Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It was a Very Good Year.....

Wow, where did 2013 go?  It's hard to believe that in less than 6 hours, a new year will begin!  

As far as officiating, I must say, it's been my favorite year -- so many wonderful couples, so many creative wedding ceremonies -- each one different, each one special!  In fact, I could create the world's longest blog post if I wrote about all of them, so I won't do that here -- rather, I'll wish everyone and anyone who's reading this a heartfelt wish that 2014 will bring you good health, happiness, and peace -- and maybe even A Lovely Ceremony!  Happy New Year!  

And, as a P.S., above is my brand spankin'-new logo!  I wanted a little something to express the fun and happiness of what I do.  Please feel free to share your opinions! 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Delightful December Weddings!

There's something very special about a wedding during the holiday season -- each ceremony I performed was special, but there were four of them that were so amazing that I just had to write about them before this year ends!  

Trevor and Colleen wanted a ceremony that included wording about their love of dogs, and that would surprise their guests -- so as their ceremony began, I read a verse entitled "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog" that got their guests chuckling -- followed by some beautiful Disney references (since their ceremony took place at Disney's Boardwalk Hotel) suggested by Colleen's mother.  Their ceremony closed on a tender note, and the joy on their faces was radiant!

Colleen's bouquet was absolutely gorgeous!

  I knew from the first time I spoke with Chelsey and Jason that their wedding was going to be lighthearted and one-of-a-kind -- they told me when we met not only about their love of Christmas (in fact, their tree had been up since October 25th!), but that their favorite movie of all time was The Muppet Christmas Carol.  We had so much fun working on their ceremony, which included several quotes from the movie, references to their kitties, and a family ring-warming that added a beautiful touch.  And, of course, their ceremony at the beautifully-decorated Dubsdread Country Club was held by the tree!

Chelsey & Jason used this photo to announce their marriage to their family and friends!

 Next up on the Delightful December weddings was Kyla and Thadd's ceremony.  They were married at the lovely Eagle Creek Country Club, and put their very special, personalized touches on both their ceremony and their reception.  The most touching part of their ceremony was the words of love they whispered to each other during the ceremony -- that no one else could hear but them!  Kyla's dress graduated from white to pink -- so unique and beautiful!
I fell in love with Kyla & Thadd's adorable daughter!

And, last but not least, was Nicole & Josh's nature-themed ceremony at the lovely Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont.  They included a tree ceremony that included their grandparents, parents, and themselves, and talked about how a good marriage must be nurtured, like a tree needs nurturing to grow. Each participant added soil to the tree, and Nicole and Josh watered the tree.  But no doubt, the most touching part of their ceremony was the vows they wrote to each other -- some of the most loving words I've ever heard.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the park!  

And -- a first -- at the request of the bride and groom (and no resistance from me!), I officiated barefoot!  What fun!

Nicole was barefoot, and Josh decided at the last minute to wear shoes!

How lucky am I to work with such amazing couples?  I've said it before, and I'll say it again -- I absolutely LOVE what I do!

Until next time ...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

An Adventure-Filled Wedding!

In the 35-plus years I've been performing wedding ceremonies, I've never been bored -- because not only is every couple I work with different, but every ceremony I've performed is different!  Depending on the personalities of the couple, and the mood they wish to set for their ceremony, we work together until they are absolutely thrilled with the words that will unite them as husband and wife!

I knew from the first time that I met with Lauren and Chris that their ceremony was definitely going to be a great one -- one of the first things they told me about themselves was that they loved to travel, and had been to some amazing places -- and that they wanted to include their story, and those places, in their wedding ceremony.  

Over the next few months, as we worked on their ceremony, they were chock-full of great ideas, and actually came up with the exact wording they wanted to use in their ceremony to describe how they met, the places they'd been and the adventures they'd shared -- and how, one day, "at the super-fit age of 80," they planned to go back to the slopes of Colorado where they met, to "look back on an adventure-filled life spent with their travel partner and best friend."

They were married at an amazing venue in Orlando, Paradise Cove, which has a beachy, island vibe, and is right on a lake.  It's like a little slice of Hawaii in the middle of the Orlando resort district!

Chris and his groomsmen made their entrance via speedboat, jumped out when they reached shore, and ran down the aisle high-fiving everyone, including me!

Lauren had a more traditional entrance -- and their ceremony began.  Their guests were treated to hearing their story, which elicited many laughs -- and as their ceremony continued, their guests learned what they love about one another, along with their promises to love each other both in everyday life and in adventure.  

Their vows, in keeping with their unique ceremony, were said by taking turns, one line at a time -- and their ring exchange included a promise to keep each other's life interesting!  They, and their guests, were laughing one moment, crying the next!  

And -- do you know what the frosting on the cake was for me?  As I was leaving after their ceremony, Lauren's father ran up to me with a beaming face, and thanked me -- in the middle of all the celebration, he wanted to let me know how much he enjoyed their ceremony!  Yet another reason for me to say what I've said before, and will continue to say -- I love what I do!

Congratulations, Chris and Lauren -- may your great adventures in love and life continue to grow!  

Until next time....

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hobbits, Puns, Alligators and Mosquitoes!

When I meet with a new couple for the first time, after getting to know them and hearing about their wedding plans, my question to them is:  "Have you thought about what you'd like to have in your wedding ceremony?"  

Meeting with Carla and Matt, their answer was "something with Hobbit references and references to light; that includes our family, who are very important to us; and humor and puns."  Right up my creative alley!

Working on their ceremony, which was held under the beautiful arch at Kraft Azalea Garden in Winter Park, became a fun-filled process, because they were really involved in the construction of their ceremony -- their creativity and ideas made for a ceremony that was truly, uniquely theirs!  

As their ceremony began, Karla walked down the walkway to the beautiful arch where their ceremony took place....

Karla and her father walking in...

He gave her a sweet kiss....

And Matt watched, with happy
tears in his eyes!
They included a ring-warming ceremony, which gave each family member a chance to make a wish or blessing on their rings....

And then the fun, and puns, and gentle humor, began! 

One example?  I asked Carla if she was ready to step into the circle of "Matt-rimony," and then I asked Matt if he was ready to step into the circle of "Carla-trimony!" 

But my favorite humorous section of their ceremony was this:

"Before embarking on a great adventure, famous hobbit Bilbo Baggins once said: 'I should like to know about risks, out-of-pocket expenses, time required and remuneration, and so forth' -- by which he meant: What am I going to get out of it?  And am I going to come back alive?

Wow, what a great comparison -- the adventure of marriage is one of the greatest risks of all!  Out of pocket expenses: everything you have.  Time required: the rest of your lives.  Remuneration: no monetary gain is guaranteed.  But what are you going to get out of it?  The reward of a life filled with love and joy, the creation of a new family, an everlasting light to illuminate your days.  And will you get out alive?  Well, that may depend on how many times Carla has to ask Matt to turn off Grand Theft Auto 5 on their honeymoon!" 

Carla and Matt's vows to each other included both humor and touching elements -- and as I pronounced them husband and wife, I did so with not only the authority of the State of Florida, but also the alligators, mosquitoes, and Republicans that govern the state!

A dip for the kiss!

Thank you, Carla and Matt -- I can guarantee you that there won't be another wedding ceremony like yours -- which is exactly why I always say that I love what I do!

Carla & Matt's ceremony
was held behind the pillars,
close to the water.

And a huge "Thank You!" to the wonderful husband-and-wife team of Conan & Yaisa Segrest of www.fulllinestudio.com for sharing these beautifully amazing photos!  

Until next time...

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sharing is good!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again (and again, and again, and again...) -- I absolutely love working with creative couples to construct a wedding ceremony that is something truly unique and individualized to them!

Right now I'm working with an amazing couple, Jennie and Tan, who just so happen to live in Australia. They've written a blog post about working with me, how we met, and how much fun we're having, and I just had to share it!  

Here's the link -- enjoy!

When you read their blog, this will make sense!
Creativity in your wedding ceremony?  Absolutely!
What better way to get your celebration off to a great start?!

Stay tuned for more details!

Until next time....

Monday, October 7, 2013

Good Things Come in Small Packages!

Every couple I have the pleasure of working with has a different wedding in their minds, which is what makes my job so interesting!  Whether it's an elegant affair for a large group -- a medium-size party for special family and friends -- or a small, intimate gathering for just the bride and groom, and maybe a few others, every single wedding deserves to have a wedding ceremony that is perfectly fitted to the couple, and their desires.  

I wanted to blog today about a number of intimate weddings I've performed recently, some of which involved working with couples from out of town, and in some cases, out of the country!  It's so much fun to work with a couple from a long distance, then get the honor to not only meet them in person, but be a part of such an important day in their lives.

For most of the intimate ceremonies I perform, I have the pleasure of working with a great photographer and good friend, Celeste Sheaffer of Celeste's Photography, who specializes in intimate ceremonies. She has a friendly and gentle manner that enables couples to be comfortable, which allows her to get great, personal shots!

