What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I am a chaplain and this means I serve people of all faiths and backgrounds, not just my own.
My father and step-mother are Roman Catholic. My mother is an Evangelical Christian. While some people see this as a major conflict I feel blessed for having experienced both traditions. After I joined the military and traveled around, I allowed myself to experience the traditions of other faiths as well ~ including Islam and Buddhism. Eventually, I experienced Judaism and became a convert. I love my faith so much that I studied and become a rabbi. But, as I frequently say to people, it's not about my beliefs ~ it's all about yours. This is your wedding and your ceremony, not mine!
My purpose is to serve as a witness to your marriage and help you celebrate it in the ways that are most meaningful to you ~ whether those are ancient traditions or something more modern... or traditions unique only to yourselves.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your service? If so, please share the details here.
My pricing is simple. Yet for some people, it can seem complicated and maybe it's because I do things differently than other officiants. The honorarium (fee) is all inclusive and is also flexible. What this means is whether you choose to have me read a pre-written script or ask me to craft a ceremony completely from scratch the price is still the same. Whether I only officiate or also help set up chairs a few hours before the wedding and sweep the floors afterwards it's the same price. And as far as flexibility goes I can suggest an honorarium I think is fair. If, however, you feel it's not fair or isn't affordable we can negotiate what we think is fair and more affordable. And in the end, if you feel my efforts and service are undervalued I will happily accept more than we agreed upon. I think it's quite simple actually. Perhaps this method is unusual but I don't think it's complicated. If you have any questions don't hesitate to ask!
How did you get started doing this type of work?
In March 2011, close friends of mine asked me to officiate their wedding. I was extremely honored and at the same time extremely nervous. If I hadn't already known them I probably wouldn't have officiated their wedding. I wanted their special day to be perfect and the last thing I wanted to do was goof it up! You see, I had never officiated a wedding before but they both insisted on me being there for them. How could I refuse?
Since same sex marriages were still fairly new and only legal in a few states at that time there wasn't a whole lot of information about an appropriate ceremony for the two of them. So, we had to be creative and researched a lot of wedding customs, ceremonies, and scripts. With their help and my passion for storytelling, a beautiful ceremony was crafted. I was able to give my friends a unique wedding gift ~ a custom crafted script and ceremony!
After that I officiated about a dozen other weddings for friends and acquaintances. I really enjoyed writing a custom ceremony for each of them. Then another friend asked me a pointed question. "It's obvious to me you enjoy you enjoy doing weddings so why aren't you doing something more about it?" I wondered what he meant by "doing something more about it" and it was suggested I put together a small website and market my services to the public. So, I did.
At first, I was nervous. When I officiated before it was always for someone I've already known about. This familiarity helped keep all the nerves calmer. But now I would be meeting relative strangers and I wasn't sure if I'd still enjoy officiating weddings. Having a connection with the couple is a huge part of the ceremony and I wondered if I would still be able to make those connections with those I am meeting for the first time. I decided to give myself a year to find out.
That was back in May 2012 ~ and I still enjoy officiating weddings! I love collaborating with couples and coming up with ideas that perfectly fit their ceremony. Every couple is different and their expression of love for each other is unique. That's why I continue creating custom-made ceremonies ~ no fill-in-the-blank type ceremony from me! And that's my gift for the two of you.
There are certain ingredients that make a ceremony special and those can truly set the mood for that special moment, for the reception, the entire day, and even possibly through the honeymoon. I strive to bring a unique personal touch to every wedding I officiate and to do my best to make your day a wonderful lifetime memory. My hope is we connect well so that by the time your wedding day arrives, it should feel as if we have known each other for a long time.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Often enough I meet couples that want a particular thing but for whatever reason don't ask for it right away. Sometimes they'll tell me that they wanted to ask, but they didn't want to be a burden or appear demanding. Other times I've been told that they thought if they asked for what they really wanted it would cost more money and they really couldn't afford to pay more. And while all of these points are valid, and depending on the particular officiant it could actually be the case, you won't know until you ask. I try my best to listen to not only the words that are coming from a couple but also to what isn't being said. Sometimes I'm very good at figuring out what a couple is trying to ask for without actually asking for it and this helps me serve them better. But sometimes I can't figure it out and only learn about it after it's too late to do much about it. And maybe I shouldn't care so much, but I do. So, please, just ask.
I can't speak for other officiants but you can ask me anything. If it's within my ability I'll do it. I love writing, so if you want help writing vows or want a custom ceremony I can do that. And it doesn't cost extra. When you hire me I'm offering all of me. Not just my time but all my talent too. Need a hand decorating? Need music arranged? Need an extra person to set up or put away tables and chairs? Simply ask. I certainly don't mind being of service to you.