Posts Tagged ‘wedding planning’

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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For couples planning their wedding in Southern California, you have so many options and choices available to you. And the number of wedding officiants, and officiating styles, is aplenty.

So how do you choose the best one for you?

Some things to Consider:
~What is the tone of your wedding?
~What is their style? Easygoing, serious, joyful?
~How important is the Spiritual or Religious aspect for you?
~Do you feel comfortable talking with them?

Are they flexible? Recently I met with a couple who said they had attended a friend’s wedding and the officiant was quite stern with the groom during the ceremony, when he slid the ring all the way onto her finger before completing the final declaration, “with this ring, I thee wed . . . ” So the officiant made the groom take the ring off and put it on again. REALLY?

Rules and procedures are there to HELP you, to ensure things go smoothly.

Photo by Anika London

Photo by Anika London

They should never take precedence over the joy and intention of the moment. If you don’t do it perfectly, it’s ok. As your wedding officiant I am there to guide you, and certainly would never chastise you about not doing it exactly right.

On the other hand, will your officiant keep you on track in the ceremony creation process or do they just do everything you say? This is most likely a new process for you, and sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. Your officiant should have the experience and authority to make you aware of why something might not work the way you envision, and to find an alternative.

A few questions to ask a wedding officiant before you book:

– What exactly do your services include?
– How many weddings do you perform in one day? (is there a chance they will be late to yours, or have to leave early?)
– Do you have backup in case of emergency?
– What is your experience performing weddings and what is your training?
– Do you attend and/or conduct rehearsal?
– What do you wear?

And maybe the most important question of all:
What made you decide to become a wedding officiant? What is your passion and purpose? (Does it align with yours?)


Just Imagine Wedding Ceremony Officiating Services:

What Can You Expect? 

·      Creating Your Ceremony: After our initial meeting, you will receive a suggested outline for your ceremony, based on our discussions of your vision and intentions.
You will also receive suggestions for readings and poems, unity ceremonies, and other wedding rituals. You might love these, or they will simply help get you started in finding or creating your own.

·      Consultations: The ceremony creation process takes place via email and phone calls as needed to answer all of your questions; guide you in your selections of wording, poems and readings; and put the finishing touches on your ceremony vision.

·      Rehearsal:  A week prior to your wedding date, I will collect the names of everyone in your wedding party, and those walking down the aisle. With this information I will assist you in creating the processional order and use this final “Master” list to conduct rehearsal.
If you have engaged the services of a wedding planner, I will still attend the rehearsal, to review important aspects of the ceremony with you.

·      Officiating Your Wedding Ceremony: On your wedding day I arrive at the ceremony location at least 30 minutes prior to start time. This allows time for sound check, confirming last-minute items, etc.
If your ceremony requires it, I can provide a small table & linen.
Generally I wear a suit while officiating your ceremony. (I have been known to go barefoot in the sand if requested!)

·      Mailing Marriage License: After the ceremony is complete, I will sign the license, as will your two chosen witnesses. On the next business day, I will mail your marriage license in for you. It takes about two weeks for the county to process and make your marriage certificate available to you.

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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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Saturday was incredible. I had the honor and privilege of serving as mentor for a day to teen girls at the Spirit of Leadership Conference sponsored by the Jenna Druck Foundation.

More than 300 girls from throughout San Diego County were nominated to participate based on the leadership skills they have demonstrated at school, among their friends, and in the community.

I may have served as their mentor for the day but I certainly learned a great deal from them as well.

The overriding topic of the conference was honor your emotions and speak your truth. This can sometimes be difficult for girls, and even women to do, but so important in creating a successful and fulfilling life.

And these can be very powerful reminders for brides as well!

Weddings can bring up some pretty intense emotions and unfamiliar agendas coming from family and friends. It’s a great opportunity to honor how you’re feeling. Decide what is most important to you. And speak your truth to others with integrity and clarity.  No woman wants to be a bridezilla (see Guide to Becoming A Goddess Bride)

Focusing your own strong emotions – whether it’s anger, anxiety or irritation – toward a positive outcome rather than being owned by them – can be such an empowering experience.

Thank you to the Jenna Druck foundation and speaker and author Rachel Simmons for reminding us of the Goddess within all of us.

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Only 12 lucky brides have the opportunity this year to hold their wedding at the spectacular University Club atop Symphony Towers in downtown San Diego.

Only club members are allowed access to the club and to hold events. However, the University Club is opening up 12 dates in 2010 for nonmembers to hold their event.

Gabrielle Fox photography


Contact Just Imagine Weddings for details on how you can be one of the lucky 12!

The award winning University Club sits high atop Symphony Towers, boasting a spectacular panoramic view of the San Diego downtown skyline.

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