Posts Tagged ‘wedding minister’

For my final blog post of January 2016 , a memory of my favorite wedding last year. Yep, I said “favorite.” Here’s why:

I would never call favorites on any of the couples I work with. It has been my privilege to work with caring, creative, interesting, generous brides and grooms, and I have enjoyed them all – I’m not just saying that.

But Leslie and Ryan are different. Because I had the privilege of watching Leslie grow from a young college intern to a strong career woman. And lucky enough to have her as my assistant in San Diego for several of those years. When they asked me to officiate their wedding ceremony, I was over the moon.

It was a special treat to fly out to Raleigh, NC where they now call home. Leslie and her mother found her perfect gorgeous venue: Wakefield Plantation, a historic plantation-style golf resort. The plan: An outdoor ceremony looking over the sweeping lawns and trees, followed by cocktails and reception inside the beautiful ballroom.
Raleigh was sunny and hot all that week – except on wedding day, when the skies poured down rain and lightening and thunder rolled through. (And then, of course, it was clear and sunny again the next day.)

Leslie and Ryan were admittedly disappointed, but pulled themselves together and forged ahead with grace, style, and above all, flexibility.

With quick planning by her wedding planner and Wakefield staff, the ceremony came together beautifully in a cozy room with a fireplace.

Big thanks to Richard Barlow for the incredible photos! (San Diego newlyweds, if you want an incredible, easygoing, fun photographer with southern charm, contact Richard. He has plans to establish a Southern Cali office, so maybe we can lure him out to San Diego.)

in the rain

This bride won’t be deterred by thunderstorms! A giant golf umbrella and lots of friends to hold her dress – it’s off to the wedding!

ring bearers

Ringbearers carrying the groom’s family crest

waiting for Leslie

The groom and I watching his gorgeous bride head down the aisle

here comes the bride

Proud papa

ceremony welcome

While the storms rumbled outside, this cozy room with a fireplace made for a beautiful intimate ceremony

flowers to his mom

It is such a special moment during the ceremony, when a couple honors their mothers, in gratitude for all the years of love and supporthugging mom

Leslies heart

A little fun and levity during the ceremony


I admit that, during their vows, when she got choked up, I got a little choked up.


Presenting Mr. & Mrs.!!

L&R outside

Of course the rain let up a bit after the ceremony, so the newlyweds grabbed their moment outside, with the beautiful expanse of the course as a backdrop

room shot

Cozy elegance: that’s how they do in Raleigh


This gal, a professional dance instructor, taught me how to line dance in 5 minutes while standing at the bar


So that I could join the fun with the bride! I rarely have the opportunity to be a guest at a wedding, so I enjoyed every moment. (Yes, the officiating suit came off and the party dress went on!)


So proud to be their friend and officiant. Love you Leslie!


Sparklers are illegal in California with our dry conditions, but in NC they light ’em up! What a great sendoff!


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“Thank you so much for everything! You definitely fulfilled the service and did an amazing job! The most memorable parts of the ceremony for me:

-when you said some of the things we love about each other, noted from our first meeting

-when you asked us to take a moment to look around and soak it all in, loved this

Our first meeting was memorable too. I was having a minor panic changing our officiant at such late notice and by the end of our meeting I was so relieved. I remember you saying how much you love your job and for me, that was really wonderful to hear. You will always be a part of our wedding memories and we are so thankful to have had you.” ~ Best, Tiffany

A sunny September day by the sea! Tiffany and Andrew were so sweet and so clearly in love! It was so fun to work with these two, as they included so many personal touches in their ceremony:

~A friend to read a favorite scripture
~A ring warming
~Petal toss for the recessional

And what a great wedding team they had, led by the fantastic Paige Jensen of Bliss Events.

Gratitude to Aubree Lynn Photography for capturing the day so beautifully


Seagrove Park in Del Mar offers sweeping views and wide open spaces: a special location for a beautiful wedding ceremony


Majestic views bordered by beautiful pines


A clever and fun alternative to a ceremony program: A welcome and wedding party members listed on an oversized mirror! While reading the wedding party names, guests can fix their hair, too!


Not much decor was needed at this stunning setting, and delicate florals added a simple touch

market umbrellas

These market umbrellas bring such relief of shade to the guests in the bright sun and heat


A petal toss is a sweet and natural way for guests to create a fun sendoff as the newlyweds walk back up the aisle


Even though the ceremony was by the ocean, it was a blazingly hot summer day. Offering refreshingly flavored water to their guests shows what a thoughtful conscientious couple these two are!


These violinists of Sensational Music Services were fantastic and their dulcet tones swept across the guests and created such a sacred and uplifting atmosphere

watching processional

As the first one down the aisle I have the joy of watching the entire wedding party processional

FG and RB

So sweet! Little ones are always a wild card and bring such sweet innocence to the ceremony

fg crown

A floral crown to adorn the flowergirl


Both sets of parents had been married more than 30 years – Tiffany and Andrew honored this testament to love & commitment by displaying their parents’ wedding photos


The groom escorts his mother and grandmother down the aisle

escort aisle

Can you see where she got her smile? Much joy as Dad escorts his daughter down the aisle

processional petals

Though the petal toss was supposed to take place at the end of the ceremony, one guest couldn’t hold back their enthusiasm! I love this “mistake” as it added to the joy of father escorting his daughter

dad-bride hug

Sweet goodbye


I always love this moment in a ceremony, when Dad hugs it out with the groom. It’s sometimes awkward or funny but always touching.


