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Did you say, “Yes!”?


Though things are still a little tricky for planning your 2021 wedding, what with uncertainties around vaccinations, variants, etc. you can still have a beautiful wedding celebration.

CONSIDER THESE OPTIONS FOR YOUR CEREMONY

*“Just Us Two”: enjoy an intimate ceremony now, just the two of you, and your big celebration at the end of 2021, or next year.

These two said “I Do” at Sunset Cliffs!⁠ Photo by @matolikeelyphoto

*Virtual “I Do“: Hold a Virtual Wedding Ceremony!
With the right elements in place, your ceremony can still feel intimate and sacred. And with the virtual option, everyone will be able to attend. Learn more in my guidelines.

*Small & Intimate
If you want your immediate family and besties at hand, a small intimate social-distance ceremony is a great option. And you can still plan for a big bash later.
Be sure your venue has clear protocol and procedures in place. Even better, hire a professional wedding planner to make sure it all runs smoothly. Photo by True Photography. Professional coordination by Holly Kalkin Weddings.

Remember to get your marriage license!

This is the LEAST ROMANTIC but MOST IMPORTANT part of your wedding ceremony!

  • Find your County Clerk where you will marry.
  • Make your appointment!
  • Your marriage license is generally valid for 90 days
  • These days due to Covid protocol, find out if the San Diego Marriage Hut is still in place with social distance to acquire your license.

I tell my clients when they pick up their marriage license, make a day of it! Walk along the San Diego boardwalk, visit the tall ships, or have lunch in the park.

MORE TIPS TO PLANNING YOUR WEDDING CEREMONY:
Wedding planner extraordinaire Tahnie @ivy_weddingsandevents and I talked wedding ceremony tips! Including navigating some Covid-related challenges that may still apply.⁠ Check out the full interview here!

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Planning your wedding ceremony? My “Spiritual not religious” post continues to ring true for most of the couples I create with. Reposting from 7 years ago!

“. . . a quiet YES: the Divine brought you together, but the two of you did all the heavy lifting, and this is to be acknowledged and honored in a sacred way.”

—————-

Spiritual not religious: Navigating the G-word in Your Wedding Ceremony 

“We’re spiritual but not religious.” I’m sitting at my favorite Starbucks with a newly engaged couple. They are getting married next spring and we are meeting for the first time to discuss their wedding ceremony.

We’ve talked about how they met, the proposal, why this is the one person they want to spend the rest of their life with, and some ideas of what they would like to include in their ceremony.
As a wedding minister, I love hearing the story of their relationship and encourage them to weave it into their ceremony so their guests can enjoy it as well.

And then we get to this tricky bit:

When I ask them about their religious background and current spiritual practice, many couples respond, “spiritual but not religious.”

And to my followup question of, “What does ‘spiritual’ mean to you?” the answer gets a little more elusive.

Many couples feel a connection to something greater, yet the traditional religion they grew up with no longer resonates with their sense of values and in living their daily life.
And for their wedding ceremony, the idea of a reading from the Bible or mentioning God makes them feel a little squirmy.

One bride responded: “I think being spiritual is being in touch with the Earth, being good to people, understanding there is something greater that helps you out in hard times.”
Other responses have been, “It is living your life to make a difference, to do your best every day” and “I feel a close spiritual connection when I practice yoga.”

Many couples respond with, “I don’t know.” And that is ok.

If you want a truly secular ceremony, you can find a judge, captain on a boat, or have a friend sign up as deputy for a day to officiate your wedding.

If you are choosing not to include a spiritual element in your ceremony simply because it seems confusing or uncomfortable, maybe it doesn’t have to be.

As a nondenominational minister, I do invoke and invite the Divine, but require no proof or definition of your faith. Whatever spiritual means to you, even if you are grappling with that definition, that is what we create for you in the ceremony.

Perhaps your story of how you met had a serendipitious quality. Does it feel like there was something larger at work, ensuring that you two would meet?

Or, maybe your relationship was hard-won: so many obstacles placed before you that it is a marvel you will finally be walking down the aisle at all. In this instance, maybe it was only your faith in each other, in the face of everything else, that kept you two together.

In both cases, or any variation in between, incorporating that experience through a reading could speak to the nature of the Divine in your story.

Some traditional readings are popular and moving for a reason. For example, Corinthians 1-4: “Love is Patient, Love is Kind,” brings everything back to the simple yet powerful concept of love. “The Art of a Good Marriage” helps you to remember to be your best.

