Larry James' CelebrateIntimateWeddings BLOG

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Caution! You Are Entering a Danger Zone!

What would you do?

WEDDangerZoneYou chose your wedding date, booked the venue and hired a friend of the family to perform your wedding ceremony. The rehearsal was scheduled the day before the wedding. When the friend of the family shows up for the rehearsal, he knew nothing about conducting a rehearsal (and was guided by the owner of the venue) and upon leaving the rehearsal, told the bride and groom that he could not do their wedding. WHAT? This is the day before the wedding and now they do not have anyone to perform their ceremony.

Scramble time!

The owner of the venue called me at 10:30 p.m. the night before the wedding and asked if I could perform the ceremony. Fortunately for the bride and groom I was available. (Another good reason to have the rehearsal 2 days before the wedding – not the night before the wedding). This allows a day of rest and an opportunity to do last minute details – and in the case above, more time to look for a professional Wedding Officiant. Read “Guaranteed! No Hangovers on Your Wedding Day!” See link in BONUS Articles below.

The truth is, most Ministers and professional Wedding Officiants do not attend the rehearsal. I always do (subject to my availability, of course). It’s included at no additional cost as part of the fee. Some Wedding Officiants charge an extra $50 to $100 to be at the rehearsal. I want the bride and groom to feel comfortable with what they will be saying during the ceremony and for me to be aware of any last minute changes. But that’s not the main point.

When you hire “anyone” to perform your wedding ceremony, whether it’s a “friend of the family” who does it for free, or a professional Wedding Officiant, by contact they promise to be there and fulfill all their duties – not to back out at the last minute and leave the bride and groom hanging! You do need a signed agreement (contract) which gives you legal recourse.

This is not the first time someone hired an amateur. Several years ago I received a call from a bride who had just discovered that although they had a wedding ceremony performed by an uncle from Canada 1 year and a few months earlier, the Court House in Phoenix had no record of their license ever being filed. No official filing by the one-time wedding officiant = no legal marriage. In Arizona, once you purchase the license, you have exactly one year to use it and the Wedding Officiant has 10 days to file the license at the court house. I always file the license the first business day after the wedding.

The uncle went online and got an ordination to do one wedding. The bride was in panic mode!

I solved the problem by having them purchase another marriage license (Currently $72) plus a certified copy of the license (Currently $27.50) and performed a brief legal ceremony (with 2 witnesses) and immediately filed the license with the Maricopa County Court House. Although this is rare, the problem occurs when an inexperienced one-time wedding officiant is unaware of the legalities and all other aspect of the wedding business.

Solution: Always hire an experienced, full-time professional Wedding Officiant! AND check their references!!

BadChoiceBy the way, just to clear things up… getting an online ordination is perfectly legal in the state of Arizona. The hard part is finding a “qualified” wedding officiant with an online ordination who has the “experience” in performing ceremonies that will keep you from experiencing all the things that go wrong with an amateur.

This year alone (in the first 4 months of 2015), I have had no less that 4 calls from brides in a panic because their “friend of the family” backed out at the last minute and in one instance, the Minister of their church had something more important to do than perform their wedding ceremony as agreed. How sad.

Last year, (2014) at least 7 calls from brides whose “friend of the family” backed out at the last minute. This only happens when you hire someone who is inexperienced in the wedding business.

Some of the questions you should always ask an amateur is, are they legally qualified to perform weddings in your state? Three other questions should be, “Do you have a ceremony prepared?” and “Do you know what legally must be in a ceremony in your state?” and “Do you know your legal responsibilities after the wedding is over?” It is their responsibility to check the individual state laws regarding this issue. Most amateurs who get ordained online to perform one wedding ceremony will not be able to answer these questions to your satisfaction.

I repeat: Always hire an experienced, full-time professional Wedding Officiant! AND check their references!

BONUS Articles: No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony!
Guaranteed! No Hangovers on Your Wedding Day!
When to Schedule Your Wedding Rehearsal…
Why Hire a Professional Officiant?

Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. Reprinted with permission. – This article is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning Wedding Officiant, professional speaker, relationship coach and is the author of, “How to Really Love the One You’re With: Affirmative Guidelines for a Healthy Love Relationship,” “LoveNotes for Lovers: Words That Make Music for Two Hearts Dancing” and “Red Hot LoveNotes for Lovers.” Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. http://www.CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com & http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com.

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2015 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Monday, October 20, 2014

No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony!

CAUTION: You are now entering… the Danger Zone!

It this really a good idea? You better think about this some more!

