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I perform civil weddings through out MA working with couples to create a personal ceremony that best fits them.
Creating meaningful and special wedding ceremonies that celebrate and honor your unique relationship and the home you have and/or will create with one another. Each ceremony is written from a "blank page" specifically for you and your fiance/partner. Whether you are seeking a non-denominational, civil, spiritual or religious ceremony, I will work with you to ensure the right elements are woven into your ceremony in a way that reflects who you each are as individuals and as a couple.
Posts by our Officiants Experts
As you spend time laboring over your guest list, and the seating chart for your reception, you may also be wondering how to acknowledge your many guests during your ceremony. Family and friends who will be gathering together to witness your wedding are, of course, important to you. So how do make that clear to them in a meaningful way during your ceremony?
Many of the couples I work with ask me this question. As with many elements of the ceremony, my answer depends upon the couple, their reasons for bringing together the people they have chosen, and the other elements of their ceremony that we’ve already planned.
Some couples opt to have me write a unique message to the guests, thanking them for gathering, inviting them to bear witness to the couple’s love, or perhaps asking them to share in the responsibility of supporting the marriage. These kinds of personal messages, usually delivered early on in the ceremony, are a good way to show your love and gratitude to your assembled guests.
I have also worked with couples to incorporate specific rituals into the ceremony that involve some or all of the guests, as a way to get them personally involved with the ceremony. For example, a couple getting married on the beach asked their guests ahead of time, to bring a stone with words of blessing or intention to the ceremony. Before the start of the ceremony, these stones were used to create an aisle for the couple to walk down. This activity gave everyone at the wedding a powerful and tangible reminder of their love and support of the couple.
However you choose to do it, acknowledging your guests for their role in your lives is an important part of a meaningful wedding ceremony.
What should the wedding rehearsal accomplish? Melissa, a bride I worked with shared her experience:
“It wasn’t until my own wedding rehearsal, working with LisaAnn, that I started to understand the purpose of this kind of practice. With someone—particularly a calm, reflective someone, who knows you and your fiancé well—running the rehearsal, it can become about more than simply walking and standing.
LisaAnn, our officiant, did have us practice where to stand, of course, and where to walk, but she also walked us through each component of the ceremony. Having fixated for so long on the individual components of the ceremony (the reading, the vows, the pouring of sand…), this rehearsal was the first chance Jamie and I had to really see the ceremony as a whole. LisaAnn explained the meaning of each component to our family and wedding party, who were there with us. Though we’d heard the explanations before, at the rehearsal it began to really sink in what we were doing. In addition to practicing how and where to walk, we also had the opportunity to practice feeling some of the emotions that would overcome us the next day. We stood facing each other in front of LisaAnn, and were able to prepare ourselves mentally for what was to come.
The rehearsal is an important component and your officiant should be available to meet with you, at a reasonable time, on the day before your wedding, at the wedding location if possible, and walk through the ceremony with you. He or she should be able to provide explanations to your friends, family, and to you, and should discuss the ceremony flow, special components of the ceremony and what to expect, not merely where to walk and where to stand. You should leave your rehearsal feeling calmer, and ready for the day to come.”
Whether you are working with me or another officiant, the rehearsal should be a way to settle in, let go of any concerns and remember what your wedding ceremony and special day is all about.
It is quite easy in the months and days leading up to your wedding to get caught up in the details and decisions about all sorts of things: transportation, accommodations, flowers, cakes, seating charts and the list goes on…often pushing into the background what this day is really about.
Your wedding day is a celebration and affirmation of your love and willingness to enter into a commitment with your life partner. Keeping the importance of this in the forefront of your mind will help you let go of any angst you feel as the clock keeps ticking.
Enjoy the planning and all the little details: but when you find yourself a bit stressed, take a breath and remember, while these details are important to you and add to the success of your day, what people remember most is the ceremony and the fun of sharing this special time with you.
If you are working with an officiant/celebrant who is creating a unique personalized ceremony for you, chances are they have sent you an initial draft. For the couples I work with this usually occurs about two months prior to your wedding date. I have often heard “I am so glad this arrived when it did, it reminded us why we are marrying and helped us refocus”. Spending time with your ceremony can offer you the opportunity to slow down, refocus and sink into your special moment!
LisaAnn DuKaten, Celebrant & Interfaith Minister
Congratulations, you are getting married and planning one of the most important days of your life. You have the date, the venue and you begin to look for someone to marry you and before you know it you are confused about all the different options….So here it is in a nutshell:
a) Justice of the Peace: A JP is an appointed position through the Governors Counsel in Massachusetts for a period of 7 years. Fees and services are regulated by the State. However they can add to their fee for meetings, planning sessions, rehearsals, travel and even customization of their standard ceremony. By law they are required to put all their fees that you will be assessed in writing. Some JP’s are also a member of the clergy. If this is the case they may offer other services but be clear about the capacity in which they are solemnizing your wedding license. If they are signing as a “JP” then their fees need to be reflective of this.
b) Member’s of the Clergy who are affiliated with a temple, church, sanga, mosque, etc. usually have recommended donation to the place of worship. Ceremonies are designed to honor specific traditions, tenets and dogma. They are more ritualized and adhere to a particular order of ceremony. While there may be some customization this depends upon the individual clergy.
c) Members of Clergy and Celebrants, not affiliated with a specific house of worship include Non-denominational and Interfaith Ministers, Unitarian Universalist Ministers, Humanistic Ministers and Life Celebrants. There are a wide array of services from a simple basic ceremony using a “template” to a fully customized ceremony in which each part of the ceremony is designed for you. Each has their own style, willingness to spend time with you and having you involved in the creative process. Fee’s can dramatically range and often reflect the time an officiant is willing to commit to the design process. Make sure all agreements are in writing so you understand what the total cost will be.
d) Anyone of legal age that you designate: A friend or family member can solemnize a wedding in Massachusetts as long as they apply for a 1 day designation. A If you decide to go this route it might be helpful to read my blog on this topic.
Are you wondering how to acknowledge and recognize your many guests during your ceremony. Your family and friends are important to you, or you would not have invited them to witness