Julie Trump
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant®
& Wedding Officiant
Serving Charlottesville VA, Central Virginia, and the Shenandoah Valley



Why did you become certified to be a Life-Cycle Celebrant®? What made you want to become a Wedding Officiant?

Ritual, rites of passage, ceremony…it’s in our human DNA to want to observe and celebrate major life transitions. The Church used to be the place for this, but not so much anymore — especially true with adults under age 32, a third of whom are unaffiliated. Yet If we don’t mark these momentous turning points, a feeling that something’s missing may creep in, a psychic drip drip drip that may never get patched or even acknowledged. I’m here to fill the breach, helping you to define lifetime milestones in your own symbolic language, your own way…with celebration and song. As a Celebrant, I help you craft your own story in mythic terms. And it is an incredible privilege and gift that I am called to be your Assistant Mythologist.

On a more personal level, being a Wedding Officiant in Charlottesville, VA, is a calling — one I’ve been building toward for a long time. Perhaps my entire life…in every facet. When I found the Celebrant Institute, it was like the sky opened up inside.

How do you feel about same-sex marriage?

I am thrilled beyond words that Same-Sex Marriage is now legal in Virginia! It would be my honor to perform for you a sacred wedding ceremony that celebrates the story of your love with you and your family.

Do you perform vow renewals?

Yes! What a tribute to your enduring commitment, the joys and tears you’ve shared, that you want do your vows all over again. We can craft a ceremony that celebrates the twists and turns along the road that have brought you to this sunny juncture — with the same ritual elements of readings, symbols, and music that compose a wedding, only updated.

Why is your fee a premium price?

I’m doubtful the cheapest Wedding Officiant you might find…but I am a bargain for the amount of time, expertise, thought, commitment, travel, unlimited availability, in-person consultation, writing talent, and steady support I offer. Most significantly, I don’t use a ceremony template nor ask you to mix-and-match from a menu of pre-selected, “turnkey” elements. In the end, you will have a ceremony experience unlike any other. To top it off, I have the credentials to actually marry you. And as a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, I’ve been educated to develop a metaphor or symbolism that subtly weaves throughout your ceremony, based on all the information you’ve shared with me. (This also comes from my English literature background.)

All tolled, your ceremony will involve approximately 35-45 hours to custom craft, organize, coordinate and perform (not including travel time). Admittedly, this is the joy of my life, and I have so much fun doing it. But still, I must charge a minimal rate that makes it viable to drop everything else I could or should be doing. (Thank you, though, for getting me out of the “should” part, like lifting weights.)

Now a few other Wedding Officiants may seem like a deal, but I’ve also noted that some charge piecemeal, offering add-ons. For instance, attending your Rehearsal is included in my price, as is travel. And so is writing original Wedding Vows or advising you with writing your own. It doesn’t matter how many people are in your bridal party, either. I charge you a flat fee, and then I do everything in my being to earn your payment by giving you a beautiful, well-thought-out ceremony.

Also if needed…I am my own roadie, hauling and setting up $700 worth of P.A. equipment at your ceremony so your guests may comfortably hear what’s happening in front (more on the P.A. in the next question).

And as someone noted in my Tips & Advice section, “If you think it’s important to like your photographer, you should multiply that by a thousand for your Wedding Officiant.” Because in the end, it really comes down to the Wedding Officiant with whom you are most comfortable and trusting. That’s why I extend a no-obligation invitation to coffee. If nothing else, I am happy to meet so you may have a baseline of comparison between potential Wedding Officiants.

Really, it’s best to just contact me about price. Because after all’s said and done, it’s not that much in the scheme of things. Especially if for you, you want a ceremony that means something transformational and is deeply profound.

Can you tell me more about your P.A. System available for use at the ceremony?

To ensure you have the most sublime of ceremonies, I will cheerfully transport with me $700 worth of PA equipment (if required, e.g., no DJ). Because I don’t know about you, but having attended inaudible or muffled ceremonies in the past, where I could not make out what was being said, it proved ultimately very un-engaging. For that reason, I own a portable Alesis Transactive Wireless amp, which — very importantly — I elevate on a speaker stand in order to broadcast out to up to 150 guests. (Even if you are having a smaller wedding, don’t underestimate the wind at an outdoor ceremony.)

The Alesis has inputs for my Audio-Technica wireless lapel microphone — as well as for the highly regarded Shure-brand microphone that I also have on hand (with stand)…for use by Readers and the like. (The Shure microphone, by the way, may also be used to amplify ceremony musicians in a pinch.) The Alesis also has an input for an electronic instrument. And it’s Bluetooth enabled to play music from an android or iPod/Phone/Pad. (Which can also be charged up.)

Did I mention that I am my own Roadie? Setting up and tearing down my own gear, for which I arrive to your ceremony at least an hour-and-a-half early?

For you to rent a similar set-up, minus the Roadie, would cost approximately $250. Yet that cost is included in my flat-rate Wedding Officiant fee.

How do you schedule payments for your wedding officiant services?

After our first no-obligation meeting — when you decide that you can’t imagine anyone but me as your Wedding Officiant — you sign an Agreement and return it to me with a non-refundable deposit for half the agreed-upon fee (which also serves as a retainer to save your wedding date). On or before the Rehearsal, I collect the balance, usually by check or money-order — but cash is also appreciated.

What about elopements or quick wedding ceremonies? Or what if we get married on a weekday other than Friday?

An “elopement” these days is not necessarily an impetuous decision to “run off” and get hitched. Rather, it’s when a couple desires to be the only two people at their wedding (+ Celebrant). Yet it’s still “planned” — and still a solemnly considered decision. And yes, I offer a reduced fee for elopements, as well as for off-weekend weddings. Though there is still a lot of research and time put into an elopement…keeping in mind that some of my services will be abbreviated or eliminated, such as the Rehearsal. The same goes for if, for example, your U.S. visa is about to expire and immediate deportation requires you and your partner marry toute de suite. No matter the circumstances, I am always happy to officiate. It’s the same momentous occasion. Your vows are just as sacred and sink down just as deeply no matter how many people are at your wedding, the accelerated timeline, or on what day you marry. By the by, in Virginia, you may wed on the same day you obtain your marriage license.

Where exactly in Virginia do you officiate?

I serve Charlottesville VA, the Shenandoah Valley, and all over Central Virginia. But to orient you, for 18 years, I lived in the historic village of Batesville outside of Charlottesville VA, at the base of Afton Mountain — five miles down the road from the lauded wedding venue, Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyard. Though since the beginning of 2016, I make my home in the Newtown Historic District of Staunton, VA. My travel area includes hamlets and cities along I81, notably Lexington, Harrisonburg, Luray, and points farther afield. I also officiate to the north of Charlottesville, VA, along Route 29, including Madison, Greene and Orange counties — and as far south on 29 as Lovingston in Nelson County. And I continue to perform many weddings in Richmond, VA. Really, the best thing to do is contact me, because I will travel hither and yon.

Is there anywhere you will not perform a ceremony?

Jumping out of an airplane comes to mind; on a pair of skis or other sports equipment. But as to location, I will marry you on the Appalachian Trail or Skyline Drive if you like, in your backyard, at a winery, under a park shelter…wherever you wish — within reason and my ability to propel myself there.

Will you travel to officiate a ceremony?

Yes, especially by air to a locale that prominently features palm trees, all expenses paid. But on second thought, I truly believe there is no more beautiful wedding location on earth at which to marry than around Charlottesville VA, and environs, with its vineyards and mountain views. So if we find we’re all a good fit and an Agreement is made between us, travel — no matter how far — is included in my flat fee. Because I’d let you know at the outset if your venue is too far for me to travel to the Rehearsal, then turn around the next day and travel to your Wedding. Now if you decide you really want me as your Celebrant but the venue is so distant that I must stay over one night to fulfill my obligations, lodging expenses may have to be afforded by the couple. (I’m very easy.)

What about other types of ceremonies, such as commitment — between two people who don’t feel the need to be “legal” in the eyes of the government, but who do want to celebrate their unshakable devotion to one another?

First I’d like to emphasize that a commitment ceremony can be a powerful statement of your love and devotion. With symbolic elements chosen to express your core beliefs, a commitment ceremony may be a rite of passage that you didn’t think you needed but find you truly want for the grounding and benediction it offers.

What you just said about commitment ceremonies was great, but what about other ceremonies such as memorial or baby naming?

You’ll find my take on other ceremonies in Divergent, under “Ceremonies” on the navigation bar drop-down menu.

Let’s start the conversation! It’s on me: coffee@julietrump.com