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Posts tagged ‘tucson officiant’

Couples’ Choice Award Winner ~ 2014

It is with a VERY grateful heart to the couples who have reviewed me that I announce receiving this award:

Tucson, Arizona – January 22, 2014 – WeddingWire, the nation’s leading online wedding marketplace, named Kristine Bentz of Sweetgrass Ceremonies, LLC as a winner of the prestigious WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ 2014 for creating and leading custom ceremonies in Tucson, AZ.

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ 2014 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

The WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ 2014 recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals in the WeddingWire Network who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The esteemed awards are given to the top local wedding vendors in more than 20 service categories, from wedding venues to wedding photographers, based on their professional achievements from the previous year.

While many industry award winners are selected by the host organization, the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ winners are determined solely based on reviews from real newlyweds and their experiences working with Sweetgrass Ceremonies. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients. 

“There’s no better way to start the year than by honoring the hard work, commitment and success of the top-rated wedding professionals within the WeddingWire Network,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “It is exciting to celebrate a sixth year recognizing businesses whose clients believe they are committed to quality, professionalism and all around top-notch service. We are honored to recognize Kristine at Sweetgrass Ceremonies for her meaningful work within the wedding industry.”

IMG_1889As a Couples’ Choice Awards™ winner, Kristine Bentz is highlighted within the WeddingWire Network, which is comprised of over 200,000 wedding professionals throughout North America and abroad. Ms. Bentz is proud to be one of the top Wedding Officiants in Tucson, within the WeddingWire Network, which includes leading wedding sites such as WeddingWire, Project Wedding, Brides.com, Martha Stewart Weddings, and Weddingbee. She shares, “I would like to thank my past clients who took the time to candidly review my business on WeddingWire. I value all of my couples and truly appreciate the positive feedback that helped Sweetgrass earn the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards™ 2014.”

For more information about wedding services, please visit her WeddingWire Storefront today!

To learn more about the Couple’s Choice Awards™, please visit here.

I Do in Tucson Bridal Fair

Our ever creative I Do in Tucson group will be producing yet another fantastic fair next weekend:

My table for Sweetgrass Ceremonies last winter.

My table for Sweetgrass Ceremonies last winter.

Where: Marriott University Park

When: Sunday January 27, 2013

from 11:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Why: Because you’ll meet all sorts of talented wedding professionals, have some delicious snacks for noshing, maybe taste some cake and hopefully come visit me!

Gather together your BFF or your fiance or your familia and join us for a mellow-scaled bridal fair with some of Tucson’s highest quality wedding professionals.

Stop by my table so we can talk about your ceremony plans for 2013 and set up a free consultation to begin co-creating your custom wedding ceremony.

Obtaining your Marriage License

Okay, this almost seems silly in its simplicity! Yet I’ve realized I’ve sent this information out so many times in emails, it may be helpful to instead offer couples a nice pretty post.

In this great big state of Arizona there are many counties and scenic landscapes in which to hold a ceremony. The custom ceremonies I write and perform are mostly held in Pima, Santa Cruz or Cochise Counties. If you are planning a destination wedding in say Tubac or Bisbee, you may still obtain your license at the Pima County Clerks Office and then hold the wedding at your selected venue, outside of the county. Regardless of the county where you register the marriage or where the ceremony is held, I always submit the lower portion of the Record of Marriage for you.

The couples with whom I work primarily obtain their license to marry from Pima County, thus the resources I’ll share here:Pima County Courthouse, Tucson, Arizona (4)

The Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court is where you may obtain a license and here is the good information on ‘how’ and ‘when’ to do so. Here is a map for where to go.

The Office is even open late Monday through Friday, for couples juggling 8 to 5 workdays. Nice of the Clerk, eh? And the Clerk’s Window is located in the Superior Court, just a block south of this historic courthouse building. ( A little known secret, you can park under the courthouse and take an elevator right up to the Superior court ground entrance. This is where I always park when I visit.)

Wedding Gem in Tubac

Southern Arizona offers some of the most scenic wedding locations in the Southwest. As I experience leading ceremonies, a few places of rare beauty stand out more than others. This is a rare gem in particular: Tubac Golf Resort & Spa, located near the Santa Cruz River and Santa Rita Mountains, in the small town of Tubac. The venue is spirited with rustic elegance and easy charm. The staff is exceptional.

Here is a peek into this fabulous place, via my conversation with uber talented Melissa Knight, TG&R’s Weddings & Events Specialist.

Kristine:What qualities separate Tubac Golf Resort and Spa from other Southern Arizona event venues?

Melissa: Our majestic 27 hole golf course along the Santa Cruz River creates an outdoor backdrop not common to Southern Arizona. Long manicured lawns, majestic cottonwood trees and the Santa Rita’s towering in the background make for a dramatic and wonderful setting. In addition to a picturesque outdoors we showcase our 1700’s Mission Chapel Replica, known for its Massive Mesquite Doors and Romantic/Intimate indoors featuring all modern amenities and accommodating up to 225 guests.

The rustically elegant and inviting Chapel. (Ivory Orchid Photography)

Kristine: As the Wedding and Event Manager at TG&R, what is your creative specialty?

Melissa: I really enjoy helping create an event as unique as the couple. A representation of their two lives and families coming together while incorporating fun, fantastic food and great atmosphere!

Kristine: Who are your ideal clients? What do they enjoy about working with you?

Melissa: Variety! All couples bring something new to the table. My most successful events are with couples who are ready to have wonderful relaxing weekend with family and friends.  They take the time to choose key vendors and trust in the capabilities of their site coordinator who is there to guide them throughout the entire planning process. While working together they will enjoy the luxury of having one contact to help with any and all questions anytime! We really do our utmost to say YES more often than not and help guide our clientele to wedding success!

Kristine: Do you have any tips for couples or families to consider before they choose a venue for their wedding or special event?

Melissa: Prioritize! Look at your guest list and make sure that most of your anticipated needs can be met. Priorities include outdoor and indoor spaces, time of year, budget, guest room accommodations, food and drink and most importantly the overall experience. Your venue will provide the options needed to suit any and all of the above.  Once you know what the venue offers, identify your priorities. That way you can be sure that your priorities are met and provide flexibility on things that are not a priority to you.  Weddings today have gone beyond the typical affair and you need not be classified wealthy to have an event that will leave a lovely impression on all attending.

Gorgeous skies and views at Tubac Golf Resort & Spa. (Sara Strom Photography)

Kristine: Anything else you’d like to add?

Melissa: Yes, Brides- Your ‘Day of’ time goes by quickly, to avoid stress and complication you can either hire additional help via a planner or, if this is not in the budget, be very organized (this includes photo examples, label everything and where it goes), include the people who would like to help you. Make sure your Wedding Venue Professional is aware of all plans and how they are to be executed. Brides sometimes feel that they are burdening friends and family so make sure that you have a realistic conversation with those capable of helping on the day.   However it’s wise to not include the  Bridesmaids as they will be assisting you on the day of, and more often than not, do not have time for décor. So in short- organize, have photo examples, label everything, share all information and don’t have bridesmaids setup. Last but not least enjoy the moments between! Between the big moments are lots of little ones so enjoy them all by setting yourself up for success!

Kristine: Such excellent advice, Melissa! Thank you. I can’t wait until the next time I lead a ceremony at TG&R. (As of now, this happens to be next Saturday. Lucky me!)

A Vision of Your Wedding

Phew, April! What a creatively full month. I shared enormous happiness working with nine couples to compose and lead their weddings. Through my attentive process as a Life-Cycle Celebrant®, we brought their uniquely personal ceremony visions into reality. These couples chose spaces ranging from a sweet living room with pooches and babies (plus east coast folks joining via ichat!) to a 100+ celebration perched at the Skyline Country Club lower terrace to an internationally live-streamed ceremony held at Tohono Chul Park, to an exquisitely intimate ceremony at the historic Arizona Inn.

I’m excited to receive photos and post more details soon! For now, I’m putting my creative energy into May and June weddings. Plus, meeting with couples about their upcoming fall and winter weddings. (Summer slows down just a tad here in Tucson, with our crispy-hot summer temps!)

Throughout the joy of this work, I assist couples in making authentic and fun expressions about themselves during a wedding celebration. This definitely keeps me on my toes! (Just as no two couples are the same, no two of my ceremonies are ever the same, either.)  Choosing just the right venue and sense of place play a role in expression. Creating a real and relevant ceremony takes it a step further and amplifies the power of collective experience between a couple and their guests. To create a timelessly memorable experience, a ceremony you and your guests cannot stop talking about because you LOVED it so much, it helps to set intentions at the outset.

It is in this ‘setting intentions’ realm where I’ve noticed something interesting lately. During an initial meeting with a couple, if I say “What is your vision for your ceremony?” — some “ums” likely ensue, followed by explanation of small familiar elements or “well, we haven’t gotten concrete about that yet.” Sometimes, descriptions of what they don’t want arise. (Read: boring, too long, overly religious, or wrong names. Yikes!)

