My base fee is $250 for all weddings that are local. After 25 miles I add travel expenses based on the distance, time expenditure and cost of meals and accommodations that the timing of the wedding will require of me. Optional additions include singing (generally $50 to provide up to three songs I already know or $100 for a song I would have to learn), Premarital enrichment or counseling is included in all weddings at no added expense except $35 for couples who wish to do the Prepare-Enrich marital inventory, which is my expense from the company that administers the assessment. My fees are first to defray my expenses and after that to invest in my own marriage since time planning and officiating non-church member weddings takes time away from being with my wife. I invest any fees or wedding honoraria in dates with my wife, vacations with her, or saving toward an eventual home in retirement since we have no home equity as a pastoral family living in a parsonage.
I respond to notifications as soon as possible. Once a couple is seriously interested in my services, I meet with them in person if they are local (greater Burlington/Elon area) or we have a Zoom/FaceTime or phone visit first if they are further away, but as soon as possible we have an in-person visit. Then I offer premarital counseling (1-4 or more sessions) and a premarital inventory if the couple desires. I try to do as much of the planning of the wedding as possible in our initial meeting, but offer further wedding planning time later remotely (or when not too distant by a personal meeting). If the couple desires a wedding rehearsal (which I recommend unless the service is just the vows), I normally attend and help lead the rehearsal. If there is no rehearsal, I arrange with the couple to be present well ahead of time on the wedding day to walk through the ceremony and choreograph the flow of the service. I also offer (but do not require) a follow up consultation 3-9 months after the wedding to follow up on how the couple is doing.
I have a B.A. in psychology and religion from Emory University (Phi Beta Kappa); Master of Divinity from Duke University (summa cum Laude), and a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary with a focus in Arts and Theology and a dissertation on Christian hospitality and the arts. The undergraduate degree prepared me to better understand relationship dynamics. The MDiv. prepared me further in marital counseling, worship leadership and preparation, preaching, and administration as well as all other areas of pastoral ministry. Experience with weddings for 33 years has taught me wedding etiquette and how to deal with diverse wedding parties and family dynamics. 35 1/2 years of being married has prepared me to help couples envision their long term potential, and 25 years of being trained (with my wife) as a marriage enrichment leader has offered me a diverse set of marital tools for positive, edifying communication, conflict management, goal setting, skills for working together, spiritual growth together/marriage as a divine vocation, and methods for speaking one another’s love language. I was ordained a deacon (probationary first step) in the United Methodist Church in 1988, and an elder in 1991 after a long series of reflection papers, psychological assessments, interviews before boards of ordained ministry, and recommendations for multiple overseers and parishioners. This lengthy process assured that I met ethical and spiritual standards and that I root all facets of my ministry, including officiating at weddings, in a clear sense of God’s call, personal integrity and a motive of service.