formats
Published on January 20, 2014, by in Uncategorized.

toga

Over the years I have been asked to officiate weddings from all different traditions; Italian, French, Spanish, and even Greek.  When a couple emailed me and asked if I had ever done a Greek wedding I quickly replied “yes.”

As the ceremony came together I worked with them to create a custom ceremony, and I asked them, because of the nature of their ceremony if they would like me to wear a suit or a robe?  They chose a robe and I made the assumption that this would be a more formal ceremony.  I envisioned tuxedos and beautiful dresses as far as the eye could see.

I arrived on site the afternoon of the wedding and the guys were all drinking and having a good time…still not dressed 30 minutes before the ceremony.  I told them they needed to get ready and that I would go and check on the bride.   When I knocked on the door to the room where the bride was getting ready the photographer stuck her head out the door and told me that the bride was almost ready and then she handed me their marriage license.

A “coordinator” (I would use that word with tongue in cheek) told me where to stand and that she would release the bride party from behind the closed doors to walk down the aisle.  I took my position in a room adorned with heavy white fabric and tall Greek columns positioned all around the room.  Guests were finely dressed and waiting for the entrance of the bridal party.

As the doors opened and the bridal party proceeded down the aisle I remarked  that truly this was a Greek wedding, for the wedding party was not dressed in tuxedos or gowns, but in togas with Olive leaf wreaths around their heads.  As they made their way down the aisle something else became obvious to all those in attendance; just like the Emperor’s  New Clothes , the light from the open door behind them showed to all the guests that the men wore nothing with the togas, but the smile on their faces.

And it all happened down the aisle.

 
formats
Published on June 17, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

 

Moonshine

I guess doing as many weddings as I have over the years should have taught me to always expect the unexpected and that some people will strive to prove they can still shock me, even if I don’t believe it so.

I pulled my car in through the grand gates of this beautiful venue and the security guard directed me to where I should park for the wedding.  Upon entering the foyer of the hotel I quickly saw the bride through the windows on the back of the hotel, posing for pictures with her photographer.  The coordinator was running to and fro and trying to get last minute details taken care of, so I went to the front desk and asked if they knew where the groom would be.  Moments later a concierge motioned for me to come to his station and gave me the suite number when I might find the groom and his groomsmen.

Heading up the elevators to the floor where the groom’s suite was located, I looked over my notes, practiced saying his last name, and made some subtle changes that I thought would make the ceremony flow more smoothly. When I reached the door I knocked and no one answered.  I knocked a second time and through the blaring music I could hear some say “Get the #$%! Door, will ya.”  At that point I stepped back and the door swung open to reveal one of the groomsmen standing there in his grey tuxedo jacket, shirt, vest, and nothing else.  He invited me in, but I told them that I would be glad to come in once they put on their britches and that the wedding was about to start.

Just a few moments later and the door opened again, the men were dressed and I went in to speak with the groom.  Once I entered the suite the groom asked me if I would like something to drink and pointed to the bar.  Thinking I might grab a bottle of water I headed over there and the best man told me “Hey, we’ve got the good stuff over here.”  I grabbed a bottle of water and turned around to see the men drinking from tall mason jars.  Moonshine!  A friend had brought those down from North Carolina for the groom the night before and the groomsmen had been hitting the sauce since about ten in the morning (it was now a quarter past four in the afternoon.)

I hurried the groomsmen to finish getting ready and led them down to the hallway where they would walk to the ceremony site.  Lots of laughter, jokes, and stories flowed as freely as the moonshine had earlier.  Once the parents were seated the groom and his groomsmen followed me out onto the event lawn and the ceremony began.

It was during a particularly quiet part of the ceremony (a moment of silence for a loved one) that one of the groomsmen decided that he wanted to say something.  In hindsight, I don’t think that he was speaking I think it was the moonshine.  All inhibitions aside the groomsman blurted out “Isn’t that the most #$%!n beautiful couple you have ever seen,” at the top of his lungs.  The bride teared up, the groom turned blood red, and I stood there trying not to let my jaw drop open.   He then proceeded to tell everyone present how “hot” the bride and groom were and what the sight of them was doing to part of his male anatomy.

Some gasped, some frowned, others laughed, and I interrupted to get us back on track.

As the ceremony ended and the bridesmaids and groomsmen came together to walk down the aisle, this particular groomsman was paired with a young lady that towered above him and twice his size.  He extended his arm to her and she reached around his entire torso and carried him down the aisle and through the French doors.  Once inside the doors the wedding party usually turns a hard left to stay away from the rest of the guests.  When this “couple” made the left, the bridesmaid threw the young man on the ground and proceeded to stomp him, like a bull at a rodeo.

And it all happened down the aisle.

 
formats
Published on May 16, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

 

Recently I was sitting across the table from a couple and when I asked them what time the ceremony was scheduled to begin they said “ 5 o’clock or so.  You know weddings never start on time.”  It got me to start thinking and after about a two dozen phone calls to wedding planners, DJs, Photographers, and other officiants I found a couple of reoccurring trends.

From the conversations I had, I asked wedding professionals a couple of questions:  What percentage of the time do your weddings start within the first ten minutes of their scheduled start time?  and “Are there any trends that you see that affect a wedding starting on time?”

Most of the wedding professionals that I spoke with had horror stories as to why some weddings start terribly late, but most had to admit that most of the weddings they work at start close to on time.  Of the professionals that I spoke to I was told that more than 90% of the time the weddings start on time.  Other than cultural trends of being late, couples were more likely to start late if they (in order of frequency)

1.  Do not hire a planner

2.  If they do not stay near the ceremony location.

3.  They have a close family member that has the tendency to be late to everything.

4.  They have a vendor that makes them run late: (only three mentioned:  hair/makeup, photographer, unreliable transportation—the limo broke down)

Remember starting late for your ceremony cuts into your cocktail hour and reception.  This affects your DJ, food, bar, venue rental, photographer, etc.  Many wedding vendors are scheduled for a certain period of time and if you are late then they will be forced to charge you a late fee or they may not be able to stay at all. Read reviews, tell your vendors that you want to start on time, and invite guests that you expect to be late to come 30 minutes before the ceremony.

