Busy year ahead!

Hello there!  Wow, has it really been over 2 years since I’ve blogged on here?  This might just be a huge coincidence, but it’s also the exact age of my son, haha.  We’ve got baby #2 coming in April (boy name suggestions are welcome!) so I can’t promise I’ll be much better, but I can tell you that it doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy with wedding stuff!

2015 has been a busy wedding year and I still have one more wedding scheduled on Thanksgiving weekend.  I was able to officiate two very special weddings this year (among many other awesome ceremonies): one for my friend Bobby and his beautiful wife Alison, who got married in Temecula, and another one for my very dear college friend Maria, and her husband, Jose.  Both of these ceremonies were so personal and touching, and I was just so happy that I was invited to be a part of them.

the merry ministers arteaga wedding the merry ministers schley wedding

For the last couple years I started getting more involved with event coordinating with Events by Katherine, and this has been such a wonderful experience.  I’m starting to run my own weddings through Katherine which is incredibly exciting, and I have several weddings booked with her for 2016 already.

I’ve also been working on my Wedding Wire page for the officiant side of things, and have already booked 2 wedding ceremonies for 2016, which is very exciting!

On top of that, my cousin is getting married next year (yay!!!), as well as one of my best friend’s from college, and I’m happy to be “all hands on deck” for both of these.  I’m excited to be able to share with both of them all of the wedding knowledge I’ve gleaned from my own events throughout the last few years, and that they both know they can call me with any random wedding questions they have.  It’s so nice to be able to provide the comfort of knowing what you’re doing to people who are going through something for the first (and only) time.  I’m still trying to convince one of them to have a mashed potato bar during their cocktail hour, but I don’t think I’m going to win that one…but seriously, have a mashed potato bar during your cocktail hour…you won’t regret it!

Here’s to a busy, bright, and awesome 2016 wedding year!

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It’s been a while!

Lots and little has happened since our Fall 2012 Wrap Up Blog.  Shortly after that, I (Alexandra) found out that my husband and I were expecting!  With a baby due in August (he’s due in a little over a week, eek), I figured I should lay low on the officiating 🙂

At the time we found out, I already had two weddings booked for the 2013 season, so I emailed both couples right away and let them know that I’d have a 6 and 7 month belly for their weddings.  I knew this may not be ideal for some brides, but both of them were super nice and told me that as long as I was feeling ok, they would still like me to officiate their wedding.  So, here’s my big 2013 season wrap up!

The first wedding was at a beautiful building in Redlands, CA, called The Mitten Building.  I really love how this beautiful couple set up the building, with the ceremony in the area upstairs, and the reception set up in the larger area downstairs.  There was also a great basement level bar that was very cool!

photo 1

Building used to be an old citrus production warehouse, hence the orange theme--I thought this was a great touch!

Building used to be an old citrus production warehouse, hence the orange theme–I thought this was a great touch!

The upstairs ceremony area

The upstairs ceremony area

A terrible shot of the downstairs reception area

A terrible shot of the downstairs reception area

Another bad photo of the very cool basement bar!

Another bad photo of the very cool basement bar!

My second and last wedding of the season was close to home, but in a completely unexpected location!  This one took place at the Newland Barn in Huntington Beach, which I had never heard of.  When driving there for the rehearsal, I thought I was lost because my directions took me straight into a shopping center.  I was freaking out that I was completely lost and would be late for the rehearsal, but nope, I was in the right place!  Tucked in the back corner of the shopping center is a city owned property with the cutest little barn and gazebo, that serve as the perfect wedding venue!

photo 1

Beautiful lace settings

Beautiful lace settings

photo 3 photo 4 photo 5

And I loved this idea for guests to sign:

wedding tree

Gorgeous and creative, isn’t it?

Well, I want to give a special thanks to both of these great couples that allowed me to still be a part of their ceremony, even with a big belly in the way!

I’m looking forward to an active 2014 season already!

Fall Season Wrap Up!

Well, the first wedding of this hectic season was the day before Jeff and I left to Germany!  This intimate wedding took place in Rancho Palos Verdes, with a stunning backdrop:

Aside from the beautiful vows which the groom and bride wrote themselves, one of the most impressive parts of this ceremony was the rendition of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 115 by the groom’s sister.  The “ev’n,” “twixt,” “o’er,” and “reck’ning” were perfectly delivered!

