Including The Kids in The Nuptials

Many of my wedding couples are older couples or couples who are walking down the aisle for the second (or third) time, so quite often one or both of them has children or grandchildren.

It’s understandable that these children sometimes feel some kind of way about getting a new parent, grandparent or set of siblings to contend with. The couple can start the new family out on a unified footing by including the children in the wedding ceremony. So on this National Sons and Daughters Day, let’s look at how some of my couples have included the kiddos in their wedding ceremonies

  • Vermyttya had seven children, aged late teens to toddlers when she married Douglas at Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Her oldest daughter was her maid of honor, her youngest children were the ring bearer and flower girls and her middle sons were groomsmen. The ceremony also included a nine person family sand blending as one of their unity rituals.
  • When Vilda and Gustavo wed at Friendship Gardens & Japanese Tea Room in Glendale, CA his daughters entered just before Hilda carrying a banner that said “Daddy here comes your bride”. They also had a family sand blending ceremony with sand in each person’s favorite color.
  • Right after Israel put the ring on Minata’s finger during their wedding at The Castaways Restuarant in Burbank, CA, he placed a small gold band on her daughter’s finger and promised to always be her dad.
  • Nelly’s teenaged son stood beside her as her best man when she exchanged her vows with Yamie in Long Beach, CA.
  • Carl and Jackie were grandparents before they rekindled their high school romance and decided to get married. They included their adult children as bridesmaids and groomsmen while their grandchildren took part as flower girls, ring bearers and broom bringers during their wedding at The Newland Barn in Huntington Beach, CA. There were so many tots involved that an adult daughter was appointed the official kid wrangler.
  • Last but not least, when my husband and I jumped the broom 11 years ago, his then 10 year old son was the broom bringer. I didn’t have any children but my three nieces served as bridesmaid, gift table monitor and mini-maid. We each had nephews serve as groomsmen.

There are many, many ways to include your children in your wedding ceremony. You could have them render a reading, sing a song or act as a “backup” photographer. Let your imagination along with their talents and interests be your guide.

The Officiant Meeting: What To Expect.

These days there seem to be a lot of Internet lists and guides offering advice to couples on how to handle the officiant interview and what to expect from the interview. After reading these lists I’ve come to the conclusion that many of them are not written by actual officiants so I thought it might be a good idea to offer advice from the source.

The goal of the initial meeting should be a meet and greet between both parties of the wedding couple and the officiant. The three of you may have corresponded via email and spoken over the phone but nothing beats face-to-face communication.

Speaking for myself, the initial meeting is always complimentary and should take about 30 minutes to an hour. I usually have the couple to meet with me at a Starbucks or Panera Bakery that is within 10-15 miles of my home but easy to get to and with plenty of parking.  If weather permits we can even meet at a public park.

Prior to our meeting I will provide you with a ceremony design questionnaire and a couple’s history questionnaire to complete and bring with you. During the meeting we will discuss the answers to your questions and your vision for your wedding so that together we can co-create a ceremony that reflects who you are as a couple. I will show you samples of weddings that I have done to give you a glimpse of my writing style and you can tell me what, if any, poems, songs or readings you’d like incorporated into the ceremony.

You will be able to discuss with me the level of spirituality and religion that you want involved in your ceremony. I am personally more spiritual than religious and most of the couples that seek me out share my spiritual approach although this is not a necessity, I have created ceremonies for couples who want no mention of God, those that want Biblical reference but no particular form of religion and those who want to acknowledge their Higher Power without It being the focus of the ceremony

We will also discuss the particulars of your ceremony such as venue, theme and participation by family and friends. Do you need help with the processional and recessional? I can do that. Do you need me at the rehearsal? We will work on that. If we determine that we are a good fit for each other, you may place a reservation fee to secure my services for your date and I will get to work on your ceremony.

Remember that your ceremony will not be completed within the time limits of the initial meeting, it will be a collaborative effort conducted through consultations via email and telephone and we will work on it until we get it right,

Candles in The Wind: A Wedding Day Fail

Candle flame

We all love candles. Their soft flickering flames have the power to evoke feelings of love, romance, promise, hope and spirituality. Perhaps that is why unity candles have become such a beloved part of the modern wedding ceremony.

However there is one particular type of wedding where unity candles can quickly spark feelings of frustration and even embarrassment as opposed to the more positive feelings mentioned above; that is the beach wedding.

Beach weddings are very popular in Los Angeles however Southern California beaches tend to be a bit windy and in this case the elements of fire and air are not on friendly terms. It is very hard to predict how windy it will be on the beaches of Los Angeles at any given time and even harder to get or keep your candles lit in even the slightest breeze.

If you want to incorporate a wind resistant unity ceremony into your beach wedding there are many options and alternatives and a creative wedding officiant will even be able to tweak existing traditions to fit your particular ceremony, as I did with the bread and salt ceremony for the couple that I married on New Year’s Day, 2011.

