Wednesday, December 31, 2008

WEDDING: Beach Ceremony in Malibu, CA on New Year's Eve!


This couple, with about a dozen family and friends, drove all the way from Santa Clarita to be married on the beach at the ocean. i liked these two right away when we first met because of the playful way they interacted with each other, and the obvious way Aaron cared for Mandy, through his actions and simply the way he looks at her. And, the love they share just took over effortlessly, as the following excerpt from their ceremony shows:
"Once they became romantically involved, a unique and beautiful aspect of their
relationship was that there wasn’t really any more 'yours' or 'mine'. They knew they had found each other, and so, many things were a given and simply fell into place."
What a great way to welcome the New Year! Please see PHOTOS.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

NEWS: Attorney General Jerry Brown Decides to Oppose Prop. 8 in Court

According to the San Francisco Chronicle:

"...It is highly unusual for an attorney general to use the weight of his office to try to invalidate a voter-approved initiative. But Brown's 111-page filing with the California Supreme Court makes a compelling case that the measure's attempt to deprive same-sex couples of the right to marry conflicts with the state Constitution's underlying guarantees of individual liberty , which are ingrained in its very first sentences.

"My job is to see that the laws of the state are uniformly and adequately enforced, and that includes Article I of the Constitution," Brown said in a phone interview. As he noted, there is precedent for a state attorney general arguing against a voter-approved initiative that attempts to undercut civil rights: Proposition 14, passed by
voters in 1964, would have wiped out a fair-housing law. It was ultimately overturned in court."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

VIDEO: Balloon Marriage Proposal Goes Horribly Wrong

Whether this is really a lighthearted joke on video, or an unfortunate mishap, it's worth watching. Many thanks to Chris Easter at the MAN REGISTRY for this one!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Gamer/Geek Wedding Possiblities?

For the tech-ishly inclined reception, bachelor/ette party, etc. etc...introducing...THE GAME SQUAD.

So, i was driving up the 5 freeway in South County today, and i drove up and passed this monstrous truck pulling a huge winnebago-ish trailer. It was decorated as if it was a giant Best Buy advertisement for video games...and if you know me, you know how much i loathe commercials, especially commercials on wheels. But NO! It turns out Game Squad is a private company, where they bring what looks like this ginormous LAN party to you! Check out their website, and in the meantime, i'm going to try and contact them and bring more details, such as...
  • How much does it cost? For what period of time?
  • What kind of gear are they running? Is it all battery powered?
  • What kind of network? i'd love to take a peek inside the inner workings...
  • They look like mostly RPG, but they must have driving and first person shooter games, and stuff like Rockband...?
  • Who's behind this awesome idea?
And thus i wish they had more info on their site. And i wish they had photos of, um, adults playing in the trailer...although, i suppose most of us already have a similar setup in our own homes? And my last wish was that they had better was kinda hard finding them online.

What a cool idea. Why didn't they have this when WE got married, 15 years ago!!??

WEDDING: Home Ceremony in Irvine, CA


This team in life and love (they're both microbiologists!) were wed in front of Liz' children, her African Grey named Pepper and her cockatiel Buster, and Jeff's children, his orchids! (see in background on left)

Oh, yes, Liz' other son, his fiancé and their children were also present! ;-P

Where else do you feel more at home, than at own your home!?? Simple civil ceremonies do NOT have to take place at the courthouse. At home, you can invite your closest loved ones while not leaving your pets or animals behind.

Many thanks again, to Brian and his crew at FPS PRODUCTIONS for another incredible, professional video AND photography job.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

SURVIVOR CEREMONY: Sky Terrace Mobile Lodge in Lake View Terrace

i was extremely humbled and honoured to be invited by the SKY TERRACE MOBILE LODGE community to lead a ceremony for the survivors of the MAREK/MEREK FIRES, to help acknowledge the residents' many losses, including their beloved pets, and to grieve over the transient man who lost his life in the fire.

The Los Angeles Times reported on the CEREMONY, in an effort to call attention to the community and to help them receive assistance from the government and federal agencies:

"After hearing from Venus Kitagawa-Stojsic, who described herself as a
Celebrant with a humanist church, the residents spoke about what they had lost
and their experiences since flames raced through Sky Terrace on Oct. 13.

"The ceremony ended with a moment of silence to pray for the homeless man
and pets killed in the fire. None of the Sky Terrace residents knew the man's
name, and officials have yet to identify him.

"Most of us have a bond now that we didn't have before, but this ceremony
is about moving on and restarting our lives," Zuchegna said."
Many, many thanks to the residents of Sky Terrace, to Linda Zuchegna for contacting me, and to her husband, the esteemed animator and CalArts professor Corny Cole.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NEWS: California Supreme Court Grants Review in Prop 8 Legal Challenges

This is an official email i received from Equality California:

Court to Determine Constitutionality of Prop 8

Today the California Supreme Court granted review in the legal challenges to Proposition 8, which passed by a narrow margin of 52 percent on November 4. In an order issued today, the Court agreed to hear the case and set an expedited briefing schedule. The Court also denied an immediate stay. On November 5, 2008, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging the validity of Proposition 8 in the California Supreme Court on behalf of six couples and Equality California. The City of San Francisco, joined by the City of Los Angeles, the County of Los Angeles, and Santa Clara County, filed a similar challenge, as did a private attorney in Los Angeles. The lawsuits allege that, on its face, Proposition 8 is an improper revision rather than an amendment of the California Constitution because, in its very title, which was “Eliminates the right to marry for same-sex couples,” the initiative eliminated an existing right only for a targeted minority. If permitted to stand, Proposition 8 would be the first time an initiative has successfully been used to change the California Constitution to take way an existing right only for a particular group. Such a change would defeat the very purpose of a constitution and fundamentally alter the role of the courts in protecting minority rights. According to the California Constitution, such a serious revision of our state Constitution cannot be enacted through a simple majority vote, but must first be approved by two-thirds of the Legislature. Since the three lawsuits submitted on November 5, three other lawsuits challenging Proposition 8 have been filed. In a petition filed on November 14, 2008, leading African American, Latino, and Asian American groups argued that Proposition 8 threatens the equal protection rights of all Californians. On November 17, 2008, the California Council of Churches and other religious leaders and faith organizations representing millions of members statewide, also filed a petition asserting that Proposition 8 poses a severe threat to the guarantee of equal protection for all, and was not enacted through the constitutionally required process for such a dramatic change to the California Constitution. On the same day, prominent California women’s rights organizations filed a petition asking the Court to invalidate Proposition 8 because of its potentially disastrous implications for women and other groups that face discrimination. In May of 2008, the California Supreme Court held that barring same-sex couples from marriage violates the equal protection clause of the California Constitution and violates the fundamental right to marry. Proposition 8 would completely eliminate the right to marry only for same-sex couples. No other initiative has ever successfully changed the California Constitution to take away a right only from a targeted minority group. Over the past 100 years, the California Supreme Court has heard nine cases challenging either legislative enactments or initiatives as invalid revisions of the California Constitution. In three of those cases, the Court invalidated those measures.