Next came a stunning wedding at Strawberry Farms in Irvine, CA.  It was nice to officiate a wedding in my own backyard!  All the vendors involved in this wedding guaranteed this as one of the most stylish and beautiful weddings I’ve attended.  The ladies from Gather Events did a wonderful job putting and keeping it all together.  This ceremony was special because of the attention the groom and bride paid to their parents in their ceremony.  The parents were recognized not once, but twice throughout the ceremony.  Before the groom and bride did their own declarations of intent, they turned to their parents and thanked them for all of their love and support, and for being such great examples of what a marriage should be.  At the end of the ceremony, before their first kiss, they wanted one last kiss as a single person, from the people that first kissed them when they came into this world.  How adorable is that?!  Let me tell you, the crowd was in tears (and I was on the verge).

The following week was a double hitter.  On Thursday I had another intimate and beautiful beach wedding, in Laguna Beach, CA.  The musical accompaniment for this ceremony was two young ladies singing along with their guitars, whom the groom and bride found playing on a sidewalk and liked so much they asked them to perform at their ceremony!  For the commemorative portion of their ceremony, this couple decided to write down their promises to each other, share them with guests before putting them in a bottle, and toss the bottle into the ocean.  It was beautiful, and beautifully executed!  One thing I’m sure this couple won’t forget about their wedding is the roaring of the waves and evading the rising tide!

That weekend took me to Beaumont, California, for a beautiful sunset wedding overlooking a golf course.  There was a tiny moment of panic when the best man realized he had forgotten the ring, but thankfully it was an at home wedding, which meant he just excused himself and returned soon thereafter with the rings in hand!

My last wedding for this season has a very special place in my heart.  This groom and bride first saw me officiate another wedding over the Summer, and contacted me about officiating their own ceremony in Fillmore, CA.  The groom and bride were absolutely amazing to work with, and had so many creative and unique ideas for their ceremony, that we came out with a beautiful ceremony.  Both the bride and groom are very creative, but each in their own way, and this unique creativity is what they really wanted conveyed in their ceremony: they are each unique individuals, but also choose to be bonded as one.  This ceremony took place at Limoneira Ranch, underneath a gorgeous, outstretched tree.

The bride looked absolutely stunning in her 1920’s dress, and the groom was not far behind!

Thank you to all the couples that made this such a memorable wedding season!

Wedding Season 2012 Wrap Up

Well, it’s been quite the wedding season this year!

Wedding season opened up with my husband and I driving to Phoenix, Arizona, for one of my best friend’s weddings.  I was honored that she asked me to officiate 🙂

Photos by Jennifer Bowen Photography

 

Photos by Jennifer Bowen Photography

Courtney’s wedding was followed up with a Memorial Day Weekend wedding in Fullerton, California.  This great couple found the Love Letter and Wine Box idea for their ceremony, which I absolutely loved.

Next up was my first gig as a second shooter for my husband, which was awesome.  We got to work together all day, and with a truly amazing couple.  You can see some of those photos over on Jeff’s website, here.

The month of June saw three more weddings for me.  One was in Dana Point, CA, and curiously enough in the same location as the first wedding I ever performed for Shirley and Seth.  It was pretty awesome to come full circle almost a year to the date from when I embarked on this adventure.

The next June wedding was for a great couple that got married on the US Marine base down in Oceanside.  This wedding was special because I’ve known the groom’s sister since I was 14 or 15 years old.  I actually met her while she was pregnant with her first son, who just started high school this year.  Talk about time flying!  Chuck and Anne were absolutely great to work with, and came up with vows idea on our blog.

Photo by Steven Theis

The last day of June was a very, very special occasion.  Dana, a great and amazing friend from college, married Aaron, who is also a great and amazing person.  This couple is one of those that I wished lived next door to my husband and I: we absolutely adore spending time with both of them.  Although Dana and Aaron already had an officiant in the form of a rabbi, they asked me to be their day-of coordinator.  I’ve already documented this incredible experience on the blog, but I will say it again: I loved it!

Fourth of July weekend Jeff and I were invited to a wedding in San Francisco, for my college roommate, and we had a great time being guests with zero responsibilities, but we couldn’t help but scope out the competition! 😉

The rest of July built up for my second job as a second-shooter with Jeff, and I gotta say, it turned out great.  This was a pretty challenging wedding due to the location and lighting, but Jeff worked really hard to make these pictures beautiful.  You can check out pictures here and here.

