How To Honor Parents with Different Traditions

I recently received the following question from a Mother of the Bride:

“Jewish bride and Christian groom, do not want any religious customs in their wedding vows. We – parents – will walk bride down the aisle, groom’s parents will not be walking him down aisle. There will not be a chuppah, but bride’s parents want to stand next to bride and groom. Groom’s parents will be seated during the ceremony. What would be a good compromise if groom’s parents do not want to stand near the couple during the ceremony?”

In general, I always tell my couples that their ceremony will be everything that they want, and nothing that they don’t. And that goes for everyone involved in the ceremony, including the parents.

So if the bride and groom’s parents hold differing opinions about what they want to do, that’s fine. However I suggest that everyone, including the parents, is in communication about what the other intends to do.

In the above example, if the groom’s parents don’t want to stand, that’s fine. If they don’t want the bride’s parents to stand, then there may be an issue. In either case, I suggest that both sides let the other know that they are making choices for specific reasons, and that the other party doesn’t necessarily have to agree to it. (It could be a great example to tell the soon-to-be-married couple how to agree to disagree).

Now if one set of parents are looking to have more presence in the ceremony, to balance out what the other set is doing, there are a number of possibilities – it’s all a matter of their comfort level.

During the ceremony, parents can do readings or provide a blessing, if they are comfortable with public speaking. They can partake in a Wine Box Ceremony (which, in an interfaith ceremony, works great before a Kiddush). If either of them or musically inclined, perhaps they can perform an interlude. If either of them crafty, perhaps they can design a wine box, article of clothing, or something to be present during the ceremony. Perhaps the bride could even have a “something old/new/borrowed or blue” from the groom’s parents with her.

Outside of the ceremony, they can sign the marriage license. If there are any cultural or family traditions that are typically done, either outside or during the ceremony, that can be honored. If there is a rehearsal dinner, perhaps that would be a great moment for the couple to give them some particular acknowledgment.

There’s a few things that could involve them that would involve both parents. Parents can be honored with a Rose Ceremony. If there is a Unity Candle Ceremony they can participate by lighting the bride and groom’s tapers. In a Sand Ceremony the parents can pour the first layers of sand to represent the “foundation” of the couple’s new family.

If you’re looking for some ideas on balancing out the parents in your ceremony, I hope this gives you some ideas of what you are looking for, or can spark an idea for something new!

Blessings,
Rev. Brian

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New Trends for Flower Girls In Weddings (from NYC’s Ch. 7 Eyewitness News)

Here’s a great story which ran recently on NYC’s WABC 7’s Eyewitness News:

(Original text & video at http://7online.com/fashion/new-trends-for-flower-girls-in-weddings/427388/)

By

Tuesday, December 09, 2014 10:28AM

December is the most popular month to get engaged, which means many couples will be planning weddings.

Now a new look at some of the growing trends on how to involve little ones in the nuptials.

“It’s more about the barnyard wedding, rustic outdoor wedding,” said Jamie Miles, of TheKnot.com.

Jamie Miles of The Knot knows all about wedding trends. December is a popular month for engagements and couples will start planning right away, and one big trend involves getting creative with the setting and the youngest members of the wedding party, the ring bearer and the flower girls.

“If they’re having a nautical wedding you might see a really cute anchor on top of the flower girl dress, or you might see the flower girl wearing a tulle skirt with a T-shirt, you know something really cute but different,” Miles said.

Instead of flowers, flower girls may even walk down the aisle with a prop or a hand printed sign.

Opt for comfy footwear or no shoes if it’s a beach wedding, and whatever you choose for them, remember the itch factor.

“Make sure they are trying on the article of clothing that they will be wearing so that they are comfortable in it, it’s going to show on their face if they aren’t comfortable in what they are wearing,” Miles said.

Meanwhile, these little girls are picture perfect. Their dresses are from the Kleinfeld Pink label, inspired by the popular wedding gown shop.

“It’s every kind of specialty dress, it’s everything from flower girls, to holiday, to first communion which is going to roll out in spring 2015,” said Terry Hall, of Kleinfeld Bridal.

So for that more traditional, black tie wedding, Terry Hall says to find a dress similar to the bride’s note the floral detail in both gowns.

In one example, it’s about the stripes, but for more glamour go for rhinestones on the flower girl and crystals on the bride, as though the flower girl is a mini bride.

“We’re doing organza, we’re doing a lot of color, we’re doing metalics, very feminine soft fabrics that are similar to what a bride would wear,” Hall said.

Kleinfeld Pink prices go up to $200. The dresses are not sold at Kleinfeld, but at department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Saks.

For more information please visit: http://www.kleinfeldpink.com/

http://www.theknot.com

October 2, 2014 – Guest Blog Post: “Let’s Celebrate the $35 Wedding Ceremony!” by Rev. Sandra Bearden

My good friend Rev. Sandra Bearden posted this on her blog yesterday. This is a great insight for those concerned about what the cost of your wedding officiant should be. Enjoy!

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A wonderful Officiant friend of mine gave me this list recently after a hilarious discussion about a bride who budgeted $35 for her wedding Officiant.

Over the years, each time my friend encountered a couple who thought $35 was a fair amount of money to give to the Minister or Officiant who was solemnizing their wedding ceremony, she asked them why they thought $35 was sufficient.

Here are the top 10 answers:

1. They think ministers perform weddings as a part of their required duties, even if you have never met them before!
2. Ministers have taken a vow of poverty so it would be wrong to pay you.
3. It only takes a couple of minutes to perform a wedding ceremony, so that’s plenty of money!
4. They are “doing up” the reception because the ceremony is just about getting the required piece of paper.
5. Shouldn’t they pay you the same as what the courthouse charges?
6. They’re broke and they thought they’d pay for your gas. Isn’t that enough?
7. They just need you to sign the license. They’re getting a friend to do the “real” ceremony.
8. The mayor does it for $35. Why wouldn’t you be willing to accept the same? What do you do that he doesn’t do?
9. You’ll get a GREAT referral from us if you do a good job.
10. What makes you think you should be paid more than $35?

OK, so now you’ve seen the top 10 answers regarding a $35 fee for an Officiant. Let me respond to these answers one by one.

#1. I am a professional wedding Officiant. I am not a minister with a congregation or someone who gets paid a consistent salary by a company or institution. So when a couple approaches me for a wedding, it is usually anywhere from 6 months to a year before their ceremony. I don’t just print off any old boilerplate ceremony; I actually create and craft a ceremony that applies to the couple’s situation and their relationship after I’ve interviewed them and asked many questions.

#2. Do you have a mortgage? Well, you may not, but I do, and this is a full-time job for me. I live on the money I make as a wedding Officiant and I charge what I feel I am worth. If you go to some of the wedding websites where you can read my many 5-star reviews, you will see how wonderful people think I am. So it behooves me to do a wonderful job on someone’s ceremony. I show up on time, usually early, and execute the ceremony with emotion, style, and grace. I work hard to exceed the expectations of my couples, too!

#3. So it only takes a few minutes….really? When I work with couples, I can spend as much as 20 hours interviewing them, talking on the phone and online with them, working on the ceremony, driving to meetings and the venue, conducting rehearsals, and helping people understand their roles as Bridesmaids and Groomsmen. I also speak on the phone to worried parents, reassuring them the ceremony will be lovely. It is a lot to juggle multiple couples and families and still have a life, but I love it!

#4. Many people think of their wedding ceremony as 15-20 minutes to endure before the party starts. Well, to me it is 15-20 minutes of pure heaven. Why? Because this is the best job I have ever had! As a professional wedding Officiant, I am someone who cares about you and the words said about you, and especially those you say to each other on one of the most important days of your life!

#5. A professional Officiant is not just someone who strolls in 15 minutes prior to your wedding and then reads a nondescript, unmemorable ceremony that may or may not reflect you as a couple. The county clerk can do that for you – they have a document with blank spaces where they plug in the names. Is that what you really want?

#7 (#6 comes soon!) Professional wedding Officiants are just that: professionals who have learned everything there is to know about weddings. They travel to your venue, customize your ceremony, and attend and often orchestrate rehearsals. Some provide blessings at the rehearsal dinner and reception dinner, and they do much, much, more. This is something a friend or relative may not be equipped to do. There are often surprises that can catch an inexperienced individual off guard, like when the groom or best man passes out, or the flower girl vomits on the bride’s dress. A professional wedding Officiant must be calm, cool, and definitely collected enough to keep his or her wits to quickly help a couple through these kinds of near disasters.

Most Officiants are hardworking individuals who have families, hold down a full-time job (or maybe several part-time jobs) to make a living, and work as an Officiant on the weekends. Most full-time Officiants cannot make enough money on weddings alone to live on and must do funerals, baby namings, and other creative or wedding-oriented things to create a life. Just like you, they have mortgages and financial obligations to meet.

When you call an Officiant, here are some of the things they have to consider. Am I available? How far do I have to travel? How much time do I need to invest? Do you have a large bridal party? Do you want a rehearsal? And of course, what level of service are you expecting or want? Yes, of course it is about you….but first it has to be about the Officiant. I need to know exactly what you are looking for, asking for, and expecting.

Now for #6. Personally, I feel it is important for you as an engaged couple to be able to support yourselves. Get a job, save up some money, and get a place to live before you get married. You will both be happier for it. Again, you could save some money by going to the courthouse (#8). The county clerk or the Judge or Mayor may be available to officiate your ceremony. Your license alone will probably cost $35-$90 so be prepared to pay extra for the ceremony, an additional expense of $50-$100 (or more) at the courthouse. If you choose the courthouse as your ceremony site, it will not cost as much as I charge, but if you use a professional Officiant, the wedding ceremony will be the focus of your special day, and honestly, since a wedding Officiant is the only vendor you actually need to get married you should consider budgeting enough for this critical part of your wedding that not only makes it legal, but creates very special memories! Wedding Officiants are not county clerks who get paid by the county. Some are not associated with a church, unlike ministers, priests, and rabbis who get paid by their church or temple and may require as much as a $300-$10,000 donation to the church or temple to officiate a wedding. Some may require you to rent the church and provide a stipend. So the costs can vary a great deal.

According to the Wedding Report, in 2012 wedding Officiant costs averaged about $263 across the United States. In my area, $600-$800 will get you a beautiful personalized ceremony.

#9. As a professional wedding Officiant who understands your vision, who has a great personality, and speaking voice, I love to receive wonderful referrals on one of the industry sites, but honestly, it is so much better to be paid for the work I do. You telling your friends or neighbors may only spark the interest of one or two people. Posting something on Facebook or other social media sights might help too, but I would rather be paid so I can meet the needs of my family.

#10. The point is this: you get what you pay for. In the wedding business you can literally get anything and people are willing to pay for what they want. But look at it this way: since the wedding ceremony is the core reason and purpose of your day, why would you skimp? Pay for a great, meaningful, authentic, personalized ceremony. You will be glad you did. Let a wonderful professional wedding Officiant help you. You won’t regret it and you will have warm feelings and memories about your wedding ceremony for the rest of your life.

So how much should you budget? It depends mostly on what your area demands. On the east and west coasts, budgeting $600-$1200 is completely appropriate because wedding Officiants are in great demand. You also have to calculate possible travel charges, rehearsal fees, the cost of a sound system, robes, food, and accommodations for your Officiant. In the central US, $300 may be sufficient. Look around; ask around. Value your Officiant and he or she will reward you with an amazing ceremony.

I hope you enjoyed this list. I found it interesting, amusing, and very twisted!

The list was provided by Rev Judy Burroughs of A Cincinnati Wedding-Wed Now Cincinnati.

September 12, 2014 – Engagement Season is Coming!

EngagementI’m going to address my club of Happy Couples today.

As the holidays approach, more couples get engaged than any other time of year. Chances are someone you know will be getting engaged very soon, or maybe they already have!

If you were happy with the services I have provided for you (and from the feedback you have given me, I am confident that you were), I’d love to offer both you and your friends/family members/co-workers/whoever something very special!

What’s in it for them?

For any couple that you refer to me, I will offer them $50 off of my standard rates! Please let them know that my rates will be going up in January, so if they book me by the end of the year (including a signed contract and paid retainer), I can lock them into a better rate!

What’s in it for you?Bound Copy

One of the items I offer my couples is a beautifully bound hard-copy of their wedding ceremony, printed in an elegant font on textured paper. I offer this to my clients for $50, but if you refer someone to me and they book me, I will offer it to you for free! (Yes, I still have your ceremony saved on my computer!) To refer me, please pass on the link to my Contact page and ask them to fill out the form.

Another offer for you!

