Frequently Asked Questions
What does a celebrant/officiant do?
As your celebrant, I’m here to guide you in the creation of YOUR wedding ceremony. I write a ceremony including the elements you want to have included, and I provide inspiration when you are uncertain. I guide you through your wedding ceremony, and have the honor of pronouncing your marriage to the universe. I also sign legal paperwork required by the state of New York, and take care of mailing this to the appropriate city/town clerks office.
What types of ceremonies do you offer?
I currently focus on nondenominational, humanistic and civil wedding ceremonies. I am also happy to work with people of diverse faiths, including family members who wish to bring in various religious elements.
What faith backgrounds are you familiar with?
I was raised in a general Christian tradition, and am particularly familiar with earth-based and pagan traditions. I respect whatever or wherever people find the divine, whether that is in a church, in a particular faith, in nature, in science, or through every day moments. Love is divine, and that’s enough for me.
What type of settings are you willing to perform ceremonies in?
Indoors, outdoors, formal, informal, on-site at a reception or in a ceremony specific location. I look forward to hearing your ideas, and when necessary researching the venue to understand the layout and unique needs of your wedding.
Do you perform same-sex marriages?
I perform weddings for happy couples, and this includes same-sex and gender-neutral weddings. I am an avid ally, and particularly joyful in the recent changes to laws in many states allowing for same-sex and transgendered weddings. As long as you are legally able to apply for a marriage license, I am happy to preside, and honored to be part of your special day.
Do we have to attend pre-marital counseling?
I currently do not offer pre-marital counseling. I can however recommend several resources that will allow you to explore some of the important questions marrying couples should be asking themselves and their life partner.
When are you available?
I can be available for weeknight and weekend services. Availability on a specific day is dependent on other bookings and creating a balance between my role as celebrant and wife, mother, colleague and friend.
What’s included in your services?
Please see the variety of ceremony packages I offer. At the very least, there is an initial consultation, creation of your ceremony, presiding over your ceremony, and signing and mailing of your marriage license.
That’s the minimum. However, I truly prefer to get to know you, to customize your ceremony in a way that makes it YOURS, be sure everyone is comfortable with their roles, take the two of you through the celebration of your marriage, and make it all legal. Beyond that, I’m happy to discuss HOW custom, how long or short, how unique, which traditions you do or do not want, and so much more.
Are you willing to work with our theme?
I very seriously love a good theme event, and particularly enjoy “off-beat” weddings. Whether related to colors, geometric shapes, historical references, fairytale endings, or anything else, I’m happy to work within the special themes of your wedding, and tie them into the ceremony as much or as little as you like. Inclusion of theme elements requires the “full custom” ceremony package.
How far are you willing to travel?
I attend weddings in Monroe County, NY with no additional travel fees. Weddings outside of the county can be arranged, but will be subject to a negotiated travel fee. I occasionally travel to distant or destination weddings, and am happy to discuss these as well, though additional travel fees and accommodation expenses will apply.
What are your qualifications? Will our marriage be legally recognized?
I have been participating in the creation and execution of weddings in various ways for over 10 years. I received my ordination by the Universal Life Church Monastery in 2013, and received a second ordination from the First Nation Ministry headquartered in New York City in 2014. My ordinations are recognized in New York State, and prior to your wedding I will be sure that the county that issues your marriage license recognizes my credentials. I have not yet registered to officiate in the City of New York (the only area of NYS that requires registration), but am happy to do so should it be necessary for one of my couples.
Why should we pay you to do our wedding? We have a friend that can get ordained on the internet.
It’s true that in many areas, almost anyone can gain credentials on the internet and be able to perform your ceremony and sign your marriage certificate. If you want to have your best childhood friend marry you, I encourage them to find a way to do that, because it is what YOU want.
However, just because your friend CAN cut your hair, doesn’t mean they SHOULD. Hiring a professional celebrant connects you with someone who specializes in making weddings special, joyful experiences. We are comfortable with public speaking, moving seamlessly through the various components of a wedding, including family and friends, and have experience working with couples. We have resources at our disposal for customizing ceremonies, selecting readings, finding or writing vows, and recommending various traditional and nontraditional options.
What do you wear? Are you willing to dress in theme for our wedding?
Typically I wear an appropriately demure dress or suit (depending on weather). Should you desire, I can also wear robes and my interfaith stole.
For themed events (see above), I’m happy to participate in dress as requested. As a costume design minor in college, and a rabid Halloween fan, I almost never say no to the opportunity to do something different. Should a costume rental be necessary, additional fees will apply.
How long is the ceremony?
This is left completely up to you. Beyond the three necessary requirements (Declaration of Intent, Vows and Pronouncement of Marriage), the rest is flexible. Most weddings take between 15-30 minutes, depending on the number of included readings, unity ceremonies, musical interludes, and participation of friends and family.
Is a rehearsal required?
Prior to your wedding day, you will be provided with a full ceremony outline, that you can distribute to your wedding party and anyone else who will participate in the ceremony. If you do not feel the need to do an in-person rehearsal, that’s fine. If you feel you and your included guests would benefit from a chance to go through things, including where to stand, when to join or leave the ceremonial elements, practice readings in front of others, or generally go through things step by step, I encourage having some sort of rehearsal. Please see the various packages for rehearsal options that may be included or available for additional fees.
Will you attend our Rehearsal Dinner/Reception?
For me, the role of a celebrant is to rejoice in your wedding ceremony. Rehearsal dinners and receptions are the opportunity for your family and friends to do the same, and do not need to include me as celebrant.
What is your fee?
Please see “Fees and Packages”
Do you require a deposit?
A non-refundable deposit of 50% is required at the time of booking. This covers our initial meeting, researching and the creation of your ceremony, and communication prior to your wedding. The remaining 50% is due either at the rehearsal or prior to the ceremony, and should be trusted to a bridal party or family member (you’ll have enough to remember that day!)