Past and Present…The “NEW STYLE” of Wedding Ceremony

benI’m asked time and time again, if I am available to do non-denominational wedding ceremonies. The request isn’t new, but what my potential couples are really asking is… Translated; “are you willing and able to perform a non-traditional wedding ceremony that isn’t my parents ceremony?” …and the answer is of course yes!

Ceremonies nowadays are so much different than in the past. Nothing has changed about ceremonies and yet everything has. In the past there was a very strict, traditional approach to the ceremony itself and pretty much the only deviation was using traditional vows or self-written ones.

Nowadays there is a definite “trend” if you will, towards creating a ceremony that is personal, individual, and shaped to meet the needs of a more modern attitude towards marriage and the ceremony itself.

More and more as I am performing these types of ceremonies I am intrigued, and excited about how couples are now beginning to look at the ceremony to be as creative and unique as the reception is (and has been). With each of these “newer” style of ceremonies that I’m involved in, I’m more inclined to suggest or offer this as an alternative for couples.

Each ceremony is reflective of who they are, what they are about, and also a way to have their guests be fully engaged during the ceremony…not just an “observer” who disconnects as the ceremony goes along (been there – done that). Guests of these weddings are really having fun with how their friends bring their own individual personalities into the ceremony itself.

As I sit with each couple and create their ceremony with them, including a new approach to writing their vows, you can see how they are invested and take ownership of the ceremony and all of its highlights.

The future of ceremonies is a wide open frontier that more and more couples are willing to look at and begin to create a ceremony that is theirs and theirs alone. It doesn’t get much better than being the Officiant/minister that gets to perform a ceremony that will be remembered for a long time by their friends and family along with a great reception.


Wedding Planning – 10 Tips for Planning the Perfect Wedding

Wine Country MinisterA wedding is one of the most memorable times of one’s life. Yet, planning one can be extremely time consuming, stressful, and expensive.

“Planning a wedding can be a full time job,” explains Samantha Potter, wedding consultant and co-owner of Villa Incanta Entertainment. “However, with careful planning, organization, research, and an eye for detail, a dream wedding will become a reality.”

Here are Potter’s 10 tips for planning a perfect wedding:

1. Determine a budget – Financial stress can cause marital stress. Don’t start a life together with unexpected debts and subsequent marital problems. As a couple, determine how expensive of a wedding can be afforded. Talk to family. Are they willing to contribute and if so, how much? Total costs can range from under $1000 to over $30,000 (with the average wedding of 200 guests costing $25,000). Expenses can arise from selecting a venue…booking transportation…hiring a wedding team, entertainment, and officiant…purchasing food, beverages, cake, decorations, flowers, attire, accessories, invitations, gifts, jewelry, beauty services, and marriage license…as well as unexpected costs and tips. Set a budget and stick to it.

2. Consider hiring a wedding planner – Planning a wedding is exciting, yet stressful, time consuming, and expensive. Be realistic. Is the time and capability available to plan and manage ever little detail of a wedding (including for the wedding day)? If there’s any doubt, consider hiring a wedding planner/coordinator. A good one has the experience, knowledge, and industry relationships to create a dream wedding within budget.

3. Paste the dream wedding on paper – While a dream wedding can be a clear vision in the mind, for it to become a reality, it must also be a clear vision for the planner and vendors. Research wedding magazine/sites and cut out what is liked and not liked. Create a scrapbook of ideas to communicate the vision with the wedding team.

4. Select and book location – A wedding venue can take up to a year in advance to book. Select and reserve the location as early as possible, as this may also influence the resulting wedding date.

RombergerWedding27105. Create the guest list – The larger the guest list, the more expensive the wedding. Therefore, once budget is determined and location is selected, identify the maximum number of guests that can be afforded and permitted at the venue. Once the number is established, create the list. Keep in mind that if parents are contributing to the wedding, they will probably expect to invite guests as well.

6. Announce the date – In the early planning stages, formal invitations are not required to be sent. Instead, send out inexpensive and informal “save the date” cards.

7. Research and select vendors – Begin researching for wedding vendors (i.e. caterers, photographers, videographers, entertainers, florists, etc.) early to have enough time to find vendors of quality and within budget. If working with a wedding planner, they usually have vendors they can recommend and receive special deals with to meet budget requirements.

8. Select wedding party – Select family members and friends to fill the roles of best man, maid of honor, bridesmaid, groomsmen, train bearer, flower girl, and a few to assist during wedding festivities (i.e. usher, mind the guest book, pass out programs, read a poem, etc).

9. Finalize everything – As the magical day quickly approaches, all wedding details must be finalized, including obtaining the marriage license and fitted wedding rings.

10. Enjoy the big day – Too often brides recall their wedding day as a big blur. Step back, relax, and enjoy the day. If a wedding planner/coordinator is hired, they should handle all event details.