My initial plan for this blog was to write a bit after each wedding. Then life happened and the blog posts didn’t!

But it was a wonderful wedding season. Love was everywhere! – from Empire Mine to Mount Shasta to sweeping winery views to gorgeous backyard spaces. I do love to celebrate love, especially with crowds of people celebrating along with me.

I’ve been thinking lately about the concept of representation. When an artist creates a work – whether it be a painting, a sculpture or a piece of music — he or she is representing something about themselves. Weddings are my art, and each one represents the love and uniqueness of the couple…with a little bit of me thrown in. The teamwork approach is very important to me, the fact that the three of us are creating the ceremony together. During the actual wedding I want to be in charge of all the logistics and details, but before that it’s the three of us joining in creativity. That’s one of the things that gives a wedding its magic, its sense of the sacred.

During the ceremony, it’s also great to get family and friends involved. There are many ways to do this, and the result is that they too get to feel part of the magic and creativity. No couple is an island — we all need the support of our loved ones — so including them in the wedding makes a lot of sense. Now and then there are families and friends who are too shy to be involved. I can understand that, and yet we can soften this angst by having the entire audience stand and take a vow together. This kind of thing deepens the love in each person’s heart, and creates a palpable circle of support for the couple.

It was my honor to be by the side of “my” beautiful couples as they crossed over this very important milestone in 2017. 2018 is already ramping up! I am excited to see who I get to fall into step with this year as we create, together, a ceremony representing their love, values and character.

Weddings are a big industry, and I understand a couple’s desire to keep costs down by having a relative or friend officiate the ceremony. And, if everything goes as smoothly as one hopes, it might even work.

But what if it doesn’t? I was officiating a gorgeous wedding the other day when the standalone mic (provided by the venue) stopped working. In the middle of the ceremony. With 200 people in attendance.

As an officiant with decades of experience, I can think pretty quickly on my feet. I’d arrived early to the wedding, as always, to get to know the other vendors involved. I knew that the DJ was a very helpful guy and figured that he would do everything he could to help out if I could give him the time to do so.

I made a snap decision to step out from behind the couple, get closer to the audience, and proceed with the talk I had just started when I lost my amplification. It was around a 5-minute talk and it told the couple’s story – their magical beginning, what they loved about each other, meaningful parts of their journey, and their hopes and dreams. Fortunately I know how to project my voice, so no one missed out on the story.

By the time I got back to my place behind the couple, there was a new mic ready to go – and we continued with the ceremony.

Something like this happens with almost every wedding. As a florist I know once put it, weddings are simply controlled chaos – and sometimes the chaos isn’t so controlled! In those moments an experienced officiant will know what to do, whether it’s a quick joke, a pause, or an adjustment, to keep the ceremony moving forward as it’s meant to do.

Beyond handling the unexpected, I use my 20+ years of experience to guide you as we craft a beautiful, unique ceremony that expresses your love and values. When rehearsal day arrives, I take you and your bridal party through the steps so that everyone knows exactly where to stand and what to do – keeping in mind that we want to maximize opportunities for your photographer on the Big Day.

When your wedding day arrives, I go out of my way to help you, your wedding party, your family and your guests relax and soak in the sacredness of the moment. I am not standing up there with “first-time nerves” — rather, I am standing there feeling comfortable, and happily intending on this day being a deeply meaningful, beautiful occasion for everyone involved.

These are skills and experience that your uncle/aunt/friend might lack — so please consider carefully when choosing your officiant! I have performed over a hundred weddings, and I don’t believe that any of those couples every wished they’d had an inexperienced friend or relative do it instead of me. :-)

In March, I drove to Camptonville to marry a couple. They’d chosen a spot that was sacred to them, miles from civilization on a dirt road, with a view that lasted forever. They were a very sweet couple, and the bride’s two kids were excited to be a part of it. It was to be a small, intimate wedding with only family members and close friends in attendance.

There was one glitch: Rain was predicted. It’s risky in March and, though we’re almost always lucky with weddings and weather, this time we were not. As soon as we’d made the drive in our big trucks (the road was not driveable for anything smaller), it began to pour. Worse than that, it was c-c-c-cold. There was, of course, no view because everything was socked in with fog. It came down to me stripping out everything but the basics of the ceremony so that we could get it done quickly — and then, soaked and shivering, we drove home.

In my contract, I specify the importance of having an indoor alternative venue. Not everyone does and, sadly, sometimes there is a consequence. I hope that, eventually, this couple can look back on the day and laugh– certainly it will be memorable! — but please, no matter what time of year it is, do have a backup location in case of rain.

Welcome to my new blog! It is fitting that my first post be about my first wedding for 2017:

Josue and CeliaJosue and Celia are a lovely couple who first met in middle school. Though they were friendly through middle school and high school, the spark didn’t light until they hit community college. Since then it’s been smooth, easy, and very loving. What a sweet story.

During the initial consultation, I always ask a couple how, using a few words or a phrase, they would describe the tone that they want for their wedding. Josue and Celia wanted something romantic, elegant, fairy tale-like, and intimate.  It was a delight to get to know them and to create a ceremony that expressed these characteristics and their love. Both Celia and Josue possess a wonderful sense of humor which, along with the occasional tear, was definitely present during their ceremony. They also share a faith in God, so we included prayers and a reading from First Corinthians. I could feel the love filling the room during the ceremony, and I hope that it touched the heart of each of the 180 people in attendance.

Josue1If you haven’t been to the Miners Foundry in Nevada City, I highly recommend a visit. Its old mining history gives it a vibrant atmosphere and it is a historical culture center for this area. I’ve officiated many weddings there, and every one is uniquely beautiful — including this one!

Have a look at how they decorated inside the fireplace with many candles and covered the mantle with gorgeous fresh flowers. It was beautiful to behold! I don’t have photos from the professional photographer yet, so please excuse my less-than-professional ones.

They also ran cloth in gorgeous flowing waves up above. This photo came after the ceremony (I was busy during it :-) ), but it gives you the idea. One of the great things about the Miners Foundry is how the caterer can convert the Stone Hall, where the ceremony was held, into the dining hall. As you can see in the photo, Emily’s Catering was on the scene and they made everything happen swiftly and beautifully.

Josue room

As with every ceremony I officiate, I had to be on my toes and use some flexibility: reminding people to stand for the bride, a quick joke when a baby started to loudly cry, that sort of thing. We had quite a few non-English speaking people in the room and I hope that, though they couldn’t understand the words, they felt the love and joy in the air.

The wedding ceremony sets the tone for a marriage, so I feel that Celia and Josue are off to a wonderful life together. As I said in the ceremony, “I know everyone here joins me when I say that I have deep faith in your marriage.”

When I hugged Josue goodbye, he told me that the ceremony had been perfect. What more can an Officiant ask for?

© 2018 Your Ceremony with Spirit Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha