Amazing Connections

Yesterday, I spent the day at WeddingWire World DC, an expo for wedding professionals of all types, to learn about trends, how to be more professional, more effective at marketing, and an opportunity for networking with other professionals. It was a really great event. I learned a lot, and enjoyed meeting many others.

At the end of the day, there was music, food, and the chance to mingle and talk with people. There were about 1,000 attendees total, so it was a big event.

Anyway, here’s the highlight of the day for me: right towards the end of the day, the DJ called everyone to the dance floor to take a massive selfie. I was way in the back, and knew I wouldn’t be seen, but not a biggie. I decided to say hello to the person standing next to me, who I didn’t know, but saw that he was a photographer. I tapped him on the shoulder.

He looked at me with delight and recognition. “Hey!” he said, “You officiated Brock and Sandy’s wedding!” This wedding was around two years ago.

“Oh, yes, I did!” I said in surprise.

“You were so great!” he enthused!

I was amazed he remembered! He told me about several details he remembered from the ceremony, and even recalled that I had given Reiki healing to one of the bridesmaids before the ceremony.

Then, he took out his business card. An entire side of his card was a gorgeous picture of Sandy and Brock. I opened my website on my phone. In the center of the top header, is a picture of Brock, Sandy, and me… that he took.

His name is Ben Hill. Check him out at BenHillPhotography.com

Obviously, we were supposed to connect again!

Quick Weddings are Sweet Moments

As the Justice of the Peace gets pretty booked up well in advance, I often get calls to officiate a quick signing of the wedding license for couples to “make it legal.” While that may sound kind of dry and impersonal, I like to add a romantic touch. After all, this IS a wedding, and the date of this legal process will become the couple’s anniversary date far into the future.

These quick weddings don’t usually involve wedding dresses, guests, and flowers. They don’t usually include family members.

We might meet in Panera Bread and talk together quietly at a table. We might meet in a nearby park if the weather is nice. We might meet at the couple’s house or apartment. I even met a couple for beers at Dogfish Head Ale House. (I ended up officiating a bigger ceremony for them about six months later too.)

But, I like to make it special. This is, after all, the moment that the couple transitions from single to married. It’s an important moment and I consider it an honor to make this possible for them. So here’s what I do:

I bring a little ceremony script. It’s really simple. It includes: a brief reading about the meaning of marriage, vows (this is a legal necessity), a ring exchange (if the couple is including rings), and pronouncing them married.

I bring the couple a copy of my book, A Moment for Us: Care for Busy Couples – 101 free ways for couples to enjoy more love, caring, and togetherness in 30 seconds. I sign it for them and date it.

We take a picture.

And of course, I sign their wedding license to make it legal.

Look at these happy faces.

Wedding Day Stories – Thunderous Applause

I had a fascinating experience this past Saturday as I was officiating a wedding, and I want to tell you about it.

It was pouring rain. The wedding was outdoors, on a platform with a canopy overhead and side fabric panels. The wedding party and I had to exit a building, and proceed down a brick path (in the rain) to the platform under the canopy for the ceremony.

We were scheduled to start in five minutes. I decided to do a little exercise in intention to try to give us a dry entrance. So, I stepped out under the overhang and I sent a message to the Universe for it to stop raining briefly beginning in 5 minutes, and then it could resume again. I was not joking, or asking, pleading, wishing, or hoping. I was  intending and expecting for this to be exactly so. (Note: this really works for me.)

And then, in exactly two minutes, the Day of Coordinator sent me, and the wedding party out to begin the ceremony. Three minutes too early. We ran out in the rain and got into place. The rain stopped. I was annoyed and happy at the same time. It had done what I asked, but didn’t help achieve what I had really wanted.

The rain started again, heavily. As the ceremony continued, about 10 minutes in, I had a short passage to read acknowledging the grandparents of the bride and groom who were joining us in Spirit, shining their love over this ceremony. As soon as I said that, “BOOM!” the thunder clapped loudly. Every one of the guests yelled out “Woah!!”

We could say it’s a coincidence. We could say that was weird. But I see the big picture.

