Thursday, September 26, 2013

VIDEO: Alternative to "Traditional" Best Man's Speech?

How does one simultaneously:
  • Show off your music skills
  • Dis your sibling for not possessing same said skills
  • Avoid public speaking
  • Send off aforementioned sibling on his wedding day?

This video is touted by the author to be yet another of "the favourite (ed. = best) things ever". Hiperbole aside, it may resonate for wedding guests and participants of a certain age. Funny thing is, the emotionlessness of the Kraftwerkian robot dummy was what they were going for...because, apparently:
We knew the hardest thing would be doing a traditional best man’s speech because we would cry too much.
At least, according to Gawker. Still, it took time, effort and caring to write and create such a production, so i know these guys love their bro. And what better thing to follow or precede or replace a wedding slideshow, than with this six-and-a-half-minute epic?!!  i think i would've taken the speech.

BTW at the time of this blog post, the video had had +350k YouTube views but the band/ensemble still only has 500 or so Facebook fans.

Friday, September 6, 2013

VENUE? D.C.-based LivingSocial Deals Site is Now Renting for Private Events

This week, tech blog VALLEYWAG  revealed there is a new private events space in Washington, D.C.  - the headquarters of LivingSocial. Like many companies with lots of space and not a lot of revenue (golf courses, historic buildings), LivingSocial wants to make some rent money by hosting your meeting, nuptials, memorial service or pop-up restaurant!

But, as Valleywag points out, just over a year ago the social deals site spent a lot of money and renovated the former National Union Insurance Company building.  At the time, LivingSocial supposedly stated their venue was not available for your wedding or some such:

"Want to hold your own amazing event at 918 F Street? Unfortunately, you can’t. The space isn’t available for private rentals – LivingSocial is committed to using the building for the greater good of all Washingtonians in need of good nightlife options. All events taking place at 918 F are open to the public via purchase of vouchers."
A good point made by a commenter: "Considering that weddings are often booked a year and more in advance, I wonder what the wisdom is of paying a hefty deposit to a company that may not be around in three to six months..."

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

EXPLAINER: What Do I Need to Get Married in California and How Do I Do It?

In California two people need a minimum of THREE things* to be married in a legally binding ceremony.
That's IT! This means you don't need rings or dowries or other gifts, nor do you need groomsmen, bridesmaids or cake. In fact, you don't even need to kiss!

The official site for California legislative information states that California Law consists of 29 codes, covering various subject areas, the State Constitution and Statutes. The subject area that marriage law falls under is known as the California Family Code.
"los angeles" "orange county" california same-sex LGBT wedding officiant minister reverend gay lesbian reverend vows marriage
Inclusive, modern LGBT wedding officiant. (Photo ©LilyRo)

California Family Code states "Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary. Consent alone does not constitute marriage. Consent must be followed by the issuance of a license and solemnization..." (see California Family Code, Section 300. (a) ).

In other words -
What must you do or say at your wedding?
1) VOWS: There must be a couple, two individuals over the age of eighteen. The parties being married need to declare out loud that they take the other person as their husband or wife.
wedding vows ceremony law legal writing california marriage
1) Vows.
What must you have or get to be married?
2) MARRIAGE LICENSE: You need to obtain a document that permits you to marry, also known as a marriage license. Most marriage licenses are obtained by the couple in person from a county clerk-recorder office. Some other qualified people and notaries can also issue marriage licenses.

*Please note, there are two different kinds of marriage licenses in California: PUBLIC and CONFIDENTIAL. Please see my previous post to learn the difference between a public and confidential marriage license in California. If you choose to get the public marriage license, you are required to have one, no more than two, witnesses over the age of 18. So, depending on the type of your marriage license, you may need 3 1/2 things to be married in California...
wedding legal marriage license laws California witness
2) Marriage license.
Who is allowed to marry you?
3) OFFICIANT: In short, clergy people, judges, public government representatives, and deputized individuals are allowed to perform a legal marriage ceremony.
officiant minister reverend justice peace wedding Celebrant ceremony legal laws California
3) Qualified officiant. (Photo ©Tara Sielig)
 And, in case you don't believe it's that simple, these references are straight out of the CA Family Code website:

1) VOWS - "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." (Section 420. (a) )

2) MARRIAGE LICENSE - "Before entering a marriage, or declaring a marriage... the parties shall first obtain a marriage license from a county clerk." (Section 350. (a) )

3) OFFICIANT - "Although marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil, and not a religious, contract, a marriage may be solemnized by any of the following who is 18 years of age or older: A priest, minister, rabbi, or authorized person of any religious denomination." (Section 400 (a) )

It goes on to state that judges, justices, magistrates; retired judges, justices and magistrates; and " A legislator or constitutional officer of this state or a Member of Congress who represents a district within this state, while that person holds office" are also qualified to solemnize marriages.

SO...if you need help with your marriage vows, assistance getting a marriage license,  or want a qualified, trained, experienced person to officiate your ceremony, please contact A Non-Denominational Ceremony!  Thank you!!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

NEWS: “Average Wedding Cost” Figure is Grossly Misleading...

Remember the terms mean, median and mode from math class?

In Slate online magazine's 2013 wedding issue, writer Will Oremus lays out why the oft-quoted, oft-cited  'average wedding cost' figure should really be based off the median, or middle value, and not the mean, or average, amount spent.

Think about it: the higher the 'average', the more a couple will feel they're falling in line with other couples in their area...assuming they use other couples to compare their own weddings' costs. In the Slate piece, Oremus says quoting only the average makes sense in the interest of benefiting the wedding industry: "...If you’re in the wedding business, one big-spending couple can make more of an impact on your bottom line than 10 typical couples". Even The Knot's editor-in-chief insists “Couples (should) calculate their budget based on a variety of factors and those factors are the only things that should be considered—not what other couples did or spent.”

"The Wedding Industry’s Pricey Little Secret" shows why median could be a much more accurate number. For example, according to the article, in Manhattan the widely reported average is $76,687, whereas the median is $55,104. And in Alaska, the average is $15,504, yet the median is a mere $8,440.

The actual median is probably even lower: often, studies survey the upper economic scale of weddings, and only include the subset of couples who sign up for wedding websites and respond to online surveys. In other words, the sample is skewed and not a true sample of to-be-wed or newlywed couples.

All this is why i will now rely on for different figures. And i apologise for spreading the "average" around in the past.

Monday, May 20, 2013

INFOGRAPHIC: Dirty. Streaming. Cheaters. On Netflix?

Do you watch new TV episodes without your partner, even though you promised you wouldn't? You're not alone. Check this Netflix study!

television watching without your partner
From Netflix, via research conducted by Harris Interactive.

  • Among those in a relationship who would stream cheat, the highest percentage said they would be likely do so at home by themselves on the main TV (66%). Scandalously, 21% would watch in bed while their significant other was asleep and 5% said they would cheat in the bathroom.
  • Perhaps to get out of sleeping on the couch, results showed that many would take some kind of action to either hide or face the fact that they watched a TV program via streaming before their significant other, of whom…
    • 41% would not spoil scenes before they happened.
    • 14% would feel so guilty that they would have to confess.
    • 12% would re-watch and “fake it” with emotion. If there’s one thing that can lead to more trouble, it’s “faking it.”

Sunday, May 19, 2013

WEDDING: Officiant at Marmivon in Los Angeles, CA

Congratulations Jen. & Jai!  It was an honour to officiate for this fun-loving, relaxed couple at this fantastic venue:

Asian wedding officiant in Los Angeles, CA
Asian Wedding Officiant in Los Angeles, CA. Photo by Herman Au

Big THANK YOU to Dana/Michael at Marmivon; Elsa, Melissa and their crew at ME Weddings & Events; Herman Au photographer (above) and Ken Shin Films videographer.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

NEWS: Non-Believers Excluded from Boston Bombing Healing Memorial

Representation for Humanists and atheists was denied last week, at a government-endorsed memorial ceremony to honor lives lost in Boston. 

'Heal Our City' service in Boston. From (Photo: Charles Krupa/AP)

Religion Dispatches online wrote about a Harvard University chaplain, a Humanist clergyperson near Boston, who was not included to participate in an interfaith memorial event “Healing Our City”. You can also read more from this press release from

Today, the following was taken from an email/letter written today by Roy Speckhardt, Executive Director of the American Humanist Association (AHA):
"...When a request was made for inclusion of a humanist representative at the interfaith service attended by President Obama last week in the wake of the Boston bombings, the request was repeatedly denied. In response, the American Humanist Association has joined with other organizations in the community of reason in asking its members to submit a letter outlining their personal feelings about this. 

"Letters can be sent to Responses will be collected and sent to those responsible for excluding representation from nontheistic groups. It’s important to remember that such exclusion occurred despite the fact that nearly 50% of the people in the Boston area describe themselves as not religious. 

