"Custom Wedding Ceremonies"
Custom Wedding Ceremonies Mr. Winn is appointed by the Circuit Court of Henrico County as a wedding officiant to perform marriage ceremonies anywhere in Virginia. Your ceremony can be as unique and special as you want it to be. It can fit your specific combination of family traditions with your individual styles and philosophies. I develop your ceremony in two possible manners. If you want a private or short-notice ceremony at my home or yours, or perhaps a restaurant or park, I would select a ceremony from my portfolio based on a telephone interview. If you are having a formal “venue” wedding at a church, park, or hotel, with at least a month’s notice, you may choose the full service personalized ceremony. This process begins with an in-person interview and a PPT presentation describing the process of developing a personalized ceremony. The couple always has the final decision on what words are used. When we meet, I will show you my 25 page booklet with suggestions concerning the ceremony. The words I suggest are a starting point, as you have the greatest latitude in selections of vows, readings, music, etc. If you decide to use my services, you will be given the booklet. The couple would choose wording from the booklet (or bring their own words into the ceremony). I will assist as needed to write words for special situations. It is my philosophy that the bride and groom are marrying each other, not that I am marrying them TO each other. I make no discrimination because of your race, color, ethnicity, or creed. This is your ceremony. You may incorporate into it whatever is meaningful to you. No two weddings are exactly alike because no two couples have precisely the same beliefs and aspirations. Each wedding is a unique occasion. If the ceremony is really to mean something, then it is essential that it reflects what the couple feels. In preparing for the ceremony, the couple is encouraged to talk and think very seriously about what they want for the ceremony. Rather than impose a standard form on a wedding, I believe in helping couples to plan their own individual ceremonies. I believe that for a couple to plan their own service is the best preparation for it. The Celebrant (also known as an Officiant) is there for guidance and advice, and to become your spokesperson. Out of more than 2,500 weddings performed in the past several years, I have performed many mixed background and interfaith ceremonies. I have performed such ceremonies for Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindu, Buddhist, and Humanist participants. I also perform weddings in Spanish. Vows are also available in German and Italian. Many locations are possible. I have performed weddings in churches, parks, homes, by the riverside, at plantation houses, a botanical garden, B&B’s, hotels, museums, and college and military chapels. Locations must be within a reasonable driving distance from Richmond, Virginia. Costs are based on the level of additional or ancillary services requested of the celebrant and start with a nominal amount for a basic standard ceremony without meetings, travel, rehearsals, or personalized ceremony script. The honorarium for additional services such as travel, tolls, meetings, printing, rehearsal, booklet, and the preparation of a customized ceremony should be reimbursed based on the time required of the celebrant and out- of-pocket expenses. Call to set up an appointment for an interview at (804) 262-9295. Interview times are usually weeknights after 6 pm, and weekends. The interview gives you an opportunity to ask questions, go over the 25 page ceremony development booklet (which contains the typical format for a ceremony and many alternatives for vows, readings, etc.). We will discuss your general expectations for the ceremony. We can also discuss the location, rehearsal, and projected honorarium. No deposit is required or accepted and the honorarium may be presented at the rehearsal (or on the day of the ceremony, if I am not required at the rehearsal). It should be noted that Mr. Winn's commission to perform weddings is as a civil officiant or commissioner, and that all weddings he performs are classified as "civil" by the state, no matter whether religious statements are included. Contact Information: 804 262 9295 email: email@example.com Address: 8421 Mundy Drive Richmond, VA 23228 Is the ceremony important to you? The ceremony is often the part of the wedding to which too little thought is given, or the bride and groom presume is solely in the hands of the celebrant or a church. That does not have to be the situation. You should be at ease with the ceremony. You may want your marriage ceremony to tell your family and friends how you feel about each other. You will want it to respect your individual beliefs. You may want to take into consideration the cultural traditions of both families. If the bride and the groom are of different cultural traditions, it is good to be inclusive and considerate of both sides. I ensure that you have freedom to choose what is best for you. The couple knows what is best for the marriage ceremony. You will not be surprised at what is being said at your ceremony because there are no extemporaneous remarks. Everything that will be said is agreed upon by the couple. On the wedding day, your guests will not hear the same ceremony that has been done for so many others. They will experience your own personalized ceremony in words that you two have selected or written. When we meet, I will share with you many options for creating a distinctive ceremony. Some of the items may be handfastings*, candle lighting, wine sharing, flower exchange, poetry, and readings from many cultures including Native American, Celtic, and Far Eastern Traditions. *A handfasting is a Celtic tradition going back to pre-Christian times where the couple would announce their engagement by the ceremonial binding of hands. CONTACT INFORMATION (804) 262-9295 firstname.lastname@example.org How My Service Works Note: The following description applies only if you want a personalized ceremony performed at a wedding site. If you simply want to have a private, legal ceremony between the two of you using standard language, just make an appointment to stop by my home and we will have an exchange of vows followed by filling out the certificate. If you are interested in having me to assist you in developing a personalized ceremony to be performed at a wedding site, the first step is to call and see if the date and time of your wedding is open. If so, we will make arrangements for a meeting. I urge you to call early! Some bookings are made over a year in advance. If I am booked already, I will be happy to recommend other celebrants. When we meet and get acquainted I will show you a workbook, from which you two, together, would select the introductions, meditations, readings, homilies, vows, and other components of your wedding. You can even pick how the proclamation will be said. The workbook will be presented to you in a Powerpoint display, with photos for reference. Then, if you decide to use my services, you will be given the hard copy of the workbook. This workbook is designed with many choices, so that you can go through and pick the parts you like, eliminate the parts you do not like, and