Mr. Paul Cummins officiating Nicole and Andy's wedding.
I have colleagues who can get a bit touchy when it comes to the subject of amateurs stepping in to officiate a wedding. I am a little more relaxed about the issue and understand this may be desired or necessary at times.There are areas of the country where it is extremely difficult to locate a suitable professional officiant.
Officiating fees can be quite high in some locations due to cost of living variations around the country. Couples on an extraordinarily tight budget may not be able to squeeze in over $500 for an officiant.
A couple may simply prefer someone near and dear take on this role or might have a loved one begging them for the honor. Some couples place a low priority on the ceremony and want to focus on the celebration. That baffles some professional officiants. Yet despite the pride I take in my work, I do understand this perspective. Having a friend or family member officiate your wedding can indeed save money or be particularly meaningful.There are important considerations you must make if your friend or family member is not experienced with weddings.
They probably won't apply if your friend or family member is already an experienced officiant.1. LEGALITY: Make sure your officiant is authorized to solemnize marriage according to the laws of the state (possibly county and municipality as well) where the wedding ceremony will be held.
This individual should be someone who is willing to learn and understand marriage law so as not to make any mistakes with the license.2.
DEPENDABILITY: Choose someone who is a confident public speaker and is reliable. You want a loved one who will take this responsibility seriously. You should select someone who understands that while this is fun, it is also work. He or she should spend time rehearsing before the wedding. You want a low maintenance helpful individual who will bring down your stress levels not raise them when the big day arrives. This is not the time to appease a lovable, but flaky relative by bestowing this honor.3.
DISTANCE: I highly recommend selecting a friend or family member who is relatively local to the ceremony location. Most of the "we were going to have a friend do it, but he/she backed out" calls I get are from couples relying on someone a plane ride or extremely long car trip away.4. VOICE AMPLIFICATION: Arrange for a microphone if you have more than a handful of guests. Many professional officiants have their own portable PA systems, but chances are your friend or family member will not.Choosing an inexperienced officiant might mean you are on your own when it comes to putting the ceremony together. Some couples are perfectly fine with this and have confidence they can write their own wedding. Others want guidance or prefer a professional write the ceremony and then turn over the text/script to their officiant.
This latter option can strike some professional officiants as odd and they patently refuse to consider doing it, but ceremony writing without officiating
the wedding and coaching amateur officiants are services I have provided for many years. It is important to me that each couple have the wedding of their dreams. If that means having Grandma Jane or Uncle Joe officiate the ceremony, than so be it. I do believe weddings I have written have been officiated in at least twelve states, in five countries, and on three continents. I am honored to be part of a couple's wedding day in any capacity that serves their needs.If you are unsure whether you want a friend or family member or prefer to hire a professional, feel free to browse the "Yes, We're Worth It" page on my website.Photo Attribute: Shannon Perez of Florida Beachside WeddingsPaul is actually not an amateur, but a consummate professional shown here officiating a wedding ceremony I wrote. Alas, I do not have any pictures from weddings I have written that were officiated by amateurs.
Jocelyn in Georgia: My fiance and I are wondering if it would be okay to exchange two sets of rings during our wedding. My dad passed away a few years ago and his mom died when he was very young so we have their wedding rings. Can we put those on our right hands and then exchange our own wedding rings on the left?
Rev. Ann: Earlier this month, one of my couples did exactly that with their grandparents' rings. I think it's lovely and worked quite well in the ceremony. Here is how we did it, but you can partner with your officiant to write the double ring exchange in a way that works best for you.
As circles have no beginning and no end, rings have naturally come to symbolize eternal love within the union of mind, body, and spirit that constitutes the sanctity of marriage. They are freely offered as gifts of faith and hope as visible signs of the promises given this day. (Groom) and (Bride) appreciate that they do not come to their relationship alone, but carry in their hearts the love and support of the generations that precede them. They have chosen to exchange their grandparent’s rings on their right hands in recognition that their love has a past, a present, and a future.
(Groom), please place this ring on (Bride)’s hand in memory of the many loving relationships that have brought you to this moment.
(Bride), please place this ring on (Groom)’s hand in memory of the many loving relationships that have brought you to this moment.
Their wedding rings bring us to the present moment when these gifts seal the pledges they have made to one another. May these rings forever remind (Bride) and (Groom) of their covenant with one another, as well as the circle of love they have publicly created here today. May their compassion and kindness for one another always be like these rings, with no beginning and no end. May the precious metal remind them of their precious commitment, and if either begins to tarnish, may they joyfully work together to make it shine brightly again. May their relationship always be like these rings, separate but close, simple but beautiful. May these rings always belong to their hands, and their love always belong in each other’s hearts.
(Groom), please look into your beloved’s eyes, placing the ring on her hand as you repeat after me.
This ring is a token of my love.
With this ring I marry you,
with all that I have and all that I am.
(Bride), please look into your beloved’s eyes, placing the ring on his hand as you repeat after me.
This ring is a token of my love.
With this ring I marry you,
with all that I have and all that I am.
| |Laurie in Miami: It is important to our families that we include a unity candle in our ceremony, but I also really like several other rituals I've seen on your website. Neither of us want a long ceremony and would like to keep it under half an hour. Is it possible to include more in our ceremony without turning it into a marathon wedding? Does it make sense to do something else in addition to a unity candle?Rev. Ann:
Yes and Yes.Wedding ceremonies do not last nearly as long as most people expect, and each individual element rarely adds more than a minute or two to the overall length. If you focus on including elements that are meaningful to you with no thought whatsoever to the length of the ceremony, you are still extremely unlikely to exceed about 20 minutes in length. It honestly takes some serious effort to put together a wedding that lasts more than half an hour.I have officiated quite a few weddings that included more than one ritual. Fairly recently I officiated a wedding for a couple who chose to include include four wedding rituals within their order of service
. Their wedding was exactly twenty minutes long.There are a few suggestions I would make if you do want to include multiple elements.
You should understand the symbolism of each ritual to avoid redundancy. For example, a unity candle followed by a sand ceremony simply repeats the idea of two individuals coming together to form a partnership and seems odd. I recommend selecting rituals from different categories of meaning. You don't run the risk of a redundancy problem if you pair a Unity Ritual
with a Reconciliation Ritual
or a Sharing Ritual
with a Ritual of Conclusion
.You do have options if you have your heart set on two rituals that mean essentially the same thing
You can partner with your officiant to blend two rituals thereby creating a single ritual that includes what you like best about both. I did just that with the Rose Ceremony
and Wine & Letter Box
several years ago. It turned out quite nicely if I do say so myself.2. You can opt to include one ritual within the context of your wedding ceremony and do the other at the reception. I once officiated an outdoor wedding for a bride whose mother had given her a Unity Candle as a gift. Those do not work very well in even the calmest of winds. We included a Sand Ceremony in the wedding and they did a Unity Candle right before their cake cutting
inside a ballroom.When including multiple rituals, make sure your officiant is a ritual specialist and
understands how to place the rituals within the ceremony for maximum effect. They can seem jumbled and lose the emotional impact of their symbolism if not placed well within the order of service.
Unity Candle and Bell of Truce in a December wedding
Danny and Emma were all set to tie the knot in Sarasota on May 01 when the weather had a few things to say about it. They were completely washed out. Not what you want to experience on your wedding day anyway, but this lovely couple had come all the way from England to get married on a Florida beach.
Fast forward a few days and head east 180 miles and you have a beautiful day for a wedding in Cocoa Beach...with a few love bugs. They may have been disappointed, but the change in plans enabled me to be a part of one of the happiest days of their lives.
Their intimate wedding was attended by their parents and their adorable little 18 month old son.
Their non-denominational Christian wedding included a Sand Ceremony and Wish Upon a Shell. Probably not common in your typical Lancashire or Yorkshire wedding.
The oddest part of the experience for me was working from a wedding written by another officiant. I found I had to revise it considerably anyway. Weddings are spoken, so if it doesn't sound like it's in the officiant's "voice," it can actually feel quite awkward.
The way these two looked at one another throughout the ceremony was absolutely heart-warming. Total strangers could have been able to tell Emma and Danny are meant to be together.
I am excited to introduced my first ever guest blogger today! Clearly I would have nothing meaningful to say about makeup since I was too naive to consider professional styling for my own wedding
. Ah well, hindsight is 20/20. Brides today seem a bit smarter, but they still have lots of questions. I'm delighted to present a professional makeup artist to explain foundation options for making sure you have a wedding look that can go the distance!