You can get complete information regarding the actual case itself from the California courts website.

Monday, November 10, 2008

NEWS: Prop. 8 Protests, Petitions and Update

People protested Prop. 8 all over Orange County and Los Angeles this past weekend...

Here's a bit more disappointing news from the LA Times this weekend: "Even with 2.7 million outstanding ballots statewide -- some mail-in and some provisional -- the odds aren't in favor of beating out the gay-marriage ban's lead of more than half a million votes."

Also, here is a 'Tale of Two Votes', comparing the Prop. 8 and Prop. 22 outcomes.

As of late, i have been made aware of Equality California's petition, and Courage Campaign's petition to repeal Proposition 8.

Prop. 8 effects have already been felt by same-sex marriage based businesses, including my own wedding officiant business, A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY. The New York Times is reporting on economic downturns in the same-sex wedding market.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

NEWS: Three lawsuits filed challenging Prop. 8

According to the Los Angeles Times today:
"The first action was filed by the ACLU, the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Lambda Legal. Santa Clara County and the cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles also sued, and Los Angeles lawyer Gloria Allred filed a third suit on behalf of a married lesbian couple....

"All the lawsuits cited the constitutional revision argument, and two of them asked the court to block Proposition 8 from taking effect while the legal cases were pending. "The court must hold that California may not issue licenses to non-gay couples because if it does it would be violating the equal protection clause," Allred said at a news conference.

"A California Supreme Court spokeswoman said the court would act "as quickly as possible" on the challenges.Other lawsuits could follow, but gay rights groups have called on supporters not to file cases in federal court. They fear that a loss at the U.S. Supreme Court could set back the marriage movement decades."

"Prop. 8 not retroactive, Attorney General Jerry Brown Says" from an SF Gate article dated 5 August 2008.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

NEWS: If Proposition 8 Passes, What Happens to Same-Sex Couples Who Were Already Married?

Will Prop. 8 cancel out recent same-sex marriages? No one seems to know for sure. Until i get ahold of someone at the clerk-recorder's office or the registrar of the state of California, or an official statement is made, i will continue to compile information from different sources on this issue.

Bay Area newspaper SF Gate writes about the legal action being taken to block the measure, and possible repercussions if Prop. 8 does indeed pass.

Hear a story on NPR with UC Berkeley professor Jesse Choper about some possibilities that were discussed before the election.

Listen to another story on NPR discussing possible legal grounds and other directions from which to fight against Proposition 8.

That's it for now, i'll be updating frequently.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

WEDDING: GLBT Ceremony in Foothill Ranch, CA


The best place to be wed is amongst your families and friends. This adorable couple tied the knot (see below) in the heart of Orange County, at a hotel in Foothill Ranch. When we met, i found out we had much in common, such as our love of friends and food!
Zach, who is a graduate of Harvard Divinity School (!!) and an ordained minister himself, gave me the tremendous honour of wearing his ministerial stole during the ceremony! Near the end of the ceremony, i bound Zach and Dave's hands together with the stole.

Friday, October 17, 2008

WEDDING: LGBT Ceremony in Atwater Village


The smallest wedding ceremonies are so intimate, and so special. There were fewer than twenty guests total, including two male partners who walked their best friend, these two ladies, down the aisle. It was held in a small art gallery on Glendale Blvd.

The ceremony concluded with jumping the broom:
"To end the ceremony, Karen will place a broom on the ground for Lisa and Brandy to jump over. This is to respect the ancestory of the past...a time where freedoms like these were absent.

Brooms themselves symbolize the hearth, which has historically been the center of the home. The handle of the broom represents a common source of spiritual strength, while the broom’s straws represent the new family Lisa and Brandy created today. There is a ribbon to symbolize the love and commitment that ties everything together.

As they jump from one side to the other, they leave their former lives as individuals and enter a new life together as a married couple. The broom is an opportunity to sweep away past difficulties, problems and fears, as today is a new beginning for Brandy and Lisa.

Everyone, please join in and count to three!"
Photography was provided by the intriguing Cherry Thomas. Venue provided by Little Bird Gallery in Atwater Village.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

WEDDING: Same-Sex Ceremony in Pasadena


A beautiful wedding ceremony took place in the backyard of a bride's parents' home in Pasadena. There were lots of good friends, close family, children, elegant decor and a reading from Khalil Gibran's The Prophet and another from Anne Morrow Lindbergh's Gift from the Sea:

"When you love someone, you do not love them all the time, in exactly the same way, from moment to moment. It is an impossibility. It is even a lie to pretend to. And yet this is exactly what most of us demand. We have so little faith in the ebb and flow of life, of love, of relationships. We leap at the flow of the tide and resist in terror its ebb. We are afraid it will never return. We insist on permanency, on duration, on continuity; when the only continuity possible, in life as in love, is in growth, in fluidity - in freedom, in the sense that the dancers are free, barely touching as they pass, but partners in the same pattern.

"The only real security is not in owning or possessing, not in demanding or expecting, not in hoping, even. Security in a relationship lies neither in looking back to what was in nostalgia, nor forward to what it might be in dread or anticipation, but living in the present relationship and accepting it as it is now. Relationships must be like islands, one must accept them for what they are here and now, within their limits - islands, surrounded and interrupted by the sea, and continually visited and abandoned by the tides."

Photography by the dynamic husband and wife duo at Curtishots and catering by the The Kitchen for Exploring Foods.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

EVENT: The Knot Season Preview Party 2008 at Casa Romantica in San Clemente

i returned a few hours ago from the annual get-together sponsored by uber-wedding website The Knot. The party was held at the beautiful Casa Romantica in San Clemente. There was a stunning sunset in the back of the property, but not enough ventilation inside the building, which became a heat-retaining chamber after an hour or so...

