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Posts Tagged ‘wedding officiant’

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.”

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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 Weddings & Ministry, has officiated wedding ceremonies in Southern California since 2007. With no religious upbringing, she was a spiritual blank slate and eventually discovered her own spirituality 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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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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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

ceremonysite

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

rocks

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.

daughternecklace

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

ceremony open

friendsandfamily

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

happycoupleceremony

mrandmrs

Mr. and Mrs.!

kissingdoves

Everyone was feeling the love!

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I’ve lived in San Diego more than 30 years, and officiated all over the county for the last 9, and can’t believe I’ve never stepped foot inside this gem!

Thanks so much to event coordinator Heather Hayes for giving me the grand tour yesterday!

Junipero exteriorIf you have a love of the historical, the Junipero Serra museum might be perfect for your wedding.

Situated high on the hill above Old Town San Diego, the views are amazing. Inside the museum, beautiful artifacts line the space that is designed almost like a chapel, to reflect mission revival architecture.

Challenges:
~you need to bring in your own rental items, eg. chairs, etc.
~as a historical landmark, it is not ADA compliant, so not accessible for anyone in wheelchair
~no heating or air conditioning. Would be lovely in the summertime, but winter months you might suggest your female guests bring a wrap.

Good News:
~within the intimate indoor acoustics of thick adobe walls, oftentimes a microphone is not even needed
~unlike some small chapels, this venue can seat 140 guests
~they do allow unity candles during the ceremony (some sites do not allow open flame of any kind)
~two big getting-ready rooms!

Not to mention old-world charm and a unique venue that even some of your local guests might have not yet experienced.

junipero interior

Photo by True Photography

Check out the setup for a wedding ceremony

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Each time I meet with a couple to discuss their vision for their wedding ceremony, I ask them, “Why is this the one? Why is this the person you want to spend the rest of your life with?”
Some are able to articulate in detail the reasons why they want to marry each other. Others find it a bit more challenging, but often respond, “I just know.”

When people ask me why I do what I do, “why is this the profession I want to spend my life with,” I have a similar response: I just know.

And I can point to one very important reason: Connection

I love helping people connect. What do I mean by that?
In everything I do, it means something different:

Leslies heart

Richard Barlow Photography

WEDDINGS: Connecting with each other. At some point in every wedding ceremony I officiate, there is a moment I witness the couple truly connecting, in a profound way they might not have thought possible. It might last only a few seconds – but it’s there, and powerful. The sacred quality of a wedding ceremony allows for this connection to happen.

 

 

BABY BLESSINGS: Connecting with the profound responsibility and privilege that is parenting. While you are getting this parenting thing down and loving your newborn, a baby blessing ceremony elicits promises you make as parents, the kind of parents you want to be, and what you hope for your child.
Thinking about it, writing it down, and speaking it out loud in front of community is so very powerful in a way that the ‘doing’ of parenting might not quite reveal.

 

HouseHealimageHOME and BUSINESS ENERGY CLEARINGS: Connecting to the impact your environment has on your daily life and psyche. This includes receiving validation {“I KNEW there was a reason I didn’t like to spend time in that room“} or {“It’s such a simple project and I couldn’t figure out why I just kept avoiding it!“} as well as motivation. After an energy clearing you can reconnect with the feeling of sanctuary that is home or inspiration of your business.

 

MEMORIAL SERVICES: Connecting with the fragility of life; the Divine; and the depth of relationship. A memorial service creates an opportunity to feel deeply. In the midst of pain and loss, there is a true connection to life.

 

reiki stone

Jade stone with Reiki energy symbol

REIKI HEALINGS: Connecting with your higher self, inner strength, intuitive wisdom, and the potential of all that you are.

 

All of these in some way create a connection to your possibilities and potential. ‘Potential’ can imply the promise of perfection, which, for us humans, is rarely achievable. But that connection points you in a direction. And the very best thing we can do for ourselves is move, in a positive direction.

Whatever your Love Connections, may you celebrate them in style this season.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Weddings   Baby Blessings     Reiki Healings    Memorial Services     Home & Business Clearings

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