Instead, when I ask, “What four words best describe your ceremony?” — light bulbs seem to flash on!  This is a fun exchange I’ve borrowed from my savvy Celebrant colleague based in Canada. (Thank you, Barbara Densmore!) I’ve noticed how this brainstorm helps clear through cobwebs amidst the clutter, you know? Couples seem to cut through the overload of ideas, familial ‘shoulds’ or mass wedding media. I witness them revealing what really matters – for them as individuals and a couple. The folks with whom I work often offer up these clues:

Arizona Inn garden, Tucson

Arizona Inn garden, Tucson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Warm and celebratory
  • Lighthearted (not too casual though)
  • Meaningful and intimate
  • Real
  • Grateful
  • Playful
  • Authentic
  • Fun!

Words readily jump out onto a fairly blank canvas. And those four simple words become helpful guideposts for me and a couple when we co-create their ceremony. The four words turn into a ‘vision snapshot’, if you will. To take it a step further, into setting a foundational vision for a whole wedding celebration, this article is super helpful. I love the author’s formula for ‘seven words’. How easy is that to remember and carry with you everywhere as you plan your special day?!

Tips for involving kids

During the recent weeks of kicking off the busy fall wedding season in Tucson, I’ve enjoyed officiating ceremonies with young people involved. (By young I mean eight to 17 years old.) This happens more and more, as families blend with children of various ages. I must admit I’m not a Mom, yet I do aspire to be the coolest Aunt ever! I don’t have a reservoir of kid wisdom. Although, I’ve experienced a few successful ways to involve kids in ceremonies, be it weddings or memorials.

We’ve all seen adorable flower girls, ring bearers or candle lighters. Here are a few ideas beyond the ‘usual’ to consider:

  • Bring kids into the creative process. While planning a ceremony, the logistics may be overwhelming. Stepping back with a more childlike frame of mind to make it fun and really bring kids into the fray, might just help! I welcome this with families. For example, have a processional led by children
    and ask them what kind of happy noises they want to make! (e.g. bells? kazoos? rattles?)
  • Ask if they want to participate. If so, offer meaningful roles. Many times we see more formal roles for kids where they have to stand still and be cute for pictures. Not always easy to achieve! That is slowly changing though, as this article suggests. What if they were more actively participating, say by exchanging family vows or symbolic gifts? Or reading from a family’s favorite children’s book? Wouldn’t that be more fun?
  • Let them review the ceremony script and offer editorial suggestions. No, I’m not kidding. They might offer up surprising advice that helps the ceremony feel more real to them and everyone present. I just had this  happen last week, when two super-fly boys were helpers with the Ring Warming for their Dad’s wedding.

Hopefully, these quick ideas – plus the fun in-depth articles I’ve linked to – offer plenty of fresh ways to bring kids into whatever ceremony you might be planning!

 

Personalized or Heart-crafted Ceremonies?

I am curious: any difference to you? Hmmm, the question may well be splitting hairs in a world with much bigger topics. Yet this idea is very close to my core. I assist my clients in creating and leading one-of-a-kind, never seen before or to be seen again ceremonies. So my services are beyond personalized, but what is just the right descriptor?

This week I tried the nifty ‘Question’ feature on my Sweetgrass Facebook page. I asked what the phrase ‘personalized ceremony’ means to friends. I was hoping they’d help me dig a little deeper. (And I’ve now found my favorite FB feature!) So far I’ve heard back with an honest and fabulous range of thoughts:

“For me, words are not enough to make something personalized. Honestly, I don’t find that human vocabulary can truly bring something to the realm of touching or personal. I find that seeing the emotions/faces/gestures of my close friends and family truly make any experience personal.” ~ Ashley

“My (our) story, beliefs, values, culture and aspirations are reflected throughout the whole ceremony.” ~ Monica

“Created with heart – with and for me – with understanding of my story.” ~ So far, this captures the winning number of votes!

Heart

I find this pleasantly revealing, because I’ve been leaning toward the phrase ‘heart-crafted’ to describe my ceremonies more clearly. Why? Well, personalized makes me cringe a wee bit. I’ve employed it before and not felt quite right with it. The ceremonies I co-create with people are more than personalized, more than custom-tailored; more than these familiar adjectives, because my ceremonies genuinely arise from my heart.

Whether a Baby Blessing, Wedding or Memorial – it is a real, relevant and meaningful experience for my clients and their guests.

The ways that I imagine, compose and lead a ceremony all reflect my lifetime of curiosity, observations, reading, listening and emotional learning . . . all of which somehow mixes in a magical alchemy with the stories of the unique people I serve.

So for now at least, I’ll happily be heart-crafting ceremonies in the Old Pueblo.