Regardless, i met some really great wedding vendors (read: co-advertisers!), and before i forget anything, i wanted to mention them here in alphabetical order:
  • A&B PHOTOGRAPHY: Thanks to Lee, the photographer, i actually had a fun-filled and not completely business-focused evening! He's an amazingly cool guy and likes to have fun.
  • CARVING ICE: Grace was a great person to meet, who talked about her company's CNC machining of their beautiful ice bars!
  • CUBAN CIGAR FACTORY: Cigars are handrolled before your eyes! i can't wait to smoke mine.
  • ETHNIC ESSENCE: They plan, design and manage 'couture events'. Thanks to Shawna Yamamoto for being so open to my approaching her!
  • HANNA HARTNELL: OMG the dresses this woman designs are freaking gorgeous, hearkening back to the fashions of old Hollywood, and the flapper era! Her dresses have every feature i love in a dress: open back, dropped waist, slinky material, hand beading, etc. etc. You have to see them in real life.
  • LA SOIREE PRODUCTION: An all-inclusive group, handling photography, videography, hair/makeup and event specialisation.
  • MARTIN GERSCHWITZ: Musician and former Iron Butterfly keyboardist, with a sweet wife named Tricia.
  • MISSION VISUAL: Mike McCaleb is super cool, very considerate, and a consummate professional, as his features in Ceremony magazine will attest to, as well as his being brought on as the official videographer of the party.
  • OLE HANSON BEACH CLUB: This is the secondary property owned by Mr. Ole Hanson, who was the real estate developer responsible for old day San Clemente. It was great to meet Maile (pronounced MY-lee)!
  • PACIFIC PALMS RESORT: In Industry Hills. If you've ever driven north of the 60 freeway and looked up to where Azusa Ave. goes, you've seen the old Sheraton hotel, perched on top of the hill, that has now been transformed into this newly renevated property. Nice to meet you, catering manager Joanne Zhong.
  • SEVEN DEGREES: Easily my favourite venue in Laguna Beach. i met Tabatha as she and her crew were leaving the party.

i met a fellow wedding officiant, the legendary Reverend Bruce Danzara, who greeted me with a hug! What a nice guy. And of course, thanks to Shannon Ratcliffe at the Knot for inviting us to another fabulous event!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

POETRY: Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats

by John Keats

Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness,
Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time,
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express
A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme:
What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape
Of deities or mortals, or of both,
In Tempe or the dales of Arcady?
What men or gods are these? What maidens loth?
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape?
What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy?

Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard
Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on;
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd,
Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone:
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave
Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare;
Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss,
Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve;
She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss,
For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair!

Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed
Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu;
And, happy melodist, unwearièd,
For ever piping songs for ever new;
More happy love! more happy, happy love!
For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd,
For ever panting, and for ever young;
All breathing human passion far above,
That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd,
A burning forehead, and a parching tongue.

Who are these coming to the sacrifice?
To what green altar,
O mysterious priest,
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies,
And all her silken flanks with garlands drest?
What little town by river or sea-shore,
Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel,
Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn?
And, little town, thy streets for evermore
Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell
Why thou art desolate, can e'er return.

O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought,
With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral!
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st,
'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.

Friday, September 26, 2008

READING: Apache Wedding Blessing

Now we feel no rain,
for each of us will be shelter to the other.
Now we feel no cold,
for each of us will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness,
for each of us will be a companion to the other.
We are two bodies,
but there is one life before us and one home.
When evening falls,
I'll look up and there you will be.
I'll take your hand;
you'll take mine and we'll turn together
To look at the road we traveled to reach this - the hour of our happiness.
It stretches behind us,
even as the future lies ahead.
A long and winding road,
whose every turn means discovery.
Old hopes, new laughter, shared fears.The adventure has just begun.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Memorial Services: Remember and Reflect the Deceased

i feel a memorial service should remember a life that has been lived, and honour the deceased in a respectful, if not slightly irreverent, way, much like Bruce Weber, obituary writer for the New York Times, describes here:

"The general outlook of the obituary department is that our articles are about lives that have been lived, not deaths that have occurred. The idea is to appreciate the character of the subject to the degree that that’s possible, usually based on what we know that person has accomplished and on what we can glean from interviews with family members and others. You never want to make fun of anyone, but you do want to appreciate eccentricities, record unusual events and relay humorous incidents or comments. In that way, a good obituary can be like a good eulogy."

Courtesy of the New York Times, where you should go for the rest of this fascinating and enlightening interview.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

WEDDING: GLBT Beach Ceremony near the Montage Resort in Laguna Beach, CA


These New Yorkers decided to be married on a beautiful California beach. With the help of their dear friend Neil, their dream came true on the beach in front of the exclusive Montage Resort in Laguna Beach.

It was a small, private ceremony with just a few members of each family attending...they did, after all, have to travel across the country!

We began by drawing a sacred circle in the sand, which Scott and John stood inside with me, and with the guests just inside the outside edge. As a soundtrack played of Brian Eno's music, the ceremony proceeded, with the participation of family members who read separate excerpts. They concluded by erasing the sacred circle, and with a celebratory dinner at the Loft Restaurant inside the Montage.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

WEDDING: Home Ceremony in Valley Village, CA


It was an unforgettable evening in this expansive Valley Village backyard! The ceremony began with a small processional that was to have included the bride's hearing service dog, who encountered doggie stage fright at the last minute. As an officiant, it is my priority to perform a ceremony the couple's way, which this time meant my back was to face the audience:
(from ceremony text)
"They have chosen to face you, their honored guests, as a show of their
respect towards you, and their desire to fully share their joy with everyone
here today. They have chosen this date, on the cusp of fall, for their
wedding, to celebrate the transition to their favorite season with the start of
their wedded lives."

During the ceremony, the bride's dear friend, Susan Heartlight, sang a lovely version of "What a Wonderful World" accompanied by Robert Korda and his string quartet.

i love to experience new things, especially at wedding receptions. The reception was fantastic, with dancing and dining al fresco! We danced the hora in celebration of the newly wedded couple. Il Fornaio provided the catering, and Mike Brandt was a perfect host from Lionel Ames Events.

Event planning, by Andrea of A Wynning Event, was seamless and handled to the last detail, including portable, air-conditioned toilets for the guests. Photography by John at


Saturday, September 20, 2008

WEDDING: Calamigos Ranch in Malibu, CA


I met these two audio engineers and learned how much we had in common through our mutual love of music. In fact, each table at the reception, instead of having a name or a number, was identified by an album cover!

This gorgeous ceremony took place at the Ranch House area of CALAMIGOS RANCH in Malibu off Kanan Road. You would never imagine such verdant grounds in the middle of the seemingly dry and brown canyons of Malibu. Shannon and Brad were married in front of a waterfall surrounded by trees and grass. The surroundings gave off a hushed, calm atmosphere, which i overheard many people comment about. Purplish and kermit-coloured mums, lilies and other flowers [dear florists: can you teach me more about all the different species?] were everywhere.