Yikes2014This is the most special day in your life and you want to hand this important aspect of your wedding to an amateur? I know they mean well, but if you want your wedding ceremony to be memorable you need a trained wedding professional. They have performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies and know all the ins and outs of the wedding business.

You guessed it. There are several downsides and many pitfalls to consider.

“Much can go wrong in the delivery of your wedding ceremony (when performed by a family friend). Even those who are proficient speakers under different circumstances may become rattled at the everyday glitches that can crop up in a wedding ceremony. Consider how your friend will do if the groom becomes emotional, the bride flubs her vows, the flower girl is whining, the musicians play the wrong selection, inclement weather conditions suddenly arise for your outdoor wedding, your feuding divorced parents refuse to sit next to one another, the microphone dies mid-sentence, or someone faints. Handling these situations requires a special set of skills. Professional officiants have “been there, done that” with every situation above and more!” – Maureen Thomson, Wedding Officiant

Although it’s an honor to perform a wedding ceremony, presiding over a friend or family member’s wedding has its pros and cons. There are not many benefits to being married by a family friend. Someone who becomes a wedding officiant for a one-time-only wedding ceremony can cause a bride and groom a lot of stress during the planning of the wedding. The only upside could be that they may do it for free. Free may be inviting but you usually get what you pay for. If money is an issue, cut down on some of the other wedding services, such as favors, etc., then hire a professional.

Rarely does the amateur think to provide a qualified back-up wedding officiant in the event of accident or illness. I continue to be surprised when a bride and groom call me for a “last-minute” wedding ceremony because their friend backed out at the last minute. This happens all the time as people get cold feet or egos start to clash between the couple and the officiating friend.

Most part-time officiants do not know how to construct a wedding ceremony, such as presentation protocol or the legal requirements governed by the state. Each state establishes specific criteria as to who can perform marriage ceremonies. Check the state where the marriage is taking place if it is different from where you live. In some states, your aspiring officiant must also register with the county before performing a ceremony, which sometimes requires a fee.

Several years ago I received a call from a bride who had just discovered that although they had a wedding ceremony performed by an uncle from Canada 1 year and a few months earlier, the Court House in Phoenix had no record of their license ever being filed. No official filing by the one-time wedding officiant = no legal marriage. The uncle went online and got an ordination to do one wedding. She was in a panic! I solved the problem by having them purchase another marriage license ($72) plus a certified copy of the license ($26) and performed a brief legal ceremony (with 2 witnesses) and immediately filed the license with the Maricopa County Court House. Although this is rare, the problem occurs when an inexperienced one-time wedding officiant is unaware of the legalities and all other aspect of the wedding business. Solution: Always hire an experienced, full-time Wedding Officiant! AND check their references!

The amateur officiant is rarely ever able to present a plan of the important steps of the wedding ceremony to the bride and groom. Why? Because they don’t know. Officiant planning and coordination with wedding vendors is crucial to the bride, groom, and those participating in the wedding.

“Having a Friend or Relative marry you: This has backfired for many a bride. We have seen the officiant faint, get sick, not say nice things, be silly or rude and forget to fill out the proper paper work to make it official – leaving couples unmarried. There are non-denominational officiants, religious clergy, retired clergy, judges and men and women who are trained in creating personalized wedding services for couples at a modest price… best of all you will be legally married with the documents to prove it.” ~ Judith Rivers-Moore

A number of people are dependent upon the wedding officiant. In fact, wedding photographers, ceremony musicians, disc jockeys, wedding consultants, the wedding venue, etc., tell me of their dread of working with unskilled family members or friends who show up to perform the ceremony. “Hand-holding” the wedding officiant is not part of any other wedding vendor’s job description.

There are so many little details to remember when putting together a wedding, it may be in your best interest to hire a wedding planner to do it for you, or at least help you. You can hire a consultant at any stage in your wedding plans, from beginning to end. She can save you the most money, time and stress in the early planning stages. Look at a consultant as a necessity, as you would regard a caterer, venue, minister or photographer. She is just as important!

Almost one-third of couples surveyed after their wedding who did not use a wedding consultant dearly wish they had! Some wedding consultants can be hired for the day of your wedding to help coordinate all the last-minute details.

tvwedOne of the questions you should ask an amateur is, are they legally qualified to perform weddings in your state? Two other questions should be, “Do you have a ceremony prepared?” and “Do you know what legally must be in a ceremony in your state?” It is their responsibility to check the individual state laws regarding this issue. Do they know the tone that you want for your ceremony? Some couples do not regularly attend a church or synagogue and will want to have final say over the spiritual content in their ceremony.