The month of August didn’t see any weddings for The Merry Ministers, but it did involve a lot of work: I have four weddings booked for October, and being that I’ll be on vacation the whole month of September, August was the month to meet with clients, prepare ceremony transcripts, and make sure everything is ready for when we get back!  October will see me at Strawberry Farms in Irvine (a BEAUTIFUL venue), a beach wedding in Laguna Beach, another wedding in Beaumont, California, and wrapping up the month with a wedding at a stunning venue in Santa Paula, CA.  October will be a busy month, but I’m so excited to meet all these new couples and explore some new areas in California!

Until then…happy planning!

This and That, kind of

When I started this website I wanted to share new and exciting ideas that I came across on various blogs and forums with all of you.  It’s a little time consuming the way that I’ve been doing it, so I don’t get around to it as often as I’d like.

What I do quite often, however, is pin stuff to my Wedding Shenanigans, Wedding Photo Ideas, and Party Ideas boards on Pinterest.  I’m trying to figure out how to link it to this blog, but until then, feel free to follow those boards on Pinterest so you can find cool ideas for your wedding day! 

And if any of you have the technical know-how to get those linked to here, I’d be forever grateful 🙂

New Services: Event Coordinator!

This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to coordinate a wedding for a very good college friend of mine.  I can’t thank her enough for really encouraging me to take the next step in what I hope is a long and fruitful career in event planning and coordination.

I’m not sure that any other paid job has felt as perfect of a fit as this did.  With every other job, there are things that I like about it, and things I absolutely hate, and like most people, I did it because the bills needed to get paid.

The bills still need to get paid, but I really really enjoyed the coordinating, running back and forth, and generally making every one else’s life a little easier in any way that I could.  It also helped that my husband was there to help with certain things, like putting up lights and keeping me sane, haha.  What was great was that it started out as a super small favor, just helping the bridal party know when to walk down the aisle, etc., but it turned into a full blown wedding coordinator job (including handing out payments to the DJ, photographer, and rabbi)–I love that they trusted me with all the little details that needed taking care of.

I realized right away that I loved my clipboard and time line, and I enjoyed rounding up people for the photographer, getting the bridal party in line for their grand entrance, letting people know what they had to do next, etc.  I probably went up to my husband at least four times and said “I’m loving this!”

I loved being able to tell the nervous and anxious mothers of the bride and groom: “don’t worry, I’m gonna take care of everything, you just relax and enjoy the wedding.”  And I did, and they did, and all was great!

My favorite part, hands down, was the AMAZING emergency kit that the bride made for me, with future events in mind.

This thing has e-vry-thing, including a mini hot glue gun!  Which totally came in handy when one of the flower clips for the flower girls came apart.  Sewing kit?  Yes.  Mints and gum?  Yes.  Bobby pins?  Yes.  Bandaids, floss and tums?  Yes, yes, and yes.  This little thing came in handy more than once on Saturday!  And it all conveniently stacks up:

Pretty neat, huh?

Granted, the day wasn’t perfect, but it’s a wedding and some things are bound to happen or go slightly astray.  Like one of the ring bearers running off to frolick in the trees (there was a back up ring bearer who did a fantastic job by himself), or the valet guys leaving before I had a chance to give them their ca-a-ash (the caterer knows them and was able to take their payment to them).  But for a first time event, I’d like to think I did all right.

I can’t thank this couple enough for the opportunity and allowing me to explore another side of weddings and event planning that I had never really considered before, but absolutely loved!  As a close friend, I am so incredibly excited for them and know they will continue to be an absolutely amazing couple, and as their wedding coordinator: I couldn’t have asked for a more organized, prepared, and laid back couple!

Mazel tov!

Short and Meaningful Wedding Vows

I love this idea, and I’m keeping the samples used by a client 🙂

The Bride/Groom says three things they love about the other.  For example:

  • I love you because you’re a snappy dresser
  • I love you because you killed that spider
  • I love you because you’re nifty
Then three things they will do because they love each other:
  • Because I love you, I will complement you on your snappy dressery
  • Because I love you, I will kill the spiders
  • Because I love you, I will take a shower every day

Like I said, short and sweet, but I love the uniqueness of it, and how absolutely endearing it is!

Love Letter and Wine Box Ceremony

Here is what you will need:

  • A wooden wine box
  • a bottle of your favorite wine
  • two love letters sealed in separate envelopes
  • a small hammer and several nails
  • Optional: a polaroid camera to snap a shot of your guests and include in your box

Wine Box Options:

A few weeks before the wedding, take some time to each write a letter to one another, expressing your thoughts about the good qualities that you found in your future partner, the reasons for falling in love with them and your hopes and dreams for the future. In other words, you write a “love letter” to each other and place it in a sealed envelope, with the name of your partner on the outside. Do not read what the other has written.