I should have brought a stepstool . . . 


The bride’s cousin read from Colossians: “And over all these put on love, that is, the bond of perfection. . . .”

ringpass start

Ring Warming: Guests bless the wedding rings before the ring exchange. This is a beautiful way for all guests to participate and think warm wonderful wishes for the couple. The rings started with the bridesmaids in a small velvet pouch before making their way through every row of guests


“I Do!”


The rings have made their way back to the groomsmen and to the best man, who hands them over to me for a final blessing before the ring exchange “These rings are now warmed with the love and good wishes of your community.”


“With this ring . . . “


“I now pronounce you . . . “


“You may kiss the bride”


Presenting Mr. & Mrs.!


Happily married, Showered with petals


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How do you create a ceremony in the round? With focus, intention and logistical magic.

Gee and Jen were one of the most creative and fun-loving couples I worked with last year. Their motto for life and love: Be Good, Do Good, Always try your best

While staying true to the inherent tradition of a wedding ceremony, they certainly made it their own.

With friends and family being so important to them, Gee & Jen wanted to feel surrounded in their love. What better way than in a circle? The beauty of Temecula Creek Inn created the perfect setting.

Fantastic Photography by Melissa Abiador

Photo by Melissa Abiador

Photo by Melissa Abiador

A program fan is a great way to share great information with your guests, and help keep them cool, too! Photo by Melissa Abiador

A program fan is a great way to share great information with your guests, and help keep them cool, too! Photo by Melissa Abiador


Fancy feet! Photo by Melissa Abiador

ceremony trees

The majesty of the trees extended the ceremony circle in their embrace. Photo by Melissa Abiador

Wedding attendants create a beautiful human backdrop outside the circle. Photo by Melissa Abiador

Wedding attendants create a beautiful human backdrop outside the circle. Photo by Melissa Abiador

A ceremony table would feel a bit awkward in the circle. Ask your wedding party to bring the ritual to you! Friends held the time capsule while Gee and Jen placed their letters to each other inside, along with a bottle of wine, and hammered it closed, to be opened on their fifth anniversary! {Wood is the element of the five-year wedding anniversary}

Photo by Melissa Abiador

Friends hold the wedding ‘time capsule’ while Gee and Jen place their precious cargo of love letters inside. Photo by Melissa Abiador

timecapsule box

Hand-crafted wooden wedding ‘time capsule’. Photo by Melissa Abiador

With this ring, I thee wed. Photo by Melissa Abiador

With this ring, I thee wed. Photo by Melissa Abiador

I now pronounce you! Photo by Melissa Abiador

I now pronounce you! Photo by Melissa Abiador

Congratulations! Photo by Melissa Abiador

Congratulations! Photo by Melissa Abiador

Rustic love. Photo by Melissa Abiador

Rustic love. Photo by Melissa Abiador

"Gayle, Thank you again for officiating our wedding! It was truly a pleasure to have you be a part of our big day - we couldn't have asked for a more perfect day!"~G&J- Photo by Melissa Abiador

“Gayle, Thank you again for officiating our wedding! It was truly a pleasure to have you be a part of our big day – we couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day!”~G&J Photo by Melissa Abiador

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A beautiful day for Ashlen & Thea; made all the more poignant as we celebrated their union the day after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.

Their joy, enthusiasm, and unique touches made for a very special wedding ceremony at a private home estate, canyon-side.

ceremony smilesMajestic views and even a huge hawk swooped low just before the ceremony to check out the celebration.

“Gayle, Thank you for everything! It was a very nice ceremony and we couldn’t have done it without you! So thank you so very much!” ~Ashlen and Thea


A beautiful rustic arch bursts with color. Designed by Ranch Events. Photo by Chana and Don.


Congratulations to the newlyweds! Photo by Chana and Don.

Thea waiting

A sweet moment, waiting for her bride. Photo by Chana and Don.










Their unity ceremony, the Blending of the Sands, celebrated their favorite colors and will be a beautiful keepsake in their home. Photo by Chana and Don.


Incredible views at this private home set on the canyon. Photo by Chana and Don.

Thank you so much for the pics to Photo by Chana and Don: Such pros at catching sweet emotion!

In addition to providing the catering, Ranch Events put on quite a display with gorgeous rentals, dynamic cake, and incredible floral displays

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Mr.& Mrs.! Photo by Mink Photography

Mr.& Mrs.! Photo by Mink Photography

A True Love story for Jess & Steven. They shared their vows at the historic El Cortez in downtown San Diego for an urban celebration.

Their wedding was so inspiring it has been featured on Brown Sparrow, The Knot, as well as Borrowed&Blue!

How did Jess & Steven make their ceremony unique and personal?
The handbinding ritual asks a series of promises and the couple responds, declaring their commitment to each other.

Expressing vows with the beautiful handbinding ritual. Photo by Mink Photography

Expressing vows with the beautiful handbinding ritual. Photo by Mink Photography

These two even crafted their own handbinding cord! Click Here for more information about the HandBinding Ceremony.


Jess & Steven wanted to include their family and friends with a Stone Blessing. During the ceremony, each guest holds a hand-picked stone and sends all of their good thoughts and well wishes into the stone, where they are all deposited into a keepsake for the couple to have at home!

Photo by Mink Photography

Photo by Mink Photography

Great to work with these wedding professionals!

Wedding Planner: Jessica with A LIfe of Dreams
DJ: DJ Daniel Peterson
Photographer: Mink Photography
Catering: Continental Catering
Florist: Heavenly Gift and Florist

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