Q. Describe the most common types of jobs you do for your clients.
A. Weddings, Anniversaries, Partnerships, Marriage Renewal, Interfaith Vows, Handfasting, Celebrations of Life, create or assist with wording, vows, promises! I really enjoy adding that "personal" and sometimes funny story to the wedding ceremony. I like to know my couples, even if we have to do it via email. It makes the experience really all about you and your best friend!
I also create celebration of life photo presentations with music.
My years of experience give me the ability to assist with seating, the entrance, giving away the bride, lifting the veil, candle lighting, jumping the broom, giving and receiving of the rings, sand ceremonies, the introduction and your exit down the aisle!
Q. What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A. Always check out references. Request information on what the service offers. Speak with the officiate to make sure you feel comfortable and that they have the skill and knowledge to provide a ceremony that will become your memory. Will they be available for your rehearsal? How early will they arrive on your special day? Photos, check to see how your officiate presents themselves. They will be in many of your photos and can be as important as your flowers! Will they stay throughout the reception or leave right after the ceremony? Will they process the marriage documents? You should be free to enjoy your day and not have to worry about any details!
Q. If you were a customer, what do you wish you knew about your trade? Any inside secrets to share?
A. We've seen it all....domineering mothers, crying brides, stopping for a drink of water... know that your officiant is a professional and they are there just for the couple and know how to get through any crisis!
Q. What important information should buyers have thought through before seeking you out?
A. General idea of how they want their ceremony to go. Prayers, candle lighting, music, etc. If not, I will lay out a "standard" format and we can build from there. Definitely it is important to know what kind of a time frame we will be looking at, how large the wedding party will be and how they want to participate. Some couples like for the officiant to do all the speaking and others like to interject their own persona. Will you be given away? How do you want to be introduced? After the ceremony do you want some time for yourselves or go directly to the reception line? There is no right or wrong, it's your day!
Q. Why does your work stand out from others who do what you do?
A. For me it's not just a service, I love performing the ceremonies! Couples are making a life changing commitment and it is awesome being part of it. It's an honor to share in their day. We have fun and make it memorable! I always try to add humor and a story from the couples time together to make the ceremony extremely personal and all that are gathered feel as if they are part of the experience. Most times the attendees learn something new about the couple. I want to be "part" of the day and utilize my people skills to make everyone feel loved, honored and cherished. Pariticipating in "the beginning" is incredible!
I am proud to volunteer with "Wish Upon a Wedding". This is a non-profit organization which helps terminal paitents by providing free wedding services and products.
Q. What do you like most about your job?
A. The joy of the day! Knowing at the end of the ceremony that I did my best to make the couple comfortable and making it a day they will reflect on their entire "together" life! Hearing the toasts that loved one's share to wish their couple a life of happiness. I never leave without a smile on my face. Beginnings.....
Q. What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A. What if I mess up my part of the vows? It's your ceremony and in the end you are making a memory you will both remember the rest of your lives. "Your" is the key word. However it comes out, it will be beautiful.
Q. Do you have a favorite story from your work?
A. I worked with a Bride and we took care of all the details prior to the wedding. I created the vows and submitted them to her. At the rehearsal she shared her concerns that her husband-to-be didn't speak English very well. That night I had to agree with her :) By the next day I had rewritten the vows so all he had to say was "I do" in three different places. Every time he was to say "I do", I pinched him! Went off without a hitch! They've been married for almost a year now and I still remember what a fun day it was. Different languages are always a challenge, but we always figure out a way to make it work!
Q. What do you wish customers knew about you or your profession?
A. I hope I am able to convey that I will be there for them. Performing ceremonies is something I love doing. I enjoy finding out what the couples relationship is all about; adding a personal story in their vows allows their guests and loved ones to relate to the ceremony.
Bringing families together for this most important of occasions. While we can and should celebrate our differences, what we have in common is infinitely more important than what divides us.
Q. How did you decide to get in your line of work?
A. My husband is a photographer and I've worked with him for years enjoying the love shared by so many. I thought it would be something that I would be good at and I am!! I enjoyed my studies and was enthusiastic about all I learned. There is no set way to perform a ceremony. I continue to create and experiment with different ways to make the wedding day a memorable experience for all. The "Special Couple" can count on me to make it special, just what they had in mind, and fun for all involved. I spend quite a bit time getting to know them and know what they want. I am so glad I decided to give this a try....I love it!!!!
Q. Do you do any sort of continuing education to stay up on the latest developments in your field?
A. I study on the internet within multiple sites to confirm I am up to date on current procedures. I also review the latest trends in creating vows. Added a "sand" ceremony with a family with 6 combined children! Each child and the parents had vows and then they added unity sand into the family container. Have also done "Jumpming The Broom" and "Handfasting". Each ceremony should be specific to each couples individuals wants and desires.
Q. If you have a complicated pricing system for your service, please give all the details here.
A. I have one fee and that is $220, with additional charges for travel over 25RT miles. I am in Vancouver and can jump across the river for any events in the Portland area. I officiate only one service a day: I like to keep it simple. No rushing, and I want to be there for the special couple.
With gas approaching $4 a gallon, I'm glad I have an economical car to keep my fees as low as possible. I love joining couples and do my best to keep the pricing as close to $220 as I can.
Q. If you were advising someone who wanted to get into your profession, what would you suggest?
A. Patience, patience, patience. Be on top of the latest trends and be prepared for chaos prior to the ceremony. It is a lot of fun and happiness surrounds, but you need to be prepared for anything :) Research vows, offer your clients many different options, offer to write a simple set of vows, a place for them to start. Tell your couple to focus on the "I do's", not the "to do's"! Allow plenty of time so you are never rushed. Be there for your couple! This is a one time experience and there are no do-overs! Be ready, they are counting on you! Be calm and be ready, you will lead the day!