Be creative with the box by putting foam inside to support the wine bottle. Line the inside with satin material. You can also include CDs of your favorite music, favorite pictures of you together, and other mementos making it your own romantic time capsule. Keep the box in a place of honor as a constant visual reminder of your love and commitment to each other. The box can be a life preserver in years to come.

The Wine Box should be opened on your 5th wedding anniversary.

There is only one other reason the box should be opened before your anniversary. If there should come a time when you hit a bumpy road in your relationship, before you give up or make any irrational decisions, open the Wine Box. The hope is that there will never be a reason to have to open the box except on your anniversary!

Hit a rough spot in your relationship? Sit down together, open the box, uncork the wine and unseal the envelopes that you wrote for one another before your wedding, go to separate rooms and quietly read the love letter.

Even if you are not seeing eye-to-eye at that very moment, it will remind you of all the reasons you choose this person as your partner and all the things that helped shape the life they’ve created together. Never take your blessings of being together for granted.

The romantic sentiments you wrote, the declaration of love, the clear thoughts about why you chose this person as your life partner will help put you back on even ground. This is the perfect ritual to remind you of your wedding day and your intention to love and cherish each other in good times and bad for as long as you both shall live.

Toward the end of your ceremony the Officiant will state the purpose of the “Love Letter & Wine Box Ceremony.”

The Officiant will elaborate on the reasons for the sealed love letters, place the sealed envelopes in with the wine bottle and will speak about the exercise that you went through. It should be emphasized that the letters have not been read by the Officiant or by anyone else.

The box will then be nailed shut (or locked). The Officiant begins with the first nail, followed by the Bride and Groom sealing the box shut. You can have each member of your wedding party step up and nail the box shut.

If you use a custom made wine box with two keys, the bride and groom each use a key and lock the box.

Your guests will be pleased to have been a witness to something so unique and different at your wedding ceremony.

The Hand Ceremony

This was a great idea used by a couple recently.  They did this in addition to having a commemorative part to their ceremony, but I think it could easily be used as your commemorative portion.  I absolutely love the meaning and language!

 

And now, Bride, if you would face Groom and hold his hands palms up, so you may see the gift that they are to you.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and vibrant with love, which is holding yours on your wedding day, as he promises to love you all the days of his life.

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as together you build your future, as you laugh and cry, as you share your innermost secrets and dreams.

These are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.

These are the hands that will countless times wipe the tears from your eyes: tears of sorry and tears of joy.

These are the hands that will comfort you illness, and hold you when fear or grief overwhelms you.

These are the hands that will tenderly lift your chin and brush your cheek as they raise your face to look into his eyes; eyes that are filled completely with his overwhelming love and desire for you.

Groom, please hold Bride’s hands, palms up, where you may see the gift that they are to you.

These are the hands of your best friend, young and carefree, that are holding yours on your wedding day, as she promises to love you all the days of your life.

These are the hands that will hold each child in tender love, soothing them through illness and hurt, supporting and encouraging them along the way, and knowing when it is time to let go.

These are the hands that will hold you tight as you struggle through difficult times.

These are the hands that will comfort you when you are sick, or console you when you are grieving.

They are the hands that will passionately love you and cherish you through the years, for a lifetime of happiness.

These are the hands that will give you support as she encourages you to chase down your dreams.  Together, as a team, everything you wish for can be realized.

A Little Bit of This, A Little Bit of That

I love veranda’s and plantation style homesOutdoor chandeliers, yes please.

Stunning Winter wedding

Vintage photo wall

Photo Booth Save-the-Dates

A wedding with a view

Love the yellow door!

Great “first sight” idea, and great pictures!

Pillows on haystacks 🙂

Are you a coffee lover?

Love the men’s attire and all the little details

Rustic wedding with personalized beer glasses

Trees, lanterns, and mason jars!

Who doesn’t want llamas at their wedding venue?!

Barns and converse

A nice vintage-ey DIY project

Love this color combo!

Yellow, lace, winnebago, suspenders, and DIY details

Pie pops, yum 🙂

Beautiful entrance

Great photo ideas

Ice-cream bar

Baby’s breath bouquets are in!

DIY chalkboard idea

Together, we can climb walls!

So many cute things going on here!

Central park elopement, it’s the simple things in life ❤

Ceremony under a tree

Who says you have to “walk” down the aisle?!