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!

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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!

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!

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.

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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!

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.

And we’re off!

If someone had told me five years ago that I would be starting a website to perform wedding ceremonies, I wouldn’t have believed it.  But here we are!  A great friend asked me to perform her wedding last year, and I thought “sure, why not.”  It was meant to be a one-time deal, but after performing her wedding ceremony it got me thinking: I can do something pretty neat with this.  Brooke is one of my bestest friends, and she’s been performing wedding ceremonies for years now, so it was only natural for us to join forces and see how many lives we can change by performing custom-made and heartfelt wedding ceremonies.

What do we want to accomplish with this website?  Obviously we’re trying to create a little source of revenue, but with the rates we’re charging, we’re not planning on becoming millionaires.  We want to provide an honest and impressive service, for a reasonable fee.  As female ministers, we’re already in the minority of ceremony officiants.  But we like that.  We don’t want to be your standard and dull wedding minister: we want to perform a ceremony that your guests will remember, whether that’s because it was funny, heartfelt, or ridiculous, that’s for you to decide 🙂

My plans for this blog started humbly, but they are growing by the minute.  I want to share with you new and creative ideas for your wedding, I want to keep you posted on the latest trends, I want to give you alternatives to the traditional wedding ideas that are out there.

So, check us out, stay tuned for updates, and feel free to contact us if you have questions about our rates and/or services.

Oh yeah, welcome to the Merry Ministers!

(Alexandra)