The couple enlisted a friend to play the guitar for the processional: "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. During the ceremony, a sister-in-law recited an excerpt from the VELVETEEN RABBIT and a friend gave the APACHE WEDDING BLESSING.

Many thanks to Mon-Li, banquet manager, for her onsite energy and wisdom. Excellent DJ services provided by Tony of RED SHOE LA, with whom i have worked with several times before. These guys really know their music, and are not the typical cheesy wedding DJs, with a huge collection of chilly downtempo music as well as the hits.

Photography provided by a very busy team headed by TARA ROCHELLE.


Monday, September 15, 2008

WEDDING: Howard Johnson Resort, near Disneyland, in Anaheim, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Stephanie and Jason!
These two came all the way from Edmonton, Alberta Canada!

Quite often, couples decide to have their own little destination wedding in conjunction with a vacation trip to California. In some ways, i like these ceremonies the best because it is just the couple and the officiant, with no extravagant reception and no relatives dragging the bride and groom from place to place.

In these long-distance cases, i'm usually unable to meet with a couple in person before the wedding. Trust is a majour issue, and i do my very best to assure the couple i will meet their every need. Sometimes, a phone call or two is involved, although in this particular case, the first time i ever met or spoke to either the bride and groom, was 30 minutes before the ceremony! i work closely with each couple via email to make sure their ceremony is a true reflection of themselves and of their love. For example:
"We are here near Disneyland, which is a significant place, because it was a family trip to the Magical Kingdom, that helped shape Stephanie into the person she is today. When Jason brought her flowers that day in the grocery store, it was the beginning of a very special story of love and friendship that has endured. It has taken some time and work to return to California, but here they are on their trip of a lifetime. What better place to publicly declare their love and commitment to each other?"

Go here for PHOTOS.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

WEDDING: Same Sex Ceremony at Home in Cerritos

It was an absolute thrill and honour to officiate at the wedding of two very good friends. i have never officiated at a ceremony with so much crying! :) Luckily, i did all my choking up during the rehearsal and managed to keep my composure.

To end the ceremony, i read from the following quote by Richard Bach, about soulmates:
“A soulmate is someone who has locks that fit our keys, and keys to fit our locks. When we feel safe enough to open the locks, our truest selves step out and we can be completely and honestly who we are; we can be loved for who we are and not for who we’re pretending to be. Each unveils the best part of the other. No matter what else goes wrong around us, with that one person we’re safe in our own paradise. Our soulmate is someone who shares our deepest longings, our sense of direction. When we’re two balloons, and together our direction is up, chances are we’ve found the right person. Our soulmate is the one who makes life come to life.”


Sunday, September 7, 2008

PHOTOS: from Disneyland Rose Court Garden wedding

These photos are from Emily and Jeff's wedding at the Disneyland Rose Court Garden on 23 August 2008.

Many thanks to Emily's niece, PrincessBOCA for supplying these images!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

WEDDING: The Villa in Westminster, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Jennifer and Dean!

Sunday was a nice but warm day for this wedding. It took place with over a hundred guests at the private banquet hall The Villa in Westminster. There were many children, both in the wedding and attending with guests or people in the wedding party. The couple included family vows/children's vows, as a way of including the creation of a family in the ceremony. Here they formalised their desire to commit to their child, Dean Jr., as well as to each other:

"And Jennifer and Dean, do you commit today to continue your support of Dean Jaden as an individual? Do you vow to be there for him in his times of trouble as well as in his times of joy, to rejoice in the love that he has added to your lives, and to strive as you are able to preserve peace in your home?

Dean and Jennifer respond, “We do.

The venue is an unassuming building along Beach Boulevard, but once you go inside, it is an incredible place, complete with a staircase for the bridal party to descend down. The layout of the ceremony area is a little unusual, and made it slightly difficult for such a large group of guests to maneuver, but in the end, the wedding was lovely! The Villa also contains a full-service bridal salon. Thanks to Natalie and Liz of Lifetime Weddings and Events. Photography by Dai Bac Wedding Center.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

WEDDING: Private Home in Sun Valley, CA


Amidst the curvy lanes of La Tuna Canyon Road, this private wedding included bellydancers, delicious Moroccan cuisine, and beautiful tents complete with pillows and hookahs!

The ceremony itself emphasized the couple's relationship. It was simple and to the point, without a great deal of mushiness, since physical affection is not usually displayed in either Bulgarian or Moroccan wedding traditions. The reception blended the bride's Bulgarian and the groom's Moroccan cultures.

(Last-minute!) DJ services were provided by _________ and photography was from _____________.

SAME-SEX DOUBLE WEDDING: Private Home in Glendora, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: John and Robert AND Thom and Dominick!

This intimate double ceremony only included two couples, who have been friends for years and years. Once couple came all the way from the Phoenix, Arizona area to stay and be wed at their friends' home in Glendora, CA.

Each couple signed the other's marriage license as witnesses.

It was such a pleasure working with all these gentlemen, and i am so privileged that they chose me to be to create and perform their marriage ceremonies.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

WEDDING: Disneyland Hotel, Rose Court Garden


These two USC-educated dentists were married at the Disneyland Hotel Rose Court Garden. The staff at the hotel offer impeccable service, as you would expect from a 'magical' Disneyland-type of event. The wedding was short, sweet and meaningful. And no horse-drawn carriage!

Many thanks to Kelly and Denise at Disneyland, photographer Mandy Marie of Jim Kennedy Photographers, and DJ service from Mike at _______.

Friday, August 22, 2008

WEDDING: Muckenthaler Mansion in Fullerton


MUCKENTHALER MANSION was a beautiful setting for this wedding. The banquet managers really had their stuff together! The bride's cousin read a poem by John Keats called Ode on a Grecian Urn.

Once again, i had the privilege of working with COLETTE'S CATERING. Photography by the very friendly CHRIS DISET.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

NEWS: San Francisco's Gay/Lesbian-Friendly Area a Novelty Worth Sightseeing?

Gawking tourists not welcome in the Castro?!!

Tour buses have been dropping off looky-loo tourist-types in the heart of San Francisco's GLBT neighbourhood, also known as the Castro.

Read the article, courtesy of the San Francisco Guardian.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

WEDDING: Rose Garden at Fairmount Park in Riverside, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Candace and Jaime!

i've been travelling all over this summer for wedding season. This day was no different. Fairmount Park in Riverside has a lovely ROSE GARDEN that can be reserved for special occasions. Afterward, the reception was held at the couple's home.

i met a very cool wedding and special events vendor, who transports and accompanies a vintage photo booth and puts the pictures together into a scrapbook for you! Check out the PHOTOBOOTH SCRAPBOOKS website.

WEDDING: LGBT at home in Malibu, CA


This was an intimate, last-minute wedding at home in beautiful Malibu!

Yes, the ocean is in their backyard...

The ceremony included a touching tribute to a deceased sister, this couple's faithful Dalmatian dog (child, really) and lots of champagne! :)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

POETRY: "Love" by Roy Croft


I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

Friday, August 15, 2008

WEDDING: At Falkner Winery in Temecula, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Samantha and Shaun!

i have the luck and privilege to marry truly incredibly couples.

These two touched me deeply. Not only are they electronic music lovers and DJs/producers (it's a music genre i have a particular passion for), but they are two really cool, sweet, smart people.

i had never cried while performing a ceremony at a wedding, until this day! The bride's brother recited a poem called "Love" by Roy Croft, and they had a sand ceremony to the song "Fix You" by Coldplay. Beautiful.

The ceremony was held in the heart of Temecula wine country at the lovely FALKNER WINERY. Photography was done by the fabulous CHRISTINA D. MCNEILL, excellent DJ service provided by MYDJS.NET, and food was provided by the venue.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

WEDDING: The Bell Tower in Rancho Santa Margarita


i had the honour and privilege of performing a very special wedding ceremony for these two lovely people! This wedding was extraordinary because of the FAMILY GOLD and RING STAMPING that accompanied the traditional ceremony.

At exactly 4pm, the bells in the Rancho Santa Margarita Bell Tower rang the hour, and the ceremony began.

The rings were made of ancestral gold. The passage below, from the actual ceremony text, describes the origin from which the gold came from:

"When Anna and Chris decided to get married, they knew they wanted to do
something special and different for their rings. They wanted the rings to
connect them with their families and their histories and heritage so Chris had
the idea to do this by including gold contributed from family and friends and
then to take part in the making of the rings themselves Once they talked about
their ideas, their friends and family generously got on board and donated scraps
of gold to add to the rings. The rings are made with pieces from four
generations and from as far away as Germany. They have pieces that have
come from treasured objects and some that have just been found along the
Each contribution was carefully logged, photographed and included in a beautiful display. The photographs and histories were bound in a gorgeous hardcover book, with each person's significance/relationship carefully documented. Then, during the ceremony, with the help of the bride's father, who is a metalsmith, the rings were stamped with an oak leaf, which in itself is rich with symbolism:

"For Chris and Anna, an oak tree is a symbol of their love and marriage through its strength and longevity,. The symbolism of the oak runs deep. The tree itself is a symbol of life. The acorn is a symbol of new beginnings. We speak of one’s roots, and rootedness to describe the sense of place and heritage. And perhaps most significant, the English word for “true” is based on the notion of “steadfast as an oak.” “True” comes from the same root as the word for “oak tree,” implying firmness and constancy. And so with this symbol, Chris and Anna will mark and complete the rings. "

Photography was provided by the very talented DAISY VARLEY and catering was provided by FRESCA's.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Same-Sex Wedding in Southern CA


i was so excited last week to marry these two women in the backyard of their own home in Glendora, CA. Theirs was a luau-themed affair, complete with a 'blending of the sand' ceremony, with their closest friends in attendance. i am grateful Jo. and Me. found me.

The following doesn't apply to the two people above, but:

Many LGBT couples have been contacting me lately, about getting married. Quite a few couples have already had their real wedding some time ago, where they exchanged rings, became domestic partners, had a reception, invited the whole world, etc. etc. Now, these same sex couples are opting for a smaller, yet meaningful, ceremony to mark the legal marriage...and i am more than happy to oblige! :)

PHOTO: Crystal and Loren

This photo was taken on the hillside of the grounds at PEPPERDINE UNIVERSITY in Malibu. It was a beautiful setting for this vow renewal!

Friday, August 8, 2008

8th of August 2008

First, i would like to point out how i do not usually double-book dates, because i like to do my best to have all my energy and focus for one couple. However, when i meet a couple that give off a great vibe and feeling, i try to do whatever i can to fulfill their need for a special ceremony.

So, because of the significance of 8/8/08, i agreed to perform ceremonies for three wonderful couples!

Their ceremony was held at the LAKE SHRINE at the Self-Realization Temple in Malibu, just a little ways from the beach off of Sunset Blvd. and PCH. There were lots of people walking around on this beautiful morning. There were swans, ducks and koi in the lake, watching on as we paid tribute all the world's religions. We made a prayer in front of Gandhi's memorial, peeked in at the Meditation Room, and had the bulk of the ceremony taking place in the Sunken Garden.

Held at the fabulous Yorba Linda home of a friend, this wedding was truly special. With just a couple dozen close friends, it was a fabulous party and celebration. i had known this couple for about a year, since their 7/7/07 ceremony did not work out at first, but 8/8/08 proved to be the charm for this lovely, Chinese themed ceremony. There was lots of red, dragons, and noisemakers to wish the couple a happy life together.

This special couple found me at the last minute, and asked me to perform their ring exchange ceremony. We met in the evening at DOUGLAS PARK in Santa Monica. It was a wonderful way to finish off an incredible day. i think they will be together for many, many years to come.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

READING: Excerpt from the Velveteen Rabbit

~ By Margery Williams ~

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but Really loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

"It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get all loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

BEACH WEDDINGS in Southern California are lovely!

Along with Malibu, LAGUNA BEACH is one of the most sought-after locations for beach weddings in the Orange County and Los Angeles Counties. It's easy to have small (fewer than 10 people), meaningful ceremonies on or near the beach in Laguna. For larger events, there are many, many fantastic venue possibilities for both ceremony and reception! Please search this blog for keywords Laguna Beach, Heisler Park, beach ceremony or wedding for more...

The ceremony shown below took place just outside of the gazebo in Heisler Park:

This ceremony was inside the gazebo. Doesn't the water look beautiful in the background?

This ceremony was held on a sloping pavement area, just outside of the lawn bowling field/yard at Heisler Park:

And, this ceremony was down on the beach itself. Please note our bare feet in the sand! :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wedding in Newport Beach, onboard ICON yacht

CONGRATULATIONS: Tracie and Kolby!

It was another fantastic weekend, with a lovely and intimate wedding aboard the Icon yacht in Newport Beach! For four hours, we were in the capable hands of our captain as he cruised us through the harbor.

Tracie and Kolby are two sweethearts who are teaching and writing in Maine, but grew up in Orange County. Their wedding was filled with family, friends, and lots of love.

If you're interested in having a wedding onboard a yacht at sea in Southern California, please check the CNYB website.

COLETTE'S CATERING took care of the food. i even got to meet the legendary Colette! Photography was done by a fun, three person crew from FIRE LIGHT.

Monday, June 23, 2008

HAPPY VOW RENEWAL: Loren and Crystal!

The second ceremony of the weekend was in honour of Loren and Crystal's fifth wedding anniversary. The couple chose to renew their vows in a small ceremony that included two friends, on a beautiful hill overlooking Malibu, CA's ocean.

An excerpt from their vow renewal ceremony:

"The word “renew” has slightly different definitions that are all applicable to Loren and Crystal. One definition of renew is ‘to arrange for the extension of’. After five years, Crystal and Loren certainly desire to continue their marriage for five more, ten more, even fifty more years!

"Renew may be defined as ‘To regain the physical or mental vigor of; to restore, revive or replenish’. We seek to renew Crystal and Loren’s wedding vows because they have both worked very hard to overcome difficult challenges in their relationship, and as a result, they both have a better understanding of themselves and of each other.

"Renew can also mean ‘To take up again; to resume or reestablish’.

"Finally, another definition of renew is ‘To repeat so as to reaffirm’. "

i feel vow renewals are so important, simply because of a couple's history and experiences together, upon which the vows are renewed.

For more information on vow renewal ceremonies, please contact me through my website, A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY.

Wedding in Palm Springs, at a mid-century estate


What a fantastic weekend it was, with not just one, but TWO last-minute ceremonies!

First off, F and K were wed in the most fabulous Palm Springs home, ever. i already had the privilege of performing another ceremony at this very special location. Only close family and friends attended this lovely, intimate ceremony. Although the wind was blowing hard in the 110 degree desert heat, the wedding was the coolest affair!

The reception consisted of a fantastic surf and turf dinner, catered by JORDAN'S CREATIVE CATERING. Photography provided by the fabulous MAYA MYERS, and her partner Kacia. More photos coming soon!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

UPDATE: Same-Sex Marriage in CA

Recent developments have made me hopeful to wed gay/lesbian/GLBT/same-sex couples in a personalised, custom-written ceremony!

As an officiant and certified Celebrant authorized to solemnize marriages in the state of California, please contact me if you are in need of someone to perform your wedding. i honor all faiths, backgrounds, beliefs, preferences and cultures. Not religious, non-religious, spiritual, interfaith, traditional or unusual ceremonies are all OK. My website is A Non-Denominational Ceremony.

On to the latest:

Unless directed otherwise through further court action, Los Angeles County will begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples on Tuesday, June 17, 2008. For more information, the county has printed this flyer with the basic information you will need .

Also, here's an NPR story from the other day:
Same-Sex Ruling Drives Wedding Business in California

Monday, June 9, 2008

BOOK: 8 Simple Rules for Marrying My Daughter

i didn't know the TV show '8 Simple Rules' was actually based on a book written by an actual man, W. BRUCE CAMERON. well, now this man's daughter is getting married, and he wants to tell you about what is going on in his head as the big day approaches. he's a funny guy, but i can tell he's being serious deep down...

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Wedding in Lakewood, in the backyard of a home


i had the honor and privilege of marrying SuperMex Restaurants' Director of Operations and his lovely wife in a fantastic home wedding ceremony!

one of the highlights of the ceremony was at the end, when his groomsman Mike broke out into an impromptu performance of James Brown's "I Feel Good" with the wedding band!

hopefully, i will have photos soon of this very special day.

Friday, June 6, 2008

POETRY: I Love You - Paul Eluard

I love you for all the women I haven’t known
I love you for all the times in which I haven’t lived
For the scent of the wide open spaces and the smell of hot bread
For the melting snow and for the first flowers
For the innocent animals which haven’t been frightened by man
I love you to loveI love you for all the women I don’t love

Who reflects me if not you yourself-I see myself so little
Without you I see nothing but an empty space
Between those other times and today
There have been all those deaths that I have crossed on straw
I have not been able to break through the wall of my mirror
I’ve had to learn life word by word
How one forgets

I love you for all the wisdom, which is not mine
For health
I love you against everything which is only illusion
For that immortal heart over which I have no power
You think that you are doubt but you’re just reason
You are the powerful sun that rushes to my head
When I am sure of myself

Monday, June 2, 2008

NEWS: Late-life wedding

Two 95 year-olds were married recently in Camarillo, CA, proving love knows no bounds, defined by age or any other convention.

Read this article from the Los Angeles Times titled "Late-life wedding in Camarillo offers proof: Love knows no age".

Thursday, May 29, 2008

RITUALS: Mead, the ancient beverage

MEAD, sometimes called honey wine, is a fermented beverage made with honey. The most basic mead is made with a simple combination of honey, yeast and water.

According to, mead may possibly be the world's oldest alcoholic beverage. It was a very popular drink throughout history and was used in religious gatherings. Some pagan rituals used mead in their ceremonies, and Ethiopian meads are used in funeral rituals.

An old European tradition gave newlyweds a month’s supply of mead. Some say this is where the word “honeymoon” came from. However, linguists do not often support this claim.

There are online recipes for mead, and websites where you can buy mead. Some specialty supermarkets and liquor stores may carry it. There are also online mead enthusiasts.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

WEDDING: in Elysian Park, Los Angeles CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Sheryl and Danny!

Another fantastic couple, and another beautiful wedding ceremony...this time, it was at a venue i have never performed at before: the GRACE E. SIMONS LODGE in Elysian Park.

The couple incorporated a sand ceremony in front of about 100 of their friends and family.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS: Helen and Steve! (Laguna Beach)

It was an honour to perform a marriage ceremony for these two wonderful people! The bride's sister and groom's mother served as witnessness and wedding party. Although ominous grey clouds loomed inland on this day, the coast was absolutely clear and perfect. The sun shined upon the couple as they exchanged self-composed vows against a beautiful ocean background.

The couple concluded their ceremony with this lovely couplet:

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind,
And therefore is winged Cupid painted blind."
---from A Midsummer Night's Dream, William Shakespeare

Laguna Beach is often chosen by couples as the site for their wedding. Of all the beach weddings i have performed, 90% of them have been in Laguna Beach! There are blocks of oceanside and sidewalks for small informal or intimate ceremonies, and you can reserve HEISLER PARK* or the gazebo* next to Las Brisas Restaurant, off of Cliff Drive, or the beach itself, for larger groups.

Please see the Laguna Beach city website for information about these fantastic venues!

* Links are for photos only, thanks to

Saturday, May 17, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS: Erin and Ryan! (Palm Springs)

This weekend, i had the privilege and honour of marrying two fantastic people. They put together the most fantastic cocktail-type wedding at a fabulous mid-century estate in Palm Springs!

It was a brief outdoor ceremony behind the backyard pool, in 100-degree PLUS weather! No photos of the couple yet, but check out the the beautiful home that was the backdrop for this very special day:

Photos courtesy of Coldwell Bankers website.

Friday, May 16, 2008

NEWS: Los Angeles and Orange County Prepare to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

Despite a California Supreme Court ruling Thursday that a state ban on same-sex marriages is illegal, couples still must wait at least 30 days before the law takes effect.

To certify a same-sex marriage is legal, counties in California must create new forms that are approved by the state.

Los Angeles County Supervisors have already ordered city officials to begin preparations to comply with the California Supreme Court's decision. Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky said he wants the county to be ready to move as soon as possible. He asked that a timeline for implementing the court order be reported to the Board of Supervisors as early as next week. Read a more complete report from the LOS ANGELES TIMES.

Meanwhile, in Orange County, same-sex couples are urged to apply for a license online, but the clerk-recorder's office is also unable to accomodate walk-up same-sex marriages for at least 30 days. Please see this article in the OC REGISTER.

TRADITION: Water-Dousing Ceremony for Firefighters

FULLERTON – A makeshift bucket brigade on the Fire Department roof Thursday morning doused 21 firefighters standing below with 10 pails of water and a hose – keeping with a tradition practiced for years all over the nation.

The water targeted firefighters who were being promoted.

Fire Chief Wolfgang Knabe said many departments have eliminated the water-drop zone recently, but "Traditions are important to me," he added.
We agree, traditions ARE important! Congratulations to all you wet Fullerton firefighters!

Courtesy of an article originally in the OC REGISTER.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

NEWS: California Supreme Court Overturns Gay Marriage Ban

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court ruled today that same-sex couples should be permitted to marry, rejecting state marriage laws as discriminatory. The Court overturned a gay marriage ban in a 4-3 ruling that would make the nation's largest state the second one to allow gay and lesbian weddings. The justices' decision says domestic partnerships are not a good enough substitute for marriage. Chief Justice Ron George wrote the opinion.

Read the FULL TEXT OF THE RULING in pdf.

Today's ruling by the Republican-dominated court affects more than 100,000 same-sex couples in the state, about a quarter of whom have children, according to U.S. census figures. It came after high courts in New York, Washington and New Jersey refused to extend marriage rights to gay couples. Before today, only Massachusetts' top court has ruled in favor of permitting gays to wed.

The state high court's ruling was unlikely to end the debate over gay matrimony in California. A group has circulated petitions for a November ballot initiative that would amend the state Constitution to block same-sex marriage, while the Legislature has twice passed bills to authorize gay marriage. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed both.

Listen to an informative piece from NPR today.

The above was culled from several sources. Go to the Los Angeles Times or the Associated Press for further reading.

Friday, May 2, 2008

NEWS: Matriarch of Interracial Marriage, MILDRED LOVING Dies

It is difficult to believe, but not too long ago, it was actually against the law in this country for two people of different races to marry.

Mildred Loving and her white husband, Richard, changed history in 1967 when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld their right to marry. The ruling struck down laws banning racially mixed marriages in at least 17 states.

Mildred Loving died at the age of 68.

Please see her obituary from the Associated Press.

Celebrate the legalization of interracial couples on LOVING DAY, 12 June.

Also, hear an NPR story celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in favour of the Lovings.

Monday, April 28, 2008

WEDDING: Vietnamese Rituals

Traditional Vietnamese wedding rituals and customs are a mixture of native and Chinese cultures and are strongly influenced by Confucian morality. Their purposes are to ensure the conjugal happiness for the couple and to form close relations between two families.

The groom comes to the bride’s house with an elder of his family who has had a happy family life to pay homage to the ancestors of the bride’s family and to pay respect to her parents. Then the bride is taken before the ancestral altar of her husband’s family where she will be “introduced” to her husband’s ancestors’ spirits as the new family member. After that, the couple will share a cup of rice wine and a small dish of steamed sticky rice as a promise to share happiness as well as hardship.

After the ceremony is over, there is usually a wedding party with the presence of members of both families and some family friends to celebrate the union of not only the couple but also the two families.

Huu Ngoc and Lady Borton, “Wedding Customs”, The Gioi Publisher
Phan Ke Binh, “The Customs of Vietnam”, Van Hoc Publisher

COURTESY OF: Vietnamese Wedding Style blog

Saturday, April 19, 2008

CONGRATULATIONS: Isaura and Jason! (Los Angeles)

Much love and congratulations to Isaura and Jason, a politically active couple who were married on Saturday at the LOS ANGELES ARBORETUM.

There are so many areas to the arboretum! It's 127 acres of beautiful grounds. Their ceremony was in the lovely rose garden, with a reception in the Sunset Room. There are peacocks and peahens running around everywhere, and they make the coolest cries and display their feathers so beautifully. It was a stunning location for a wedding.

Monday, March 31, 2008

BUDGET: Wedding Season's Price

Spring wedding season has arrived, ushering in hefty costs for guests -- and especially for members of the wedding party.

Today's WALL STREET JOURNAL has some practical tips for young people who are required to travel and spend money in order to participate in a wedding.

Some members of your wedding party may consider it a vacation to travel to your destination, but some may not be able or willing to travel in order to attend fittings and rehearsals in addition to the Big Day. To save your friends from having to spend a lot of money, have a basic colour scheme in mind, and send out swatches of the exact colours. This way, you can leave it up to your attendants to find their own outfits for the ceremony.

Or, you can always choose to have a small or no wedding party... This means more focus and pressure on you two, but less expense for your guests!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

WEDDING: Props and Favors for a Non-Denominational Ceremony

i don't usually endorse commercial websites cos it's just not my style, but i discovered a website recently that offers an alternative from those cheesy and over-the-top wedding favour storefronts.

it's called MY SPIRITUAL WEDDING ( and it has all the props a couple may need for a unity ritual. they carry items other sites don't often have in one place, like handfasting cords and Native American wedding vases, along with the typical stuff like unity candles, sand, ketubah, unity coins and more.

there's also a non-secular side to the spiritual, and the site has all that stuff, too.

i don't buy from the site, but i like using the information on the site to research the ceremonies and rituals i perform.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


A huge congratulations and many thanks to the lovely couple! It was a beautiful Hollywood Hills home ceremony/reception last night. The table settings were stunning, and the work of MAGGIE MECCIA and RON RILEY. i hope to have some photos to share with you, later!

After the ceremony, a lot of people asked me, "Where did they find you?" and "Did you write the ceremony for them?" to which i answered, "i'm not sure how they found me, but they definitely saw me on the internet and reached out through my website..." and "i wrote it, but they did most of the work."

Internet marketing is so vast, and can be so complex, and i am grateful whenever anyone happens to find my site, A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY and feels a connection to it.

As for the writing part, i do indeed create the text from scratch, but it would not be possible without a couple's input. Once i am hired, i send home a 'Couple's Questionnaire', which is returned via email. The various answers supply the material i use to write an introduction, as well as a couple's story, and all the transitions between the different elements.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

WEDDING: At Heisler Park Gazebo in Laguna Beach


Short and sweet. The wedding was, that is...

This couple was married in the GAZEBO at HEISLER PARK in Laguna Beach. The reception was later held in a private room inside the Loft Restaurant at the MONTAGE resort.

It was another fantastic experience, and i am so glad to have met this couple. It was such an honour to be included on their special day!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

WEDDINGS: "Perfect" Wedding Vows?

i feel vows don't need to be perfect.

Marriage/wedding vows DO need, however, to show your intentions, express your feelings, and convey your love toward your partner. That can be a lot of pressure.

There is an e-book on the market from "The Wedding Goddess" with all kinds of vow-writing ideas, but i suggest an easier way to write your own vows is:
  1. Ask your officiant for some examples of vows
  2. Research online - there are HUNDREDS of websites with vow examples...for free!
  3. Borrow and adapt parts you like to make it your own

If you absolutely must write your vows from scratch, write them from your heart. Remember to use your own voice: if you are an informal, friendly person, DO NOT write something that is stern and stiff! You do not want to make your promise of love and trust sound like it's coming from a complete stranger. And, your partner will appreciate it, too.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

WEDDINGS: Attending an Orthodox Jewish Wedding

According to the writer, a traditional Jewish wedding is full of meaningful rituals, symbolizing the beauty of the relationship of husband and wife, as well as their obligations to each other and to the Jewish people. The wedding day is considered the happiest and holiest day in the lives of the bride and groom!

Courtesy of The Redlands Daily Facts.

WEDDING: "A Caucasian's Traditional Chinese Wedding"

Throughout the ceremony, the bride was marveled at her new husband's inquiries about the different traditional Chinese customs that he kept observing. While removing the palanquin, Steven spotted a saddle and a fire pit in front of him. After a brief hesitation, he asked, "What are these for?" The master of ceremony explained that the saddle symbolized peace as it has the same pronunciation in Chinese as "peace," while the fire pit is to burn bad luck away and brings a bright future.

Courtesy of The Epoch Times

Thursday, February 14, 2008

WEDDINGS: Valentine's Day Weddings in Orange County

The courthouse opened early and closed late on this, the busiest day of the year for wedding ceremonies. About 150 couples said their vows and exchanged their rings in civil ceremonies led by one of the county’s deputy commissioners of marriages.

Courtesy of the OC Register.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

NEWS: CA Courts to Hear About Same-Sex Marriage on 4 March 08

A hearing has been scheduled by the California Supreme Court for March 4 .

In its chambers in San Francisco, the court will hear a consolidation of four lawsuits by same-sex couples and the city of San Francisco who are challenging the ban on same-sex marriage, as well as two countersuits by private organizations defending the law.

Courtesy of the San Francisco Guardian.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


Celebrant venus, the lovely bride CoDe and her handsome new husband BriRe. What a couple!

They were married on 28 Sep. 2007.

Monday, January 21, 2008

WEDDING: Untraditional Ideas

Throw your assumptions about what a wedding ceremony “should” be like right out the window. What do you want to say to one another on this most important day?
  • Write your own vows and say exactly how you feel.
  • Quote your favorite poet on the subject of love, or include a verse from a meaningful song for the two of you.
  • Ask family members to read or play music during the ceremony.
  • Light a special candle to commemorate loved ones who have passed away.
  • Use your favorite music for the processional instead of classical standards.

When you remember that there really are no rules to follow when planning your own untraditional wedding, the possibilities for creativity are truly endless.

Courtesy of

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

WEDDING: 8/8/08 or August 8, 2008

The Triple 8 combination—080808—will not be coming around for another century, and it is believed that it will bring even more luck than usual in some cultures.

According to a newspaper website, the Chinese believe it important to select a date that is favorable and auspicious for special events such as weddings to increase success in life. Getting married on such well-chosen dates will bring more positive energy to bless and empower the event and help to start off the couple on their journey of marriage.

To the Chinese, eight is the most fortuitous of numbers—coveted for addresses, phone and bank account numbers—because it is associated with wealth, prosperity and good fortune.

The Chinese government itself believes so much in the auspiciousness of the date that it will open the Summer Olympic Games in Beijing on Aug. 8, 2008 at 08:08:08 in the evening.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

FUNERAL: Samoan Traditions

Samoan Ifoga

"In the Samoan tradition, an ifoga is a ritualized formal apology where those seeking forgiveness humble themselves before the person or family that was hurt. An ifoga can take days. Those seeking forgiveness may have to wait in the hot sun or through the rainy night and there is no guarantee that the apology will be accepted. There is no guarantee there won't be retaliation on the spot.

"If the matter is very serious, the high chief from the village of the accused would perform the ifoga.

"It is a very humbling gesture on the part of those asking for mercy. An envelope of money collected from among the community is offered as part of the ifoga, as well as an 'ie toga, a fine mat, considered the most significant and sincere part of the ifoga ritual."

Courtesy of the Honolulu Advertiser.

FUNERAL: Mourning Rituals of the Amish

Bryer, Kathleen. “The Amish Way of Death: a Study of Family Support Systems.” American Psychologist (March 1979): 255-261.

Bryer examines how the Amish cope with death, their funeral customs and mourning rituals (which are basically the same as those of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Americans), personal experiences with death, and the Amish family and group structure. She uses the Lancaster community as her setting. She demonstrates that the Amish, with their strong religious convictions, belief in an eternal, heavenly afterlife, and the closeness and presence of family and community during old age, times of sickness, and death, aid the Amish in preparation for and coping with death. The Amish, somewhat ahead of the rest of us, have for over 300 years, used mutual help groups and grievance support systems for survivors. The article is particularly insightful for one wanting information on Amish funeral customs and for alternative ways of coping with the death of a loved one.

Courtesy of "All I need to know about the Amish: Sociological, cultural, and religious studies"

Friday, January 4, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Book an Officiant Now!

Newly engaged couples often overlook the importance of finding the right officiant to perform their ceremony. With the busiest wedding season just a few months away, the time to book an officiant is now. 40% of surveyed wedding planning resources state ceremony officiants should be confirmed nine months or more in advance.

Please see this