What a fun fresh look for this bride!
Deciding on the look for your wedding day may be a significant decision you want to make when it comes to your wedding. Brides constantly ask me questions about specific types of foundation makeup for their wedding day. I'd like to address the most common questions brides ask regarding airbrush makeup.
What is the difference between airbrush and traditional makeup?
Lots of my brides have questions about airbrush makeup vs. traditional foundations because of concerns with longevity as well as the overall look on their wedding day.There are several different types of airbrush makeup; water, silicone, and alcohol based. I carry all lines in my kit, but most bridal artists will only carry one of their preference.
| |Water based
gives a matte finish and is long wearing, but would not be good for humid/hot outdoor weddings. (My Central Florida brides should definitely keep this in mind! ~ Ann) Silicone based
gives a dewy finish and better for outdoor weddings since it is slightly moveable, allowing for touch ups should you sweat or cry. I always recommend testing silicone based products on the arm before applying to the face because of the number of people allergic to silicone. Alcohol based
is an alternative when the client is allergic to silicone, but needs longevity from their foundation. Alcohol based will give a slightly matte finish to the skin, but will not be as moveable as silicone based. Will airbrush work for brides with skin Issues like Rosacea and Acne?
Yes, I use airbrush mostly for my clients with skin issues. Airbrush is a fine micronized mist that allows for many thin layers in order to cover skin imperfections without enhancing the flaws of the skin or looking caked on. I prefer to use water based airbrush foundation for my clients with severe skin issues since it is less reflective and is hypoallergenic. Does airbrush feel natural on the skin?
Airbrush makeup works very well for people who do not typically wear makeup. Because airbrush makeup is very light on the skin and takes on the texture of the skin, it feels like you are not wearing any makeup at all. I also prefer airbrush for mature skin since it doesn't sink into fine lines as much as a heavier foundation would. Can traditional makeup achieve the same effect as airbrushed?
Traditional foundation can achieve the same look as airbrush in the hands of an experienced makeup artist. Traditional application allows for a more personalized look. If someone has very nice skin, I can sheer down the makeup to show their skin leaving just slight coverage. If someone has trouble skin, I can correct and contour using different foundations. The greatest advantage of traditional application verses airbrush is that it is much easier to touch up throughout the day should the need arise.~ by Briggitte Dix of Bloom Makeup Artistry
Amazing way to highlight her gorgeous eyes
I love the golden glow in her skin tone.
Briggitte is the owner and lead makeup artist of Bloom Makeup Artistry providing on location airbrush makeup and hair styling services throughout Galveston, Houston and the South of Texas since 2009. She gained experience and notoriety as a commercial makeup artist, then turned towards her true passion, bridal makeup. With a degree in art, Briggitte brings strong aesthetics and an eye for perfection to every job. Briggitte's vast knowledge of makeup teamed with her diverse history in the arts make her irreplaceable when creating looks for today's brides. Briggitte's work can be seen in publications such as Get Married Magazine and T&M Magazine along with notable TV networks like HGTV and features on numerous top wedding websites.
See Briggitte on Facebook
Cassie and Joe used glasses from their alma maters to water their weeping willow.
I like this ritual for several reasons. It is uncommon, so guests are particularly engaged by virtue of its novelty. It transcends the symbolism of unity, sharing, and reconciliation rituals and can capture the intention of all three and more. It is highly adaptable and can easily be personalized depending upon the couple's circumstances, rendering it particularly meaningful when executed well. It is environmentally friendly. Who doesn't appreciate a new tree?
While most couples both symbolically plant and water a potted tree, I have had one couple omit reference to planting and simply water an existing tree at the park where their ceremony was held. If including the planting of the tree as part of the ritual, I don't recommend the couple get down on their hands and knees in the dirt with a spade. With a potted tree, the couple just adds a little more soil and some water. Let's keep the suits and dresses clean, we are dealing in the realm of the symbolic after all.
The details of the ceremony can be adapted based upon the type of tree; the symbolism of a fruit-bearing tree for a couple wanting to start their own family or blending step-children is a powerful one for example. The conclusion of the ceremony can be customized depending upon what the couple plans to do later with the tree. It would be very different indeed if the tree is a sapling intended for the couple's own yard, a donation to a public green space, or a mature tree located at the wedding venue. Rev. Brenda Owen passed along an excellent idea when I spoke to her about the ritual. She suggested couples could take pictures of their children beside the maturing tree as they grew up. I wish I had thought to do something similar with my own kids. We have the perfect tree in our yard for that! Of course, it does mean you have to stay in one place for awhile. Which brings me to an idea one of Brenda's brides
passed along to her. They used a hibiscus tree in their wedding so they could take a cutting to their new home should they ever relocate. Brilliant!The sample below is not from Cassie and Joe's wedding. It is a fairly basic Tree Ceremony rather than a highly personalized one. I include it to convey a general sense of the ritual.
With a wee bit of creativity, the ritual can be transformed into almost anything the couple finds even more meaningful.
(Bride and Groom) have just sealed their relationship with the giving and receiving of rings. Today their union is further symbolized by uniting in the life giving act of planting and watering this tree.
Water unceasingly changes shapes and transforms itself. It is thus a model out of which everything can be born. It nourishes and purifies, reminding us that (bride and groom) joyfully undertake the sacred duty to transform their marriage when they find it in need of renewal and re-commitment.
This vessel, symbolizing the cup of life, was crafted lovingly by human hands and represents love's strength and endurance dependent upon our human feelings and intentions.
This tree, born of the tiniest of seeds, symbolizes both the beauty and the potential of love that blooms and grows through time. Its roots remind us of the families who nurtured (Bride and Groom) to become the one person in the world each holds most dear, families whose love and support is important to the strength of this new union. The branches reach to the future that is their shared potential as (Bride and Groom) face it together, hand in hand and heart to heart.
(Bride and Groom), I invite you to now share in the planting and watering of this tree, this precious gift of life to show your commitment to your marriage as a joint endeavor with responsibilities you now share as the consequences and rewards of lives lived well affect you both in equal measure. (Bride and Groom) as you tend to this young sapling, may it remind you of the joy you feel this day. May you cultivate a marriage with deep strong roots and take pleasure in the effort that entails. May you always be the best of friends and your love for one another deepen over the years.
I think Joe is trying to imply Clemson is superior to Florida State. I beg to differ.
Images courtesy of Jonathan Torres of I See You Beautiful
. Jon is based in South Carolina, but does travel to Florida upon request.* My special thanks to Rev. Brenda Owen, Wedding Officiant and Minister
serving Northeast Georgia, Upstate South Carolina and Cashiers - Highlands North Carolina. She presided at the marriage of Cassie and Joe at Augusta Manor in Greenville, South Carolina
on March 30, 2013. She is a gracious and generous colleague.I am very grateful for her help with this article.
Include guests by distributing stones before the ceremony.
I love learning about wedding rituals I have not encountered before and must thank Rev. Judith Guasch
for introducing me to this one. I am a bit ashamed I had not heard of it despite having Scottish ancestry. I am a Stewart by birth after all.
Have you ever heard the expression, “etched in stone?” When we use those words, we convey both our good faith and our intention that what is being referenced is meant to last for a very very long time!
The couple place their hands upon a stone, or hold a stone, while saying their marriage vows. Scots in days past considered swearing on a stone to be the best way to express sincerity when making a solemn pledge. The Stone of Scone
, or what the English refer to as the Coronation Stone, has been used for centuries in the coronation of the monarchs of Scotland and later the monarchs of Great Britain. Couples today typically use much smaller and lighter stones than this one for their weddings, unless they have access to a stone altar.
Couples who opt for this tradition can use special stones engraved with their names and wedding date. They make wonderful mementos of the wedding. Stones used for oathing range in size: a stone that fits in the palm of the hand, a stone heavy enough to require both hold it at the same time, or a stone so large it cannot be lifted. In the latter case, the couple places their hands upon the stone rather than holding it of course. The larger stones would be lovely to place in a garden while the smaller ones could be displayed in a special case within the home. The officiant may say a few words before the vows to explain the tradition to the guests or the couple can simply use the stones with no reference made to them whatsoever.
Guests can be included in the ritual by giving each a stone to hold in their hands during the ceremony. Additional meaning can be imbued into the stones by including a Communal Declaration of Support in which the guests pledge to uphold the couple in being steadfast in the promises they have made. At the conclusion of the ceremony, the guests place their stones in a keepsake container for the couple to place in their home.
Communal Declaration of Support
Today, (couple's names), who began on separate paths, have been joined as one. You, their family and friends are a community of support surrounding (couple). Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other. I ask that you always stand beside them, never between them. Offer them your love and your support and refrain from judgment. Encourage them when encouragement is needed and listen carefully when they seek your advice. In these ways, you can honor this marriage. Therefore I ask, now that you have heard (couple) exchange their marriage vows, do you, their family and friends, promise from this day forward, to encourage them and love them, and to help guide and support them in being steadfast in the promises they have made?” If you agree, please say, “We do.”
Photo Attribute: Both found on-line, provenance unknown.
Maggie and Roy at Meridian Hill Park amidst the famous Washington, DC cherry blossoms
I met Maggie and Roy a little over five years ago thanks to humanism. Roy is the Executive Director of the American Humanist Association
and Maggie is the Director of Development and Communications. Today, all three of us serve on the board of the Humanist Institute
together. I do believe this may be the first time I have officiated the wedding of someone who has a Wikipedia entry. He may blush, but I think it's pretty cool.
The bride isn't crying yet!
I would never have predicated a few years ago that I would some day have the honor of officiating their wedding ceremony. And it was a huge honor! For one thing, Maggie swore to me she was never ever getting married. Which simply proves the point about making absolute statements. They're always wrong.
I flew into Washington early Friday, April 19. Maggie and Roy picked me up at the airport and took me back to their place for a little rest before they needed to get to their salons ~ a haircut for him and a cute soft curl hairstyle for her. While they were pampered in the chair, I headed over to Rosemary's Thyme Bistro
for a relaxing solo lunch, just me and BBC Sport to catch up on all things English Premier League.We were a little worried about the weather holding, but by the walk back to their home it was pretty obvious the storm would be coming in later. We were in the clear for an outdoor ceremony. They had originally planned on holding it in Meridian Hill Park, but on the way back to the apartment decided a little courtyard in their building would permit more privacy and block the pre-storm winds.
Maggie was ready in a flash and had on her dress and jewelry by the time the photographer, Deb Lindsey
, arrived around 2:30. Roy, on the other hand, was still struggling with his bow tie. As you can see in the pictures, he reached a resolution without having to finish the YouTube video on how to tie one.
Not sure if we're laughing because of something he said or did.
The four of us went down to the courtyard and promptly began their humanist wedding. Maggie and Roy chose to include a sharing ritual, The Wine Ceremony, in which they each take a sip from a glass of bitter wine and sweet wine. This ritual is symbolic of their pledges to be there for one another in both good times and in bad. Their joys are multiplied and their sorrows divided because they share them. And as I reminded them, it's all symbolic so they made sure it was a wine they would both enjoy sipping during the wedding and finishing together later.
I cannot decide if the best part of the wedding was Maggie bursting into tears after the kiss or pronouncing them husband and wife with instructions to update their Facebook statuses. Maggie was so worried she would cry during the ceremony, but instead got the giggles. Her laughter is so infectious, it was awesome!
Maggie and Roy went over to Meridian Hill Park for portraits after the wedding while I went back upstairs and read for a bit. When they returned, I joined them in the lobby for more picture taking and the signing of the marriage license. I managed to get it in the mail back to the Courthouse before pick up! I have to say the Washington, DC marriage license is much prettier than the Florida one, and I like the triplicate copies. Very nice!
Took pictures on the phones so they could post to Facebook.
Roy and Maggie changed clothes quickly, took a few more "going away" photos and the three of us hopped in a cab.
We headed over to the W Hotel
where Maggie and Roy had booked a room for me too. (Luxury!) We had a lovely glass of champagne in the lobby upon check in. I managed to snap a few photos of them toasting with their champagne since they opted to abandon the cake back at their place. I figured they needed some sort of "reception tradition."
Our timing enabled me to get about an hour of rest before dinner. I was grateful for the down time as I'd been nursing a cold/flu-y sort of thing for a week and it decided to turn vicious again right about then. I began to worry I wouldn't be up for going downstairs to have dinner with them at the J&G Steakhouse
. On top of feeling tremendous anticipatory guilt they might come down with it on their honeymoon. I'd never forgive myself for ruining that!
I made it to dinner and it was, of course, out of this world. We're talking Jean-Georges Vongerichten after all. The restaurant was an appropriate choice as Roy and Maggie had dined at his restaurant in New York City the evening they were engaged to be married. When our server became aware it was their wedding day...whoosh...another round of champagne appeared at the table.
I do believe that was about the time the storm peaked in intensity. Maggie and Roy timed everything beautifully. We were tucked safe and warm inside a gourmet restaurant with the rain lashing at the windows, thunder booming periodically, and lightning dramatically lighting up the sky from time to time. Good food, wine, great friends, and an elegant ambiance. The only thing missing to make this an absolutely perfect evening was my husband. Oh well, someone has to stay home and watch the kids!
The next day I flew back to Florida and they jetted off to Tahiti...or Bora Bora...or some such South Pacific tropical island. In others words, Paradise.
Best wishes for a long and happy marriage!
I got punchy and put the bouquet in Roy's hand. The photographer was very gracious and went with it.
Every single moment that we were alive and we were together was miraculous —
not miraculous in the sense of inexplicable or supernatural. We knew we were
beneficiaries of chance… That pure chance could be so generous and so kind…
We found each other in the cosmos, and that was wonderful.“ ~ Ann Druyan
Witnesses signing a marriage license
The couples I serve may feel I begin to sound like a broken record given the number of times I remind them about the marriage license. But I cannot emphasize enough how important this document is if you want your wedding ceremony to result in a legal marriage. No valid license? No marriage!Shopping for wedding dresses, picking out flowers, and tasting cake choices may be more fun, but you absolutely cannot overlook this task. Nor can you delegate it to anyone else. The couple shoulders complete responsibility for obtaining the proper license and ensuring it is valid for both their wedding date and in the place where they are solemnizing their marriage. They do not have to go it alone however. Officiants should know state marriage law concerning the license as well as they know the backs of their hands.
I encourage couples to partner with their officiant. Never be afraid to ask questions about the marriage license. It is the very first thing I talk to my couples about when we meet at our initial consultation!Alas, upon arriving for a wedding, I have been presented with:
- a license that was not valid until two days after the wedding
- a license that had expired and was no longer valid
- a mail away license that was incomplete and had not been signed yet by the Clerk of Courts
- a license from another state that was not valid here in Florida.
The clerk in the other state told the couple it would be valid in Florida! One would think the clerk would know better. Which simply proves my point. It is the couple's responsibility, but they do have plenty of resources besides the officiant. The internet! Simply go to the website of the state in which the ceremony will be held
. Search for "marriage license" and see what the state law has to say about it. The legal language isn't typically too difficult to comprehend, unlike some legislation which can be absolutely incomprehensible. Go to the Clerk of Courts website for the county in which the ceremony will be held
and do another search for "marriage license." Remember, where you reside has naught to do with your marriage license. Ceremony location, ceremony location, ceremony location!
Read carefully! Each state is different. You can obtain a license in any county in Florida and it is valid for a ceremony anywhere else within the state. I believe ceremonies in New Jersey must be performed in the same county or township where the couple got the license (but don't hold me to that, I don't live in New Jersey and haven't officiated a wedding there in at least six years). Florida licenses have a very clear 60 day window in which the ceremony must be held. Licenses in Washington, DC never expire. Florida is extraordinarily lenient concerning who can officiate ceremonies and what can be said during a ceremony. Other states retain tighter control over officiants and have specific requirements that must be included in the ceremony. Please educate yourselves and know the law. There is almost nothing worse for an officiant than to be handed an invalid license and thus have to break the news to the couple their wedding will not mark the beginning of their lives together as legally recognized spouses. It breaks out heart to have to break yours!
The red, black, and white theme worked well at the Porcher House ceremony and at the Civic Center ballroom reception.
I have to say I was a little surprised Gina and Charlie's wedding began on time, but I needn't have been. I should have long since learned never to correlate the rehearsal with the wedding.
Unfortunately, Gina had a little preparation mishap that resulted in a slightly late start to the rehearsal the evening before. I think her mom felt we started later than we actually did, but it was only about a fifteen minute delay. That is a rehearsal that is essentially on time! Gina is extremely gracious and accommodated a hiccup in my schedule agreeing to a late rehearsal so we did this in the dark. The bridesmaids and groomsmen were a wonderfully boisterous group which can make for a challenging rehearsal, but one heck of a good time.
When I arrived on-site for the wedding, everything looked pretty much under control so it was essentially a matter of just bouncing back and forth between Charlie and Gina to determine when everyone was ready to begin.
Gina gave me a little heads up about the dress so I kept a close eye on Charlie to see his reaction when he saw her for the first time. What an amazing and striking red bridal gown! Gina has exactly the right coloring to pull it off.
Their spiritual wedding included a family sand ceremony to involve her little boy and his little girl, who look like they are full brother and sister by the way. Charlie and Gina were attended by a best man, maid of honor, three groomsmen, three bridesmaids, two junior bridesmaids, a flower girl and a ring bearer. I have to thank the maid of honor, Bri, for recommending me to Gina and Charlie. I officiated Bri's wedding several years ago at the Crowne Plaza. Referrals are the highest compliment!
Couples like Gina and Charlie are why I love this part of my ministry so much. They were a joy to work with and seem so right for each other.
Poor Charlie looks tiny one step below Gina and me.
This historic 1916 home in Cocoa is a beautiful setting for a wedding. The front of the house always makes me think of wedding cake!
As if budgeting and paying for a wedding isn't stressful enough! At some point during the planning process, bridal couples come across the subject of tips...and many promptly freak.
- Are we obligated to tip?
- Which vendors do we tip?
- What percentage of their fee do we tip?
If you ask ten different people on the street their thoughts on tipping wedding vendors, you are likely to get ten different opinions. Usually falling somewhere near the following attitudes about it.
- "Heck no, you don't tip anyone, that's their job. You are paying good money for their services, that's enough!"
- "You only tip the employees, not people who own their own businesses."
- "You tip (A, B, C type) vendors, but never tip (X, Y, Z type) vendors.
- "You should tip everyone involved in your wedding."
First of all, any vendor who expects a tip is likely to write it into their contract. At which point, in my opinion, it ceases to be a gratuity. So I'm not even addressing that 15%, 18%, or 20% gratuity line item on a contract. Take a deep breath and let go of tipping as a requirement.
Gratuities are an expression of gratitude and should come from the heart. They are a lovely gesture for anyone, employee or business owner, who exceeds your expectations. Gratuities are an excellent way to say thank you to an individual who does something that makes your wedding day particularly special, or solves a problem averting a disaster. Gratuities needn't be distributed the day of the wedding. If someone has particularly impressed you prior to the wedding, than by all means have a tip for them handy. But as you cannot anticipate what the day will be like, i
t is perfectly acceptable to send a gratuity later. If it had not been for the DJ and his wife, my own wedding reception would have been an utter catastrophe. We sent them a gift we had picked out especially for them on our honeymoon shortly after we returned home. As an officiant, I have received gratuities anywhere from the day of the rehearsal to a one year anniversary. Every single one was a nice surprise, not an expected payment.
Don't think of gratuities in terms of customary amounts or as a percentage of the vendor's original fee. Any gesture, large or small, is sincerely and deeply appreciated by your vendors. It is a tangible way of letting them know their efforts to go above and beyond were both noticed and sincerely appreciated. Here are examples of some things I have received as "gratuities."
- Thank You Notes
- Photographs (print and .jpg)
- Positive On-line Reviews
- Bottle of Wine or Champagne
- Maple Syrup (seriously! The couple brought me some from Vermont)
- Gift Certificates to local stores and restaurants
- Gift Card to Starbucks (I do a lot of consults there!)
- Movie Tickets
- A car wash!
- Donation to a Charity in my name
- And of course...money.
While not obligated to tip wedding vendors, I do recommend couples set aside a line item in their budget for gratuities...just in case. You never know when something could happen that warrants one. Make a point of sending it after the wedding at the same time you send your thank you notes. I know that twenty years later, I still don't feel like I did enough to thank my DJ and his wife.
Photo Attribute: Available on-line with no known provenance.