Stacey + Jonathon (12.1.18)

I don’t always get to see photos from couples, so when I received these, I was thrilled and knew I just had to share!

Vendors:
Venue – @vibianaevents
Caterer – @redbirdla
Photographer – @lovetribeweddings
Planner – @mongeamoreevents
Florals – @thetangledvine
Video – @shutterandsound
Rentals – @edgedesigndecor
Beauty – @allaroundglambykim
Calligraphy – @calligkatrina
Cake – @layers_and_co
Photobooth – @viralboothoc
DJ/MC – #RRMixshow
Bride – @_itsstacey
Groom – @j_ar_
Officiant: #themerryministers

Couples’ Choice Awards 2019!

Well, it looks like all of those weddings from 2018 paid off in more ways than one: I was recently notified that The Merry Ministers is a recipient of the Couples’ Choice Awards for 2019!

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This is awarded by WeddingWire, where I receive most of my client referrals from, and is based on the quantity and quality of customer reviews (so yes, potential couples, I WILL be asking you for a review!).

These distinguished vendors exhibit superior professionalism, responsiveness, service, and quality when interacting with the five million monthly consumers who turn to WeddingWire to help ease their wedding planning process.

Officiating is not my full time job, but it is a passion job.  I love connecting with couples.  I love being a part of such an intimate and memorable moment in peoples lives.  I love standing next to the groom as he sees his bride walking down the aisle.  I love been privy to those little conversations the bride and groom exchange while I’m officiating (“you look beautiful!” “we finally made it!”).  It’s such an honor to know that couples are happy with the work that I do, which makes this award pretty significant for me.

So, thank you to all my couples, from 2018 and before, and all my future couples: I love being a part of your day!

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Thank you to Love Tribe Weddings for capturing this image!

2018 Roundup

2018 has been my best wedding year yet – and I can’t be more excited about what 2019 will bring.  I rang in the New Year coordinating a wedding for Events by Katherine which had so many unique elements – not the least of which was cake cutting with a Samurai sword!

How could 2018 not be great after that?!

I got to visit some of my favorite venues including Serra Plaza and Plaza Magdalena in San Juan Capistrano, as well as Casa Romantica.  And I also got to explore some new venues that I loved:

  • Riverbed Farm in Anaheim seems like a wonderful best kept secret.  If you’re looking for rustic charm – this is your place!  It’s set among vegetable gardens and wood chips, which farmhouse tables and an adorable ceremony area.  Crystal and Martin were also incredibly loving, and welcomed their young daughter up to the ceremony when she was having some separation anxiety from mommy ❤
  • Carbon Canyon Regional Park: This is one of the few weddings I had a chance to blog about this year, so you know I really loved it.  Sometimes, all you need for your ceremony decor is nature!  We recently took the boys to a Christmas even at this park, and discovered a beautiful woodsy area in the park that I’m sure would also be a stunning ceremony location.
  • Driftwood Kitchen: if you’re looking for something intimate with spectacular views, it doesn’t get much better than this. Jennifer and Jahir had an intimate ceremony and reception in the upstairs room of Driftwood Kitchen, with large windows looking out to the ocean.  This was the first ceremony where I also did partial coordinating just for some of the decor set up – sometimes all you need is an extra pair of hands for an hour or two!
  • Charthouse in Dana Point: I’ve officiated at this venue before (on New Year’s Eve, 2017!), but this was one of a couple weddings for 2018 where I was lucky enough to be the officiant AND coordinator.  This is a beautiful location for outdoor ceremonies with an ocean view.
  • Muckenthaler Mansion: this seems like another hidden gem of a wedding venue.  Beautiful little venue with separate areas for the ceremony, reception, and an art gallery!
  • Vibiana: I finished out the year by driving outside of my usual geographic area and officiating a ceremony in LA.  I’m so thankful that I don’t suffer from stage fright or performance anxiety, because this altar would have been terrifying!  It’s an impressive and LARGE venue.  It also has confessionals along the sides which I have to imagine get pretty interesting towards the end of the night!

All in all, I officiated 18 ceremonies, and coordinated 5 weddings (two of them were officiating and coordinating, and all but one day of coordinating were through the wonderful Events by Katherine team).  Thank you to all the wonderful couples that found me and decided I was a good fit for their ceremony.  I love being a part of these special days for everyone.

Here’s to a happy and prosperous 2019!

Nature provides the perfect backdrop

A ceremony last month took me to a little secluded area of Carbon Canyon Regional Park.  It was a little ways in from the parking lot, but oh so worth it.  This was a small, intimate ceremony, so there were no chairs, and no nothing!  And guess what?  It was absolutely perfect.  Both moms shared some thoughts in the middle of the ceremony, which brought me to tears.  I absolutely love the privilege of getting to share these special moments with so many couples!

Thank you so Marisa Peterson for sharing these lovely photos of Brittany and Ugo.

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These last two are my favorites.  So many times the bride and groom are nervous and on edge when they get to the ceremony (not specifically Brittany and Ugo, but couples in general)-they’ve been preparing and getting ready for this moment all day (and maybe all year!), then they’re finally there, and it’s just such an intense moment for them.  I LOVE when I’m able to make couples feel more comfortable by breaking the ice with some random commentary.  I remember one groom telling me after the ceremony: I’m so glad you made that joke…I felt like there was so much tension, then you made everyone laugh and I was able to relax.  Mission: accomplished.

Congrats to Brittany + Ugo, and thanks for letting me share in such a special day!

Super Secret Civil Ceremony

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Back in January I had the distinct honor of officiating the wedding ceremony for a very dear friend of mine from college.  They got married through the Catholic church and had their big reception in June, so the January ceremony was just for family and a few close friends, and was kept a secret until their big wedding day.  It was hard to not post any pictures right after the ceremony-I was so excited to be a part of this moment for them!

The intimate ceremony took place in front of the water fountain in Echo Park, which is where Ana and Jose had their first blind date.  The location therefore had a lot of significance to them, and it was great to be able to come to them and marry them in the exact location they wanted.

It’s pretty amazing that what started as a random request from a law-school friend to officiate her wedding has allowed me to officiate for so many of my dearest and friends from all walks of life (college, law school, co-workers from my Starbucks days, etc.).

Excited to see where this little journey takes me next!

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!

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!

Help us pick a logo!

I’m not sure why I posted this originally on my personal blog rather than here, but alas, it’s done.  And rather than having two separate comment sections going (if I can be so lucky), I would ask that you please click here and vote for your favorite logo!

A massive shout out to my friend Rama who designed each of these.  She’s pretty amazing.