original humans, the Gods began to fear that their reign might be threatened. They sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them.

It was at this point that Zeus divided the humans in half. After the division the two parts of each desiring their other half, came together, and throwing their arms about one another, entwined in mutual embraces, longing to grow into one. So ancient is the desire of one another which is implanted in us, reuniting our original nature, making one of two, and healing the state of humankind.

Each of us when separated, having one side only, is but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. And when one of us meets our other half, we are lost in an amazement of love and friendship and intimacy, and would not be out of the other’s sight even for a moment. We pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one, to spend our lives as one person instead of two, and so that after our death there will be one departed soul instead of two; this is the very expression of our ancient need. And the reason is that human nature was originally one and we were a whole, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.

Cathleen and Matt, thanks for letting me be a part of your wedding!

There are so many things that I love about being a Celebrant, but I think my favorite is that I get to officiate my friend’s weddings.

Rachel is a college friend of mine – we worked together on many shows, drank a lot of wine, and basically had an awesome time.  Brian was kind of “the one that got away” for Rachel – they met in high school (where they had mutual crushes on each other!) and kept in touch afterwards.   But it took everyone being in the right place at the right time for them to actually make it work as couple – which they do amazingly.  Knowing Rachel pre-Brian – he just brings out the best in her, and I am so glad they found each other.

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They were married at the Nassau Inn, in Princeton, NJ on Halloween (yes, Halloween! Apple cider and cider donuts were served before the ceremony, and pumpkins were everywhere – but no costumes!)

Their ceremony was short, simple, sweet, and funny.  I opened with a journal entry Rachel wrote in high school, about how Brian was her new “love interest,” and shared the rest of the journey that had brought them to their wedding today.  They chose simple vows, saying “I do” and “I will” at the appropriate times, and broke a glass at the end, too.  It was a ceremony of laughter and happiness, and I tried to capture the joy and love that they have found in each other.

It was an emotional day, for everyone (even me!  I almost cried during the ceremony!), but I was so happy with their ceremony, and I think they were also.  Rachel and Brian, you guys have all of my love – have a safe trip home today!!

As I’ve mentioned, my fiance Dan and I are so excited to be getting married in October of 2010.  Now that it’s less than a year (we’ve been planning since early 2008!), I’m starting to think through some details and elements that I want to include.

Our venue is a beautiful estate house, and once we visited, we decided the design theme for the wedding would be “Modern Vintage” – elegant and timeless touches combined with a modern twist.  This is the board I’ve put together with my dress and some of my accessories, along with some inspiration photos that capture the elegant feel we’re going for.

Credits, from top right and going clockwise:
Oleg Cassini dress by David’s Bridal; Inspiration Bouquet by Fleurspermail (love the grape hyacinths!); Dress Detail shot by me; Oleg Cassini dress by David’s Bridal; Monogram by Lindsey Rose Weisman; My faux engagement ring (Mystic Topaz in a setting by GreenKarat.com); Bridal Shot via Ruffled Blog; Shoes by John Fluevog; Shot of the venue via Flickr; Bouquet Detail Shot (saved without remembering where it came from! Do you know?  I’ll credit!)

I’ve had my dress in my possession for nearly a year now, and I just adore it.  I’m removing the taupe sash and adding in a metallic mint green one (how could I not throw as much green as possible into my bridal look?).  I have both a birdcage veil and my friend Lindsey’s veil to wear, too – I think I’ll wear the more traditional veil (a two tier fingertip veil with beautiful beading on it) for the ceremony, and the birdcage for the reception.  I have my hair trial in a few weeks, so maybe I’ll have more wedding inspiration to share!  It’s so interesting being on the other side of the wedding planning!

This was a rockstar wedding.

Robin and Anthony were married at the incredible Landmark Loew’s Jersey City Theatre – an old fashioned classic movie palace that first opened in 1929.  The inside is beautiful, ornate, and lush, and the perfect backdrop for a Grammy themed wedding.   The rock and roll details were incredible, and everywhere – the bride and groom posed for portraits on a grand piano, their guest book was a guitar that everyone signed, their card box was a guitar case, propped open with a cardboard sign of “Will Play for Gifts.”  The flower girls (sorry, the Rock Princesses!) threw custom guitar picks before the bride and groom made their grand entrance.  So freaking awesome.

The bride and groom wanted a simple ceremony, with their vows as the real centerpiece.  I shared their Love Story, which is truly one for the books:  they were acquaintances in high school, running in the same circles with mutual friends, but nothing more.  But, nearly twenty years later, they met up again, when a mutual friend put them in touch – and it was love at second sight.  From that moment, just a year before their wedding, Robin and Anthony knew they were going to spend the rest of their lives together!

Robin + Anthony by you.
Their guitar pick favors, that the Rock Princesses threw as they walked down the aisle from skull baskets!
Robin + Anthony by you.
The Rock Princesses!

Their processional was nothing short of awesome.  Each bridal party member had their own theme music, with the DJ announcing them as they walked in.  VIPs were seated to the side, with the rest of the guests cheering and standing behind a velvet rope.  Right before Anthony walked in with his parents, his friend walked and performed a guitar solo on a glittering electric guitar, to AC/DC’s “Back in Black.”

Robin + Anthony by you.
The Ring Man presents the ring on a drumstick.

And the vows?  Robin and Anthony each wrote their own vows, and Robin, who is a big crier, did a fabulous job holding it together for them (with her Best Chick and sister standing close by for support).  And Anthony – well his vows were in the form of a song, which he song, accompanied on acoustic guitar.  A surprise for everyone – an incredible emotional and powerful moment.

Robin + Anthony by you.

Not many couples can say they get their names up in lights at their wedding, and Robin and Anthony’s rockstar wedding truly reflected who they were, in every single way.  Thank you so much for letting me be a part of it (and sharing these awesome photos with me!)

Robin + Anthony by you.
Robin + Anthony by you.
Their guestbook guitar, with a copy of their invite tickets!

Robin + Anthony by you.

Robin + Anthony by you.

Robin + Anthony by you.

Robin + Anthony by you.

Robin + Anthony by you.