Finding the officiant that ‘just feels right’ is good work that is rewarding. I encourage couples to look around and interview other officiants. You have many great options in Southern Arizona! As you walk through the maze of finding the officiant that fits, you’ll have questions . . .
So here are a some answers to a list of questions I am used to fielding. (Since you’re reading these now, once we meet in person, we’ll have that much more time to focus on you!)
I provide this list to help you get an idea of how I work, when you choose me to create and perform your wedding, or renewal celebration:
Are you willing to perform a ceremony at an outdoor, secular or off-beat site?
Yes, the great out of doors in the Sonoran Desert is where I most often conduct ceremonies. The site usually holds meaning to or is sacred for the couple. This might mean a more upscale resort like Hacienda del Sol or a family ranch or a very naturally scenic place like Bear Wallow on Mt. Lemmon. (All places where I love to lead ceremonies!)
What faiths do you serve?
Any and all. (Or none!) Agnostic, Baha’i Faith, Buddhist, Christian (any denomination), Hindu, Jewish, Shinto, Taoist. As an ordained Interfaith Minister, I have studied the world’s religions with a thirst and curiosity for finding the commonalities between belief systems. I honor the individual path to what is divine and I strive to co-create experiences where people can encounter what they sense is meaningful. I enjoy working with couples who come from various belief systems, traditions or cultures, helping them find a way to meet both of their aspirations for the ceremony.
Will you write and lead ceremonies for same-sex couples?
Absolutely. Love is love. And it transcends all the barriers our minds may feebly create. And I can add quite happily — same sex marriages are now LEGAL in Arizona! Signing a marriage license after a wedding for a same sex couple is one TOTALLY profound joy, I can tell you this first hand.
What is your attire for the ceremony?
Usually upscale casual, with direction from the couple. I also try to mesh with the thematic colors of the wedding, or at least wear a neutral color that fits in with the wedding party’s attire. I usually stand to the left of the Groom, as you can see in the photo below, so I like to know what the Gentlemen will wear and take my cues from them.
Will you travel to lead a ceremony?
When the timing and location fits my schedule, yes. I do have a travel fee and arrangements for overnight stays are agreed to ahead of time in my Agreement for Services with the couple.
Are you flexible in the wording used throughout the ceremony, including the vows?
Every ceremony I write uniquely reflects the couple I serve and the couple always has the final review. It is their ceremony ultimately, not mine! 🙂
Do you allow the couple to write their own vows, if desired?
Yes! Often I find couples want help with this, so I weave their own words into custom vows that I compose for them. I am open and willing to include any kind of vows a couple finds relevant to their lives.
Do you have a list of readings or rituals pre-selected, from which the couple must choose?
No, I offer alternatives and suggestions. The couple may freely choose what readings or rituals they want, if any. AND – – – I find this is where a couple may find surprising satisfaction in customizing their ceremony. I offer ideas for new kinds of prose, poetry and ritual that they may not have seen, experienced or heard of prior. And satisfyingly so, they realize it is exactly what they hoped to find.
Are you willing to perform pre-ceremony rehearsals?
Absolutely! I encourage it when a large wedding party exists, yet it is not something I require. Sometimes prior to destination weddings, I have skyped with couples to go over details like the ring exchange and talk about last minute choreography, which can ease nerves.
How long are your ceremonies?
This is up to the couple. Yet I recommend a minimum of 10-15 minutes so that people have time to realize what happened! Usually, I co-create ceremonies with couples that are 20-30 minutes long. (And always fun and engaging, regardless of length!)
How much do you charge for custom ceremonies?
This varies depending upon what kind of ceremony a couples wants. Because couples have varying needs, and I write completely custom ceremonies, I offer a range of pricing that fits very simple elopement ceremonies with no prior consultation to more elaborately co-created ceremonies involving a few meetings with a couple and 30-40 hours of my time before the wedding day. Let’s have a conversation so I can learn more about your visions of your ceremony before determining price.
Do you supply a sound system?
Not currently. I take ongoing voice lessons and can project naturally to an audience up to 50-75 people depending on the venue. Otherwise, I coordinate with the DJ or venue to have voice amplification. I do have a small Bose speaker for music to offer, that you may plug your phone or other device into and have a family member or friend control the music.
Do you require premarital counseling prior to the wedding?
No, yet I offer a reflection process wherein questions are answered individually by each partner. If you are seeking premarital counseling, I can offer referrals to licensed therapists in the area.
What kind of training do you have for this work?
I am a premium wedding officiant in Southern Arizona. I am also an ordained Interfaith Minister. I possess a rare combination of personal spiritual study and practice, ceremony crafting experience and voice training. In 2008/2009 I studied the Fundamentals of Celebrancy with the Celebrant Foundation & Institute, which offers an anthropological review of how the world celebrates rites of passage like birth, marriage and death. I also specialized in two tracks: Weddings and other Ceremonies for Couples, plus Funerals and Ceremonies for Healing. Currently, I am an active alum, taking part in a global movement of Celebrancy that began in Australia nearly 40 years ago. I studied interfaith ministry at The New Seminary in New York in 2014/2015 and was ordained by the Interfaith Temple of New York City in June 2015. I study and receive ongoing voice coaching as well.