But don’t just toss in a reading because it is familiar or easy. Take some time to find something that really moves you and can deliver your idea of the Divine in a way that articulates what you might not be able to. It could even be a popular song lyric or excerpt from a favorite novel.

At the completion of the wedding ceremony, and before I pronounce a couple married, I always say a blessing. I don’t believe a blessing is a restriction, or an agreement with a certain religious scripture. Rather it is a quiet YES: the Divine brought you together, but the two of you did all the heavy lifting, and this is to be acknowledged and honored in a sacred way.

Just because it may feel ambiguous, inviting the spiritual into your wedding ceremony doesn’t need to be daunting or feel overbearing. It’s ok to not know, because, guess what? Nobody knows for sure. Just go by your true feelings, and Faith, and you can’t go wrong.

No matter how simple or brief, the sacred can still be included in your wedding ceremony in a way that feels right for you.

Gayle Feallock, Ordained Minister and owner of Just Imagine Love, has officiated wedding ceremonies in San Diego and Southern California since 2007. With no religious upbringing, she was a spiritual blank slate and eventually discovered her own spiritual practices thanks to generous teachers, leaders, mentors and schools. She welcomes all faiths and creates a sacred space for two people to celebrate their love and commitment in their wedding ceremony, for dearest friends and family to witness and support. http://www.justimagineweddings.com

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A very sweet couple sharing their vows by the sea.

Thank you so much to Brian at ABM Photo for these beautiful shots!
Gorgeous florals by Fox & Flora
Stellar coordination efforts courtesy of Taleah Hartsten
And, shoutout to DJ at WeddingBug and A/V tech from L’Auberge for making me sound good!

aisle closeup

Can you imagine a more beautiful view? Cliffside in Del Mar, at Seagrove Park. simple florals mark the wedding aisle

arch florals

This wooden frame arch is beautifully adorned, and just the right look for this late September wedding.

Gayle, I am so thankful we chose you! You were so sweet and did such a great job. . . . I hope you’re doing well! Thank you again from the bottom of my heart.“~Tailor

gayle down the aisle

Heading up the aisle the start the processional. I love to see the smiles and anticipation of friends and family.

memorial sign

A beautiful tribute to those they have lost

ceremony - side

This was a fully destination wedding to San Diego, a small intimate group of friends and family.

ceremony long - fg

Sharing I Dos (as the flowergirl makes a getaway)

tailor smile

All smiles, about to say, “I do!”

kiss

They have a very curious witness to their first kiss! 🙂

mr-mrs

Congratulations Mr. and Mrs.!

lauberge sunset

A view of their L’Auberge Inn wedding reception

sunset sillhouette

tailor-taylor sign

This couple shares everything – including their name!

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Congratulations to Alyson & Erik!
beach-heart-

My first wedding couple of 2018 (!) held a beautiful and intimate Winter Wedding, mid-week on the beach. The “Just Us Two” ceremony (plus 2 friends as witnesses) in Pacific Beach was intimate, heartfelt, and incorporated personal selections.
These two tied the knot – literally – with a knot-tying unity ceremony.
And included a favorite quote from Kurt Vonnegut:

And I urge you to please notice
when you are happy,
and exclaim or murmur,
or think at some point,
‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’

They drove over from Tucson for the quintessential toes-in-the-sand wedding ceremony. And though it was a cloudy/foggy day, San Diego did deliver a bit of a sunset for them.

Congratulations you two!

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Sunset Cliffs was the perfect spot for a wintertime “Just Us Two” wedding ceremony. I love the raw nature, the soft light, and the incredible ocean views out there.
And, you wouldn’t know it from the quiet sophistication of this couple, but because these two are such huge Star Wars fans, I incorporated words of wisdom from Yoda – life philosophy to hold them in good stead in their marriage.

Photos courtesy of the incredibly talented Matoli Keely. For a “Just Us Two” wedding, I usually defer to the photographer to choose the angle, location, and timing for sunset. The light and background is so important to their photos, and with just a few of us it’s easy to get creative.

All the better to highlight that gorgeous dress!

hervows

John was sweet to hold her flowers while Heather expressed her vows.

happybridemrmrs

Introducing the newlyweds!

hug

I had so much fun crafting a beautiful ceremony with this gracious, fun, creative couple!

kissfromben

Their young son had congratulations for mom and dad as well.

foreheadkiss

Congratulations Mrs. and Mrs.

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