Do they know about music, scripture readings, poems, vows and wedding traditions. Have they ever created an order of events for the ceremony to follow so both the minister and couple knows the order that things will happen. Do they know how to lead a rehearsal if there is no wedding coordinator available? What about a back-yard wedding rehearsal?

You should also note that some religious denominations will not recognize a marriage performed by someone ordained outside the faith; so, although you may be legally married, your church may not acknowledge it.

Someone from Chicago wrote: “I went to one wedding where the groom’s brother married the couple, and it was more like a drawn-out reception speech (complete with a dirty joke thrown in) than a wedding ceremony. Whatever you do, just make sure the person you choose has a clear idea of the atmosphere you’re looking for, and consider creating an outline for him/her to follow.”

Choosing a wedding officiant based on price alone is like choosing a husband based solely on salary.

Just to clear things up. . . getting an online ordination is perfectly legal in the state of Arizona. The hard part is finding a “qualified” wedding officiant with an online ordination who has the “experience” in performing ceremonies that will keep you from experiencing all the things that go wrong with an amateur. There is no Biblical example of a minister performing a marriage ceremony. This does not mean that it is wrong, but simply that the Bible does not seem to support it as a religious practice. Therefore, it is American culture that has made the officiating of marriages a religious matter.

Be very careful to hire someone who can give you excellent references. If they cannot provide references. . . find someone else. (Local laws governing religion and clergy vary widely so check with state, country, and provincial authorities before performing ceremonies like marriages.)

There are two important areas of your wedding celebration where price should never be a factor. A mediocre Minister and a unenthusiastic DJ can wreak havoc at your wedding. A lackluster minister with a boring ceremony – like most of the others you’ve heard – can leave the guests cold and uninspired and if the DJ isn’t a true “entertainer” the party can crash and burn. Your wedding reception DJ should be considered your entertainment director. A great DJ determines whether your reception is a hit or a miss! The minister and the DJ should be the very best you can hire. I know it’s cliche, but you really do get what you pay for.

Perhaps the primary deciding factor should be who performs the most memorable and unique wedding ceremony for you and your guests and what other extras do they offer in their package that other ministers do not. You will enjoy the comfort and assurance of knowing you are contracting with a first-class minister who comes with professional experience, impeccable integrity, commendable references, a gentle and enthusiastic spirit and a subtle, but delightful sense of humor (Hmmm, sounds like a description of Larry James).

This is your very special day. It will only happen once. I would never recommend that you make your decision on price alone. There are numerous other areas that you can cut back on when the $$s are tight. The ideal Officiant is not only someone who is important to the bride and groom, but is articulate and capable of handling such an important event. Cheap is seldom ever memorable!

There are many ways to accomplish a memorable wedding ceremony that makes everyone happy. A full-time wedding minister or officiant knows all the ins and outs of the wedding business.

I had a couple call recently and forfeited their deposit so that the groom’s uncle – who had never performed a wedding ceremony and “insisted” on being the wedding officiant – could perform the ceremony. The bride confided to me that this was not what she really wanted but bowed to the pressure of the uncle rather than unset the uncle. How sad. Your wedding is YOUR wedding, not your uncles, your mothers or anyone else.

“When a friend or relative provides a poor quality product or service as a gift for your wedding, you might recover from the disappointment, but they never will. Do your family and friends a favor and decline their offer to work at your wedding by letting them know you want them to celebrate with all the other family and friends. You will save everybody potential grief and hurt feelings.” ~ John Goolsby, Videographer

Perhaps the best advice is to find a truly great officiant or minister who can help you with this process: one who be the perfect combo of thoughtful adviser, skilled writer, excellent public speaker and who will keep your stress level as low as possible. Personal touches and light humor by the minister are a great way to add even more personality to your ceremony.

OnlineMinisterBelieve me, you will sleep better and have much less stress show up as you plan your wedding if you shell out the $$$’s to hire a full-time wedding minister; someone who will perform for you and your fiance a personalized, unique and memorable ceremony you will always treasure.

Note: Congratulations to Mr. & Mrs. Mahmoud Sallam. Dana Vogel & Mahmoud Sallam were married at 3 p.m., Thursday, December 30, 2010 @ Val Vista Lakes, Gilbert, AZ. Their close family friend was going to do their wedding ceremony and backed out 3 days before their wedding. I met with Dana & Mahmoud the day before the wedding and performed my “romantic” wedding ceremony for them the following day.

This is not the first time that I have received a call from a frantic bride or groom that a family friend who was supposed to do the couples wedding ceremony lost their nerve and backed out leaving the bride and groom to scramble to find a last-minute replacement. Just because a family friend volunteers to do your ceremony is no reason for you to give in because you are afraid you will hurt their feelings. Be couragous! Say, “No, and thank you for asking. We are going to hire a full-time wedding officiant!” (Ask them to do a special reading for you during the ceremony and then hire a professional). This is the most important day of your life. Do you want to put it in the hands of someone who got ordained especailly for your wedding and has never before performed a ceremony? Think about it. Be sure it’s something that YOU want and “always” have a backup plan!

Note from Bishop Ronald Turcot, Oldsmar, Florida: Larry, a bride’s “friend” who is not trained / ordained has no business performing any wedding. This is supposed to be a very special moment in a bridal couple’s life and there is no doubt at all in my mind, that a non-professional amateur cannot deliver the proper meaning of what married life is all about nor the the sacrament of the marriage. I have observed so many of these amateurs destroy a wedding ceremony beyond their knowledge & control. It turns so sad! When the wedding is over, and everyone (guests & family) realized how many mistakes were done and at the important & critical times in the ceremony, they were all very upset. There are NO do-overs, when the ceremony is over…it’s over. Best wishes!

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Is There a Shortage of “Professional/Qualified” Wedding Officiants?

My opinion… Yes!

Note that I said “Professional” wedding officiants. Not someone’s Uncle who got ordained online to do the only wedding he’s ever done – (That’s scarey!) – but a full-time, wedding officiant or minister who has performed lots of wedding ceremonies, can provide references, and who may have won awards for their ceremony or services.

WeddingOfficiantIt is important to understand that your choice in wedding officiants is one of the most critical decisions that you will make during the wedding planning process. The ceremony itself is the central and most special event of the day, and finding the perfect wedding officiate to deliver it is non-negotiable. Choose wisely.

If you are getting married there is one person you cannot do without. That would be the person who will perform your wedding ceremony. Performing a wedding ceremony is a little like any other performance. The officiant is “onstage” doing their performance and their
ability and grace goes a long way to making your wedding a memorable experience. Be sure to pick someone who you feel comfortable with and who is easy to work with. Avoid officiants and ministers who refuse to change the wording of their ceremony, for example, add cultural traditions, etc.

Absolute excellence is expected. Each wedding ceremony is unique and should be treated as such by the person performing it. Usually, wedding officiants are chosen because they either know the bride and groom on a personal level, or they have been recommended to the couple by someone who thinks they are a good fit.

Wedding officiants vary in their attitude, perspective and presentation. Duties during a wedding ceremony vary depending on the type of ceremony and the faith of the minster and couple. Some wedding ministers and civil officiants see officiating as a full-time job, no different than any other line of work. Others see it as a fun on-going learning and enriching opportunity to give loving and exellence to others. Some wedding ministers and civil officiants believe that there is a right and wrong way regarding ceremony and couple in the context of their background, church and religion. Others believe that it’s only about the couple, not them, not their background or even their religion and church, i.e., it’s just a wedding. A professional officiant will we willing to change the wording or exclude religion from the ceremony. Church ministers – perhaps due to their church denomination – may not have that option.

The basic duty of the officiant is to help you plan and write your “ceremony,” not plan your wedding, although there are officiants who may also be familiar with the duties of a wedding consultant. Officiants vary in their handling of “basic” tasks. Most will advise you on anything you need and will help wherever they can in organizing your processional, performing the ceremony and recessional and make suggestions to make sure everything goes smoothly. Here are a few basic tasks which all officiants should provide:

HireAPro• Meet with the bride and groom to determine their wants and needs
• Knowing the license requirement details – witness age limits, etc. Laws vary by state
• Making sure the marriage license is filled out properly
• Complete and file paperwork on time and file the governmental body responsible to record it
• Arrive ahead of schedule and be dressed appropriately for the occasion
• Speak clearly and be well prepared
• Being prepared and easy to understand when performing the wedding ceremony
• Attending the rehearsal (Many ministers and officiants do not attend rehearsals – Larry’s NOTE: I always attend the rehearsal to make sure things to smoothly and to review the highlights of the ceremony so they are fresh in the couple’s minds.)

Not all wedding officiants follow through with the same degree of care. For example, those officiants with experience may also provide the bride and groom with referrals to other wedding vendors they have worked with and who are honest and dependable. They should be willing to incorporate ideas into the ceremony provided by the couple and allow lots of room for variety and innovation. All couples have the right to celebrate their marriage according to their own values.

The officiant performing the wedding can use information obtained from the bride and groom to customize a ceremony that makes the wedding unique and special for the couple. Some add-on ceremonies include breaking the glass, blending of the sand, the rose ceremony, jumping of the broom, and Celtic and Pagan hand-fasting. Your wedding officiant should be knowledgeable of a wide variety of add-on ceremonies that will make the wedding ceremony personalized especially for you.

Professional wedding officiants are given the unique opportunity to elaborate on the love that you share, and the commitment that you are making. Good wedding officiants offer background insight into he meaning behind the traditions being lived out and give a sense of direction to the path that the two of you are choosing to explore together.

BringQuestionsCouples may wish to incorporate their own wedding vows (Personal Promises) into the ceremony. They can read them to each other or the officiant can read them for the bride and groom. Fees for professional wedding officiants vary depending on the officiant’s value they provide and the distance they may have to travel.

An officiant must be available to communicate with the couple in person and via e-mail and telephone to assess their needs and to brainstorm for ceremony ideas and requirements.

When interviewing a wedding officiant:

!. Always schedule a face to face meeting to get to know the wedding officiant.
2. Search reviews and testimonials to help establish their credibility.
3. Ask if they can offer video samples of weddings they have serviced.
4. Be comfortable with him or her. After all, this is your wedding ceremony!
5. Don’t make your decision upon their fee alone. The best wedding officiants usually costs a little more.

BONUS Articles: No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony
How to Find a Qualified Wedding Officiant
Interviewing a Wedding Officiant? – Bring Lots of Questions!
Get Me to the Rehearsal on Time! – PLUS links to more “Rehearsal” articles!

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How to Find a Qualified Wedding Officiant

It has been my experience that most brides and grooms will pick the date, book the venue, then hire the DJ or Band, Photographer, Videographer, caterer, Photo Booth, etc., and wait until the very last minute to hire the most important person for your ceremony – the wedding officiant. The wedding officant sets the tone for your entire celebration. The really great officiants have very busy schedules. Most of the good ones book months in advance. If you want someone who will perform a really great wedding ceremony, please don’t wait until the last minute.

HOT TIP: Choose your wedding date first. Second, seek out a wedding venue that fits your style and taste. Third, hire your wedding officiant!

mcneil2Before you start looking for a wedding officiant, make sure you know what you want – after all, picking someone to marry you and your partner is something to consider carefully. What kind of ceremony do you want? What kind of vibe do you want for your big day? What would you like your officiant to say? Will they be willing change parts of the ceremony that you don’t like and add something that you do like?

What qualities do you want your officiant to have – would you like them to add a little light humor? Be serious? Do you want the vows to be romantic? Sentimental? Formal? Would you prefer to write some of your own words or vows to add to the ceremony? It’s better to begin thinking about all this before you call someone.

If you’re planning a traditional religious wedding, finding an officiant will be easy. That kind of officiant typically comes along with the place of worship. But if you’re not getting married in a church, temple, or synagogue, what then? Never fear, finding an officiant is possible. Do they charge extra to travel? Most do. It’s usually not too difficult to find an officiant who will come to your location of choice.

If you’ve got the date, have carefully planned your budget, and the wedding venue booked, your next step is to find a qualified wedding officiant.

Are you planning a traditional religious ceremony? If so, first contact your place of worship. Some wedding officiants can perform beautiful spiritual ceremonies. If you’re not getting married in a church, temple, or synagogue finding an officiant should be easier. If you’re looking for an officiant with a specific religious background, you may have to seek them out by narrowing your overall search. Same thing with finding an officiant if you’re looking to have a non-religious, non-spiritual or civil ceremony.

BringQuestionsDo you know someone who has been married recently? Remember to ask your friends and family if they were impressed and satisfied with their officiant. If so, ask for their contact information. Check your wedding venue’s “preferred vendor’ list. Usually only the names of qualified wedding officiants who have worked at the venue are listed. Most will allow you to hire a wedding officiant who is not on their list, unless you purchase a package deal and do not get to choose who performs the ceremony.

Be sure to choose someone who will be a good match for you and your partner. Get to know the officiant you interview. Listen to their speaking voice, their style and personality, and watch videos of them performing a real wedding ceremony Check their references. Bring lots of questions. Click here to read some on the questions you may want to ask.

If you are having a destination wedding and it’s not possible to meet up with the officiant in person before the ceremony, be certain to get references, and definitely spend some time talking by phone about the details of your wedding with them. Be totally satisfied or call someone else!

