Published on July 11, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

Essentials in picking the right officiant for your wedding.
It’s your wedding day, the dress is on, your groom is waiting, but who is going to recite the words that will make you husband and wife? Here are a few essentials you should be looking for as you pick the person who will take your from “Will You” to “I Do.”
–Decide what type of ceremony you want. Will it be more civil, religious, or a blend of the two? If you choose a civil ceremony you might want to consider a notary, judge, or a justice of the peace. Each state is a little different in its regulations for such ceremonies. Also, there are minister who will also do completely civil ceremonies at the request of the couple.
If you choose to have a religious ceremony or a combination of the two, look for someone with a background that can accommodate the faith backgrounds of both you and your fiancée.
Many officiants are members of professional organizations that give accreditation for the services they provide. Ministers/Clergy should have received some type of educational training through a Bible college or seminary in order to perform your unique wedding ceremony. Civil officiants should have some type of state issued licensing and training to perform wedding ceremonies.

–Ask coordinators and other wedding professionals to recommend someone. Ask why they would recommend the individual to you. Wedding professionals attend many more wedding ceremonies than the average person and they can usually be a great resource to you.

–Ask couples that were recently married to refer someone to you. Couples love to tell “their story.” Ask friends that were recently married, check out the blogs, and read posts about officiants. Remember though, that one good or bad post is just that ONE post.

– Require a face to face meeting when considering your wedding officiant. The person on the phone or internet is trying to create an image that may or may not accurately reflect who they really are. Both you and your fiancée should go to meet your officiant. What one person misses or doesn’t pick up on, the other may catch.
Get to know the officiant. Ask questions that are important to the two of you. Examples could be, “How much input will you have in the ceremony layout and wording? How accessible are you before the wedding?”

Do your homework, enjoy the search, and good luck in finding the officiant that will make you husband and wife.

Published on July 11, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

When I turned into the gated community I knew this was going to be something special. Many golf communities have their grand gates and wide boulevards, but this was something different. Magnolias lined the sides of the streets while tall palms stood one behind the other, like soldiers on parade in the middle of the boulevard. As I made my way toward the club house I could see glimpses of the Southern style mansion that lay before me. Donned in yellow paint the color of creamed butter and massive Greek columns that lined the porch, this was a modern version of “Tara“ that would make Scarlett proud.

Upon my entry into the club house I try to meet with the couple to be married; just to go over last minute details and see if there are any changes that I need to be aware of. The groom was relaxed and throwing back the drink of his choice, while the bride was sequestered in a remote room on the floor above. Of the two the bride was the most detail orientated person, with nothing left to chance. Even though they had hired one of the most prestigious wedding coordinators in the area, the bride doubled checked every detail of the wedding. Flowers in place; check. Tables set; check. Bridesmaids all in a row; check.
As the wedding party exited the building, they headed across the lawn to the ceremony site. Situated on the lawn just before the 8th hole and with the beautiful backdrop of the lake behind them, everyone stood as the bride entered. Standing there wearing a dress that probably cost more than my car, she was the vision of what most brides aspire to be.

As the ceremony began the couple requested a prayer just after the blessing of the hands. As the crowds hushed and as I began to pray I noticed something that was out of the norm for me: Music. Now I hear a lot of music during wedding ceremonies, but this was not like anything that I had experienced. A simple classical overture would have been appropriate, but this was nothing like that. In the middle of the prayer, with my hand over the hands of my bride and groom we heard the song lyrics “Abra-abra-cadabra. I want to reach out and grab ya,” by the Steve Miller Band. The golf pro had forgotten to turn off the music around the pro-shop and had left for the day. The wedding coordinator could not get in the shop, the staff at the golf club could not figure out how to turn off the music and so we endured the complete song in the middle of the ceremony.
Okay, crisis averted, we can finally get through this ceremony. The remainder of the ceremony went as planned until we got to the exchanging of rings. Now I have seen and have come to expect that if there is going to be a funny moment it will happen when I ask the best man for the rings. This was not the case. The best man did his job to deliver the rings to me without any practical jokes and without any problem. The next crisis arose just as the bride was about to place the ring on her grooms finger. The same golf pro who had forgotten to turn off the music had also forgotten that there would be a wedding on the lawn Saturday afternoon, and thus had forgotten to reprogram the sprinkler system.

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…chucka, chucka, chucka, chucka the sprinkler popped up by the last row of chairs and sprayed down the guest in the last three rows. Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…chucka, chucka, chucka, chucka it was headed back for another pass. The wedding coordinator bounded up the stairs to the club house office while her assistant rushed to the lawn to try and push the sprinkler head under the sod with her shoe. Guests scurried in very direction to keep what dry clothing they had from dripping with the grey water, the course uses to irrigate the lawn. Sprinklers finally off, rings exchanged, bride and groom pronounced husband and wife and it all happened down the aisles.

Published on July 10, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

Every family has their traditions. Some traditions are centered around holidays, birthdays, and yes, weddings. I met an absolutely lovely couple that asked me to perform their wedding ceremony at a local art gallery. We met the day before the ceremony for their rehearsal and to go over any last minute details that needed to be taken care of.

Everything was set. Everyone in the bridal party knew their role and where they were to stand during the ceremony. Our beautiful bride neglected to give me one piece of information though.
The bride’s family had an uncle that they would later describe as “colorful.” Several years before her uncle had acquired a 6 ½ foot tall fiberglass statue of an English Beefeater. Any time the family would gather for the holidays, birthdays, graduations, and such, the Beefeater would make an appearance.

As I arrived to the ceremony site on the wedding day, the groom met me in the foyer. He proceeded to tell me a little of the family tradition and that our fiberglass guest would be tucked away at the back of the venue—out of sight!
Guests by the dozen poured into the room and took their seats, with anxious anticipation of the ceremony beginning. As the first groomsman started down the aisles there was a flurry of movement and the “colorful” uncle emerged from the back of the venue wheeling our Beefeater down the aisle in front of the groomsman. He slid our fiberglass guest into the position of an additional groomsman and then took is seat, as if nothing had happened. The remaining groomsmen entered the ceremony site and took their respective positions just as they rehearsed.
When the groom entered his attention fell to the Beefeater and when get got close enough to me he asked “Who put that thing up here?” Without as much as a word I motioned to the “colorful” uncle. A scowl of displeasure appeared on his face for but just a moment and then his bride entered the room. When the bride saw the fiberglass guest in his place amongst the groomsmen she laughed out loud and after a private exchange of words with her groom they were both smiling as I pronounced them husband and wife.

Not a picture of the bridal party was considered complete; until they made sure the Beefeater was in the shot.
And it all happened down the aisles

Published on July 10, 2012, by in Uncategorized.


I know you trust and love your family, but trust only goes so far in saving the memories from your wedding. Recently I performed a wedding ceremony at a prestigious hotel and the couple asked a favorite uncle to videotape the ceremony. Apart from the fact that the gentleman had no idea where to stand (and not stand,) he was not dressed to blend in and not draw attention to himself.  He rotated around the bride and groom throughout the ceremony.  Not to mention, he almost burned up the ceremony site by knocking over more than a dozen lit candles. The choice to use a friend or family member resulted in and often does result in lots of cut off head shots, foot shots, jerky video footage, poor transitions, and bad lighting.

Heed my advice, seek out a professional. View examples of the videographer’s recent work. Ask your coordinator or officiant to recommend someone to you. Remember, this is the video you will one day show your children and grandchildren.

Published on July 8, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

Balancing family and a wedding orientated business is often a challenge. When the kids are out of school for holidays and weekend, brides and grooms need your attention. Some of the time, those challenges work the other way though. This past year my now teenage son was struggling with all the changes that we each face in life; voice changing, trying to fit in, and even class bullies.

To say that my son was scrawny (and only a father can say that) would be an understatement. At just over five feet tall and probably around ninety pounds, he was no Adonis. My son’s strengths lay in his quick wit and intellect. Those are two things that bullies hate, so he was a frequent target.

I’ve always taught my kids that if someone is picking on you repeatedly and you can’t get them to stop, tell a teacher or adult. If the problem continues after speaking with an adult, then I want them to knock that bully’s light out. If they get sent home from school for defending themselves, then I’ll treat them to a day in the local theme parks.
My son had repeatedly been picked on by a boy that I only knew as Jason. After calls to his teachers, it had not stopped but gotten worse. The day finally came when the bully would meet his match in the nerdy kid. As my son entered class, the bully hit him in the back of the head with a text book, at which time my son popped the kid squarely in the nose and made him tumble over the desks.

Both boys were of course sent to the office and parents were called to pick up their children. When I arrived my son was in one office and the bully and his mother in another. After speaking with the principal, I got ready to leave, but my curiosity got the best of me. I wanted to see my son’s nemesis. As I leaned around the corner and peered through the tiny window on the office door, I was shocked; not at the boy, but his mother.
I quickly turned to my son and told him to go to the car. He asked “What’s up?” I told him “Nevermind, just get to that car.” When I reached the car and pulled out of the parking lot, I asked my son if he knew the name of the bully. As quick as lightening he responded that it was “Jason.” I asked, “Do you know Jason’s last name.” “No,” he replied. “Well, I can tell you his last name is Brooks and do you want to know why I know this piece of information?” I asked. He shrugged his shoulders and waited for my response.
“I’m performing  his mother’s wedding on Saturday” I told him. I think I laughed so hard that we both cried.
When Saturday arrived and I stood there performing the ceremony, it was almost humorous to see a lovely bride, a handsome groom, and a teenage groomsman with a black eye.
And it all happened down the aisle.
Note: The bully never bothered my son again, the names have been changed so the bully wouldn’t feel picked on, and the bride and groom loved the ceremony I performed for them.

Published on July 8, 2012, by in Uncategorized.

Recently I was scheduled to perform the wedding of a most admirable couple. When challenges or circumstances attempt to overwhelm them they just seem to roll with the punches. Their wedding day would be one of those times, but once again they took advantage of the moment and celebrated in a way that I’ve never had the opportunity to experience before.
The couple’s wedding was scheduled to take place at Lake Eola, in downtown Orlando. About ten minutes before the wedding, as guests were getting in place for the ceremony, there was a clap of thunder and the skies opened up into a torrential downpour. This was not small trickle, in fact it rained so hard that seams of my umbrellas could not withstand the force of the rain and I was becoming increasingly wet.
In an attempt to escape the deluge I went across the street to the warm and dry Panera Bread. As soon as I opened the door the aroma of warm bread filled my senses and I made a path for some of their wonderful lemonade. As I was being served my drink I asked for the manager and told Vanessa, the plight of the wedding party standing in the rain. As quick as a greyhound she jumped into action and invited the entire wedding party to come in to the restaurant.
As the wedding guests entered the employees brought out dry towels to help them clean up and dry off. Because of the rain the store was not that crowded and we were able to rearrange some table and create an isle through the back, laid down a white runner, and I had the privilege of performing my first wedding ceremony in a Panera Bread.
When the couple was pronounced husband and wife, the patrons of the restaurant, the employees, and the guests stood, applauded, and celebrated.
Thank you Panera Bread for allowing this wonderful wedding to take place. Thank you Vanessa for your care and concern. You really made this wedding one to remember. And thank you to the employees, who stepped out of their everyday role to help make this wedding a reality for this wonderful couple.
And it all happened down the aisles…