Thursday, December 13, 2012


What a magical day 12-12-12 turned out to be!  So many couples decided to get married on this numerically-lucky day, and I was honored to officiate at one of the best (if I do say so myself!) and most love-filled ceremonies ever!

Nadia and Marcell met when she was only 14, and he was 18 -- she had a crush on him, but at that time their 4-year age difference was too much for anything to ever develop.  Well, their love was meant to be, because ten years later their paths crossed again, and love blossomed! 

December 12th arrived, and the weather prediction was for thunderstorms, but the weather held out for their beautiful outdoor ceremony on the dock at Gemini Springs, which included a "Mother's Kiss" and heartfelt vows.  Their faces were just glowing!

The two of them are truly a match made in heaven, and one of the sweetest couples I've ever worked with!  Even if they hadn't been married on a lucky date, I know that they will have a wonderful marriage!

Congratulations, Nadia and Marcell -- you're going to share a wonderful life together!

And "thank you" to Celeste
Sheaffer of Celeste's Photography for these great

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Weddings, Weddings Everywhere!

Wow, this Fall has been really busy with outdoor weddings!  We are blessed in Central Florida with so many beautiful spots for wedding ceremonies, and in the Fall, the weather is just perfect!

Some of my favorite wedding ceremonies this fall were held in the lovely outdoors -- as we get ready to go into Winter, here's a mini-review of some favorites!

Aaron & Carmen had a backyard wedding that included home-brewed beer (two varieties!) and wonderful, creative table settings, each table different -- the vibe at their ceremony was laid-back and happy!

I had a sip of St. Rogge's Saison, and it was delicious!

Carmen is a crafter, and did the decorating herself!

Jordan & Tuesday were married on Flagler Beach, and although it was a bit on the warm side, there was a lovely breeze!  They included a Sand Ceremony, which is always great for a beach wedding.

One of the coolest, most creative weddings I've ever officiated was Jackie & Chris' wedding at Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel.  Their ceremony included a verse about roller coasters, references to The Haunted Mansion (where they got engaged), a Dr. Seuss verse -- and Jackie's dress and bouquet were AMAZING!  What a fun, fun couple!

Jackie's roses were a special type that
had black edges -- and in the middle of
her bouquet was a Haunted Mansion key!
Chris also had a Haunted Mansion key in
his boutonniere!

Check out this super-cool photo taken
by the Haunted Mansion!

Have you ever heard of a bride & groom arriving by seaplane?  Miranda & Brian did exactly that, at The Duncan House in Tavares!  The venue is on a lake, and the house itself is such a perfect place for a wedding!  Their ceremony included both tradition and humor.  I fell in love with Miranda's father -- what a cutie!  

Thankfully, the weather cleared so that they
could arrive by seaplane!

Miranda made her beautiful bouquet
out of brooches and pins!

Not only was Miranda's father a cutup,
but his English accent was charming!

 Timi & Dave had a beautiful ceremony at Harmony Gardens in DeLeon Springs.  They decorated their ceremony space with white origami birds, and it was such a unique touch!  Their ceremony was full of humor and references to the fact that they were finally tying the knot after 13 years together.

I believe this was the part where I said that
their lengthy courtship was finally coming
to an end!

Not all weddings are formal affairs -- sometimes the most heartfelt ceremonies are the ones that are more casual and simple!  Lucus and Allison were married on the dock at Airport Lakes Park in Orlando -- I had to stop the ceremony twice while planes flew over, but that only added to the happy atmosphere!

Yes, that's a plane in the background!   

Well, this post has certainly turned into a long one!  I'll close with a photo and a funny story about Catherine & Ryan's wedding at the Lake Mary Events Center.  They had written their own vows, and were keeping them a secret from each other --but I found out the day of the wedding that his vows were very serious, and hers were of a much lighter nature, including a reference to a certain body function that's humorous, but certainly not serious!  My dilemma was whether to tell her that there was going to be a big difference in the wording of their vows to each other.  After much hand-wringing, I decided to let her know.  Imagine my relief when she told me that she had already informed her groom that she would be including humorous references in her vows, including the one I was really concerned about -- and that he was absolutely fine with it!  Their ceremony went wonderfully -- including a tear-producing verse written and read by the bride's mother -- and when it came time for the vows, everyone had a great laugh!  It was almost as if the wording was expected -- the bride is known for her offbeat humor!      
And yes, the groom is VERY tall!

There are more Fall weddings that I could write about, but I'll close for now by saying this -- each ceremony I perform is different -- but all of them are customized to the bride and groom, and every single one is a joyful event!  Yep, I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- I just LOVE what I do!

I'm planning my next post around Disney, and Disney-area, weddings -- stay tuned!

Happy Holidays to all!  

Thursday, November 15, 2012

I Wanna Hold Your Hands!

Fall is certainly a very busy time for anyone connected with weddings, including me!  I must admit, it's not only my favorite season, but also the best time (in my opinion) for a wedding in Central Florida!  

Right now, on Facebook, Pinterest, and all of the social networking sites, there are so many photos of wedding ceremonies, and I enjoy looking at each and every one of them.  As I looked at the most recent photos, I noticed something that I thought was blog-worthy -- hence, the subject of my posting today!  

One of the things that I feel is essential during a wedding ceremony is that the bride and groom feel very connected - after all, this is the very moment when they're being joined in marriage!   How do you make sure that they make this connection?  

There are two ways in which I assure that a couple's attention is focused on each other -- first of all, prior to their ceremony, when I speak with them, I remind them to look at, and focus on, each other, not on me, while words are being spoken -- to allow my voice to be their guide, but to concentrate on each other.  This is their special moment in time -- and it's something to be shared with each other and cherished!

Second, once their ceremony begins, I ask them to face each other and to join their hands.  This completes the connection!

Now, I realize that usually a bride has a beautiful bouquet -- and those flowers, of course, should be on display while she's walking down the aisle -- and, of course, back up the aisle when she's walking with her new husband.  BUT -- during the ceremony -- as pretty as they may be, the flowers are decoration -- the couple, and their focus on each other, should be where the attention is paid!

So, hand off those flowers -- and savor the sweetness of your ceremony by doing something that hopefully you'll do for your entire married life -- hold hands!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Wow, what a wonderful month!

It's hard to believe how fast October flew by -- what a busy month!  When the weather starts to cool down here in Central Florida, couples plan outdoor weddings, and I, as an officiant, get busy with creating amazingly different ceremonies for each of them!

If I wrote about all of the ceremonies I performed in October, this blog post would go on and on -- so here are some of the highlights!

I must say, my absolute favorite was Jackie & Chris' amazing ceremony at Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel.  Each couple I work with is different, but this wonderful couple was truly one-of-a-kind!  Their ceremony included a verse about love being like a roller coaster (since they're roller coaster nuts), along with a Haunted Mansion ringbox (they got engaged while riding through the Haunted Mansion), a Dr. Seuss verse -- you get the idea!  And Jackie's dress -- amazing!  Her flowers, and Chris' boutonniere, had Haunted Mansion keys in them!

Carmen & Aaron's ceremony was held in their beautiful back yard, and the atmosphere was laid-back and happy --due in part to the beer that Aaron hand-brewed for the occasion!  (I had a small sip of the light beer, and it was delicious!)

One of the most dramatic entrances ever, occurred at a wedding at The Duncan House in Tavares -- Miranda & Brian arrived by seaplane!  

Other ceremonies in October included the Lake Mary Events Center wedding of Jamie and Joe -- the Lake Mary Marriott wedding of Evelyn and Marcos, which included a guest who was a dead-ringer for Lionel Richie -- the 25-year vow renewal of Fiona & Brian, who flew in from England with lots of family members who participated in the ceremony (lots of fun and so touching!), an elopement for a wonderful couple from Ireland, a beach ceremony, and a Gemini Springs wedding.  It was a busy month, indeed! 

Each ceremony different -- each ceremony wonderful -- I wish every single couple a lifetime of good health and happiness together!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Hooray for October!

October's arrived in Florida, which usually means cooler temperatures and less rain -- however, this year that hasn't been the case!  It's been hot and humid, with rain showers almost every afternoon.  I think that anyone associated with weddings will tell you that they're looking forward to a change in the weather sooner rather than later!

October is also one of the busiest months of the year for Florida weddings, and this month is no exception!  Over the weekend, I officiated at two wonderful weddings -- both outdoors, both very different, and both wonderful in their own ways!

Tuesday and Jordan's wedding on Flagler Beach was small and sweet, and very laid-back -- they rented a beach house and brought down just a few family members and friends.  Although it was warm and muggy, a nice ocean breeze made things a little easier.  They chose a ceremony that was a bit on the longer side, and during it, they smiled and whispered to each other -- it was truly warm and wonderful!

Tuesday's bouqet, and their Sand Ceremony colors, reflected the Fall Season -- so pretty! 

The second wedding of the weekend, Carmen and Aaron's, had a completely different vibe -- they had about 50 guests, and the atmosphere was casual and festive!  Aaron brews beer for a hobby, and had crafted two special brews especially for the wedding!  He remodeled a refrigerator to hold two brewing kegs and their plumbing, drilled holes in the door, and put two taps in to dispense the beer.  I had a little of the "St. Rogge's Saison," and it was darn tasty!

Carmen runs a craft site, and her creative side showed in the amazing table setups under the reception tent!

At the last minute, they decided to write their vows to each other rather than using the ones they had chosen originally -- Aaron read a "list" of promises that had everyone laughing out loud, and Carmen's heartfelt vows had everyone smiling! 

And the best part, of course?  Being pronounced husband and wife -- and sharing a joyful kiss!

Two ceremonies, each very different -- that's why I LOVE what I do -- thank you, Tuesday & Jordan, and Carmen & Aaron, for choosing me to be a part of your celebration!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Getting Ready for October!

If you live in Central Florida, you know how hot and humid our summers are -- not only that, our afternoon thunderstorms are the stuff of legend!  Weddings, especially outdoor ceremonies, certainly slow down during the months of July, August and September, but once October rolls around, things finally start to cool down, and the weather (for the most part) is perfect for an outdoor wedding.  If you talk to anyone associated with the wedding industry, they will tell you that October is one of their busiest months!

While most couples begin planning a Fall wedding well in advance, others wait until it's too close to their wedding date to start looking for their wedding vendors (of course, in my opinion, choosing an officiant is an important decision that should be one of the first things on their list!) -- by then, for the most part, the vendors that they'd really like to work with are booked, and they're left with limited choices.  

Rich and Andrea, pictured above and below, married at the Mission Inn last October.  They planned their entire wedding from Pennsylvania -- no easy task, but because they began their groundwork well in advance, they were able to choose from a great variety of wedding pros to insure that their wedding day was well-planned, joyful and flawless!  

My advice for today?  Start to plan and book your wedding professionals as far in advance as possible.  If you snooze, you may lose!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Wedding Show Sunday!

Well, I'm about to take a dive into the wonderful world of Bridal Shows -- this Sunday, August 26th, I'll have a table at the Central Florida Bridal Association show, "A Bridal Show to Remember -- Something Blue."  The show is being held at the Rosen Centre Hotel, 9840 International Drive, Orlando, Florida, from 12:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Although I've been officiating weddings for over 35 years, having a table at a bridal show is a first for me!  I've been working diligently on table decor, a slideshow for brides to view, and a door prize.  My wonderful friends Teena & Cyd showed me how to make a gift basket, and it's a beauty!

The basket is filled with goodies, and has the cutest verse card that explains its contents:

"The towels represent the warmth you feel, wrapped in each other's embrace,
The candle represents the glow of love, which shows by the look on your face,
The music represents harmony, though problems may sometimes arise,
The drink and the glasses represent your love, that improves as time goes by,
There's one more thing, most important of all, so keep these silver goods handy,
For most of all, any problems seem minor when you're sharing some kisses and candy!"

Come by and see me -- it's going to be a great show!


Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lovely Weekend Weddings!

This weekend should be called "Short-Notice Wedding Weekend!"
For the most part, the couples I marry book me well in advance, but this weekend brought me two weddings with only a few days' notice for each.  Of course, even with short notice, I spoke with each couple to get to know them, so that I could add personal touches to their ceremonies. 

Rita & Mike had originally planned to marry this past December, but due to a death in Mike's family, their plans had to be postponed.  When Rita re-contacted me, and asked me if I was available in just a few days, I was happy to accomodate her.  She and Mike were married in the early morning at beautiful Gemini Springs -- just me and the two of them -- and their wedding was one of the most touching I've ever done!  They were both so thrilled to finally get married -- and as she put his ring on his finger, she leaned down and kissed his ring and his hand.  I must say, I got a little misty-eyed! 

Ampai and Jacob got married in the afternoon, and thankfully had an indoor wedding.  It was small and intimate -- a few friends and family -- who had decorated their home beautifully for the ceremony.  Their radiant faces were a joy to behold!

My thoughts for this post?  Whether you're having a well-planned-in-advance wedding, or something small and simple, what's most important is that you're getting married to someone you truly love, and who loves you.  One size wedding and ceremony does NOT fit all!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Rock 'n Rollin' Ceremony!

I'm working on an amazing, one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony that's going to take place at Disney's Grand Floridian in October.  The bride and groom are self-professed "roller coaster nuts," and want to include references to roller coasters in their ceremony!  My creative juices are having a ball!

I've found several roller coaster verses that fit very well into the "love is like a roller coaster" theme -- I wonder how many other couples have had these kinds of references in their ceremonies?  I imagine that between Disney, Universal, and Sea World, each with their own roller coasters, that I won't be the first officiant in the Orlando area to do this -- or will I?


Monday, August 13, 2012

The Importance of the Interview/Consultation

This evening, I met with a wonderful couple who are getting married in November.  One of the first things I do when I speak with a couple is to get to know them, to see what they are like together, hear their "story," and let them tell me about what they would like to have in their wedding ceremony.

As an officiant, I feel that my first priority, and obligation, is to the bride and groom.  I want them to be happy with their ceremony -- to feel it's something that's been specially tailored to the two of them, and says what they want to have said as they become husband and wife.

I realize that not all couples feel this way -- some couples prefer the "tried-and-true" route, with wording that is traditional -- and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that!  However, most of the couples who I have the honor of working with want to work with me on a ceremony that's as individual as they are -- and that's the couples that I really love working with the most!

What is important, no matter what, is that a couple who are being married have a consultation with the officiant who is going to be conducting their ceremony, to be sure that they are going to be happy with the person they choose.  The wedding ceremony is the heart and soul of the wedding day -- having a consultation and/or interview with your officiant is something that should be at the top of the list!


Monday, August 6, 2012

A Short & Sweet Post -- for a Lovely Review!

I officiated at a wonderful, intimate ceremony at the Walt Disney World Polynesian Resort a little over a week ago, for a wonderful couple from North Dakota who searched through many officiants before finding me.  One of the things that I feel makes my services as an officiant a bit different from the "average" is that I spend a lot of time with the couples I marry, to get to know them as people and to work with them to make their wedding ceremony something truly suited to the two of them. 

Without further fanfare, here's their review from Wedding Wire:

My husband and I recently married at Disney's Polynesian Resort through Disney's Fairytale Weddings. Being from North Dakota, we planned an intimate destination wedding. Disney provided us with a list of vendors, but we were unsatisfied with the selection of officiants. We were blessed to come across Renee and her services through, A Lovely Ceremony, and she provided just that! She was always available for long distance planning via email, cell phone, and Skype. She was kind and was willing to travel over 2 hours to pick up our wedding license when ours failed to be delivered on time in ND. She really personalized our ceremony and helped coordinate our events. Renee's kindness and dedication to providing a truly unique ceremony for a couple is what makes her an excellent officiant. She is just an outstanding lady to work with and recommend her for anyone who is interested in having a beautiful, "lovely ceremony."

Photos will follow in another blog post, but I was so honored by this review that I had to share it immediately!  This is why I LOVE what I do!  


Thursday, August 2, 2012

Slacking on the blog...

Okay, I admit it -- I haven't been keeping up with blogging, and there's no one to blame for it but ME!  The days just seem to go by so quickly, and before I know it, I realize it's been a long time since my last post.  

I've got so many weddings to blog about -- each one different, and each one joyful in its own way -- let me start with a wedding ceremony that was traditional-looking on the outside, but had wonderful humor all the way through!

Here I am, coming down the aisle -- I'm smiling because I know what's going to be coming!

 Ted and Patricia were married in the Rose Garden at Leu Gardens, a wonderfully beautiful botanical park in Orlando.  Their wedding was on April 15th, which fell during a weekend -- Ted works for the IRS, so of course, we included a line or two about why they chose this particular date for their wedding!

But what made their ceremony really humorous were references to Sponge Bob!  On their first date, after a movie, they stopped in at a toy store near the theater, and both of them immediately headed to the Sponge Bob toys.  They knew then that they were meant to be together! 

Besides being so in love, what's wonderful about Ted & Patricia is that they are also best friends -- an important factor in any marriage!  Their ceremony included lots of references to friendship, and also included a Sand Ceremony with their mothers forming the base of the sand in their vase.

Ted was so happy to be marrying Patricia that he answered each one of my questions with an "I Do" without even waiting for me to finish!  He was so thrilled, he just couldn't wait!

The part of the ceremony that was the most fun, by far, was when Patricia put the ring on Ted's finger -- on his right hand!  After a small whisper from me, some laughs from the guests, and Ted putting his left hand out (I referenced it as "the other right hand"), Patricia successfully placed the ring on his finger.

 As I pronounced them husband and wife, the kiss they shared was so sweet and wonderful -- I don't think there was a dry eye in the house!

Thank you, Ted and Patricia, for choosing me to be a part of your joyful day -- may you never stop playing with Sponge Bob toys!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Long Time, No Post!

Yep, it's been a while since my last blog post, and I don't have any excuse except for the fact that I've been so busy!  Wedding Season in Florida runs from October through May, and there have been so many wonderful, creative, fun ceremonies that I hardly know where to start!

I'll begin with a ceremony that was probably one of the most unusual ones I've ever done!  Matt and Cristin were such a fun couple to work with!  Their love of Mexican food inspired their Mexican-themed wedding, from not only their menu, but their entire decor and entertainment.  As their guests arrived, they were serenaded by a live Mariachi band (who were pretty dang good!)

To add to the fun tone of the ceremony, each attendant wore a different-colored Mexican outfit -- a true explosion of color!

The bride and groom's offbeat personalities were reflected in the wording throughout their entire ceremony, including two friends reading the words to "Never Gonna Give You Up"  (an old 80's disco song), which had everyone screaming with laughter.   

As I always say, and will keep on saying, one size ceremony does NOT fit all!  

Congratulations, Matt & Cristin, for having the ceremony that YOU wanted, and thank you for allowing me to create it with you!