Posts Tagged ‘marriage’

Recently I met with a couple who shared their beautiful story of how they met, and then how he proposed. Immediately after he got down on one knee (and she said yes!), they took off for a camping trip up the coast. The bride-to-be dashed off a few texts to friends and family with the good news.
When they arrived at the campsite they had no reception. Little did they realize what a blessing that became.

For the next 24 hours they basked in their new status, just the two of them in Nature, sharing dreams. Spending that time with only each other.
The next day as they headed off, reception was restored and their phones were full of texts, calls, posts.

Of course it was wonderful to receive all the well wishes. But they realized that if they’d been able, they would have spent all that time on the phone with family, texting with friends, posting pics.
A little delay made all the difference in savoring and remembering that very special time together, off the grid.


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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!).

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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.


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


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



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



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

ceremony longview.jpg

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


With this ring . . . 


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


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


Mr. & Mrs.!


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

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A call to Brides and Grooms,

As a wedding planner and officiant, I am always quick to point out that I am in the Celebration business, not the marriage business. Even so, with the recent statistics that close to 40% of Americans believe the institution of marriage is doomed, this definitely could have an effect on weddings.

According to a recent AP article, about 39 percent of Americans said marriage was becoming obsolete. These statistics about this institution that we have held so dear, that in many ways is the cornerstone of our society, could seem quite daunting and disheartening.

And yet, it gives me hope.  What an opportunity to revisit one of the most important structures of our American society! This is an exciting time to embrace the idea of shifting the concept of marriage to better accommodate people’s ever-changing, ever-complicated lives and increasingly diverse beliefs about how they want to be in this world. Sometimes when people don’t fit into a perceived mold or stereotype, they believe their way of living isn’t as valued. I believe any time someone takes a new look at tradition, it should be celebrated.

I was drawn to, and continue to enjoy being a part of, the wedding industry because I believe that celebration is so important. We do not celebrate enough. We do not celebrate love enough.

Weddings are an opportunity to be with, in one location, on one day, all the love that you have created for yourself, in the faces of family, friends, colleagues. It is a forum from which you can look back at all the love and support you have received from friends and family to get you to this place, with this partner.

It is an opportunity to set the stage and tone for the marriage that you would like to create; that you are creating.

High divorce rate and low optimism for the state of marriage is not a reason to stop celebrating love. It is an opportunity to have a new viewpoint about marriage. Sometimes things have to be taken apart to allow for something even better to come along. And a new concept of the institution of marriage offers an amazing opportunity to revisit the state of weddings.

Why do People Love Weddings? Probably for as many reasons as there are wedding guests. They love this singular moment of celebration for celebration’s sake.

And they DO love tradition:  it offers a focal point for them to reference, such as What will the dress look like? How elaborate is the cake? Will the bride & groom have a special first dance? Who will catch the bouquet? These are time-honored traditions that help people to celebrate in a familiar framework.

At the same time, do those traditions reflect your true personality and vision? Why not re-create those same traditions, with a twist? Or change them up completely?

For example, instead of a first dance, why not invite EVERYONE onto the dance floor to dance with you.

Instead of a cake-cutting, what if you created a tower of cupcakes, or mini-wedding cakes for each guest table. Or simply offered a donut station instead for that sweet savory after the meal.

Why not invite guests to paint a picture of what love means to them, to replace the guest book?

In my book, the only rule for a successful wedding is Loving Intention.

As a Bride and Groom you are faced with so many questions when planning your wedding:

What is the etiquette for this situation?

What is popular in weddings right now?

What should we do if . . . ?

As a successful coordinator planning weddings for more than 8 years, my job is to formulate solutions for all of your questions, problems, and challenges.

We handle all the details and planning, giving you the space to get creative you’re your vision. Now that you have expert guidance, I invite you to revisit your celebration with Loving Intention.

Using past structures as a reference point is always a good idea when you are first starting out on the planning journey; sort of like using a template or blue print. Let’s go beyond that – what would you truly like to celebrate with your wedding?

Gratitude for everyone in your life?

Enthusiasm for what lays ahead?

Simply a moment to witness love?

I believe the best celebrations include a balance of honoring the love between the bride and the groom, and creating opportunities for participation for all of your guests. Don’t be intimidated by opinion and tradition.

When you attend a wedding, what is the most important experience for you? I’ve witnessed guests let their guard down at weddings in ways they might not ever do in any other social situation:

They dance their hearts out, even those who say they don’t dance.

They take the first step toward mending a family wound.

They express their deepest emotions to each other in a room full of people.

Weddings have evolved over the ages and continue to do so. In the last few years we have seen couples perform highly choreographed first dances to express their own unique personalities as well as entertain their guests, moving away from the standard sedate waltz and incorporating their favorite hiphop or Top40 songs, as they break from the mold and let loose.

If marriage as we know it is evolving in this century, even in this decade, what can we create with wedding celebrations, and how will you participate in that evolution?

Just Imagine . . .

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