add items you find independently or write yourself. Although not in the booklet, I also have collected extensive information on less- traditional ceremonies such as Handfastings, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. I also have access to the standard ceremonies from various Christian and Jewish denominations. I also have access to Humanist resources. Should the couple wish to look into a "theme" wedding, I will be happy to assist. It must be remembered, however, that any wedding must retain the dignity and solemnity befitting the occasion, and I will not conduct any wedding that is undignified or at an unsuitable location. The process allows you to create your own personalized wedding, without having to create a new ceremony from scratch each time. You have time to go over the options, and then you send your selections back. Of course, you are welcome to add readings, vows, etc., from any other sources, or write something yourself. If special circumstances require, I will write special words for that situation (e.g., for a baby on the way or already here, blended family situations, to recognize a recently departed loved one, close friends who could not attend, etc.) You may want to select family members or friends to do the readings. However, be sure to get people who are good at public speaking. Readers who cannot be understood detract from your wedding ceremony and may become embarrassed. Also remember that outdoor weddings without a sound system require really loud voices in order to be heard. I then put together a draft of your own unique ceremony, checking to ensure that the ceremony flows smoothly throughout. I let you know how long the ceremony will last, and make any suggestions for improving continuity or eliminating redundancy. This can all be handled via email. After the ceremony, I will give you, for a keepsake, the copy of the ceremony used at your wedding. Before The Wedding One month before the wedding, mail or email your selections for the wedding ceremony back to me. We will then put your selections on computer and send you the draft for your review. Within one week of the wedding, call us to make any last minute adjustments to the ceremony. You will bring the license to the rehearsal (preferred) or the wedding, and I will fill it out after the ceremony. I am responsible for mailing the signed version back to the court for recordation. If you wish our help in ceremony “logistics” or “choreography” you may visit again to review or get ideas (additional meetings are usually reimbursed for a small cost). Rehearsal Attendance at rehearsals depends on availability and the level of service you wish from me. Wedding rehearsals must be planned carefully. If there are many attendants, flower girls, ring bearers, it can be difficult to keep them organized. The choreography must be planned ahead so that there need be few, if any, last minute decisions. Most venues allow only an hour for rehearsal, so there is no time to waste. Make sure all participants are given directions to the location and are instructed to be on time. A good wedding director is very valuable. The Day Of The Wedding I will usually arrive at the wedding site approximately 30 - 45 minutes before the ceremony, so that I can run through highlights of the ceremony with your readers, father of the bride, best man, photographer, musicians, and any others who need last minute reminders of the cues they each will have. After the ceremony, you will receive the keepsake certificate and your ceremony copy. I can usually stay for a few minutes if you wish for me to be in the photographs. Please advise the photographer to include me in any shots early, in case I have to leave. I usually try to greet the parents and grandparents and other close family before I leave. I always mail in the license the next business day after the ceremony and I also keep a xerox copy in case it would get lost in the mail. I keep all ceremonies digitally and your license copy for at least 5 years, in case you would ever want to refer to them. Emily & Albert Other Considerations Ceremony Length The typical ceremony ranges from about 15 to 20 minutes, depending upon what you choose to have in your own ceremony. I have found that if a ceremony (not including processional and recessional time) lasts less than 10 minutes, guests may feel that it was not a full ceremony, but if the ceremony lasts 25 minutes or longer, guests begin to lose attention. About 15 - 20 minutes seems to be an optimum length. Outdoor Weddings Many of my ceremonies are outdoors. These locations bring with them complexities that must be thought through. Many things appropriate to indoors are not suitable outdoors. Candles will blow out. Flower arrangements will blow over. Violins, cellos, and harps are susceptible to dampness. Electronic devices may need power or may short out in rain. Aisle runners will bunch up on grass, billow in the breeze, and be a general nuisance and tripping hazard. Spring and Fall ceremonies are subject to cold weather. MId-summer weddings are subject to heat, thunderstorms, and hail. (Yes, many of these things have happened to me). Provide fans, water bottles, towels, and extra umbrellas for the guests and participants, as appropriate. Staging areas may be far apart, requiring cell phones to coordinate entrances. Parks may be difficult for wheel chairs. Ushers may be needed to advise guests where to sit or stand. Passers-by may come. Yes, your dress may get grass stains! Advise guests in the invitation about the possible conditions and let them know how long a walk it is from the parking lot to the site. Give good directions. Be very clear about alternate locations in case of severe weather. Decide early who will make the decision to relocate and how soon before the ceremony the decision must be made. Be prepared to provide signs telling the guests where to go. Call the celebrant, musicians, florist, photographer, etc., as soon as possible regarding relocation. Counseling I do not do any counseling. My position is that of Celebrant and I have no training in pre-marital counseling. If you feel the need for counseling at this very stressful time, there are many family counseling services available. I do have extensive experience in assisting couples to create meaningful and personal ceremonies. My couples are typically very mature and have considered their choice to marry very strongly "Please accept our heartfelt thank you for making our wedding day truly special. I don’t think either of us imagined that our wedding day would have turned out as wonderful as it did. You performed an incredible ceremony and your wife made us feel comfortable and welcomed. Again, we say “thank you.” Angelique & Ellsworth "Thank you so much for all you did to make our wedding perfect. Thank you for all the advice, time, and energy you gave to us. We humbly feel that you helped us create the perfect wedding and one of the most beautiful. Thanks again," Barbara & Chris "Thank you so much for being such a wonderful part of our wedding day. So many people told us how much they enjoyed the ceremony and how touched they were by how you made the day happen. You really set the tone for the day, and made our families and friends feel comfortable and included... Thanks again," Lisa & Rick