Some other beach friendly unity ceremonies include: jumping the broom, breaking the glass, handfasting or tying the knot, wine tasting and of course the unity sand ceremony.

Writing Your Own Vows?

Many modern couples relish the chance to write their own vows, some panic at the thought and others throw in the towel after experiencing the frustration of writer’s block and decide to ask me to do it after all.

Writing personalized vows need not be a difficult task and it is one of the most intimate gifts that a couple can give each other on their wedding day. It is also a very heartfelt way to express the feelings that you share to your friends and family who have come to witness your wedding ceremony.

It may help to remember that you are not writing the entire ceremony, you are only writing a small and personal part based on the circumstances and attributes that made you fall in love and choose to share your life with this wonderful person.

I wholeheartedly encourage my couples to write their own vows, however if the prospect seems to daunting, either initially or after a few tries, I am more than happy to offer my assistance with editing and making suggestions.

Friends don’t let friends officiate

Ok so maybe my title is a bit of an overstatement, after all my friend officiated my wedding but she was also a trained celebrant and respected leader in our faith community. Specifically, I’m talking about the DIY trend of having your friend or relative ordained or deputized for the sole purpose of performing your wedding. It could work. It worked when Joey officiated Phoebe’s wedding on the TV show Friends. On the other hand it might be a mistake. Do you want to take that chance with your wedding?

The wedding ceremony is an intense one filled with high expectations and equally high emotions. All eyes will be on the couple AND the officiant. Your friend or relative might be the most confident person you know but will they be able to withstand the attention? Even strong public speakers have been known to choke up when they realize that they are doing more than just reading a script; they are in fact solemnizing a spiritual, legal and life-changing union.

I may be biased but I highly suggest that, if your wedding ceremony is important to you, you seek the services of an officiant who is not only ordained but also trained and experienced in the arts of ritual and ceremony.

Who’s on your vendor list?

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Guest blogger: Lester Molina of Lester Molina Photography

 Just like the title says: “Who’s on your vendor list? Do you have the most important ones?
A recent poll in a popular bridal forum, asked brides to rate the most important vendors on their list, from 1-10, 10 being the least important, therefore 1 being the most important. The following are the actual options the brides were given to vote on.

1 Food and Service
2 Beverage and Bartenders
3 Reception Venue
4 Photographer
5 Dress and Alterations
6 Videographer
7 Reception Decorations and Centerpieces
8 DJ
9 Cake and Cutting Fee

Your order may be a little different, depending on what’s more important to you, but, look closely, do you see something missing? You will, if you are planning to walk away from the wedding with a marriage certificate. The Officiant. These brides were so focused on what they wanted for their wedding, they overlooked the one vendor they could not have a wedding without. Other vendors, such as photographers, videographers, florists, caterers, dj, planner, and others, are more of a want, than a need.

What do you absolutely NEED for your wedding? Well, the officiant. Without one, or at least a public notary, you’ll not be getting married any time soon. Although the Officiant is technically the most important, other vendors are just as important, if you wish to make your wedding, the most memorable day of your life, at least until  the birth of your child. See, weddings are a rather complex event. A lot of coordinations is needed to make it work like you want it to. That’s why hiring a planner is the best way to go. You also want your guests to have fun, and enjoy your wedding day (in the end, the reception is just a big party you throw your guests, so they can celebrate your wedding with you), therefore you need food, drinks, a nice wedding cake, and a place to hold all this in. Caterers, bartenders, bakers, and a venue is needed to achieve this. That’s only the food part of the fun, now comes the dancing part of the fun, so a good professional dj, or at least a band will make sure to keep the guests on their feet, and from leaving early due to a boring reception. You’ll also want a florist to decorate the venue, make your bouquets, boutonnières, and other floral arrangements so your wedding looks just like you envisioned it.

This will also help you get beautiful wedding photographs, and wedding video, because you do want to have something to look at and remember your wedding, right? Then you’ll need a professional wedding photographer, and videographer. So you see, one is really not more important than the other. On your wedding day, we all come together and chip in, to make your wedding exactly what you dreamed it to be. So, next time, think about what you’ll be missing if you decide to leave a vendor for last, or excluded at all,  and make the right decision. If you don’t, you’ll regret it after the wedding, I guarantee it!

Photo copyright belongs to the original owner

How To Choose Your Wedding Day Professionals

Today’s engaged couples have soooo many options  it comes to choosing the right professionals for their wedding day. So how does one select the right DJ, florist, caterer or officiant? Word of mouth is important and so are rating services such as those found on sites like Wedding Wire. The other day a fellow wedding professional posted a very helpful article–designed to help couples through the maze of wedding day options–on her blog. It is linked here with her permission. Enjoy!.