“Love is, above all, the gift of oneself.” − John Anouih
Why choose an officiant/celebrant?
How many weddings/funerals have your performed?
How do I know if you’re the right officiant for us?
What are your legal and other qualifications?
How often will we meet prior to event?
How do you put together the ceremony?
Can you customize our ceremony?
Where do you perform ceremonies?
How long will the ceremony last?
Do you work with samesex couples?
Can you help us with the vows?
Will you be present at the dress rehearsal?
Will you join us at the reception?
Why have an officiant lead the funeral ceremony and present the eulogy rather than a family friend?
What sort of funeral/memorial services do you provide?
What are your fees?
How does the payment schedule work?
What will you wear to the ceremony?
Do you have a back up in case something happens to you on day of event?
What is a celebrant?
1. Why choose an officiant/celebrant over a pastor/minister?
If you are not closely affiliated with a church and yet consider yourself a spiritual person, choosing an officiant is the way to go. An officiant will hear your interpretation of Spirit, divinity and God and create a ceremony that is sacred, using language you understand and relate to and feel inspired by.
2. How many weddings/funerals have you performed?
I performed my first wedding for a friend in 2002. Years later, when trying to figure out how I could earn an income doing what I love, I remembered how much I came alive during the officiating process and have since done around 25 weddings. I have been wanting to incorporate funerals into my repetoire, too and performed my first one this fall (2013). It was a beautiful and profound experience and I look forward to being of service to more families in this way in the future.
3. How do I know if you’re the right officiant for us?
First we meet on the phone, or ideally in person or Skype and talk about your background, your needs/wants and how you envision the ceremony (I can help you brainstorm). If you’re getting married, we will talk about everything from and beyond how you met and came to fall in love, to how you intend to grow as a couple and what your relatives are like. If you are planning a funeral/memorial, we will meet and discuss your beloved’s life and death and ways in which we can have a meaningful, grateful, even joyous remembrance gathering in their name. During this initial meeting time, you will know if I am the person who can create the tone that you are looking for. This is a complimentary meeting.
4. What are your legal and other qualifications?
I am ordained by the Universal Life Church since 2003 and this qualifies me to perform marriages in most states, including Calfiornia and New York. I have held jobs as a radio and print journalist, a publicist, an event and hospitality coordinator, stage manager and yoga teacher and so am well-versed in writing, public speaking and organizing.
5. How often will we meet prior to the event?
In almost all cases, that first initial meeting is thorough enough to make only one in-person/Skype meeting necessary. From there a few additional emails, maybe a phone call and that’s it.
6. How do you put together the ceremony?
I operate from a listening-based approach. If you choose to proceed with me, I will use what I learned in our meeting and will come up with about 20 creative questions tailored specifically to you to answer. You will return the questionnaire answered and at that point I will begin to write the script/ceremony. I have a range of books and poems and ideas from a wide arena of cultures and spiritual figures that I use to help shape the ceremony. You will have the opportunity to read and review the ceremony and tell me of any necessary edits. If the past is any indication of the future, it is unusual for the couple to be anything but pleased upon the first seen draft. .
7. Can you customize our ceremony?
Most definitely! I am the farthest thing from a farm factory officiant. My process is such that the ceremony will reflect you and you only. If that means you want mostly traditional elements, great. If that means you want unique rituals or to add your own personal flairs, we’ll find a way. That’s one reason I love this occupation. Just as no two people are exactly alike, neither are my ceremonies.
8. Where do you perform weddings?
I am based out of Humboldt County, Northern California. However, I have a satellite home in Brooklyn, New York. Either location is workable and I’m open to other locations as well.
9.How long will the ceremony last?
Ceremony length depends, to some degree, on the numbers in the audience. However, it’s really up to you. I find that the shortest is 10 minutes and the longest is 25. But again I gauge length based on crowd size as well as what other aspects are happening besides my talking (readings by other people, live music interludes, etc).
10. Do you work with samesex couples?
I have been anticipating this legal reality and am so excited to see this change occur in my lifetime. Yes yes yes!!!
11. Can you help us with the vows?
Yes. Some couples write their own (I can help you with this). Others ask me to write their vows for them. I do this by noticing what values you emphasize in our meeting and in your questionnaire and write them from what I see/hear in you. You approve them, of course before the big day! We can do the vows in whatever way you are most comfortable.
12. Will you be present at the dress rehearsal?
If you like, yes. I can attend the dress rehearsal and help you organize your wedding party for the ceremony so that you don’t have to try to organize all the excited friends and family into listening to you and practicing. 🙂
13. Will you join us at the wedding reception?
That’s entirely up to you. 🙂
14. Why have an officiant lead the funeral ceremony and present the eulogy rather than a family friend?
An officiant brings experience to the role and even an element of formality which helps distinguish the memorial from just being another party of sorts. Also, it takes quite a bit of time to put together a thorough and graceful eulogy which can be a lot to ask of a friend or family member.
15. What sort of funeral/memorial services do you provide?
I can write and present the eulogy. If you are having a story-telling time, live music, slide-show, or any number of different activities during your event, I can act as emcee or organizer, helping the event to flow from one activity to the next. I can hold space and/or coordinate the flow of the program in whatever way you feel would be helpful.
16. What are your fees?
Fees vary between $300 – $600. Fees depend on degree of advanced notice, distance of travel and time, size of event, rehearsal time, intricacy of ceremony, etc.
17. How does the payment schedule work?
After our initial complimentary consultation and upon the return of your questionnaire, you will send in a deposit of half of the agreed upon fee for my service. On the day of your event, the remainder is paid.
18. What will you wear to our ceremony?
I can wear whatever you request. I usually wear white with a color complimenting scarf. I can wear pants. I determine my outfit based on the style of the ceremony you’re having.
19. Do you have a backup in case something happens to you on day of event?
I take extra-conscious care of myself as a ceremony approaches and haven’t missed one yet. However, in the event that I was ill, I would definitely line up an experienced and heartful understudy to take my place.
20. What is a celebrant?
Celebrant is synonymous with officiant, but officiant is used more often and celebrant, less often. The word ‘celebrant’ however, is imbued with the true essence of the job which is one who is celebrating a life transition with ritual and ceremony. It’s not a role done out of a matter of function, as ‘officiant’ implies, but more so out of reverence and gratitude, which is what a good celebrant brings to the gathering.