Frequently Asked Questions
Just as the two of you are uniquely you, no two weddings share the same combination of factors – locations, languages, rehearsal requirements, special requests, logistics. Every ceremony is designed to fulfill the couple’s particular needs, wishes, and dreams, and fees are determined by what’s involved.
I’m an ordained minister, and can legally perform weddings in all 50 states. And, as a non-denominational minister, I don’t represent any one specific religion or set of beliefs, which gives us the freedom to create a ceremony that’s right for you.
I work on a “first come, first served” basis, and dates do book quickly, so I encourage you to make the arrangements as soon as you decide you’d like me to officiate for you. We’ll do a contract and a retainer fee, and the day and time will be yours.
To reserve a day and time, I do require a signed contract and a retainer payment. However, I’m always glad to offer a brief “courtesy hold” on a date whenever possible. This means that if, within the next few days, someone else requests your same time slot, I’ll check with you before giving it away.
- Courtesy holds may not be available for high-demand dates, like Valentine’s Day, Memorial Day weekend, New Year’s Eve, and so on. But please feel free to ask.
A rehearsal is basically “choreography.” It’s a chance for your attendants – bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls, ring bearers – to practice how to enter, where to stand, and how and when to exit.
- If you’re not having any attendants, or have just one apiece, you probably won’t need a rehearsal.
- If you have two or more attendants on each side, a rehearsal is invaluable. It helps ensure that everything will go smoothly, and that your attendants can feel confident and relaxed.
I’m always happy to attend if you need me, or if it will simply make you more comfortable (assuming I’m available on that day and time).
Normally, the wedding coordinator conducts the rehearsal. Since you won’t be going through the actual ceremony, it really isn’t essential to have your officiant there – unless (1) there’s no coordinator to run it for you, and you’d like the officiant to direct it, or (2) your wedding contains unusual ceremony customs which really do need to be practiced beforehand.
Please note that there is an additional charge for attending a rehearsal, as it means going out to the location more than once, and does require extra time.
Most run 15 – 20 minutes (25 – 30 for a bilingual celebration), but it will depend on what you’d like to include. On request, I’ve done services as short as five minutes and as long as an hour.
Thirty minutes prior to the starting time you have designated.
Certainly, if I’m not coming directly from another event. Additional time is billed in thirty-minute increments.
Marriage licenses are issued by each individual county. Since I’m not part of the county system, I’m not able to provide it for you, but I will give you all the information you need – plus some time-saving tips – so you can obtain your license as quickly and easily as possible.
It’s actually the officiant’s legal obligation to return the completed license to the appropriate county office, so that it can be recorded. After the wedding, I make sure your license is properly filled out and signed, mail it for you (safely at the post office, never in some random mailbox), and then send you a quick email so you know it’s done.
Blood tests are no longer required in California. A few states do still ask for them, so if you’re getting married elsewhere, check that state’s requirements.
Absolutely! I’m happy to do a commitment ceremony for those who want to celebrate their relationship but not enter into a legal marriage. Needless to say, you won’t have to purchase a marriage license for this kind of celebration.
If it appears that someone is being coerced or forced into marriage, or if I have reason to think one partner is at risk of injury from the other, I will not agree to perform the ceremony. Nor do I generally officiate for underage weddings (with limited exceptions).
Every wedding is an adventure. Being able to meet people from wonderfully diverse backgrounds – different cultures, communities, occupations – is endlessly fun and fascinating. I feel privileged to listen to their stories, and honored that they’ll share this very special life event with me. Most of all, I love having the opportunity to give every couple their own unique and beautiful celebration, and add that extra sparkle to their wedding day.