Gina & Phil are from New York State, and were looking for a small, personal wedding where they could include their own vows that would express their feelings for each other.  On a warm August day at the beautiful International Palms Resort in Orlando, they shared some of the most heartfelt vows I've ever heard in all my years of officiating!  With only two other family members on hand, they had the wedding of their dreams -- gentle, intimate and joyful!

A few days later, a couple from Liverpool, England, Kacey and Chris, tied the knot at beautiful Gemini Springs Park in DeBary.  I offer a package that includes officiant and photography services, which is exactly what they were looking for!  They enjoyed the natural beauty of the park, and then headed back to the resort area for the rest of their stay.

And a few days later, another couple from the UK, Jennifer and Terry, were married at beautiful Leu Gardens in Orlando, with only her parents and sister in attendance.  Although the day was hot, they enjoyed the gardens and their ceremony, which included a Blending of the Sands in Terry's favorite soccer team colors!

And, last but not least, Carla and Matt had an amazingly beautiful, humor-and-pun filled, joyful ceremony at Kraft Azalea Garden in Winter Park, with only their family members in attendance.  The park is right on a lovely lake and has gigantic oaks and a pillared arch that's just perfect for intimate ceremonies.  

Each ceremony was small in attendance, but large in heart -- and here's a fact I saved until the last of this blog post -- the reason that I have a soft spot for intimate ceremonies is that my husband and I eloped, with just the two of us and our officiant, way back in 1974!  

Until next time ... 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Mawwiage -- and an Amazingly Creative Wedding!

Every single ceremony I have the privilege to be involved with is different and special -- and, every once in a while, one comes along that is truly so unique and spectacular that I just have to share it in detail -- so this post may be a little longer than my usual!

When I met with Giselle and David a few months prior to their wedding, we made an "instant" connection -- they are one of those wonderful couples who are so warm, friendly and honest, that you can know them for five minutes and feel like you've known them for years!  
Are they a cute couple, or what?!  
Their ceremony and reception took place at the Enzian Theater in Maitland, so from the get-go, this was definitely going to be a wedding "off the beaten aisle." The Enzian is an amazing movie theater that offers tables and big, comfy chairs -- you can watch a movie and have a bite to eat at the same time.  They offer classic movies, along with the types of movies you usually don't see in standard theaters -- just perfect for a couple looking for a different type of wedding!

The entrance sign to The Enzian

A table setup -- note the booth-type setup in the back!

David & Giselle wanted to have their ceremony and food inside the comfort of the air-conditioned theater (after all, it was August!), but they also wanted their guests to have outdoor fun -- so they chose to have several outdoor games on the lawn at the Enzian, which has a large lawn with lots of beautiful old oak trees.  Games included Bocce Ball, Corn Hole, Giant Jenga and Ladder Ball -- something for everyone! Also outside was a wheelbarrow filled with seeds, as a gift for guests to take home -- so original!  David is a landscape architect, so it was truly a fitting idea. 

As their guests arrived at the ceremony, they were greeted by Giselle & David's names in lights -- there was no way you could not know where the ceremony was going to take place -- but that was just the beginning of the magic!

How cool is this to have at the entrance to your wedding?!

They had decorated the lobby of the theater with lots of movie-themed decorations, and on their sign-in table, they had lots and lots of vintage postcards --they asked each guest to write a greeting, advice, or whatever they wanted, on a postcard,and put it into a vintage box.  

What a great idea -- rather than a guest book,
having guests leave a message to always keep!
As their ceremony began, the lights dimmed -- and an introductory movie was played -- what an AMAZING way to start a wedding ceremony!  Every single guest (including me!) was just blown away!  You've GOT to check this out!  


Here's the front stage/screen area, where the movie played
and the ceremony took place!
The movie ended, and the music began, as David was escorted into the theater by his parents -- followed by Giselle and her parents.  David & Giselle walked up the steps to the stage, where we began the ceremony.

And their ceremony -- oh my, it was full of smiles and laughter!  It included a reading from Albert Eistein about love and relativity --

"Gravitation cannot be held responsible for people falling in love.
How on earth can you explain in terms of chemistry and
physics so important a biological phenomenon as love?
Put your hand on a stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour.
Sit with that special girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute.
THAT'S relativity."  

When it was time to take their vows, Giselle & David performed "Rock, Paper, Scissors" to decide who would say their vows first -- what an original idea! Their vows included so many personal references, and were not only humorous, but so touching.  

And the joy on their faces as they were pronounced husband and wife -- oh, my -- so radiant!  

As they came off the stage, the first thing they did was greet and hug their parents, and then they went from table to table, hugging and greeting their guests -- such a warm way to begin their celebration!

As I left the Enzian, I was smiling all over -- and I could see their guests coming out, ready to play some lawn games.  

David & Giselle, your wedding will be one that will always remain in my memory as unique, warm and wonderful!  May the two of you continue to share the joy of your wedding day for all your years together!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

I've been Podcasted!

Last October, I officiated at one of the most creative, fun, amazing ceremonies ever -- Jackie and Chris were married in  a Disney "Memories" ceremony at Disney's Grand Floridian Hotel.  We had SO much fun working on their ceremony, which included a verse about love being like a roller coaster (since they're both roller coaster nuts), along with references to the Haunted Mansion, where they had gotten engaged. Little did I know that Jackie's love of Disney would one day lead me to be interviewed for the Disney Wedding Podcast!
Don't you just LOVE Jackie's dress and flowers?
There was a Haunted Mansion charm in the middle!

With their wedding being so unique, Jackie was interviewed by Carrie Hayward of the Disney Wedding Podcast, and one of the questions was about her ceremony -- which, thanks to her glowing review, led to Carrie seeking me out for an interview about not just Disney Weddings, but also questions about how to choose an officiant and make a ceremony unique.

Well, I certainly consider these two points of highest importance when it comes to a couple's wedding, so I was honored and happy to speak with her -- and here's the link!

Do I sound excited to be able to talk about my passion for officiating one-of-a-kind wedding ceremonies?  To borrow a Midwest expression --
"You Betcha!"

I'll say it every time -- I just LOVE what I do!  Being able to make a couple's wedding ceremony unique and memorable is an honor and a pleasure!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Creativity and Cake!

With July bringing a slowdown of wedding ceremonies due to Florida's blistering heat, it's a great time for me to work on the upcoming Fall Wedding Season's ceremonies.  For me as a Wedding Officiant, the actual ceremonies may be scant, but the work of creating the ceremonies for the upcoming busy season manages to keep me pretty dang busy!

One of the things I love best about what I do is working with a couple prior to their wedding day to create a wedding ceremony that is a true reflection of who they are as a couple, and says what they want to have said as they are married.  No two ceremonies are ever exactly the same, which means that each ceremony must be created from scratch.  I liken it to baking a cake -- a standard cake mix will taste good, but a custom cake that's done from scratch will have that "extra touch" that makes it truly memorable and extra-delicious!

A nice cake, but....

Look at the difference when you have a...
Gorgeous Custom Cake!
(Created by Cake Designers, Sanford, FL)
To give you some examples of creative ceremonies I've got coming up, I've got everything from Carl Sagan to Drs. Who and Seuss -- Winnie-the-Pooh to The Hobbit -- a proposal that took place on a cliff, to puns and references to alligators and mosquitoes -- the list goes on and on, but you get the idea!  

I say it every time -- I absolutely LOVE what I do -- and helping a couple create a one-of-a-kind memorable wedding ceremony is the icing on the cake!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Stormy Outside, Sunny Inside!

An outdoor ceremony is always beautiful, especially at a lovely venue like Casa Feliz in Winter Park, Florida -- but sometimes, in spite of our plans, Mother Nature has other ones in store!

Amanda & Francisco's wedding was supposed to be outside, but about an hour before their ceremony time, the storm clouds began to gather, and it became obvious that things would have to be moved inside.  Thankfully, Casa Feliz has a beautiful, intimate indoor spot for ceremonies, so although it wasn't their original plan, they still had a beautiful spot for their ceremony!

Thankfully, before the storm began, they had chosen to have a "First Look," so their photographer, the amazing Heather Rice of Heather Rice Photography, was able to capture a good amount of photos before the lightning, thunder and rain rolled in!
Are they adorable, or what?!
We had worked together on a wonderfully customized ceremony, which began with a nod to how they met -- "Who would have thought that reaching for an engineering textbook in a bookstore would have led to this day?"  It started their ceremony off with a gentle chucke, and from there, it became more tender -- and as a tear came from Amanda's eye, Francisco wiped it with such sweetness!
Their Sand Ceremony celebrated the two of them coming together, along with a third color that represented their future children -- a truly unique and wonderful touch!

And oh, the wonderful kiss as they were pronounced husband and wife -- so full of joy!

So, we let the thunder, lightning and rain roll on -- it was sunny and bright inside!

There were sunflowers everywhere in their decor, including inside!

Congratulations, Amanda & Francisco -- may your life together be filled with sunshine and happiness!