1. Do you offer inter-faith ceremonies?
Yes! Although my focus is Christian in nature, if a couple wants an interfaith ceremony I am more than happy to provide a ceremony that blends the Christian faith with another faith tradition. However, I do not do civil-only ceremonies because I am a pastor and I do prefer to add a faith element to the ceremony. I promise I won’t push my beliefs on you as a couple, nor do I expect you to visit my church or jump through a lot of hoops. Your ceremony is about you and your faith. I am just the instrument that is being used to guide you through your ceremony and help you understand the commitments that you are making to one another.
2. Will you jump out of an airplane with us, do a scuba-diving ceremony or any other crazy thing?
Um….no. Sorry! No amount of cash will get me into an airplane with a parachute strapped to my back, and sharks scare me. As long as my feet stay planted firmly on the ground I’m A-OK with most ceremony locations. However, if a location makes me extremely uncomfortable in any way or involves risking my life, I would have to say I’m not your gal! Thanks for understanding :)
3. What are your fees?
I ask that $100.00 be paid at the time of booking to lock in your rehearsal date, wedding date, and first two pre-ceremony appointments. This is a deposit and is non-refundable. I then require that $275.00 be paid to me 14 days prior to the wedding rehearsal, along with any additional travel fees and expenses if owed. These details will be outlined exactly in your contract so that there aren’t any surprises on your wedding day. There is a fee for an online premarital assessment, but this tool is optional and is paid directly to the assessment company. If a couple does require further counseling, I may charge an additional fee for materials upon request of the couple.
4. How long do your ceremonies typically last and what’s included?
Because each ceremony is unique to each couple, it’s hard to say exactly how long your ceremony will be. However, the majority of my ceremonies are between 20 and 30 minutes in length.
A typical ceremony consists of these elements:
- Seating of Parents & Processional of Wedding Party
- Reading(s) – optional but recommend at least one reading to set the tone
- Minister’s remarks (that’s me!)
- Vows of Intention
- Wedding Vows
- Exchange of Rings
- Mini Ceremony (unity candle, sand ceremony, spice ceremony, hand-fasting, unity cross, etc..) – optional
- Special song or special ceremony (i.e. blessing of children, remembrance of deceased, etc…) – optional
- Blessing & Declaration of Marriage
- The Kiss! (that’s you!)
- Introduction of Couple and Recessional
5. Will we get to preview the ceremony?
Absolutely! I type up each ceremony and email or print out a copy for each couple to look at before our second meeting. You can edit it or add to it at that time. I require that your ceremony script and details be finalized at least one week prior to your ceremony so that your rehearsal runs quickly and smoothly.
6. How long will the rehearsal last? We have reservations at “XYZ Restaurant” and we don’t want to be late!
I am not a fan of long rehearsals, so if I am conducting the rehearsal you can count on it being done in about 40 minutes. We do not rehearse the ceremony word-for-word, but we do go over each section that you’ve selected. We will spend the majority of our time showing your attendants and groomsmen how to enter and exit, where to stand, when to deliver the rings, etc…so it’s important that everyone be in attendance and on time. If you are working with a wedding coordinator who will be running the rehearsal, I am more than happy to accommodate whatever your planner needs from me at that time.
7. Why do we need to meet with you before the ceremony, and what is post-ceremony counseling?
I have a responsibility to each couple to make sure that you know what marriage is all about and you know what you are entering into on your wedding day. I ask for two meetings before the ceremony so that we can accomplish a few things: a) it gives you an opportunity to meet me and get a feeling for who I am and what I’m all about. I want to put your mind at ease and help you to become comfortable with me as your officiant; b) it gives me an opportunity for me to get to know you, learn your love story, and share some resources with you that will hopefully prepare you for your marriage; and c) we get the fun of planning your ceremony and making it unique to you as a couple.
Post-Ceremony counseling is a visit (or phone call) that I make to you about a month or two after your ceremony. This is an easy-going meeting just to see how you are adjusting to married life, to see if there is anything I can do for you, and to answer any questions you may have once all of the preparations, ceremony, and honeymoon are over. This meeting is optional, but I’ve found that most couples appreciate the follow-up.
8. Do you have a cancellation policy?
Because I book weddings well in advance I would appreciate as much time as possible for cancellations. I understand that unforeseen circumstances do happen, so if a cancellation is imminent I will work with the couple to accommodate a future date that works for both of us.
Although unforeseen and highly improbable, if something should happen where I become unavailable for your booked wedding date after the contract is signed, I will provide another ordained minister for your ceremony who can carry out your wishes for your ceremony.
9. Will you travel outside of DeKalb (where is that, anyways?)
Yes, I am more than happy to travel outside of DeKalb. Other than Northern Illinois University, there isn’t much here but corn, corn, and more corn. Did I mention the corn? I know that most couples prefer to have their ceremonies closer to the city of Chicago, so I am happy to drive to you. I only ask that if your ceremony is outside of a 90 minute radius of DeKalb that you pay an additional $50.00 to cover my gas, tolls, and extra time, as well as any hotel accommodations, if needed. I will also ask that you cover any parking/valet fees for me at your wedding venue (even if you’re within the 90 minute radius of DeKalb).
10. When do you need the marriage license & do you file it for us?
I require the official marriage license from the County Clerk’s office no later than the rehearsal date. Most County Clerks do not require more than the officiant’s signature on the certificate, so you probably will not have to sign anything after the ceremony. I am happy to provide you with a keepsake marriage certificate that you can sign, along with two witnesses, if you’d like one. This certificate is included in my package fee.
I submit (via USPS Priority Mail) the marriage license on the next business day after your ceremony. The time it takes to get registered with the County Clerk is dependent on the Clerk’s office. You can usually expect to receive your registered certificate within 4- 6 weeks of your ceremony.
11. What do you wear when you perform a ceremony?
Clothing (no nudist ceremonies for me – it would be scary for your guests!) But seriously, I will dress conservatively for the occasion. I’ll wear a professional suit (tailored jacket coordinating skirt/slacks and blouse), a scarf or stole and simple jewelry or clothing appropriate for the ceremony location and approved by the engaged couple. A clergy robe and stole can be worn upon request (but I am only 5’2 and the “black hole” look is kinda dismal!). I am also very much open to themed weddings and happy to discuss costumes, if your ceremony calls for cos-play.
12. Will you attend our reception?
Although I love a good party, including me in your celebration dinner is not necessary and I will probably respectfully decline the invitation to attend. This is nothing personal towards the bride and groom, but I don’t expect any bride and groom or their parents to have to entertain me at a reception. I am happy, however, to stay at your reception to pray the blessing over the meal if that is requested before the rehearsal.
13. What are your credentials?
I am so glad you’ve asked! I have completed our denomination’s seminary program (with honors) am a licensed minister, held accountable by the Board of Directors and Elders of the Vineyard Christian Fellowship of DeKalb. My license is renewed by the Board annually and I have recently been nominated for official life-long ordination. The difference between a licensed and ordained pastor/minister is that an ordained clergy person is ordained for life, while a licensed minister has to have their licensed renewed yearly. I can perform all of the same rites as my fellow ordained ministers (baptisms, marriages, dedications, hospital visits, funerals, etc..) and am recognized by the Church as a Minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My husband is an ordained minister and is my back-up if something were to ever cause me not to be able to perform my duties.