Wedding & Commitment

“The meaning of marriage begins in the giving of words. We cannot join ourselves to one another without giving our word.”
                                                                                                                        — Wendell Berry

Wedding & Commitment Ceremony Process

The ceremony is the emotional core of your wedding. It sets the tone for the celebration that follows…and well beyond. As the words spoken this day take root and blossom into a lifelong love affair. Yes, kind of a big deal.

Long after the flowers have wilted, the cake eaten, the dress hermetically sealed, and the photo album collecting dust…the Wedding Vows you make are lived every day. An inner-transformation happens during a well-concieved ceremony that reverberates throughout your marriage.

I’m the professional who helps frame your ceremony to contain your hopes, dreams, values and beliefs — as well as articulate what marriage & partnership look like unique to the two of you. This is a collaborative process in which I really spend the time to know you both so as to craft an original ceremony that gets at the essence of who you are as a couple.

If you have children, the more the  merrier. We can come up with elements and rituals that include participation by every member of the family.

I am also happy to co-officiate ceremonies with persons of the cloth, such as Ministers, Rabbis, or Priests.

Free-Consultation “Coffee” Meeting
Things immediately start to take shape during our first no-obligation meeting when the three of us sit down over coffee. (If that’s not possible, we default to Skype, FaceTime, or Google Hangouts.) Right then and there, we begin the distillation process. 

We’ll generally settle on the ceremony tone you want to evoke. From there, ceremonial elements start to shimmer into focus, such as appropriate readings, music and rituals. Over the course of an hour, we’ll banter about all this and more — and get to know each other better. Some tones you may wish to consider are:

Lighthearted Non-Trad Humorous Non-Religious Intimate
Chillax Heartfelt Traditional Thematic Solemn

Couple Questionnaire

Once we officially decide to do this! …I send you each a separate (but identical) questionnaire in Google Docs. It’s your opening to tell me the details of your courtship, for instance, when you “knew” and how the proposal went down.

This is the magic dust from which your love story is hand-spun by me into the stuff of dreams using your own language. Somewhat unique to trained Life-Cycle Celebrants, I employ a meaningful metaphor or symbol that runs through your ceremony (unless you have other preferences), based on all the information gathered from you. So after receiving your completed questionnaires, I go to work seriously researching and honing ceremonial elements and verbiage into a polished script that could have been written only about the two of you as a couple. I am the storyteller who tells your  unique story.

Your 100% Approval
A month or two before (depending), I’ll email each of you the first draft of your ceremony. You’ll make your revisions and send it back. I  revise as many drafts as necessary until you sign off on the final script with your 100% approval. I do not speak a word at your ceremony not okayed by you.

Unlimited Electronic Contact and Second Meeting
Throughout this creative process, I make myself totally available via email, text and telephone to answer all your questions and listen to your thoughts. This is my full-time vocation, so you are the center of my attention and first priority.

By all means if you want…closer to the ceremony, we can meet face-to-face a second time to take care of the ceremony choreography, any last-minute details, or calm some jitters.

Countdown Week
The week before the ceremony, I email you a predetermined checklist of any items needed for the ritual elements, and other things to remember. I also liaison with the D.J. or musicians, Photographer, and even your Reader(s), emailing them a Cue Sheet so that they can familiarize themselves with their parts. If you’ve hired a Wedding Planner or Day-of Coordinator — or maybe a Trusted Family Member has agreed to be on hand to run things — I make contact with them, as well.

Rehearsal and Wedding Day
Without question, I plan to run the Rehearsal as it’s my responsibility to make sure everything goes smoothly at the actual ceremony. On the glorious day of your wedding or commitment ceremony, I arrive to officiate an hour early — just to be on hand to further ensure everything and everyone is set to go…and to make any last-minute changes (let’s say Grandpa wants to step in and offer a few words of thanksgiving, for example). If I’m using my own P.A. equipment, I arrive even earlier to set it up. Then in that hour beforehand, I also check in with the D.J. or musicians and Photographer — as well as do a sound-check with your Reader(s). And you and I will hopefully have a moment to say hello before we begin.

The ceremony itself lasts approximately 20-to-30 transformational, life-changing minutes.

I sign and mail your marriage license to the County Courthouse in Virginia from where you obtained it. Within a week or so, I’ll mail you your Keepsake Ceremony.

Want to see if I’m the right Wedding Officiant for your ceremony? That can be arranged: