Jasmine & Reggie ‘s Santa Monica Beach Elopement 

Beach elopements, Los Angeles Wedding Officiants

This autumn has been an exceptionally warm one for the Los Angeles areas. With almost two weeks of triple digit temperatures and no signs of sweater weather in sight. It’s prompted many to ask,  “Where is fall?”.  Jasmine and Reggie, on the other hand, have taken advantage of the extended summer to have a short and sweet elopement with just their parents in attendance

The couple met seven years ago at the Empire State Building in New York City.  They’ve spent the past seven years travelling the world together and have visited many exotic locales such as Chile, Italy, Japan. Thailand  and France. Now they have decided to put down roots and start a family in Los Angeles.

Beach elopements, Los Angeles Wedding Officiants

African-American Wedding Officiants, Los angeles wedding officiants, beach weddings,

Los Angeles Beach Elopement, African American Wedding Officiants
Jasmine & Reggie with Rev. Connie

Both sets of parents flew in to witness the marriage of their children. Jasmine’ s parents flew in from Colorado and Reggie’s flew in from North Carolina. It was the first time that the parents had met.

Santa Monica Beach Weddings, Los Angeles Wedding Officiants
Reggie & Jasmine with their parents

Jasmine and Reggie are planning a lavish destination wedding in Mexico for Apri 2018.

Venue: Santa Monica Beach
Officiant: Rev. Connie Jones-Steward

Dawn & Mark’s Joyful Seaside Ceremony

Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, Long Beach Weddings

The dating website Match.com boasts about the high number of marriages between its users. Now it can add Dawn and Mark to that number.

Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, African-American Wedding Officiants

Los Angeles Wedding Officiants, African-American Wedding Officiants

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The couple chose to exchange vows at the beautiful Hotel Maya in Long Beach, CA. They chose the location because they loved the gorgeous Spanish theme and the spectacular  views of Long Beach Harbor and the city skyline.

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If Dawn could sum up her wedding day in three words they would be: amazing, loving and memorable Says Dawn “My big day was exhausting but the excitement of going from Ms. to Mrs was exhilarating. I was filled with love, happiness and joy to share my vows with the man I love in the presence of all our friends and family.”

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7 Quartz Alternatives To The Diamond Engagement Ring

Diamonds and engagement rings go together like Frick and Frack. However Many couples are looking for diamond alternatives for moral, financial or spiritual reasons. Perhaps they disagree with the ethics, or lack thereof,  of the African diamond trade, maybe they would rather put their money to other uses or maybe they want their rings to carry a certain spiritual energy. Whatever the reasons, quartz  crystals  come in a variety of colors and carry a variety of energies that make them excellent alternatives to the classic diamond bridal sets.

Quartz crystals are a seven on the MOHS scale which means they are almost as hard as diamonds. Like diamonds they can scratch glass and can only be scratched themselves by stones with hardness of eight or higher.

Here are seven of the most popular alternatives to the classic diamond engagement ring.

1. Herkimer Diamond: Herkimer diamonds are so named because they were first discovered in the area of Herkimer County, NY. This variety of quartz is known for it’s clear, almost water like clarity.

They are known as high energy seekers and as conduits to Divine energy. They correspond to the throat,  brow and  crown chakras and can help heal physical, emotional and spiritual pain.

herkimer diamond engagement ring, los angeles wedding officiants, African-American wedding officiants

Ring available from HSN.

2. Rose Quartz: This lovely pink stone is mined in many places throughout the world, but Brazil is it’s main source. Rose quartz corresponds to the heart chakra and carries the energy of unconditional love. It also eases symptoms of stress, sadness and depression. Rose quartz transmits the feminine energies of compassion, tenderness and healing.

rose quartz engagement rings, Los Angeles wedding officiant, African-American wedding officiant

Ring available from HotForStudio via Etsy

3. Amethyst: This stone was first discovered in 3000 B.C.E in Europe. The Greeks believed it warded off drunkenness and so named it “amethystos” which meant “not drunk”. Purple was the color of royalty in Elizabethan England; Therefore Amethyst was highly prized by English royals.

Amethyst is not only associated with sobriety; It also helps ease conditions of the nervous systems and sleep disorders such as nightmares and insomnia. It is associated with the crown chakra.

Ring available from Jewels For Me.

4. Lemon Quartz: Lemon quartz is the trade name for an irradiated form of citrine. It is said to help focus positive energy and to help control food and nicotine craving. It is also reputed to help post-surgical healing. As a yellow stone, it helps to balance the solar plexus chakra.

Ring available from Slowack Jewelry via Etsy.

5. Citrine: Citrine has been used as a stone of manifestation since at least 300 B.C.E. It comes in colors ranging from pale yellow to almost brown. It enhances professional relationships such as between buyer and seller and therefore increases personal wealth. It also promotes harmonious family relationship.

Citrine helps to balance the solar plexus chakra. A healthy solar plexus chakra helps to maintain a healthy digestive system, back and liver. It is also the seat of personal will and power.

Ring available from Jewels For Me

6. Rutilated Quartz: Rutilated quartz is a clear quartz with golden strands known as ” rutiles” crisscrossing throughout. It is said to repel negative energy, however if negative energy does make it through the crystals, it will be caught it the rutiles like nightmares in a dreamcatcher.

Rutilated quartz opens and connects the third eye and crown chakras to facilitate meditation and insight.

Ring available from PenneliBelle via Etsy

7. Smoky Quartz: Smoky quartz is a transculent stone ranging in color from light grey to dark brown. Its use dates to at least 12th century China where it was used to make the first recorded sunglasses. Ancient documents also report that Chinese judges wore glasses made of smoky quartz to hide their expressisions in the courtroom.

Smoky quartz is associated with the first or root chakra. It helps calm fears associated with fear of failure, financial lack or loss. It is a grounding and stabalizing stone that helps keep us connected to Mother Earth.

Ring available from Jewels For Me.

How Do I Obtain A California Marriage License?

How to obtain a california marriage license, Los Angeles wedding officiants, African-American Wedding Officiants

If you are getting married in the State of California you’ll be happy to know that California maariage license  regulations are some of the easiest in the United States. For example:

  1. There is no blood test required.
  2. There is no waiting period. You can get married literally the minute after you receive your license.
  3. Only one witness is required. Make that 0 witnesses if you opt for the confidential license.
  4. You can get a confidential license if you and your partner currently live together. The confidential license cost less and there are no laws that specify how long you have to have been living together.
  5. Without a court order, the confidential license is not viewable by anyone other than the parties to the marriage
  6. You can start the application process online. This is a huge advantage for couples coming from out of state.
  7. The public license can be used in any county within the State of California.

California marriage licences are obtained from the County Clerk’s offices of California counties. The website for the Los Angeles County Clerk is www.lavote.net To obtain more details on the process of obtaining a California marriage license as well as to find the web addresses to the County Clerks of other Southern California counties, please visit the wedding license information section of my wedding officiant website at www.officiantlady.com

Three important points to remember are:

  1. The County Clerk initially issues to you a “license” to be married.  The  “certificate” of marriage is issued after your properly executed license is  received and recorded by the County Clerk’s office.
  2. It is the responsibility of your wedding officiant to return your marriage license to the CountyClerk within 10 days of your wedding ceremony. 
  3. Your marriage license is only valid for 90 days from the date of issue by the County Clerk.

Must You Have A Ceremony To Marry In California?

California marriage laws, Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit: Connie Jones-Steward

From time to time during my many years as a Los Angeles wedding officiant I have been asked if a ceremony is needed to be legally married in the State of California. These wedding clients have wondered if they could just meet with me and have me sign the license.

The answer lies in what you consider a ceremony. While it’s  true that the California’s Family Code requires a “ceremony” for a marriage to be legal section 420(a) makes it clear that there is no legally required format for the ceremony. Specifically section 420 (a) of the Family Code reads:”No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the physical presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and necessary witnesses, that they take each other as spouses.” That means that I can legally marry two people by simply receiving an answer of “yes” or “I do” to the question “Do you Mary take John to be your husband?”.

There are various legitimate reasons that a couple would want such a ceremony. For example, the couple pictured below had a legally non-binding ceremony earlier in the day followed by my officiating  a “Simple I do” ceremony as part of their evening Halloween party.

California marriage laws, Los Angeles wedding officiants, African-American Wedding Officiant
Photo credit: Connie Jones-Steward

Other reasons include that they are marrying for insurance or tax purposes or one partner is deploying soon. In these cases there are usually plans for a more formal ceremony in the future.

5 Wedding Poems By Black Poets

In honor of Black Poetry Day, let’s talk about wedding poetry by Black poets. Here are five beautiful selections for your consideration.

Photo credit: http://www.kristenweaverblog.com

1.You Came Too, Nikki Giovani

I came to the crowd seeking friends
I came to the crowd seeking love
I came to the crowd for understanding

I found you

I came to the crowd to weep
I came to the crowd to laugh

You dried my tears
You shared my happiness

I went from the crowd seeking you
I went from the crowd seeking me
I went from the crowd forever

You came, too

2 Desire, Alice Walker

My desire is always the same; wherever Life deposits me: 

I want to stick my toe
& soon my whole body
into the water. 

I want to shake out a fat broom
& sweep dried leaves
bruised blossoms
dead insects & dust. 

I want to grow
something. It seems impossible that desire can sometimes transform into devotion; but this has happened. 

And that is how I’ve survived:
how the hole I carefully tended
in the garden of my heart
grew a heart to fill it

3. Invitation To Love,  Paul Laurence Dunbar

Come when the nights are bright with stars 

Or come when the moon is mellow; 

Come when the sun his golden bars 

Drops on the hay-field yellow. 

Come in the twilight soft and gray, 

Come in the night or come in the day, 

Come, O love, whene’er you may, 

And you are welcome, welcome. 

You are sweet, O Love, dear Love, 

You are soft as the nesting dove. 

Come to my heart and bring it to rest 

As the bird flies home to its welcome nest. 

Come when my heart is full of grief 

Or when my heart is merry; 

Come with the falling of the leaf 

Or with the redd’ning cherry. 

Come when the year’s first blossom blows, 

Come when the summer gleams and glows, 

Come with the winter’s drifting snows, 

And you are welcome, welcome

4. Touched By An Angel, Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life. 

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls. 

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love’s light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free

5.  And I Have You, Nikki Giovanni 

Rain has drops
Sun has shine
Moon has beams
That make you mine
Rivers have banks
Sands for shores
Hearts have heartbeats
That make me yours
Needles have eyes
Though pins may prick
Elmer has glue
To make things stick
Winter has Spring
Stockings feet
Pepper has mint
To make it sweet
Teachers have lessons
Soup du jour
Lawyers sue bad folks
Doctors cure
All and all
This much is true
You have me
And I have you

Inspirations For Your Biker Themed Elopement

October 14 is National Motorcycle Ride Day so let’s talk about inspirations for the bride who’s wedding dreams are less Will & Kate and more Easy Rider.

California beaches and national parks provide the perfect backdrop for the free spirited, rebel nature of a biker elopement. If you’d rather ride off into the future on the back of your new husband’s Harley than in the backseat of the wedding getaway car,  then I know you’ll enjoy these photos borrowed from styled shoots that appear on Southern California Bride and Green Wedding Shoes.  All photos remain the property of their rightful owners.

Photo credit: http://www.greenweddingshoes.com
Motorcycle Elopement,  Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit: http://www.greenweddingshoes.com
Motorcycle Elopement, Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit: http://www.greenweddingshoes.com
Biker Elopement, Los Angeles wedding officiant
Photo credit. http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com
Photo credit: http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com
Motorcycle Elopement,  Los Angeles wedding officiant ph
Photo credit: http://www.thesoutherncaliforniabride.com