It is your wedding day, filled with lots of great memories.  You don’t need the stress of running late or feeling like the white rabbit ”I’m late, I’m late, for a very important date.”

 

 

 
formats
Published on April 6, 2013, by in Uncategorized.

 

Frequently I get hired by a hotel or venue to come in and officiate an intimate wedding.  In most cases I do not have the opportunity to meet the couple until the day of the wedding.  As with all our couples I call and email them, I send them a ceremony planning kit, and try to write a ceremony that will be beautiful and fit the two of them.

On this occasion the couple selected a very religious ceremony, with eloquent and poetic vows that they were to repeat to each other, and a beautiful piece where they acknowledged the love of their parents.

As I entered the rooftop location of the ceremony, the groom immediately was led to meet me.  I reached out my hand to shake his and told him how good it was to finally meet him.  His hand went out to meet mine and as I looked up at his eyes I realized that he did not understand one word that I had just said. (Now you have to understand that I am a blond haired, green-eyed, Cajun, and I can’t even order at Taco Bell if it requires Spanish.)
I quickly pulled my tablet from my bag and pulled up the couple’s ceremony and asked him (via an interpreter) to practice repeating  his vows to to me.
Word by word coming forth from his mouth like pulling the teeth of a professional sumo wrestler.  After just a moment I realized that he was not capable of repeating the lengthy vows they had chosen ( or should I say; she had chosen.)
I asked the hotel staff where was the bride getting ready and they led me to her room.  I showed her the ceremony selections she sent me and expressed my concern for the groom not understanding the vows or even able to repeat the vows. As fast as possible I rewrote those beautiful vows and changed them from repeats to a simple I Do.
The ceremony went off without a hitch.  The groom said “I Do” with the prompting nod of my head, but when I got to the part of thanking their parents I saw the same glazed over eyes and knew that they too had no clue to what I was saying  and it all happened down the aisle.

Just one more note: if your loved ones do not speak the language, ask for a bilingual officiant.  You wedding day is stressful enough without having to overcome a language barrier

 
formats

 

Over the years I heard horror stories of how badly those invited to be a part of the wedding party can completely destroy a wedding day.  Recently I was at a wedding at a prestigious country club.  With all the posh and fanfare of a high class establishment you would think that it would escape the entanglements that seem to flow freely through lower, less polished establishments and clientele.  Not so!

I entered the venue through doors opened by gentlemen in sport coats and greeted by the major domo of the resort.  He quickly recognized my role in the wedding and pointed me in the direction of where the bridal party was getting ready.  First a stop at the spacious lounge for the groom and his party revealed empty whisky bottles and glasses strong about the room.  Once I assessed that the groom was cognoscente of the decision he was about to make, I went looking for the bride and her party.

After knocking at the door for what seemed an eternity I was led down a hallway and before I even reached the door I could hear yelling and arguing over the ambient music of the resort.  The maid of honor had arrived an hour late, just 20 minutes before the wedding.  She was not dressed for the wedding, but in gym shorts and a tank top and her hair looked like she had just gotten out of the pool.  The dress that she was supposed to wear for the ceremony had not been tried on since it was left with the seamstress and of course it was too long and too tight.  She got so aggravated with those around her that she then threw her professionally dyed shoe at another bridesmaid and broke off the heel of her left shoe.  Broken heel, dress too long and tight, hair all a mess…she decides to just sit in the middle of the floor and pitch a temper tantrum, screaming at the top of her lungs.

Whose wedding is this anyway?  It is not her moment to shine, but to carefully, tenderly point all the attention to the bride.  An hour passes while a spoiled brat of a woman carries on and delays the wedding of her “best friend.”  Two hundred guests sat in white wooden chairs for almost an hour in the Florida sun waiting for the wedding to begin.  What did the bride do?  She did the most noble of things I have ever seen.  She gathered the other ladies together, lined them up to process down the aisle, and then called security to have her maid of honor removed from the venue…in her un-hemmed, too tight dress, with her hair in a towel, wearing only one shoe.

And it all happened down the aisle.

 

 
formats
Published on August 8, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

Oh please hire a real photographer;   your friend just won’t do.  If I’ve heard this once I’ve heard it a thousand times.  Why would you trust the photos of your most cherished moments to an amateur?   I had to field a call from a great personal friend of mine, who let a friend of her daughters’ photograph the wedding.  She gave her a fee that most would associate with a Craigslist professional and wondered eight months later when she would see some wedding pictures.

Too many times when a couple uses a friend it is due to a tight budget.  This is one area where you should splurge.  Unless the friend you are asking has been taking WEDDING photos for years, has great reviews, is licensed and insured, and has provided you plenty of sample work to view—STEER CLEAR!

Either your photographer is a friend and guest or they are a vendor.  The line between the two is hard to understand.  If they are a friend and totally wreck yo ur photos, forget to do shots of the groom’s side of the family or your first dance, then you’ve probably lost a friend if you say anything.  A professional is more apt to make sure you get the shots you desire.

At a recent wedding the couple had asked a friend to take their photos.  As soon as the ceremony was over the friend headed to the bar and from that point on every shot was either out of focus or tilted slightly to the right.

So, beware when you ask a friend to shoot your wedding or you may want to shoot them, if things don’t go the way you envision.