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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!

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

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Introducing the newlyweds!

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

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

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Congratulations Mrs. and Mrs.

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Do you have all the information you need to acquire your marriage license? A few things to know:
You have a 90-day window to acquire your license. You have to call to make an appointment (no walk-ins). There are several locations throughout San Diego County. It costs $70. You both have to be present.

For more information: https://arcc.sdcounty.ca.gov/Pages/marriage-licenses.aspx

Tip: Make a day of it! Though it is a government appointment with a lot of paperwork, enjoy the moment – it’s a big deal. Celebrate with a lunch or walk along the boardwalk on Pacific Highway and enjoy the ships!

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2017 marks my 10th anniversary as a ceremony officiant!

kent-and-christine-weddingAnd here is evidence of my very first wedding ceremony (yes, I was a blonde back then!) at the Kona Kai on Shelter Island.

Kent and Christine were so gracious. They knew it was my first gig and they were patient and kind and we all got through it together.
The ceremony was chock full, with several selected poems, unity ceremony, rose presentation, a guest reader, and even a dove release!

I was lucky to have many years’ experience as a wedding planner under my belt at that time, so at least I was familiar with the whole process.

Dale Gottschalk (San Diego DJ) handled ceremony system and music. I’m sure he doesn’t remember it, but his calm professionalism really helped me through (bless you Dale!).

It was thanks to a 6-month training program by veteran Minister Gail Smith that I got my start, learning the ins and outs and sacred elements of officiating a ceremony. A path I had never before envisioned for myself, but one that became my true calling.
Since that first wedding, I have since added baby blessings, memorial services, and home blessings to my umbrella of services.

It has been my joy and privilege to serve couples and families through important and sacred moments in their life, and I greatly look forward to 10 more years (at least!).

“Marriage is a Promise of Love, Marriage is a Commitment to Life,

the best that two people can find and bring out in each other . . . “

hc.tran | photography www.hungctran.com

 

Photo credit: Hung C. Tran Photography / http://www.hungctran.com

 

Book your 2017 wedding date by Dec. 31, 2016

and receive $100 off officiating services!

As your wedding ceremony officiant I will work with you to express your story in a ceremony unique to you as a couple, that will engage your family and friends as well. Just Imagine the story you can tell. . . .

Services include:

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Photo credit: Derek Chad / http://www.derekchad.com

 

*unlimited emails (or scheduled phone calls) to create your customized ceremony with you; providing and guiding you on selections for poems, readings or rituals.
*attend and/or conduct rehearsal.
*officiate your ceremony on your wedding day (arriving half-hour early for any setup, sound check, etc. )
*sign and mail your marriage license after the ceremony

*$250 deposit to book your wedding date

CONTACT: gayle@justimagineweddings.com / 619-865-9482

*Not in combination with other discounts. Does not apply to “Just Us Two” rates.

Whether you exchange vows on the beach, the place you first met, or your own back yard, Just Imagine will help you create the ceremony of your dreams.

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Photo credit: Cassidy Hall / http://www.17spaces.org

Gayle Feallock officiates nondenominational wedding ceremonies, uniting couples in marriage since 2007.

 

What does Thanksgiving mean to me? Sounds a little like a first-grader’s oral report, right?

But it’s an important question. Beyond the scope of the holiday’s origins, the founding of our nation, and the gathering of family, two thoughts come to my mind on subject of Thanksgiving:

Purpose
The first is, in the broad stroke of life purpose, How Can I Be of Service? To me this question is an extension of expressing gratitude – giving thanks for this life and making sure I use it for good.

Before every ceremony or service I officiate, whether it is a wedding, memorial service, or baby blessing, I think to myself: “How can I be of service to this couple?” “How can I be of service to this family?”

The question’s intention is not to come up with a specific answer. Rather the question sets my state of mind to be the best use of me in this moment.
It’s also a great way to reduce any nervousness, so that I focus only on the situation on hand, rather than my performance.

Rather than thinking of ‘service’ as a thing you do (eg. if you volunteer), I invite you to adopt it as a mentality. I’ve found that this way of thinking can even bring about solutions, as well as reduce anxiety.

Oftentimes when entering into any situation – for example a work meeting or event- we can have this idea in our heads that, “I have to make something happen – I have to convince or persuade” or simply “I have to get through this.” It can feel overwhelming or resistant.
No matter your profession or purpose, if you can embrace this query – “How Can I Be of Service?” – it’s amazing how it opens the field a bit, to bring you new insights, help keep you in the moment. It can even present wonderful resources and solutions.