If you don’t know anyone who is getting married, but you are still interested in having a bound copy of your ceremony, you can still order one for $50. Just let me know. HOWEVER, if you leave or have already left me a review on both TheKnot.com and WeddingWire.com, I will offer it to you for $25!

I thank you once again for all you are to me!

Many Blessings in Love,
Rev. Brian

March 1, 2014 – March Wedding Madness!

BasketBallBrideAndGroomOkay, Happy Couples! You don’t have to be a basketball fan to appreciate this special promotion… you just have to be ready to say, “I DO!”

The early bird may catch the worm, but who wants worms? I say good things come to those who wait! So if you’ve waited until the last minute to book your officiant for your wedding, you’re in luck! Because with my March Wedding Madness promotion, I am offering 15% off of my standard rates for any wedding I officiate this month!

To book me right away, please see my Contact page. (And pass this on if you know someone looking to get married right away!)

Many Blessings in Love,
Rev. Brian

P.S. Do you like that picture of the cake topper up above? Contact Kim at MagicalDay.com to order from a variety of custom cake toppers!

February 14, 2014 – Valentine’s Day Special!

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Valentines-day-300x225Are you or is someone you know getting engaged tonight? If so, I am offering a special promotion for the rest of the month! Book me by February 28, and I’ll give you 10% off of the total cost!

Couples must book by signing a contract and submitting a non-refundable retainer of $150 to qualify.

Please spread the word! And enjoy your special night!

Love & light,
Rev. Brian

June 24, 2013 – Don’t Forget the Props!

A great wedding is often enhanced by special ceremonies within the ceremony. A popular favorite is a Unity Candle Ceremony. More and more I am seeing Sand Ceremonies, Wine Ceremonies, Hand-Fasting Ceremonies, Rose Ceremonies, even “Jumping-the-Broom” ceremonies. Some stem from various cultural traditions, others have symbolism that resonate well with what the couples feel for each other and for their marriage, and can add a touch of that little something extra, which makes the wedding even more beautiful and more memorable.

A word of caution, however: If you’re going to include additional ceremonies, be sure to arrange for whatever accessories are needed!

If you’re doing a Unity Candle Ceremony, order a set from a bridal shop that comes with everything – a pillar candle, two tapers, and all three holders. If you prefer not to go with a ready-made Unity Candle set, get candle holders that are sturdy and unlikely to tip over. And just in case a candle does tip over and fall, it might be a good idea to bring a spare or two – I’ve seen tapers break after being dropped.

unityoption3It can also be very symbolic if the pillar is taller than the tapers, as the greater height of the center candle depicts the belief that together the couple can become more than either could alone.

Also, if you’re going to do a Unity Candle Ceremony outside, rest assured that there’s a 90% chance that the simplest breeze will blow the candles out. A good option might be to invest in hurricane shields to keep the flames going. Just be sure that they are easy to maneuver, as you’ll be using the tapers to light the pillar. Frans Candles has some great options to choose from!

Also be sure to have a really good, strong, well-fueled candle lighter, and make sure it’s easy for your mother (or whomever is lighting the tapers) to use. Many lighters have a complex safety lock that’s great for preventing Little Johnny from burning down the house, but it might also prevent dear old Mom from lighting your taper!

If you’re doing a Rose Ceremony, be sure to order roses from your florist – as well as the baskets and rose pedals for the flower girl!

If you’re doing a Sand Ceremony, think about creative ways you can use different colored sand. If you and/or your betrothed already have children, different colored sand can be a wonderful way to include them, creating a decoration that reflects the entire family, not just the bride and groom.

If you are incorporating the Jewish tradition of breaking the wine glass, make sure it is wrapped well in a strong cloth. A cloth napkin should suffice. (I have friends who neglected to wrap the glass at their wedding – the bride ended up with cuts on her legs!)  Many couples opt to use a light bulb instead of the actual wine glass, and save their Kiddish glass for future use. Light bulbs tend to be safer and create a louder pop. A small, refrigerator bulb works best. But please, whatever you do, do NOT use a CFL bulb!  They are filled with more mercury than you really want to be exposed to…

If all of this is too much to remember as you prepare for your big day, assign someone you trust to act as your wedding coordinator to remember all of it for you. Or, better yet, hire a professional coordinator! (See my Links and Listings page for some of my preferred coordinators!)

Namaste,
Rev. Brian