Tuesday, December 22, 2009

NEWS: Los Angeles Marriage License Fees to Increase Starting January 2010

Los Angeles County will soon begin charging more to issue marriage licenses beginning in the new year, as heard on local news outlets and in the L.A. Times. A memo recommending the marriage license fee increase to the L.A. County Board of Supervisors states the new fee would go into effect on January 21, 2010 or "thirty days from the date of Board passage" (which in this case was December 22, 2009).

This would make the cost of a public marriage license to go up from $70 to $90, and the cost of a confidential marriage license to go up from $70 to $85. To see the difference between public and confidential marriage licenses, please see this earlier post.

The fee increase is expected to bring another half-million dollars in revenue to L.A. County. A quick google search did not produce any planned increase in Orange County, nor did the O.C. Clerk-Recorder's website state anything, but considering how large the deficit is across the state of California, similar fee increases cannot be far behind...?!

Friday, December 4, 2009

ELEMENTS: Acknowledge Family/Friends or Honour Deceased in Your Ceremony

i saw the following on POSTSECRET.COM this week:

My father, who I was very close to, passed away when I was 21 very suddenly and unexpectedly. 2 years later I met the man of my dreams and could not imagine getting married without my dad there.

To this day, whenever anyone asks me who walked me down the aisle the true and honest answer is: "My dad did".

Maybe someone else out there will find this to be a small comfort during the sadness of not having their dad.

My father passed away when i was fourteen, so not only do i empathise with this writer, i understand how important and meaningful it is, to acknowledge loved ones. Those unable to attend a (wedding) ceremony may still be made present! And, this can be done without bringing the mood down, taking the focus away from the celebration, or implying an afterlife. Consider these suggestions:
  • Use of a short verbal passage or introduction - to be read by the officiant or other participant.
  • Creating a symbol of the honoured person - through jewelry [see above], flower, dove release, candle lighting, balloon, ringing of a bell, etc.
  • Moment of silence - before proceeding with the main body of the ceremony, encourage a simple bowing of heads so believers may offer a prayer and non-believers can stop for a moment of reflection.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MAP: Southern California Beach Ceremony Locations

The beach is an ideal location for a ceremony in Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange County. The map below illustrates a fraction of possibilities, after having created, written and performed many weddings and funerals/memorial services on Southern California beaches.

View Southern California Beach Wedding Sites in a larger map

For more information, or if you are looking for an officiant in Los Angeles, Orange County or greater Southern California, please see my website:A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WEDDING: Officiant for Interfaith Multicultural Ceremony in Ontario, CA

Congratulations, Amar and Chase, married 8/8/09!

The best part about this wedding was the bringing together of two families and the cultures each belonged to. As the bride is Indian, [above right] the morning consisted of a sacred Sikh marriage ceremony, complete with traditional dress, symbols and rituals. i was fortunate to have conducted the afternoon Western marriage ceremony in the atrium of the hotel! [above left]
Photography by RC PHOTOGRAPHY.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Officiant for WEDDING: Breeder's Cup, Santa Anita Racecourse in Arcadia, CA

Hi Venus!

We got back safe-and-sound on Sunday night. Needless to say our celebration on Saturday went for about 15 hours which isn’t too shabby...

Also, there were nothing but compliments on the way you handled the ceremony. You were fantastic and I’ll be sure to express that when I put my comments on those websites for you in the next few days.

M sends a thank you, thank you, thank you, for everything that you did for us. The day could not have been any more perfect.

I’ll keep in touch,

Vice President, Commercial Lending
*** Bank & Trust Co.
Florence, KY

Photography (not above) by Teri of MILLER ART PHOTOGRAPHY.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

WEDDING: Two Officiant Interfaith Ceremony at Mission Inn in Riverside, CA

Congratulations, Drs. Robin and Matt!!

What a fantastic ceremony it was, blending the cultures and backgrounds of these two young scientists! Before the wedding, the couple and their witnesses signed the marriage contract (Ketubah). Under a chuppah [see above], Robin and Matt exchanged personal vows, as well as traditional wedding vows. To make sure the ceremony represented both their backgrounds, they incorporated several readings from the Bible, and the groom's uncle gave a Jewish prayer and blessing as the couple shared wine from a Kiddush cup.

Allison from the Mission Inn took care of all of our needs. Day-of coordination by Monika and Donna of YOUR DAY 2 REMEMBER. Chuppah provided by HAPPY CHUPPAH. Photography by DEE DEE DALLAS of D2 and DJ services by Von.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

READING: David Whyte's Poem - The Truelove

The Truelove
by David Whyte

There is a faith in loving fiercely
the one who is rightfully yours
especially if you have
waited years and especially
if part of you never believed
you could deserve this
loved and beckoning hand
held out to you this way.

…because finally
after all this struggle
and all these years
you don't want to any more
you've simply had enough
of drowning
and you want to live and you
want to love and you will
walk across any territory
and any darkness
however fluid and however
dangerous to take the
one hand you know
belongs in yours.

- from The House of Belonging

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Officiant for WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at Griffith Park in Los Angeles, CA

CONGRATULATIONS, Jessica and Matt!
This was a perfectly simple and lovely ceremony, tucked away in the MINERAL WELLS PICNIC AREA of Griffith Park. The bride and groom stood alone and exchanged vows in front of their friends and family, with the trees and grass and sky as their backdrop.

One of the beautiful things about this particular wedding was how the ceremony text itself was created.  Most all of the wedding words and ceremony sentiments were from the couple's letters to each other, over the years. They also incorporated a poem written by David Whyte, which was read by a friend.

After the ceremony, Hall & Oates' recently revived You Make My Dreams Come True was blasted through a portable powered speaker.

Photography by LISA DRAGANI.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Officiant for WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at Franciscan Gardens in San Juan Capistrano, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Tiffany and Wendell!

This venue is tucked into a beautiful little space next to the San Juan Capistrano train station. The ceremony and reception took place with a gorgeous black and white colour scheme that looked so elegant!

DJ services provided by _________ and photography by GREG WYATT.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

NEWS: The Knot website/magazine's networking event at Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA

The Knot website and magazine's annual event was held at the Aquarium of the Pacific last night. Hundreds of vendors were in attendance, as you could imagine. Many people were difficult to approach, but some people were very kind. Although i am usually reluctant to participate in networking events, i am grateful to have been there, and i had the pleasure of meeting:

i also met Macheline and Eva from Red Velvet Occasions, Shauna? from East West Productions and Wendy from Just Wenderful. DJ services were provided by DJ Nahchey of DASH Entertainment, and catering by Savor/SMG Long Beach.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at Kellogg West, Cal Poly Pomona CA


One of the most touching points of this ceremony was the presentation of the bride. When asked "Who presents Tava to be married to Jon?", Tava's grandfather replied "I do, her grandfather, in honour of her father David." There was also a corsage left on the seat next to the bride's mother in her father's memory.

As an officiant, i am constantly learning new things, whether to engage the audience, comfourt the participants, or in this case, to scope out possible auditoury issues or environmental noise problems...!?

At the rehearsal, the onsite coordinator warned of the potential for cows to moo, since Kellogg West is surrounded by Cal Poly's agriculture fields. However, the ceremony itself was interrupted by the screeching of tires and revving of engines, as an apparent racetrack is laid out just behind the hill, down from where the ceremony took place. Unfortunately, there was nothing that could be done, and the couple and their families had a good sense of humour about things.

Many thanks to Cori and her team at Kellogg West. Photography by __________ .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

INFO: Wedding Officiants Should Know the Law!

Recently, there was a half-heartedly written, poorly researched article on Eventective about 'How to Choose an Officiant'. There are many such guidelines online, in magazines and in books. Unfortunately, almost none of these how-to articles address or advise asking the question:
**Even if an officiant is indeed qualified to perform/solemnise wedding ceremonies, does he/she know the family code or law pertaining to marriage?**
In other words, are there certain things required by the state in order for a valid marriage ceremony to take place? In the state of California, PLEASE note the following about the contents of a ceremony itself:

Section 420. (a) No particular form for the ceremony of marriage is required for solemnization of the marriage, but the parties shall declare, in the physical presence of the person solemnizing the marriage and necessary witnesses, that they take each other as husband and wife.
The above pertains to the vows, for example.

Regarding the question 'Can I have a friend do it?', be aware that ordination is NOT the only qualification in some states. i can only speak for myself, as i am a qualified officiant in the state of California:

Section 400. Marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is of the age of 18 years or older:
(a) A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination.

Et cetera.

(Such a list of what one state considers as 'qualified' officiants does NOT necessarily apply to all states in the U.S.! )

ANY reputable officiant (including all experienced clergypersons) should immediately be able to tell you, what the state law or code is. The bottom line is, do some research about your own state's requirements for those who are allowed to authorize or solemnize a marriage...or hire an officiant who has done the research for you.

One last thing: online ordination is not only accomplished via the Universal Life Church. There are many secular organizations available.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

READING: David Rakoff's 'Wedding Toast' Poem from This American Life

i first heard this poem on the Frenemies episode #389 of This American Life broadcast in September 2009.

by David Rakoff

Nathan, at one of the outlying tables,
his legs tangled up in the disc jockeys cables,
surveyed the room as unseen as a ghost,
while he mulled over what he might say for his toast.
Though the couple had asked him for his benediction,
seemed at odds with them parking him here by the kitchen.

That he'd shown up at all was still a surprise,
and not just to him,
it was there in the eyes of the guests
who had seen a mirage and drew near,
and then covered their shock with a 'Nathan, you're here?'.
And then silence, they'd nothing to say beyond that.
A few of the braver souls lingered to chat.
They all knew and it wasn't a mystery
that he and the couple had quite an odd history.
Their bonds were a tangle of friendship and sex,
Josh, his best pal once, and Patty, his ex.

For a while he couldnt go out in the city,
without being a punchline, or object of pity.
'Poor Nathan' had virtually become his new name,
So he showed up just to show he was game,
Though his invite was late, a forgotten addendum
For Nate there could be no more clear referendum,
That he need but endure through this evening and then
He would likely not see Josh and Patty again.

Josh's sister was speaking, a princess in peach.
Nathan dug in his pocket to study his speech.
He'd poured over Bartlets for couplets to filch,
He stayed up till three, still came up with zilch.
Except for instructions he'd underscored twice.
Just two words in length, and those words were: be nice.

Too often, he thought, our emotions betray us,
and reason departs once we're up on the dias.
He'd witnessed uncomfortable moments,
where others had lost their way quickly,
where sisters and brothers had gotten too prickly.
He'd heard their babbling with stories of benders,
Or lesbian dabbling, or spot-on impressions of mothers-in-law,
which true, Nathan thought, always garnered guffaws,
But the price seemed too high,
with the laughs seldom cloaking hostility, masquerading as joking.

No, he'd swallow his rage and he'd bank all his fire.
He knew that in his case, the bar was set higher.
Folks were just waiting for him to erupt,
they'd be hungry for blood even though they had supped.
They'd want tears, or some other unsightly reaction,
And Nathan would not give them that satisfaction.
Though Patty a harlot and Josh was a lout,
At least Nathan knew what he'd not talk about.
I won't wish them divorce, that they wither and sicken,
Or tonight that they choke on their salmon or chicken.
I won't mention that time when the cottage lost power,
In that storm on the cape and they left for an hour.
And they thought it was just the cleverest rouse,
to pretend it took that long to switch out the fuse.
Or that time Josh advised me with so much insistence,
that I should grant Patty a little more distance,
that the worst I could do was to hamper and crowd her,
that if Patty felt stifled, she'd just take a powder,
that a plant needs its space just as much as its water,
that I shouldn't give Patty that ring that I bought her,
That in retrospect only elicits a 'gosh,
I hardly deserved a friend like you, Josh'
No, I won't spill the beans, or make myself foolish,
To satisfy appetites venal and ghoulish.
I will not be the blot on this hellish affair.
And with that Nathan pushed out and rose from his chair.
And just by the tapping of knife against crystal,
All eyes turned his way, like he'd fired off a pistol.

'Hmm, Josh, well, Patricia, a few family and friends,
I'll say a few words, if you will, before everything ends.
You've promised to honor, to love and obey,
We've quaffed our champagne and been cleansed by sorbet,
All in endorsement of your hers and hisdom,
So now let me add my two sense worth of wisdom.
I was racking my brain, sitting here at this table,
Until I remembered this suitable fable,
That gets at a truth, though it may well distort us.
So here with the Tale of the Scorpion and Tortoise.
The Scorpion was hamstrung, his tail all aquiver,
Just how would he manage to get cross the river,
'Why, the water's so deep' he observed with a sigh,
Which pricked at the ears of a tortoise nearby.
'Well, why don't you swim?' asked the slow-moving fellow,
'Unless you're afraid, I mean what are you yellow?'
'It isn't a matter of fear or of whim', said the scorpion,
'But that I don't know how to swim'
'Ah, I didn't mean to be glib when I said that,
I figured you were an amphibian'
'No offense taken' the Scorpion replied,
'But how bout you help me to reach the far side?
You swim like a dream, and you have what I lack,
what's say you take me across on your back?'
'I'm really not sure that's the best thing to do' said the Tortoise,
'Now that I see that it's you. You've a less than ideal reputation preceding,
there's talk of your victims all poisoned and bleeding.
You're the Scorpion, and how can I say this, but well,
I just don't feel safe with you riding my shell.'
The Scorpion replied, 'What would killing you prove?
We'd both drown, so tell me, how would it behoove me,
to basically die at my very own hand,
when all I desire is to be on dry land.'
The Tortoise considered the Scorpions defense.
When he gave it some thought it made perfect sense.
The niggling voice in his mind he ignored,
And he swam to the bank and called out, 'Climb aboard'.
But just a few moments from when they set sail,
the Scorpion lashed out with his venomous tail.
The Tortoise too late, understood that he'd blundered,
when he felt his flesh stabbed and his carapace sundered.
As he fought for life he said, 'Tell me why you have done this,
For now we will surely both die?'
'I don't know!', cried the Scorpion,
'You never should trust a creature like me,
because poison I must. I'd claim some remorse or at least some compunction,
But I just can't help it, my form is my function!
You thought I'd behave like my cousin the crab,
But unlike him, it is but my nature to stab.
The Tortoise expired with one final quiver,
And then both of them sank, swallowed up by the river.

The Tortoise was wrong to ignore all his doubts,
because in the end friends, our natures will out.

Nathan paused, cleared his throat, took a sip of his drink,
He needed these extra few seconds to think.
The room had gone frosty, the tension was growing,
Folks wondered precisely where Nathan was going.
The prospects of skirting fiasco seemed dim,
But what he said next surprised even him.

'Soooo, what can we learn from their watery ends?
Is there some lesson on how to be friends?
I think what it means is that central to living a life that is good, is a life that's forgiving.
We're creatures of contact. Regardless of whether we kiss or we wound,
Still we must come together.
Though it may spell destruction, we still ask for more,
Since it beats staying dry, but So Lonely on shore.
So, we make ourselves open,
while knowing full well its essentially saying,
'Please, come pierce my shell'

Silence doesn't paint the depth of quiet in that room.
There was no clinking stemwear toasting to the bride and groom.
You could have heard a pedal as it landed on the floor.
And in that stillness Nathan turned, and walked right out the door. 

(from A READER's discussion posted on Amazon.com . Thank you!)

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at Serra Cross Park near Grant Park in Ventura, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Kelly and Brandon!

The ceremony was held high atop Grant Park, overlooking the entire town, at SERRA CROSS PARK in Ventura, CA. These two surfers had their own take on the blending or unity ceremony by combining water and sand to represent the ocean they both love. There was also a reading of the Apache Blessing and a prayer led by an aunt.

Booking this venue seems easy and the view is absolutely stunning.

The rehearsal dinner and reception site also served as headquarters for the couple and wedding party. They rented a beautiful home in Ojai for this purpose. The family also chipped in and cooked/served the food for the entire occasion. What a great way to save money, and guarantee a very special, unforgettable time! Photography provided by JIMMY CALLIAN PHOTOGRAPHY.

View Unique Southern California Wedding Venues in a larger map

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

INFO: Real Answers to Real Simple Questions

Recently on Twitter, an article from the Real Simple magazine website was floating around. The topic was WHAT TO ASK YOUR WEDDING OFFICIANT. Usually, i dislike writing in the first person, but in this case, it is necessary...so here are my answers to the Real Simple :

1. Can you give us the ceremony we want?
YES, you MAY write your own vows, and i encourage you to design your own ceremony. i have an extensive collection of resources and research materials to assist you in the process. i have NO restrictions or requirements (with the exception of performing a wedding which would result in the harming of human beings or animals).

Do you want to "Get a feel for the officiant's manner, tone of voice, and spiritual nature"? Whenever possible i meet with all potential couples to see if we 'click'. If you are planning a ceremony from outside the area, a phone call and many emails usually does the trick.

2. What's your experience?
Easy answer: i have been performing weddings and other ceremonies for other people for the past three years. i average two to three a month, because this is not my full-time occupation. i am happy to supply you with as many references as you need!

3. Are you flexible?
Easier answer. YES, i travel. YES, i have a backup network of officiants in case of emergency.
i am very adaptable and open to any changes from the usual. In fact, anything deviating from the norm is encouraged! And, i can do backbends and touch my toes without bending my knees.

4. What are your credentials?
i am ordained to solemnize marriages in the state of California. i am also a certified Celebrant and i am a member of NAWO . i am familiar with California Family Code and completely qualified according to the requirements of the state of California, to perform your marriage ceremony and 'make it legal'.

5. How often will we meet?
As mentioned above, i meet with each couple for a no-obligation consultation to see if i am the right officiant for them. i am always available by phone, chat/AIM, sometimes via Twitter and ESPECIALLY by email. <--- Please note, this email link is spam-proofed; please change the [AT] to @. If schedule and geography permit, i sometimes meet with a couple one more time, to go over final details. i do run rehearsals. i perform pre-marital counseling but it is not a requirement. In fact, due to conflicts of interest, i do not tend to counsel couples who have hired me to marry them.

6. How much do you charge?
Fees vary, usually between $249 and $699 and INCLUDE the following: ALL travel and mileage; rehearsal; script writing; ceremony performance; filing of marriage license (less any fees to expedite shipping or processing); and a keepsake copy of the wedding ceremony text. A contract containing charges and services will be gone over in detail at the time of our meeting or phone call.

7.Will you be joining us at the reception?
Thank you, i would love to! :)

As the article says: "The officiant sets the tone for your wedding so do your homework to make sure it’s a ceremony you’ll love." More than anything, this is my absolute goal, to make sure you have YOUR Ceremony, YOUR Way. For more information, please contact me at A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

NEWS: Do you need an officiant for the "Triple Nine" Date?

Some couples choose to be married on significant dates for superstitious, cultural or numerological reasons. For example, choosing 7/7/07, since seven is considered to be a lucky number. Or, choosing to be married on 7/8/09 or 6/7/08.

via the Sun2Surf website:
Last year, the triple-eight date of 08.08.08, was believed to be an auspicious day, since eight, or 'paat' in Mandarin, sounds like, and is symbolic of, prosperity.

The number nine is pronounced 'jiu' in Mandarin. 'Jiu' sounds like, and is symbolic of, perpetuity and permanence. This year's triple-nine date, 09.09.09, is a date which occurs once in a century. September 9, 2009 is the 21st day of the seventh lunar month in the lunar calendar. It is also believed to be an auspicious and lucky date to be wed, or to hold other celebrations.

It has been stated that 9AM on Sept 9, 2009 is extremely auspicious for those born in the years of the Monkey, Ox and Rooster to exchange marriage vows.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

EXPLAINER: Public vs. Confidential Marriage Licenses

What is the difference between a PUBLIC marriage license, and a CONFIDENTIAL marriage license?

As you may already know, to be married in the state of California, regardless of where you choose to be married, you must obtain a marriage license. To obtain a marriage license, you must: 1) be over the age of 18; 2) appear together in person at the Clerk/Recorder office; and 3) present valid identification. In addition, if you have had a marriage dissolved in the past 90 days, you must show proof of dissolution. If your previous spouse passed away, you must show a death certificate or the equivalent.

There are two marriage license options: public and confidential. In a nutshell, the difference between these two types of licenses is explained below:

PUBLIC Marriage License
*PUBLIC (as defined on dictionary.com): Open to all persons; generally known; open to the view of all. Of, pertaining to, or affecting a population or a community as a whole; existing or conducted in public.
*License is public record, and anyone requesting a copy or information on the record will be given it.
*Cost: $61.50 in Orange County $90.00 in Los Angeles County
*Needs signature of at least one witness over 18 years old.
*Obtain in any county in California and have wedding ceremony in any county in California.
*License is valid for 90 days.
CONFIDENTIAL Marriage License

*CONFIDENTIAL (as defined on dictionary.com): Bearing the classification confidential (usually being above restricted and below secret) and limited to persons authorized to use information, documents, etc., so classified. Spoken, written, acted on, etc., in strict privacy or secrecy; secret. Having another's trust or confidence.
*License is a confidential record, and the only people able to obtain information of this record are the couple, except under certain circumstances.
*Cost: $66.50 in Orange County,  $85.00 in Los Angeles County
*No witness necessary.
*Wedding ceremony must be held in county where license was obtained.
*License is valid for 90 days.
*Couple must be living together for 6 months prior to marriage.
Please contact A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for further information about marriage licenses. See our interactive map of offices to obtain a marriage license in Los Angeles, Orange County and greater Southern California!

Friday, July 31, 2009

WEDDING: Oceanfront Ceremony in Laguna Beach, CA

CONGRATULATIONS, Kendra and Scott!
My workmate and his lovely wife were married at Crescent Bay Point Park in Laguna Beach, CA yesterday evening. As they were both previously married, this wedding created a new family, with a total of five children! In honour of this occasion, we created a special family blending or unification ritual: one by one, each of the five children, and husband Scott, handed Kendra a different flower. Once she tied together the six flowers with her one, she was left with a lovely bouquet of seven flowers, to symbolise the new family!

Professional photography (not above) by: Cindy Meadors Photography. (BTW You can see the cement semi-circle where everyone was seated at Radified.com's site here.)

Thursday, July 30, 2009

TESTIMONIAL: Review of wedding officiant services on Project Wedding

i don't mean to brag...well maybe just a little...but i am so proud to have received the following testimonial from a recent client:

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

EXPLAINER: Custom-Written vs. Personalized

What IS the difference between a custom-written and a personalized ceremony, if any?

A personalized ceremony is adjusted to fit an individual or occasion. It should reflect the honoree(s) in personality, mood and energy. All elements of a typical ceremony are present, and all legal requirements are met. Participants, readings or rituals of your choice can be included. Some officiants offer you a few different selections of ceremony segments to choose from, and put them all together for you. It's like a sandwich where you choose the ingredients.

A custom-written (or bespoke) ceremony is not only personalized, but it is one-of-a-kind. It is uniquely created for you, according to the exact specifications of the individual client or couple. The text is written on a per client, made-to-order basis, and there are no two ceremonies that are alike. Think of a custom tailored shirt or an original cocktail...there has never been anything like it before.

You CAN have a custom-written, personalized ceremony! It's about more than having the freedom to write your own vows. It's about whether you want a simple or an elabourate ceremony, or a brief ceremony vs. a lengthier one. And it's about the way you want to acknowledge the people, topics and things that are important to you.

Having an individualized ceremony also means leaving out the stuff you or the honoree does NOT want! You have the choice to not include socially or culturally insensitive material, religious or spiritual doctrine, arcane and obsolete words and references, etc.

If you seek a modern officiant with an individual approach to the ceremony tradition, please see the website for A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY or
email celebrantvenusPLEASE_DELETE[at]gmail.com.

Monday, July 13, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at the Clubhouse in La Mirada, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Shonna and Danny!

This ceremony focused on the importance of family, and celebrated the coming together of two wonderful families. There was also a special tribute included, honouring the bride's dog Ginger, who had to be euthanized the week before the wedding:

At this time of coming together, it is also a time of transition and change in Danny and Shonna’s lives, but one constant, unfortunately, is no longer here with us. Therefore, before we continue, we must take a moment to pay a very special tribute to a very special dog. Ginger came into Shonna’s life when Shonna was just nine years old. She was just the most amazing dog Shonna had ever come in contact with, and she was the one, at least until Danny, to provide Shonna with unconditional love, loyalty and companionship. Ginger will be missed more than anyone can imagine.

The entire affair was run, seemingly single-handedly, by Natalie at LA MIRADA GOLF COURSE. She is a truly hands-on coordinator, whether it involves shuttling guests and wedding parties, or laying down the runner before the ceremony started. A beautiful string duet was played by Missy and Nancy of ___________. Photography (but not photo below) provided by ____________.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at the Marriott Hotel in Newport Beach, CA


With the Pacific Ocean in the distance, these two awesome people exchanged marriage vows on the lovely grounds of the Newport Beach Marriott, near Fashion Island. After their ring vows, they chose to honour their Japanese-American heritage with the San San Ku Do tradition.

Many thanks to Candice, Lana (Lan?) and Julie of the NEWPORT BEACH MARRIOTT. In their capable hands, things went off without a hitch!

Monday, June 29, 2009

WEDDING: Garden Ceremony at Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden in Long Beach, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Sarah and Charles!

i had the absolute honour and pleasure of meeting and working with this incredibly cool couple, whom i hope to stay in touch with in the future!

As a unity ritual, they used San San Ku Do, or sake ceremony, in a nod to Charles' Japanese background.  The entire wedding was a beautiful experience, with the ceremony taking place on the bridge in front of the (loud) rushing waterfall of the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden on the grounds of Cal State Long Beach.

Photography by CW Photo Designs (above).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony in Fullerton, CA


In true do-it-yourself fashion, this couple was wed in the park of their housing tract. They met at the Renaissance Faire, and included a bit of their personal story in the ceremony text:
In front of her booth at faire, Jeana tied a braided strand of ribbon onto
a little sapling so people would see it, and not drive over it or trample it. At
the same time, Jeana made a wish upon that ribbon to meet the man she was to
marry, so that while protecting the tree, the tree’s energy would/could
bring her future husband to me. And it did! Shortly after she tied the
ribbon on the tree, Jeana met up with Mike again after 6 or 7 years of not
hearing or speaking to each other. She doesn’t believe in coincidences...
and attributes it all to destiny.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

INFO: To rehearse, or not to rehearse?

Traditionally speaking, rehearsals are a time to introduce families and friends, and spend time with those who are more intimately involved in a ceremony. From a practical standpoint, rehearsals allow you to work out logistics, anticipate problems and calm nerves.

WHAT - Definition of REHEARSAL - “The act of practicing in preparation for a public performance, or a detailed enumeration or repetition of actions.”(Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

At a minimum, the goals of a rehearsal are to:
1) Experience a no-pressure trial run of the ceremony. Test the sequence of events.
2) Foresee potential problems and address concerns.
3) Assess location and environment, such as the position of the sun or times of the tides; foot traffic and parking; need for signage, etc.
4) Prepare participants. Determine positions at beginning, during and at end of ceremony.

WHO - All participants of a ceremony are usually present at a rehearsal. This includes attendants, ushers, officiants and any additional parties such as children and other family members. Adjunct participants, such as musicians or photographers, may also be included.

WHY - Rehearsal goals include anticipating problems or concerns; practicing choreography; determining logistics; familiarizing participants with the unfamiliar; and calming nerves. There are many more traditional and pragmatic reasons for a rehearsal, as it is an opportunity to:

  • Get to know the ceremony, participants and venue.
  • Establish cues and pace. Who does what, when? How far apart will people walk and stand?
  • Evaluate visibility. Use this time to work out placement of objects, equipment, props and people.
  • Prepare children, people with special needs, animals, etc.
  • Soundcheck and evaluate acoustics. Is amplification or a microphone required? Does a waterfall need to be turned off?
  • Ask questions!

WHERE - Rehearsals are ideally held at the location or venue of the actual event. However, the location can be recreated or approximated almost anyplace convenient to the participants.

WHEN - Rehearsals are scheduled near the event date and time, to best recreate or approximate conditions of the actual event.

HOW - Officiants, hosts or masters of ceremony usually lead rehearsals. Many event planners and coordinators are available for rehearsals, but sometimes require an additional fee. Assertive, trusted and/or organized family members may also run rehearsals.

Feasibility – Are you planning your ceremony from abroad? If you are traveling specifically for the ceremony, you may not have the time or resources for a rehearsal. Are you budget-conscious? Some locations and professionals may charge extra for a rehearsal.
Availability of participants – Work, travel and other obligations may dictate who is able to attend the rehearsal.
Availability of venue – Some locations have a limited schedule of days/times set aside for rehearsals.

Ceremonies with a small number of participants (especially those without children or elderly) do not always require a rehearsal. Simple, straightforward ceremonies (those without additional elements such as rituals or readings) also may not need to rehearsed. However, be sure to at least visit the location of the ceremony prior to the event, and assess the situation to consider the variables outlined above!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at Puddingstone Resorts in San Dimas, CA

CONGRATULATIONS, Laura and Richard!
It was an honour to marry these two, who have known each other since high school. Many of their friends were in attendance, for a reunion of sorts... There was lots of family in attendance, and many of them chipped in to help out with all the little details.

Up in the hills above Fairplex Drive near the Pomona Fairplex is a truly lovely outdoor venue at PUDDINGSTONE RESORTS, close to the communities of Upland, Covina, LaVerne and the 10, 57 and 210 freeways! Wedding manager Patricia is one of those perfect blends of professional and friendly...there was nothing bossy or control-freak about her. While the wedding ceremony was held on the Mesa site, the reception took place at the famous Ocean Star Seafood restaurant in Monterey Park. Music provided by Jeff of 'N'Style Entertainment, who is a dj that shows up at the rehearsal, which is really unusual and a great bonus. Photography by Pesh.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

WEDDING: Oxford Hotel Ceremony in Los Angeles, CA

CONGRATULATIONS, Sophia and Bobby!

Beautiful, beautiful!!! Despite a short delay as we waited for the piano player (who was caught up in traffic, because she had gone to the wrong hotel), this wedding in the heart of Los Angeles' Koreatown was a huge success.

As a tribute to the bride's Korean heritage and culture, the couple chose to bow to their parents during the ceremony. Bowing to parents is a sign of deep respect and acknowledges ancestors and families past and present. The tradition has its roots in pae baek, which is a formal Korean wedding ceremony involving bowing and fertility rites.

For a modern, individualized approach to the tradition of ceremony:
Los Angeles Officiant/Orange County Officiant

Saturday, May 30, 2009

WEDDING: Ceremony Overlooking Ocean at Point Dume in Malibu, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Heather and Kris!!

These two opted for a simple, small ceremony with about a dozen of their family members, complete with their faithful dog Brew. Some weddings take place on the beach, but this one took place on a platform/deck built into the Point Dume landscape. It was a perfect lookout onto the Pacific Ocean, and a perfect place to be married!

View Larger Map

As we were waiting for things to get started, we observed dolphins, sea lions and various water birds at play and at work in the water below. Some ceremonies are a perfect blend of people and setting. This was one of those times!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

VOW RENEWAL: Military theme at Calafia Bluff in San Clemente, CA

CONGRATULATIONS: Megan and Shane!!
(And of course, also to their three lovely children, Shayna, Hunter and Travis...)
i had the honour and privilege to officiate the vow renewal ceremony for this special couple. The bride had wanted this ceremony to celebrate their marriage, which, today, is "better than ever" after ten and a half years. The husband, who is on active duty in the United States Marine Corps, wore his alpha blouse /uniform, which is entirely different from the usual dress blues. The ceremony took place high atop a bluff overlooking Calafia Beach, a part of San Clemente State Beach with a small group of family and friends in attendance. Professional photography by MODERN EYE.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

WEDDING: At Coco Palms Restaurant in Pomona, CA


This weekend's third wedding was at the Coco Palms Restaurant, in a setting complete with waterfalls (and exotic birds in the entryway of the building, but i will restrain myself from complaining about their enclosure...)

The couple chose to include traditions from several different backgrounds and cultures:
  • Unity candle - So difficult to keep lit in the very windy outdoor setting!
  • Sharing wine - A tradition rich with the symbolism of drinking from the same cup, and as a tribute to abundance and good fortune.
  • Breaking of the glass - A symbol of love's fragility, and the irrevocable nature of the vows the couple makes to each other at their wedding.
And, after it was all over, they were driven away in a vintage automobile, driven by a man in a zoot suit!

Monday, May 11, 2009

WEDDING: Outdoor Ceremony at Temescal Canyon Park in Santa Monica, CA


This wonderful couple was surrounded by their family and friends in a lovely outdoor setting. They were a wonderful example of love prevailing over all, despite long distances and foreign countries.

In addition to a sand ceremony, the wedding included an Irish blessing, different from the 'typical Irish blessing':
May your mornings bring joy and your evenings bring peace.
May your troubles grow few as your blessings increase.
May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past.
May your hands be forever clasped in friendship and your hearts joined forever in love.

The ceremony concluded with the breaking of the glass.

The bride is a photographer herself, but in this case photographer Yukiko of Mission Viejo and her assistant Megumi documented the event. Hopefully, i will have images to show later! Many thanks also to Cleon at Allan Video Productions for filming the ceremony, and _________ for providing the lovely flowers...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

WEDDING: Courtyard Ceremony at Villa del Sol in Fullerton, CA


This wedding taught me a great deal. i was fortunate and deeply honoured to have been chosen to officiate at the wedding of this couple. The happy occasion was even more significant because of the attendance of the bride's father, who has been ill. It was absolutely incredible to see the amount of love and concern within this group of family and friends. The beautiful bride wore a dark red dress, and the groom a black suit with red and black checkered Vans slip-ons!

We had researched for a family unity ritual, and nothing struck a chord, especially the tired old family medallion tradition or unity candle. Until, that is, the bride decided to use a family ritual of their own. One of the definite highlights of the ceremony was this 'family handshake' which consisted of a four-way hand-jive type of performance, including the bride, the groom and the bride's two children Scarlet and Ozzie. The use of this perfect little series of claps and slaps brought much joy and laughter to the occasion.

Catering and location provided by Villa del Sol.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

NEWS: Maine Becomes 5th State to Allow Same-Sex Marriage

As we in California await the decision of the state's Supreme Court, Maine's state legislature approved a bill, which the governor promptly signed. Maine's Governor John Baldacci (D) simply stated:
"I have come to believe that this is a question of fairness and of equal
protection under the law and that a civil union is not equal to civil marriage."

We couldn't agree more!

BTW as the California Supreme Court considers legal arguments for overturning Prop 8, LGBT community centers, in partnership with Equality California and allied organizations throughout the state, are joining together to host a series of Town Hall meetings. The meetings will include updates from Prop 8 legal experts and open discussion on the future of the movement.
THIS Thursday, May 7, 2009 at 7 p.m., a Town Hall meeting will take place in Orange County at Santa Ana College Student Lounge, 1530 W 17th Street, Santa Ana.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

WEDDING DESIGN: Library Themes for Those Who Love to Read!

Off the blog of bibliophile SCOTT DOUGLAS are these lovely ideas for a book-centred wedding theme.
Yes, those are crossword puzzles at each place on the table. AND, each table was named after a favourite author! These beautiful detail photos were taken by JACK RODRIGUEZ.

Monday, May 4, 2009

WEDDING: Home Backyard Ceremony in San Juan Capistrano, CA

DoAu & MaBla, originally uploaded by dj venus.


The seeds of friendship, and eventual love, were planted back in junior high school, when these kids were FOURTEEN years old!!!

Held at the lovely home of two dear friends, this wedding had everything a wedding officiant could ask for: a conscientious DJ, very friendly and easy-to-work-with photographers, and a couple who are very very much in love...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

INFO: Traditional (and Modern) Gifts for Wedding Anniversaries

"What do you give someone for their fifteenth wedding anniversary?" Earlier today, during brunch at the Katella Deli, our friend Jorge asked this question. Back in the day, we used to get those cute mini-calendars at Hallmark listing everything from national holidays to birthstones and even the traditional gifts couples were given or give to each other for their wedding anniversaries.

Times have changed, and so have the traditional gifts. Even Hallmark has changed, as they no longer feature an area on their website that lists such things. (i did find an old cached archive, though...) i enjoy thinking about the many couples who have married in the past, and what they plan for their respective anniversaries...

Below is a list of both traditional and more contemporary takes on the wedding anniversary:

1st Anniversary is paper. The modern take on the 1st anniversary is clocks .
2nd Anniversary is cotton. The modern take on a 2nd anniversary gift is china.
3rd Anniversary is leather
. The modern take on the 3rd anniversary is crystal.
4th Anniversary is fruit and flowers. The modern take on the 4th anniversary gift is an appliance!
5th Anniversary is wood
. The modern take on the 5th anniversary gift is silverware .
The 10th Anniversary traditional gift is
tin or aluminum, with the modern gift of diamonds.
15th Anniversary is crystal
. The modern take on the 15th anniversary gift is watches.

Via American Greetings website.

Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. Happy anniversary, honey. i love you!

Monday, April 13, 2009

COOL: Wedding Ring Workshop in San Diego, CA

If you are looking to personalize every aspect of your wedding, why not participate in the creation of your wedding rings? Occasionally, an interesting business pops up on googleAds, and i will actually click on the link to learn more! According to the WEDDING RING WORKSHOP website:

The Wedding Ring Experience was first created in London as the result of a challenge thrown down by our founder, Simon Lewis, in the locker room of his Rugby football team after a game! Knowing of his fine reputation and artistic skill as a jeweler, one of his team-mates asked Simon if he would make the wedding bands for him and his bride. Jokingly, Simon replied “Why don't you make them yourself? I'll show you how.” The rest, as they say - is history.

The nearest location in Southern California is in San Diego.

For a personalized, modern alternative to the ceremony tradition, try A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for a professional, experienced and qualified officiant. We can help you have the ceremony you envision, whether you want something simple or informal; or if you want something involving family members, loved ones, ritual and/or traditions. Follow us on Twitter: CelebrantVenus .

Sunday, April 12, 2009

ABOUT: Ceremony Defined

The word "ceremony" means many things. According to several online sources, the term encompasses the following definitions and origins of the word:

cer·e·mo·ny (sěr'ə-mō'nē) n. pl. cer·e·mo·nies

  1. A formal act or set of acts performed as prescribed by ritual or custom: a funeral ceremony; the Japanese tea ceremony.

  2. A conventional social gesture or act of courtesy: the ceremony of shaking hands when introduced.

  3. A formal religious or sacred observance; a solemn rite: a marriage ceremony.

  4. A formal act without intrinsic purpose; an empty form: ignored the ceremony of asking for comments from other committee members.

  5. Strict observance of formalities or etiquette: The head of state was welcomed with full ceremony.

    [Middle English ceremonie, from Latin caerimōnia, religious rite.]

Synonyms:1, 2. Ceremony, rite, ritual refer to set observances and acts traditional in religious services or on public occasions. Ceremony applies to more or less formal dignified acts on religious or public occasions: a marriage ceremony; an inaugural ceremony. A rite is an established, prescribed, or customary form of religious or other solemn practice: the rite of baptism. Ritual refers to the form of conducting worship or to a code of ceremonies in general: Masonic rituals.

from Dictionary.com, and The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition

With a trained officiant and certified Celebrant, you can have a simple secular or civil ceremony, with no religion whatsoever, or with a spiritual but not religious approach! Please see A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for more information.

VIDEO: Divorce Parties to Mark the Transition from Married to Not!

It is a Celebrant and officiant's duty to create and perform ceremonies of all types. Yes, the majourity of ceremonies i create and perform, and thus blog about, are for weddings and marriages... However, there are other types of ceremonies: funerals, memorial services, baby naming, adoption, retirement, deployment, survivors...the list goes on and on.

A ceremony indicates a rite of passage. A ceremony marks a transition, be it from child to adult, from single to married person, or even from married back to single person! The following video was broadcast on CBS News' The Early Show on Friday, 9 April 2009. The clip features author Laura Dave of The Divorce Party, as well as Charlotte Eulette of the Celebrant North America Foundation and Institute. (In the interest of full disclosure, Charlotte's organization trained me in the the history, creation and performance of ceremony and ritual.)

Watch CBS Videos Online

Saturday, April 11, 2009

CEREMONY: MLB Pitcher Nick Adenhart Honoured

10 April 2009 - According the Anaheim Angels' website:
"The Angels showed a video honoring Nick Adenhart with clips from his pitching performance just two days prior, and Torii Hunter and John Lackey held Adenhart's jersey on the mound during a moment of silence, as both teams lined up on the foul lines to remember 22-year-old who died in a car accident just hours after he pitched six scoreless innings on Wednesday."

Honouring the deceased through the pre-game field ceremony was just one way the Angels will be paying tribute to the pitcher this season. Players will also wear a patch with the No. 34 above the heart on both their home and road uniforms. The Angels put a picture of the pitcher on Anaheim's center-field fence, with No. 34 and "Adenhart" written above it. Adenhart's locker will also remain in the clubhouse with his jersey and belongings, and the team will also maintain a locker for Adenhart on the road.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

INFO: Outsourcing of Wedding Vows?? BAD Idea!!!

The Wall Street Journal published an article today about a new trend, which is quite troubling to experienced and certified Celebrant and officiant professionals. The article is from the fabulous Cranky Consumer, and talks about outsourcing one's wedding vows. In fact, it speaks of 'outsourcing' more than the vows part...it suggests leaving it up to a website or computer to spit out the entire ceremony!??

The whole notion of outsourcing is fascinating, but a bad idea, nonetheless. This phenomenon of outsourcing vows (and more) is a result of several factours:
  • Clients (couples) who increasingly want to reflect themselves in every aspect of their (wedding) ceremonies - As they should! The participants in a ceremony deserve to be represented by the ceremony. A custom-written wedding (or funeral or baby naming/blessing or housewarming or etc.) is the only way to accomplish this. Otherwise, you may end up with a ceremony that sounds strangely similar to a MadLibs.

  • Event planners who are want to be a one-stop shop and provide all services to their clients, whether they are qualified to or not - The fact is, a planner's expertise is in organizing the details and logistics of an event. A venue's expertise is in providing a location and service at the location. But, it is NOT NOT NOT within a planner's breadth of knowledge or experience to provide the text to the ceremony. A venue does not have the experience or familiarity with the specific legal and structural rules involved in officiating and solemnising a marriage. They are not the ones who will complete the requisite documentation, either.
  • Choosing people who are not professional officiants to officiate weddings - Leave the writing to someone who has done it before. You can be sure all the love, loved ones, symbolism and/or history of your relationship is represented! Some people are hired for the day to perform a ceremony, but this is the one and only time they will ever perform this important task. There are lots of things to consider during a ceremony, since it is the focal point of the day, if only for a few minutes. Please also see above.
  • 'Professional' officiants who use canned ceremony texts and templates in a 'one-size-fits-all-ceremonies-and-clients' manner. Like i said before: MadLibs is the worst-case scenario. Cookie-cutter and generic is the best outcome when you leave it up to a computerized method or a "wedding mill".

Try a uniquely modern, individualized approach to the tradition of ceremony! Contact A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY: ORANGE COUNTY & LOS ANGELES OFFICIANT today. And follow us on Twitter: www.twitter.com/celebrantvenus.

Monday, April 6, 2009

LINKS: Weddings that are NOT the same old, same old!

Don't forget: you don't have to do it the way you're 'supposed to do it'. You can do it the way you want to do it!

Lately, i get so jaded and bored with the usual wedding planning websites (i don't want to give them even more exposure by mentioning them here, but you know which ones i'm talking about!).

And before you call me a hypocrite, i apologise in advance, but yes, i DO advertise in some of them because i have to...for now... Sometimes i loathe the Southern California ceremony market for being competitive, indulgent and obscenely over-the-top.

However, i am SO extremely excited to find more and more untraditional and alternative (for lack of a better term) wedding sites! Possibly the best-known are INDIE BRIDE, OFFBEAT BRIDE and INDIE WEDDING GUIDE. There are many others, including ROCK N ROLL BRIDE and WEDDING SKULLS!

VENUE: Strawberry Farms in Irvine, CA

A colleague at work attended a wedding at Irvine's STRAWBERRY FARMS this weekend. He mentioned how there is a barn onsite (modern, not rustic), where the reception took place after an outdoor ceremony!

i am always on the lookout for unusual wedding venues, and i love to discover places i have never heard of, especially since there are SO MANY unique places in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas.

If you are looking for a modern, individualized approach to the ceremony tradition, please contact A Non-Denominational Ceremony! I am a certified Celebrant and ordained wedding officiant, clergy, reverend or minister serving Southern California.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

HISTORY: April Fool's Day (and the Simpsons)

Leave it to good old Lisa Simpson to clue us in to the true origins of April Fool's Day!??

ONLINE: So Many Blogs, So Little Time Part 1

i have recently jumped on the TWITTER bandwagon (please follow me: @celebrantvenus or www.twitter.com/celebrantvenus). However, it has turned me on to some fantastic stuff on the web, including an endless supply of blogs!

Bridetide.com has composed its list of top 100 wedding blogs. There are blogs of every sort, including planning advice, DIY, wedding news, and of course, CAKE WRECKS. Interesting, many of these blogs are featured on aggregator sites like Alltop.com...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

ABOUT: A Los Angeles/Orange County Officiant's Philosophy & Approach

So...if you were to make a cloud out of words to describe my clients and my service, here's what it might look like:
It is very helpful to seek an officiant you feel comfourtable with and in whom you can trust. Many officiants offer experience and low prices, but how many truly care about who you are and what you are about, and perhaps even share your interests?
There are many things to consider when you are looking for the right officiant. For me, being your officiant and Celebrant means many things... But more than anything, regardless of your background, lifestyle, preferences, culture or beliefs; i would like to create and officiate YOUR ceremony, YOUR way by offering a modern, individualized option or alternative to the ceremony tradition!

AUDIO: The Recession and Weddings

Avoid Wedding Blues When You're Short on Green (via NPR.com)

The economy and the recession is possibly the most active topic being written about in journalism right now. Weddings and the economy are no exception.

Book an officiant for your wedding today! Please mention this blog entry for a discount of up to 20%. For more details, please see A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

INFORMATION: The Business of Marriage

The Business of Marriage: Long Term Planning to Talk About:
This article has some helpful, practical considerations to have after the wedding is over, and even before the wedding begins. PLEASE NOTE, however, the legal aspects only apply to KS state weddings/marriages...

Via Lawrence Journal World & News from Lawrence, Kansas.

Monday, March 16, 2009

COOL: Geek Cakes

Some of my most favourite ceremonies have been for and with geeks! In my search for geek wedding-related sites, i came across some photos of geek cakes.

Bolo 1, originally uploaded by Philipe Gomero.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

PHOTOS: Officiating in Anaheim, CA and Malibu, CA

At last! Here is a photo from a very special, very private wedding officiated in September 2008.

Yes, the bride and groom are both wearing mouse ears!

This couple were married in a beach ceremony in the New Year's Eve afternoon on the sand of Malibu.

Notice the waves in the background! The sun had basically set by the time we were done...and smiles were still all around.

Whether you seek a simple yet intimate wedding ceremony, or you plan to be married with all your friends and family present, don't forget the officiant! For more information please see website: A Non-Denominational Ceremony - An Orange County and Los Angeles Officiant.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

MUSIC: Sarah McLachlan - Don't Give Up On Us

From time to time, i like to share songs and music with you, especially if it is a piece that would work well in a ceremony. This is one of two new songs from Sarah McLachlan, off her "CLOSER: BEST OF" album. i know a lot of friends and couples who really dig her music! And i like her animal activism...

For more information please see ORANGE COUNTY AND LOS ANGELES WEDDING OFFICIANT: A Non-Denominational Ceremony.

Sarah McLachlan - Don't Give Up On Us
(via Sing365.com lyric site)

Love has taken me for a fool
Gotten out in time to save himself, mmmm.
Shoulda known better,
But I let things slide.
I took you for granted
That you'd always be,
The one for me.
Baby I stopped tryin.

Oh, baby don't give up on us.
I know your heart is full of doubt,
You don't need to be without
These loving arms

I'll hold you through your darkest hour
I'll be using all my power,
So I can reach you.
Oh my love, don't give up on us.

Am I living alone here,
Or have I turned to dust?
It hurts, it hurts to wait for just a little love.
You must… give me a sign love.
Can’t you see me standing here?
Alive and well with all the hope,
You'll be, the one for me.
Baby ill keep trying.

Oh baby don't give up on us
I know your heart is full of doubt
You don't need to be without
These loving arms.

I’ll hold you through your darkest hour.
I'll be using all my power,
So I can reach you.
Oh my love, don't give up on us.

Maybe the way out is here;
It went where it all begins.
We can’t go on, living on a cloud
We'll never find our way home.

Oh, let me reach you, oh my love
Come on let me in.
Oh let me hold you, oh my love
Don't give up on us.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


i am always on the lookout for interesting things online, to share with you professionally and personally. POST SECRET has been a favourite website for some time.

In case you have never seen Post Secret, it is "an ongoing community art project where people mail in their secrets anonymously on one side of a postcard". The creator of Post Secret receives so many contributions that he is unable to keep each week's selections online permanently.

i came across these two Post(ed) wedding Secrets recently. they aren't the cheeriest posts, but then again, the cards often are not.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

NEWS: Prop. 8 Supreme Court Arguments Begin...follow on Twitter?!

If you are unable to watch the Prop. 8 broadcasts online, on TV, or at a live viewing place, you can follow the goings on on TWITTER... NCL Rights is tweeting. You don't need to login or register, just click on the link and read!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

NEWS: Attorney General Jerry Brown - on why "Proposition 8 Should Be Struck Down"

An excerpt from Jerry Brown's 3 March 09 piece via the Huffington Post:

"The (argument against Proposition 8) case touches the heart of our democracy and poses a profound question: can a bare majority of voters strip away an inalienable right through the initiative process? If so, what possible meaning does the word inalienable have?"

NEWS: Live Video of California Supreme Court Hearing on Proposition 8

The Supreme Court has announced that an oral argument will be held in the Prop. 8 cases tomorrow, Thursday, March 5, 2009 from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

The three cases being heard challenge the constitutionality of Proposition 8: Strauss v. Horton, S168047; Tyler v. State of California, S168066; City and County of San Francisco v. Horton, S168078 (the Supreme Court orders may be viewed here). In the cases before the court, the court has issued an order listing the following three issues to be briefed and argued:

  1. Is Proposition 8 invalid because it constitutes a revision of, rather than an amendment to, the California Constitution?
  2. Does Proposition 8 violate the separation of powers doctrine under the California Constitution?
  3. If Proposition 8 is not unconstitutional, what is its effect, if any, on the marriages of same-sex couples performed before the adoption of Proposition 8?

The court will issue a written opinion in the cases within 90 days of oral argument. Proposition 8 was a statewide ballot initiative passed by a majority of California voters in November 2008.

To watch a live stream of the hearing, tune in to the CALIFORNIA CHANNEL or on SFGTV online. If you live in the Bay Area, you can also tune in to Comcast cable channel 78 and Astound cable channel 28.

For further information, please consult these websites:
California Courts official website

Monday, February 16, 2009

REVIEW: A book about Southern hospitality and funerals

Here is how Pat Williams of the Conroe Courier in Montgomery County, Texas begins her review of BEING DEAD IS NO EXCUSE: The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral by Gayden Metcalf & Charlotte Hays:

"The first rule of funeral behavior for the women of the South, especially those near the Mississippi Delta, is that everyone must look good – both the dead and the survivors. The second rule deals with the amounts and types of food brought to the home following the service."

The remainder sounds like the book is an interesting read, filled with discussion, humour and history about the foods (and drinks!) and traditions of funeral-hosting in the South.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

WEDDING: At Muckenthaler Mansion in Fullerton, CA

CONGRATULATIONS, Jenna and Tyler!!!

Sometimes, Mother Nature has a fantastic way of giving gifts. The couple, who planned their outdoor wedding months ago, were faced this week with the possibility of showers, especially after a week of sporadic rainfall... But, after much good energy and positive thinking toward hopes of a sunny day, we were fortunate to have it turn out to be a lovely California afternoon. The dirt beneath the grass was a bit mushy, but not muddy, and the ceremony was a complete success.

Tyler and Jenna are a testament to the term, "go with the flow". They are one of the most easygoing, unstressed couples i have had the pleasure to officiate for! Their lovely, intimate wedding took place with about 60 guests in the lovely grass area of Muckenthaler Cultural Centre. The venue's fantastic staff was led by the unflappable Rick. You are assured to receive the best service in his extremely capable hands.

Many thanks also to Duane, catering director and Muckenthaler events coordinator extraordinaire!

Monday, February 9, 2009

VALENTINE'S DAY Weddings 2009

Dear Engaged Couple,
There is still time to plan for your special Valentine's Day wedding ceremony or vow renewal! And this year, Valentine's Day falls on a Saturday...

At any time, if you plan to be married, you must obtain a marriage license from the Clerk-Recorder's office near you. A public marriage license requires at least one witness over the age of 18 in addition to an officiant/minister/clergy person. A confidential marriage license only requires an officiant/minister/clergy person.

If you have any questions, please contact me! i would love to provide you with more information. i am currently booking ceremonies and i am available to create and perform your wedding.

And, even if you do not plan to be married, you can still celebrate your love and declare your commitment to each other in a vow renewal or commitment/life union ceremony.

Thank you,
celebrantvenusPLEASE DELETE [AT] gmail.com

Schedule a free no-obligation meeting with A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for an experienced and qualified officiant who will create and perform your wedding ceremony, your way, today! All faiths, backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, tastes and preferences honored. Spiritual, traditional, simple or non-religious OK.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

NEWS: Obtain a marriage license in NORTH Orange County!

Good news for those of you, who reside in Brea, Buena Park, Stanton, La Habra and especially Fullerton!

The Orange County Clerk-Recorder will officially open their North County Branch Office on Tuesday, 17 February 2009. Amongst handling many other functions, you will now be able to pick up your marriage license without having to go all the way down to the Old Courthouse in Santa Ana.

Schedule a free no-obligation meeting with A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for an experienced and qualified officiant who will create and perform your wedding ceremony, your way, today! All faiths, backgrounds, cultures, lifestyles, tastes and preferences honored. Spiritual, traditional, simple or non-religious OK.

Here is a map of all Southern California locations to obtain a marriage license. Please click on the map and drag to see other areas that are not visible:

View Larger Map

There was already another alternate location in Laguna Hills to serve South Orange County. Check the OC Clerk-Recorder for more information.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

WEDDING: At Seven Degrees in Laguna Beach, CA

Congratulations, Jeanie and Eric!

This ceremony took place at one of my favourite venues in Orange County: SEVEN DEGREES.
Any time a proposal story is unusual and fun, it can be included in the text and told as part of the ceremony:

"The proposal was an interesting experience. Jeanie and Eric had been together for over three years, when they decided to take a trip to Hong Kong for Jeanie’s birthday. Prior to this, they had discussed the issue of marriage, but never really went into detail about it.

In Hong Kong, they eventually ended up in a jewelry store as part of a city tour. A
sales associate began showing them rings, and dropping hints to Eric about how
he should be looking for one. Eric appeared uninterested. Jeanie, being the beautiful emotional person she is, left the store in tears, feeling hurt and thinking Eric didn't want to ever consider marriage. Meanwhile, Eric chased Jeanie around the streets of Hong Kong, and then they finally returned to the hotel. As Jeanie sobbed about how Eric didn't want to marry her, he pulled out a ring from his suitcase and said, “I was going to wait until your birthday tomorrow to ask you, but now that you're going to be like this, I guess I'll ask you now.” He had already asked Jeanie’s mother for
permission, and so he got down on one knee and proposed!"

The bride wore a beautiful antique lace dress, and there were seven bridesmaids and seven groomsmen. The groom is the guitar player in the local band PLASTIC PILL. Appropriately enough, the groom cake was in the shape of a sunburst Les Paul guitar! The Seven Degrees staff was first-rate, led by wedding director/coordinator Alyssa (Alissa?). Photography by Nicole Caldwell.