My cousin’s wedding

On July 22, 2016, I got to officiate a very special wedding ceremony: my cousin Nickole married an amazing man on that day, and I was honored to do the honors.

I wish I could know all couples this intimately, because I was able to draw from so many personal experiences to come up with some thoughtful and loving words to share with all the guests.  It was hard to not get chocked up while I was speaking.

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Photography by Lexus Megan Photography

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These are the moments I love when I officiate: the first glimpse. Photography by Lexus Megan Photography

 

Nicky and Ty decided to do a wine box for their ceremony.  Ty and my husband, Jeff, worked very hard on crafting the box that the wine and mementos would go in.  It was beautifully crafted and personalized with the date of their wedding.  Their ceremony was so special and so beautiful, it has me looking forward to many more special ceremonies for 2017!

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!

Ceremony Ideas for the Outdoorsy-Type

I am currently working on a wedding for a couple that is very active and loves to go on hikes, and I was brainstorming ways to incorporate that into their wedding since they did not have any commemorative portion planned for their ceremony.  Here are a few things I came up with:

  • Plant a bamboo plant with rocks collected from different hiking trails you’ve been on together
  • Plant something else with dirt that you’ve collected on different hikes (can have the dirt in mason jars with trail names)
  • Have a map of Mammoth (where groom proposed)/California/United States and mark trails on there with string or hears or some kind of marker-either that you’ve been on or would like to go on; or map of Mammoth and mark the spot where the proposal happened
  • Kind of cheesy, but maybe instead of a wine box you have a “hikers backpack” that you pack during the ceremony with stuff you’ll need for your next hike–you can include a Polaroid of everyone at the ceremony, maybe a bottle of your favorite alcohol/wine and you can take a shot before you put it in your backpack, or items that you can explain why they’re important to you/him each other (can be cheesy or romantic).

The bride loved the bamboo idea, and since they are Chinese there is extra significance to this.  I’m excited to see this come to life at their wedding at Serra Plaza at the end of October.

 

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!

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.