The Little Things
The second thought that comes to mind on Thanksgiving is that of all of the little things for which I am thankful.

Again, in times of stress, I find that if I’m worrying or upset about a particular situation or person or outcome: something that really helps me is to stop and think of little things for which I am grateful.

For instance if my mind is racing while I’m doing the dishes, I catch myself and think: I’m grateful for hot water. I’m grateful for these dishes. I’m grateful for the food I just ate.

Just one little thing after another as quick as I can think of them.
This mental gratitude list is akin to taking a deep breath: It takes me out of the mental spin for a moment and brings me back to present.

This mental gratitude list is akin to taking a deep breath

Recently I was put to the test, as both of my parents were challenged with serious health issues that landed them in the hospital, one after the other. They are each in a different state, as are my two sisters and I.
My parents are both better and back in their homes. However it was a month of endless stress with hospital stays, doctor visits, tests, insurance battles, caregiver negotiations, etc.
Any time I felt overwhelmed, if I could remember to, I would start that gratitude list in my head. It helped me breathe. {“I’m grateful for my family.” “I’m grateful my parents have good insurance.” “I’m grateful for the wonderful doctors and nurses.” “I’m grateful for a lovely glass of wine after a day spent at the hospital.” }

What I have been most grateful for this past month, are my two sisters. The three of us make a great team in helping our parents, each with our different strengths and skills, passing the baton to accommodate our work/life schedules.

I dedicate this Thanksgiving post to my sisters, Lynn and Kay. I can count on them.
This picture of us says it all (I’m the one on top):

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Sisters pyramid (I’m the one on top)

May you experience much gratitude this season. Happy Thanksgiving!

All photos courtesy of outstanding photographer Paul Barnett / barnettphoto.com

At this indoor summer wedding, a lot of creativity, a simple venue, and a little help from their friends made for a unique and personal event for Sarah and Stephen.

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Chic seating is a wonderful alternative to showcase your wedding attendants!

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In place of choosing a standard reading or poem to include in the ceremony, Sarah and Stephen instead gave their friends an assignment: Read something during the ceremony- whether it’s a poem or reading you choose, or something you create from scratch.
The result? A heartfelt, personal, and surprising wedding ceremony.

Between the three readings, the readers unwittingly and serendipitously covered the biggies: Commitment, Marriage, Love.

“Gayle, I was really excited that you were willing to work with us on a specific ceremony that was a little different, and special. It was particular to us and it was great that you worked with our readers to make sure they felt comfortable speaking. I also liked that you offered ideas of things we could do at the ceremony that might be of interest and you didn’t push any certain religion or you own beliefs – you really let us tailor it to what we wanted.”~Sarah & Stephen

 

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Sweet smile as the bride heads up the aisle on her father’s arm.

 

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It is a beautiful moment when a couple honors their Moms during their wedding.

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Brick is a great venue to get creative with a blank slate.

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With this ring . . . 

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Lovely touch to let VIP family or friends know they have a seat saved!

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Mazel tov! Breaking the glass, in honor of the groom’s Jewish heritage.

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Mr. & Mrs.!

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Though a wedding ceremony is all about romance, the paperwork is just as important! Choose a witness to help make it all legal. (Just Imagine mails your signed license in for you, so you don’t have to worry about it on your honeymoon!)

 

Just a few of the Extraordinary Wedding Professionals who helped make this wedding ceremony great:

Wedding Planner: Paige Jensen with Bliss Events / blissevent.com
DJ: voxdjs.com
Florals: thistledewfloral.com
Ceremony rentals: sweetsalvagerentals.com and Abbey Party Rentals: abbeypartyrentals.com

An intimate oceanfront wedding ceremony, at Pacific Coast Grill in Cardiff. Not only uniting a couple in marriage, but creating extended family, with daughters gaining sisters.

~What a treat for the guests to be serenaded with the talent of Israel Maldonado
~Gorgeous bouquets by Isari
~Wedding planned and coordinated by the ever professional and talented Laura Rizzo
~All images captured by the fantastic Boyd Harris

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Boulders, beach, and ocean waves at Pacific Coast Grill create a dramatic backdrop for a simple ceremony

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Without a traditional aisle and arch, wedding planner extraordinaire Laura Rizzo created the personal touch, with names written on beach stones as place markers for the wedding party.

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Sweet image of daughter helping mom with a beautiful wedding gift from her husband-to-be, just before the ceremony

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For an intimate feel, guests were invited to gather in a half circle around the bride and groom

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Mr. and Mrs.!

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Everyone was feeling the love!