Caution: Hiring Uncle George or a friend who has never performed a wedding ceremony before is taking a big risk. It’s nice that Uncle George has offered to do it for free, however, always remember you get what you pay for. Sometimes free is good. However, this is your wedding… pay a little more and hire the best. Make the cuts to your budget somewhere else, not the wedding officiant. As I said before, the wedding officant sets the tone for your entire wedding celebration. A poorly trained, inexperienced wedding officiant with a boring ceremony can leave the guests cold and uninspired. If you want a memorable wedding ceremony, choose wisely. Hire someone who has experience and knows the ins-and-outs of a wedding ceremony.

HOT TIP #2: Arrange a time to get together with Larry James – an award winning wedding officiant – for a no-cost, no pressure, no-obligation interview. Larry serves the Greater Phoenix area, Sedona, Flagstaff, Tucson, an occasional beach wedding in Rocky Point, Mexico, and anywhere else your budget allows. (Please excuse the shameless plug!) 😉

BONUS Articles: Interviewing a Wedding Officiant? – Bring Lots of Questions!
No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony
Is a Memorable Wedding Officiant Worth the Splurge?

CelebrateIntimateWeddings

Click logo to go to Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2014 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is a non-denominational minister and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Check Larry’s availability.

comment2Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

10+ Tips to Help You Choose the Right Wedding Vendor!

During my interview with brides and grooms, I often get asked, what are some areas that I can skimp on and what areas are really important?

That is a question that you as the bride and groom need to think about. What is important for you on your wedding? Some people want to spend all of their money on a wonderful photographer while for others the food is important. Others only care about the quality of the favors on the guest’s tables or the disc jockey. Whatever your most important area may be. . . don’t hire anyone less than a quality vendor.

JustMarriedAlways hire the best you can afford. The vendors that you choose for your wedding ceremony and reception will be the key factor in determining just how successful your wedding will be. I can personally tell you of weddings I’ve heard about that were total disasters because the bride and groom made there choices on price alone. That is rarely ever a good idea. Choose a vendor based on past customer reviews, not on price. Choosing the cheapest pricing could prove to be disastrous.

A true professional can be accommodating to your tastes while maintaining a level of control. They should offer advice where needed and help to ensure your wedding is as stress-free as possible and runs without a hitch. You can never have too many experts in your corner!

There are two important areas of your wedding celebration where price should never be a factor. A mediocre Minister and a unenthusiastic DJ can wreak havoc at your wedding. A lackluster minister with a boring ceremony – like most of the others you’ve heard – can leave the guests cold and uninspired and if the DJ isn’t a true “entertainer” the reception can crash and burn.

Your wedding reception DJ should be considered your “Wedding Entertainment Director.” A great DJ determines whether your reception is a hit or a miss! The minister and the DJ should be the very best you can hire. I know its cliché, but you really do get what you pay for.

Perhaps the primary deciding factor should be who performs the most memorable and unique wedding ceremony for you and your guests and what other extras do they offer in their package that other ministers do not. You will enjoy the comfort and assurance of knowing you are contracting with a first-class minister who comes with professional experience, impeccable integrity, commendable references, a gentle and enthusiastic spirit and a subtle, but delightful sense of humor (hmmm, sounds like a description of Larry James). 😉

This is your very special day. It will only happen once. I would never recommend that you make your decision on price alone. There are numerous other areas that you can cut back on when the $$s are tight.

weddingplanningchecklistThere are so many choices when it comes to vendors, but having quality and reliable vendors will help to make your big day even more memorable. Here are a few helpful tips when choosing vendors.

1. Hire a wedding consultant. Planning a wedding can be a stressful and often frustrating experience. Most brides and grooms have no idea of the many wedding details that are included in the fee of a wedding consultant. You want a stress-free wedding? This is the best tip I could give you. Wedding consultants know a lot of vendors and can tell you which ones are reliable and of high quality. The time and money saved is well worth the investment.

2. Ask for vendor recommendations. While some may be less expensive than others, you want to make sure that they are reliable. Call them first and get your questions answered and if you feel comfortable with making an appointment, then meet with the vendor in person and decide whether their professionalism and personalities match your own. Get to know ‘em before you book ‘em. The more detail that you can get about a wedding service provider, the better you will feel about making an informed decision. You’ll be a much happier couple on your wedding day if you do your homework.

3. Visit vendor Websites and Blogs. Use these resources to see if vendor’s reviews are current and review the comments that others are making. Attend bridal shows and vendor “open houses.”

4. Most important: Be sure that you really connect with them, feel comfortable and compatible with them and trust them. You need to surround yourself with vendors who make you feel good on the wedding day. If a vendor’s personality doesn’t match your needs, choose someone else.

5. Make a list of all types of vendors you will need for your wedding. When you find a vendor that feels right for you, hire them! He who hesitate often loses the date to someone else. Vendors who are the best are usually the busiest. You often to not need to interview 4 or 5 vendors who do the same thing.

late6. Don’t be late for vendor appointments. It’s rude! Often vendors will have more than one wedding appointment following your appointment. Time is money for most business people. If you see you might be a little early or late, have the courtesy to call and let them know.

7. Treat your vendor with respect and you will be respected. Not only does this add to the vendor customer relationship, but it also means that a vendor will be more willing to listen to and help you with problems and areas of their services that you don’t understand.

8. Don’t wait until the last minute to begin selecting your vendors. Prioritize your wedding vendors. You need to decided which vendor needs to be booked immediately. To be certain that you can book the wedding officiant or minister you want on the date and time you want; first, choose your wedding date, second, book the wedding venue, and third, book the wedding officiant or minister. These are the vendors that are high in demand and tend to get booked quickly so you will need to reserve their services immediately. When you find a wedding vendor you really like, book ’em! Great vendors book choice dates quickly.

9. Be prepared. Go to your vendor with a list of questions to ask and a list of your expectations and priorities. You should feel free to ask the most basic of questions without feeling like you “should know” the answer. Your vendors do this all day everyday for a living and it is their job to help you understand what they can do for you and how things work. Here are a few questions you should remember to ask a Wedding Officiant.

10. If you love a vendors work and want them to develop a plan to fit your budget you have to be prepared to be flexible. If they offer to lower their fee, chances are they will have to subtract a few things from the package. You may want to cut back on the wedding favors to be able to afford a vendor you “really” want. Because of the many details involved in planning, preparing and customizing my romantic wedding ceremony, a fee quote is available ONLY after a no pressure, no obligation telephone consultation and after I have spoken with you about the numerous details of your wedding that may affect the fee. Most of my wedding appointments last about 1 1/2 hours to be sure we cover all the details.

CalendarThose of us who are busy performing ceremonies often book wedding dates as much as 9 months to 12 months and more in advance. Check Larry’s availability for your wedding or renewal of vows ceremony!

As a courtesy to the vendor, always call the vendors you interviewed and let them know your decision. Some (including me) will place a temporary courtesy “hold” on the date and if another couple calls for the same date, they will call the couple they’ve met with to determine their interest.

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: 480-998-9411 or 800-725-9223. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 460 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

Subscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

wedding-tipsNOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://AuthorsandSpeakersNetwork.wordpress.com

Friday, February 18, 2011

Interviewing a Wedding Officiant? – Bring Lots of Questions!

I recently had a meeting with a couple who were searching for the right wedding officiant. I was impressed.

Never having been married before, they brought a list of questions that helped both of us to get to know each other better. They interviewed me, not the other way around. Some of their questions led to discussions of other areas of the ceremony that kept the conversation centered on what they needed to know to make an informed decision.

questionmarkman2Write down ideas for questions whether they make sense or not. A professional wedding officiant will be willing to answer all of your questions. If you have never hired a wedding officiant or minister before, you may not know what questions to ask. Here are a few questions you might consider asking:

• How flexible is the wedding officiate to changing parts of the ceremony that you may not like?
• Will they permit you to write some of your own vows? (I call them, “Personal Promises!)
• What is the process for creating your ceremony?
• Is there anything that they will not say or do?
• How many wedding ceremonies have they performed?
• Have they ever been late for or missed a wedding?
• How many weddings do they perform in an average year?
• Do they have a “back-up” in case of extreme illness of emergency?
• Talk about your spiritual faith so the officiant can adjust the ceremony accordingly.
• Will they marry you if you are of different faiths?
• Will the wedding officiant perform “theme” weddings?
• Are there any restrictions as to your attire, or the bridal party’s attire?
• Who gave them the right to perform wedding ceremonies in your state?
• Can they legally perform wedding ceremonies in your state.
• What are their spiritual beliefs? (Be sure to tell them what YOUR spiritual beliefs are and ask if they will make changes to honor your beliefs)
• Will the ceremony be a religious, non-denominational or secular ceremony?
• Will the ceremony be traditional or non-traditional?
• Will they provide a little light-hearted humor if that is what you want?
• Do they require premarital or religious classes? Is relationship coaching available, if you want it? What are those requirements?
• Are they qualified to offer premarital relationship coaching if you want it?
• What is their fee? Do they require a deposit to secure the date? Does the fee include the rehearsal?
• When is the balance of the fee due? What forms of payment do they accept?
• Are there any hidden charges?
• How many meetings will be necessary to finalize the words in the ceremony?
• Do they attend the rehearsal dinner and the reception, if invited?
• Will they give a blessing or prayer before the meal at the reception?
• How will they be dressed? Will they wear a suit or a robe?
• If you have children, do they have some creative ideas of ways to include them in the ceremony?
• Do they have a “Refund Proceedure or Cancelation Prceedure and is it part of the agreement?
• Do they have references that they are willing to share with you?
• Would they allow another Officiant, Minister/Rabi or Priest to take part in the ceremony?
• Is flash photography allowed during the ceremony?
• What kind of microphone does the officiant perfer?
• Are there any restrictions on photography or videography?
• How accessible/responsive are you by phone and by e-mail?
• Do they work well with other wedding vendors? Will they recommend other wedding vendors?
• If you have been living together, be sure to ask if they will preform your ceremony.

Remember, this is YOUR wedding, not the wedding officiant’s or the minister’s. There are no stupid questions. Ask about whatever you want to know.

The couple I referred to above got all their questions answered and the meeting ended with them presenting me with a deposit to secure the time and date of their wedding.

If the vendor does not have a written agreement (contract) you might be wise to hire someone who does. All the details of the wedding should be covered.

Go with your gut feeling or intuition. If it feels right and your personalities click, hire them.

This is your very special day. It will only happen once. A lackluster minister or wedding officiant with a boring ceremony – like most of the others you’ve heard – can leave the guests cold and uninspired. They should be the very best you can hire. I know its cliché, but you really do get what you pay for. Perhaps the primary deciding factor should be a wedding officiant/minster performs the most memorable and unique wedding ceremony for you and your guests and what other extras do they offer in their package that other ministers do not. You will enjoy the comfort and assurance of knowing you are contracting with a first-class minister who comes with professional experience, impeccable integrity, commendable references, a gentle and enthusiastic spirit and a subtle, but delightful sense of humor (hmmm, sounds like a description of Larry James). 😉

I would never recommend that you make your decision to hire a wedding officiant or minister on price alone. There are numerous other areas that you can cut back on when the $$s are tight. Read, “How Much Will Your Wedding Cost? + Ways to Save!“ (See the BONUS Articles listed below).

Ask yourselves: Do we feel comfortable with this person? Is there a clear green light to engage their services? If not, don’t move forward until all your questions or concerns are completely resolved. Often, just talking about your concerns with the officiant or minister will help you be clear.

The busiest months for weddings in the Greater Phoenix area are: March, April & May and October, November & December. The summers in Arizona are often to warm for outdoor weddings. That’s when couples book their wedding indoors. To see the times for sunsets and the average temperatures in the Greater Phoenix area, click here.

Choice dates book quickly. If the wedding officiant is good their schedule is most likely very busy. Why does that matter to you? If you wait to book them, the date of your wedding could be booked by someone else before you offer a deposit to secure the date. In the Greater Phoenix area this happens frequently, especially after a bridal show or during the busy season.

BONUS Articles:Getting Married in Arizona? Here’s the Latest Scoop!
Set Some Wedding Priorities – First Things First!
No Thanks! A Family Friend Will Perform Our Wedding Ceremony
Wedding Consultants Love Larry James too!
How Much Will Your Wedding Cost? + Ways to Save!

CiWblue1

Click for Larry’s Wedding Website!

Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. This information is adapted from Larry’s Wedding Website and Wedding Blog. Larry James is an award winning, non-denominational wedding officiant and performs the most “Romantic” wedding ceremony you will find anywhere! Every wedding ceremony is customized to your complete satisfaction. Call to check availability: Cell: 480-205-3694. Pre-maritial relationship coaching is available and not required. You will find more than 475 pages of Wedding ideas, tips (90 tips and growing), ceremonies, and more at: http://www.celebrateintimateweddings.com. Something NEW about weddings is posted every 4th day on this Wedding BLOG. Check Larry’s availability.

the-archives2Click for Archives! ~ commentSubscribe to Larry’s FREE monthly “LoveNotes for Lovers” eZINE. Contact: CelebrateLove.com, P.O. Box 12695, Scottsdale, AZ 85267-2695. – CelebrateLove.com and CelebrateIntimateWeddings.com

NOTE: All articles, “LoveNotes” and wedding tips listed in this Wedding BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.

letsbefriends2

Add Larry James to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Networking BLOG” at: http://NetworkingHQ.wordpress.com
Lots of Wedding Ideas on: Larry’s Pinterest Page

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: