Elope on Ferndell Hiking Trail

Bridges and grottos and trails OH MY! Ferndell Hiking Trail in the Ferndell section of Los Angeles’s Griffith Park is the perfect spot for a woodsy elopement . However, you’ll have to have your elopement ceremony early if you want to find nearby parking spot and avoid being photobombed by hikers.

Keep scrolling to see the hollow tree that looks like a heart.

Visit my website at http://www.officiantlady. com to learn more about my elopement services.

Elope on Ferndell Hiking Trail

Places to elope in Los Angeles

Elope in Los Angeles

Elope at Compton Creek Natural Park

Bridge at Compton Creek Natural Park

Would you like to elope near a creek, bike path and hiking trails without having to drive to Griffith Park?

Compton Creek Natural Park in Compton, CA is an oasis of natural beauty and serenity located in the heart of the Hub City. The native plants and tranquil surroundings will provide a picturesque backdrop for your elopement photos.

Compton Creek Natural Park

Compton Creek Natural Park

Visit my website @ http://www.officiantlady.com to learn about my elopement services.

The Persian Sugar Rubbing Ritual

Persian Sugar Rubbing Ceremony
Image subject to copyright laws

There are several beautiful and meaningful rituals that take place during a Persian wedding ceremony, but none is sweeter than the sugar rubbing ritual that involves several well-wishing women spreading sweetness in the couple’s life and marriage.

During the sugar rubbing ritual, the couple will be seated, and women i women hold the opposite sides of the cloth, and at times, four women can hold each corner of the cloth. Other ladies will come up, and take turns rubbing together large cones made of hard sugar, to sprinkle sweetness onto the cloth held overhead. Another interpretation of this custom is that each sugar cone represents the bride and the groom and this act is in the hopes that every contact between them will result in sweetness

There are differing beliefs about who should rub the sugar cones over the couple. Some believe that the ladies who are rubbing the sugar must be “happily married” so that their happiness and success rubs off on the couple. However, with the rise of multi-cultural and interfaith marriages, this ritual has adapted to embrace the varying demographics of the guests.

During many ceremonies, the bridesmaids are the ones to hold the Unity Cloth, which makes for a uniform and color coordinated effect. And as for who does the sugar rubbing, many families are open to having any woman who so wishes, to come up and take part in this beautiful ritual. In my own opinion and as an interfaith wedding officiant this is my personal choice. I also believe that granulated sugar can be sprinkled in lieu of the rubbing of the sugar cones

To incorporate this or another unity ritual into your wedding ceremony, contact Rev. Connie Jones Steward, www.officiantlady.com

Julius & Adeela at El Pescador State Beach

Julius and Adeela chose to say their “I do’s” and exchange personal vows in an intimate beach elopement on the bluffs overlooking El Pescador State Beach in Malibu, CA. Their only guests were their five year old son and Adeela’s cousin.

Sand blending ceremony, beach elopements

Sand blending ceremony

Initially, Adeela wanted to include a unity candle lighting but I advised her against it, due to the possibility of high winds, and suggested a sand blending instead. Good thing too, because not only were the winds extremely high but there were “No Fire” signs posted throughout the area.

After the marriage, the newlyweds set off to Atlanta, GA to become partners in their own business consulting firm.

Planning a destination elopement ? Contact me via www.officiantlady.com I will be happy to write and officiate your perfect beach elopement ceremony.

Happy National Sunglasses Day

Did you know that sunglasses are so cool that they have their own day? That’s right June 27, 2018 is National Sunglasses Day.

Just because it’s your wedding day is no reason to not practice sun safe behavior and custom printed sunglasses like these will make it easy for you to look “cool” while protecting your eyes at your outdoor reception.

On sites like Etsy you can find shades printed for brides, grooms, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring boys; in other words your whole wedding party can look as cool as you do.

Sunglasses can also be printed with your name and wedding date as a thoughtful wedding favor for guests of your outdoor wedding or reception.

Looking for a wedding officiant who’s cooler than a pair of Wayfarers on a sunny day? Contact Rev. Connie Jones-Steward at www.officiantlady.com

7 Ways To Give Your Wedding A Feminist Spirit

Feminist Wedding, African American Wedding Officiant, Los Angeles

Let’s face it ladies, although the wedding day is supposed to be all about us, the wedding ceremony and many wedding traditions are steeped in patriarchal values. Take the position of best man for example. Legend has it that in antiquity brides were often taken by force and the best man was there to help the groom fight off her rescuing kinsmen. In that same vein, the bride stands to the left of the groom so that his right hand is free to reach for his sword should those rescuing kinsmen appear.

If you’re reading this blog post, it’s likely that you plan to have a marriage based on equality and partnership with your husband, so why not infuse your wedding ceremony with a little woman-power. After all, in marriage as in other areas of life it’s always best to start how you plan to finish.

Here are seven ideas to bring a little feminism to the wedding party. You can use some or all of them. You may also choose to have a completely traditional wedding. Feminism is about choice and the choice is yours.

1. Don’t Let Yourself Be Given Away

Feminist Wedding,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

Time was a woman went from being the property of her father to being the property of her husband. This transfer of ownership was accomplished by the “giving of the bride”. If the idea of being “given away” makes you cringe, you may opt to enter solo or you and your groom can enter together. If you don’t want to completely forego tradition, the officiant could ask ” Who supports Mary’s choice to marry John” or use other less sexist language.

2. Wear A Colorful Wedding Dress

Feminist Wedding, Los Angeles wedding officiant

The white wedding dress is an undying tradition among Western brides. It’s said to represent the brides purity and virginity. However the white wedding dress began less as a symbol of purity and more as a symbol of status. Prior to the Victorian era most brides simply wore their best dress on their wedding day and few saw the sense in buying a dress that would only be worn once . That all changed when Queen Victoria wed Prince Albert in 1840. Prior to this wedding, English royalty typically wore embroidered crimson robes for weddings. Victoria herself chose to buck tradition when she opted to wear white because it was her favorite color. After the royal wedding, the white wedding dress became a symbol of wealth and status.

Queen Victoria also reportedly took only the 2nd and last bath of her life on her wedding day. Aren’t we glad that tradition didn’t catch on?

3. Take The Lead In Reading The Vows

Feminist Wedding,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

Traditionally the groom is asked to read or recite his vows first. This supposedly symbolizes his willingness to take the lead in marriage matters and to be the head of the home. However you can shake the dust off of this tradition by having the officiant address you first. It sends the message that you don’t plan on always coming in 2nd in the marriage.

4. Ditch The Sexist Language

Feminist Wedding,  Gender neutral wedding, African American wedding officiant,  Los Angeles wedding officiant

You’ve probably never noticed how sexist and male-centric the ending of the standard wedding ceremony is:

  • I now pronounce you “man” and wife.
  • You may now kiss your bride.
  • I now present Mr. and Mrs. John Smith

How about asking your officiant to give those words a dose of equality? Instead you could opt for words like:

  • I now pronounce you husband and wife.
  • I now pronounce you married.
  • You may now seal your vows with a kiss.
  • I now present Mr. and Mrs. John and Mary Smith.

5. Rethink How Or If You Will Change Your Last Name

Los Angeles Wedding Officiant

Modern brides “and” grooms have plenty of options instead of the standard practice of “her” taking “his” last name; especially in California where the Name Change Act of 2007 allows the bride and/or groom to change their surname at the time that the marriage license is obtained. Couples or allowed to state on the license what the post-marriage name will be. The bride may take the groom’s name or vice versa. One or the other may hyphenate their names or join their names together to create a new name. There is no additional name change fee if the name is changed when the license is purchased.

6. Feature Female Voices And Readings

Los Angeles Wedding Officiant
Photo credit http://www.tailormadeceremonies.com

Hire a female officiant ( shameless plug, IKR ). Have women to deliver readings and poetry during the ceremony. For even more feminist punch, feature readings written by women or those offering a feminist perspective on love, romance and marriage.

7. Take The Driver’s Seat, Literally.

Feminist Wedding, Los Angeles wedding officiant

My favorite scene from Legally Blond II was Elle behind the wheel as she and her new husband drove away from their wedding. I thought, “What a subtle, yet unmistakable nod to girl power.” I doubt there’s any more powerfully feminist statement a bride can make than hopping into the seat of the getaway car and driving off into the sunset.

Rev. Connie Jones-Steward is an expert at creating non-sexist and femnist wedding deremonies. Visit her website at www.officiantlady.com

Why Pre-Marital Coaching?

Pre-Marital counseling in Los

Many couples spend several months making meticulous plans for their wedding day. They stress over the bride’s dress, the floral arrangements, seating charts, the paper weight for the invitations and the flavor of the cake. However, the one thing that they don’t prepare for is the marriage that comes after the wedding.. They neglect to discuss the hard questions such as what role spirituality or religion will play in thier lives, where they will live, how the finances will be handled or thier discipline styles when it comes to raising the children.

Pre-marital coaching and counseling is the tool to help you discuss these areas of your upcoming marriage. It is the most valuable investment that a marrying couple can make to ensure a happy and harmonious marriage, The goal of pre-marital counseling is should not be to tell you whether or not the two of you should get married; Ultimately that decision is yours and yours alone. However, pre-marital coaching sessions should help you to become better partners by helping you to identify areas of strength in your relationship as well as potential growth areas concerning communication, money sex, family, spirituality, parenting styles and other areas that will impact your marriage.

Wedding officiant, Rev. Connie Jones-Steward offers pre-marital coaching sessions in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas or worldwide via the Internet. She uses the PrePare-Enrich Model; a system that has helped over 3,000,000 couples to develop their relationship skills and save their marriage. Call her at (562) 967-1091 to arrange for your sessions or visit her website at www.officiantlady.com