Ask The Wedding Officiant




What's on your mind?

How do you schedule payments for your services?

After our first no-obligation coffee meeting or video chat — when you decide that you can’t imagine anyone but me solemnizing your marriage! — you sign a contract and return it to me with a non-refundable deposit for half the agreed-upon fee, which also retains your rehearsal and ceremony date. 


The Agreement and SASE are something I provide you with in the packet of materials I give to you at our coffee meeting, or else I mail to you if distance is a consideration. 


Then at the Rehearsal, I collect the balance in cash or check made out to“Julie Trump.”


I do offer a 10% discount if you'd like to pay the entire amount up front in cash. 


By the way, the packet of materials has a lot of Wedding Vow samples and guidance devised by me personally, and information on obtaining a marriage license in Virginia...as well as hand-outs reiterating all the main points we go over during our meeting, such as the Traditional Order of Ceremony and Unity Ritual suggestions. 

What about elopements or a micro-wedding ceremony?

Ding ding ding. There's a reduced fee for off-weekend weddings (Friday is considered a weekend). A further reduction is given for romantically impetuous ceremonies that take place within a month of your contacting me — just the two of you; otherwise known as an elopement — keeping in mind that some of what I offer will be abbreviated or eliminated. Such as there being no Rehearsal. 


A Micro Wedding is planned well in advance and will probably include guests. There is a fee reduction if there is no Rehearsal or Processional. But my fee will depend on whether you want a personalized ceremony or an "off-the-shelf" pre-written ceremony (originally written by me, but generic). 


The same goes for if your partner’s government visa is about to expire and immediate action is necessary. No matter the circumstances, I am always happy to officiate. It’s the same momentous occasion. Those vows are just as sacred and sink down just as deeply no matter how “planned” your wedding is, or on what day you marry. By the by, you may wed on the same day you obtain your marriage license. 


I do caution you have a Rehearsal, though, if anything more is involved than just the two of you walking down the aisle together with no music and no rituals other than a Hand Blessing. If there are more than about 10 Guests at your ceremony, as a rule of thumb, you probably ought to have someone — a venue manager of the Wedding Officiant — do a run-through the day before. Even if the ceremony is simple, there's something to be said for practicing to assuage any nervousness the day of the ceremony.

Shouldn't you officiate for free since this is spiritual work?

I am doubtful the cheapest Wedding Officiant you’ll find, but I am a bargain. For the amount of time, expertise, creativity and thought, commitment, travel, unlimited availability, in-person consultation, writing talent, solid support....  And to top it off, I have the credentials to actually marry you. 


All tolled, writing your ceremony alone will involve approximately 20 hours to custom craft. Another 10 to 15 hours revising, emailing, liaisoning, the Rehearsal, making Cue Sheets, traveling to your venue two days running, arriving at your ceremony early, setting up, delivering the Keepsake Ceremony.  Oh yes, I also sign, make copies, stamp and mail your Marriage License the next business day.


Admittedly, this is the joy of my life, and I have fun doing it. But still, I must charge a minimal rate that makes it legit to drop everything else I could or should be doing. (Thank you, though, for getting me out of the “should” part, like lifting weights.)


I know a few other Wedding Officiants may seem to you like a deal. But I’ve noticed, too, that some nickel and dime you. For instance, attending your Rehearsal is included in my price. So is either helping you write your Wedding Vows or writing them for you. So is providing my portable P.A. system if you're not hiring a D.J. (Rental of P.A. equipment can price out at $250 alone.) It doesn’t matter how many people are numbered in your bridal party, either. 


I charge you a flat fee, and then I do everything in my being to earn my way by giving you a premium ceremony experience. 


As I've heard it said, "If you think hiring a professional is expensive, you ought to try hiring an amateur." 


Please contact me for an exact dollar figure. After all this exposition, you might be surprised how cheap, I mean priceless, my services are...especially for making your ceremony the real centerpiece of your wedding day. 

What about other types of ceremonies besides wedding, commitment and vow renewal?

Studded along life’s journey are turning points that call for our reverent attention. To notice and mark in a way that honors. These transitions are sacred if for no other reason than they are what make us human, capable of change and progress. 


We all know the big ones — weddings and funerals. But what about the birth of a baby, the death of a pet or the reason for entering a new insurance bracket, whether related to health, break-up, job — reaching a hallmark age signified by acquiring a driver’s license or an AARP card? 


Any number of lifetime events call for ceremony to close the circle...so renewal can happen, a new stage begin. This is how I chose an Ouroboros as my logo, because a snake is often a symbol for rising again — as it appears to be continually reborn by shedding its skin.


Whatever milestone you wish to observe, I will officiate. Together we’ll come up with ritual elements for symbolizing what it is your heart longs to express. This is the idea of divergent: thinking outside the box. Re-imagining the story of our lives in which we are the central agents of change, acting from our creative spark. 


Some ideas for divergent ceremonies are:


  • Baby Naming
  • Child Adoption
  • Divorce
  • Sweet 16
  • Pet Funeral
  • Team Championship
  • Homecoming
  • New Career (or end of one)
  • Business Launch
  • Moving House (in or out)
  • Conscious Uncoupling 
  • Retirement
  • Illness Remission
  • Funeral
  • Memorial
  • End of Life Tribute


Do you perform interdenominational ceremonies?

Yes! Of course. This is almost my entire purpose and object of my training as a Life-Cycle Celebrant and Wedding Officiant...to blend traditions, faith backgrounds, heritages into one seamless, flowing inclusive ceremony that is a celebration of your love. 


My very first wedding was between an atheist Groom and Jewish Bride under a chuppah, so....  I performed another wedding for an Eastern European Catholic with a lot of mystical Gypsy in her, who rode into the ceremony on her horse. In that ceremony, there was a Mother Mary rosary ritual, Native American smudging, Circle Casting, Medieval Handfasting, Calling to the Four Directions....


I've also written and performed a modified Hindu wedding ceremony between an Indian Bride and Presbyterian Groom (both doctors). My next wedding, as I write, is between a Filipina Bride and Jamaica-born Groom at Raven's Roost Overlook on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Though I think they've nixed the idea to ride up on their motorcycles. 


This is where my love of research is key. Not only that, I belong to the Alumni Association of the Celebrant Institute. There's a member library for researching different rituals. But it's our Facebook page that's a real boon. I can put out a post asking for ideas or quotes, or anything. Almost immediately, the great experienced minds of my fellow certified Celebrants are offering me suggestions, advice, guidance. So I have the resources to write to any combination of faith traditions and wedding customs.


Honestly though...we, you and me, either create or modify our own wedding rituals, which are organic to your personal beliefs. Recently a Bride and I came up with an idea for a Time Capsule ritual. I think the Brides are going to put their self-written Vows in it to be opened in 10 years. 


Anything goes, really. My creativity, adaptability and responsiveness (in more ways than one) are what you're paying for, quite frankly.  



Why did you become certified to be a Life-Cycle® Celebrant? What made you want to get into this?

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 can creep in, a psychic drip drip drip that — not to be overly dramatic — 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. I find it an incredible privilege and gift that I am called to be your Assistant Mythologist. 


A word about Vow Renewals

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.