Performing as many as 60 to 80 weddings a year, I often find myself conducting wedding ceremonies in many locations that are far beyond the traditional confines of a church building. In simple terms, I help couples launch their marriages!
We do that in churches and chapels, of course, but also in homes, parks, auditoriums, hotels, backyards, restaurants, on ferry boats, sail boats or yachts, and sometimes on trains, horseback or even motorcycles. I often welcome couples into my home for their wedding ceremony when no other place is appropriate or affordable.
I've officiated at ceremonies at the top of Seattle's Space Needle, on the beach of a county park north of Everett, in a hillside historic chapel at Tiburon, California, overlooking San Francisco bay, in the patio of a neighborhood tavern in Dallas, Texas, and the luxury of a Snoqualmie Falls. Washington, hotel.
Ordinarily I meet with a couple to discuss their wedding plans before I accept a wedding. I need to know what they expect and I'm looking for one thing during our conversation: a commitment to establishing a good, long-lasting marriage.
"I'll bring a planning booklet to the conversation (usually in a Starbucks
shop) to facilitate planning the ceremony and to support your other planning
and rehearsal efforts. I've built a time-tested collection of liturgical
materials from many traditions including Native American poetry or a reading
from a popular children's story, for example. My wedding services are built
mainly on traditional Protestant Christian values and traditions.
"I do not perform 'civil' ceremonies because ministers have no legal
authority to do so. If you want a non-religious ceremony, I can recommend
"Since I was ordained by the United Church of Christ at University
Congregational Church in Seattle in 1984, I have served three churches as a
pastor (small suburban, large downtown city, and small rural) as well as
serving as a police and fire department chaplain."
Wedding ceremonies can reflect two of the best characteristics of a successful marriage - openness and honesty - in many ways. I try to make sure my weddings also carry a deep connection to the roots of wedding ceremonies over the ages and of deeply held religious faith.
The ceremony can be formal or informal, depending on location, time of day, and most importantly, the preferences of the bride and groom.
A wedding ceremony is a life milestone. The family and friends attend this important ceremony expecting only to be spectators. I try to create a moment when these "spectators" are transformed into participants through an ancient, but simple, rite of blessing. If there are children of the new family, they also are carefully included in the service.
You are encouraged to read some of the thank-you notes I've received after wedding ceremonies in the 'galleries' section of my website.
Here some additional comments:
"All of the family members I've talked to agree that your wedding was one of the best they have heard" An Oregon judge after the wedding of a senior Microsoft executive in the elegant 76th floor Columbia Tower Club in Seattle
"My husband and I want to thank you for the wonderful wedding ceremony you conducted for our daughter...you made it so personal and meaningful. It was a beautiful service. Many of our guests comments on how special you made it." A bride's mother