First of all, I got what I asked for. It stopped raining exactly when I had intended. Unfortunately, that was not the time we entered for the processional.

Then, the Universe, or the ancestors of the wedding couple, sent a little bit of applause to say thank you for the mention.

If we had entered later, without the rain, that thunder would have hit a different, and less impactful, part of the ceremony. This moment became a powerful memory. Now it’s part of a wedding day story that this couple will share for years to come.

It was all perfect.

Cassie and Boris

Alice was an absolute pleasure to work with. She worked with us to create a ceremony that fit our relationship’s, our families’, and our religious needs. I did a lot of research on officiants and found Alice to be the best value when it came to what she included and the quality of her work. I would recommend Alice to anyone looking for an officiant for their wedding!

FAQ

What wedding services do you offer?

Every couple is unique, and your wedding ceremony should reflect you! I am happy to provide custom wedding ceremonies, personalized wedding ceremonies, elopements, brief ceremonies with simple vows, and marriage license signing to couples of all faiths (or none) and all people who wish to be married to each other (including same-sex couples).

If you hire me to be your officiant, my services include the following:
•    two meetings (in person or one by Skype if necessary)
•    unlimited phone and email consultations
•    optional relationship survey and premarital counseling session
•    writing and editing custom ceremony that’s as unique as you are
•    research into readings and rituals that will be part of your ceremony
•    run your wedding rehearsal (if desired)
•    conduct ceremony
•    file your signed wedding license when the ceremony is complete

What are your fees, and what type of payments do you accept?

$250 includes all of the above. Should you want only a quick and simple ceremony, without rehearsal, or something different than specified, the fee may be adjusted and a different quote given.

A 50% deposit is due upon booking, and the remainder due at the rehearsal or wedding, (if there’s no rehearsal).

I accept cash, check, or PayPal. Credit card payments are also an option if needed.

What is the process for working with you?

At our first meeting, I will bring a detailed, personalized packet with an agenda of guided questions and sample readings. We discuss every part of the wedding ceremony, your wishes, and start to craft your ceremony together.

Afterward, our discussion and the notes from our conversations guide me in preparing an outline of your ceremony. We email back and forth about the “TBD” (to be decided) items, until everything is finalized.

You have the option of completing a Relationship Survey online, separately, which will help outline any areas of your relationship that could be strengthened. If you select this option, I’ll discuss those aspects with you at our second meeting. This has been known to be very helpful. The content of the Relationship Survey that I compiled is derived from many premarital counseling sources, including the famous The Five Love Languages book.

We usually meet a second time to go over any lingering details and the results of your Relationship Survey (if you chose that option).

Then, I craft a final script of the ceremony and conduct the rehearsal (if desired) so that everyone feels comfortable and confident.

After that, I’ll see you at the ceremony!

Where do you officiate weddings?

All over! I’m a licensed wedding officiant in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

I’ll officiate weddings indoors, outdoors, casual, fancy, fun-themed, or anything in between.

If you’re outside of the area and would like me to officiate, or you have a destination wedding in mind, just ask. I’m willing to travel!

Will you conduct wedding rehearsals, and are they included?

Yes, absolutely. They’re included in my quote.

Can we interview you before deciding to hire you?

What a great idea! Let’s get to know each other so we are sure we’re the best fit. Contact me to set up a time to talk. We can arrange an interview in person, via Skype, or on the phone.

If desired, I can provide references.

What other services do you offer?

You may hire me to officiate your destination wedding, vow renewal, baby welcoming ceremony, adoption ceremony, and lend support by officiating memorial ceremonies and funerals as needed.

Are you available on short notice?

Often, yes. Please call me at 240-780-8444.

Is it customary to tip a wedding officiant?

Officiating weddings is a service profession. Tips are appreciated as compliment for a job well done. That said, tips are not expected. They are a way of expressing that you think I’ve provided exceptional service.

What do you wear for the ceremony?

Usually, a blouse, colorful scarf, blazer and black slacks. See the photo gallery on my website. That said, I am open to special requests.

What if I have other questions?

Contact me! I’m happy to answer them!