"There was—we are happy to report—a secular memorial service organized by Humanist Community at Harvard this week. But this doesn’t correct the insulting nature of the government-endorsed event that purposely excluded nonreligious Americans during a time when community bonding and healing is most needed."
For more information, please see the AHA's Action Alert page, "Don't Exclude Humanists from Community Memorials".

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

LGBT: HRC Wedding Registry Offers Gifts with Equality

Support the work of HUMAN RIGHTS CAMPAIGN while celebrating your marriage! You've seen charity wedding registries, honeymoon registries, gift card registries...why not sign up for an equal rights wedding registry?
"Each couple gets their own page with their personal story and photo. Loved ones can donate to HRC in their honor and help us move toward the day when all people can marry, no matter who they love."
For more information, go to HRC's wedding registry page.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

STYLE: Artesia Bridal Fashion with Saris, Drapes and Glamour

Designer ROHINI BEDI is a true artist who reveres the human form and lets her ideas flow from her imagination to her design pad...then onto the runway and into wedding ceremonies all over the world. Check this segment from SHOWBIZ INDIA about a recent bridal show featuring South Asian fashion.

One component about Rohini's artistry: she wants her designs to be functional, as well as beautiful.

The other designer featured in this segment is Shekhar Rahate (flash warning!), who is showing his western bridal design collection alongside Rohini's.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

INFO: Your Friend as Officiant - Good or Bad Idea?

An officiant who's a friend of the couple...for real!
Last week, i had the privilege of officiating the wedding of two dear friends. It is rare to have such an opportunity, and an extra special occasion when i do!
This week, you may have seen a story about musician Kelly Clarkson's decision to be wed by a friend, fellow musician Blake Shelton. The Clarkson officiant story was rampant in the social media universe.
CELIA MILTON, a friend, colleague and fellow Life-Cycle Celebrant®, posted this in reply to the article:
"Just because someone legally can officiate doesn't mean they should. Creating and performing an inspiring, meaningful, personal ceremony takes more talent than most people think. Despite the way it looks, it's not 'just 20 minutes", and the fact that someone knows you doesn't necessarily mean that they will be able to craft and deliver a significant ceremony that will start your celebration (and your marriage) in a way that is memorable and exciting for the guests.

As a trained officiant who has performed close to 700 weddings in settings as diverse as Yankee Stadium and various backyards in New Jersey, I think I speak for my colleagues when I say we get really, really tired of hearing that anyone can do this, that merely knowing the couple can assure a personal service, and that this is a great place to DIY.

Very often, it's not. The reality is that when the Champagne is gone, the high heels are under the table and the guests have gone home, the memory of a really terrific, well crafted ceremony remains (along with the license). It's not a place to skimp. And when the ceremony day is looming? That confident family member may just decide that they are too nervous to do the ceremony. And that's when they'll call me..."
Most all the couples who hire me as their Celebrant/officiant are from the Los Angeles and greater Southern California areas. This means a number of couples i have married work in show business: the music, television, gaming or film industry directly, either as talent, writers, producers, executives etc. or in the production, voiceover, post-production, design and technical fields that go into making tv, movies, games and music happen. Showbiz couples have tons of friends and know plenty of people who they have known for years who they trust will show up and can throw a party and give a toast...people who are funny, confident, outgoing and photogenic; people who won't show up under-prepared, choke under the pressure of public speaking, or succumb to camera/mic shyness.
Ari and Barry get married on Beverly Hills Nanny.
i always ask these couples, "Why are you hiring me to do your ceremony?"  Their answer is always a variation of: "Because we want someone who knows what they're doing, and someone who's done it before."
Even if you don't work in Hollywood, even if you want the simplest ceremony, hiring a professional officiant will save you potential headache and future trouble. The true pro is the person who will go through all the steps to make your wedding ceremony happen (at a minimum), fun (if you want), less complicated (cos we know this stuff already) and...legally binding (if necessary).
Most people, even do-it-yourselfers, tend to leave certain tasks to the professionals. Think about the last time you made repairs or improvements to your house or automobile: usually, there is something to be left to a contractor...think concrete pouring, roofing, or your timing belt. Those pros know about how to file for a permit...when, where and why to post signs for their trucks...and how to troubleshoot, because of their experience. And this is why i remind you: DON'T FORGET THE OFFICIANT.  Consider hiring a professional officiant, Celebrant, minister, pastor, reverend etc. to perform your wedding ceremony!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

POETRY: Epithalamium for Weddings!

A wedding poem written in honour of a bride and bridegroom is known as an epithalamium, or epithalamion. According to the Poetic Terminology website, the term is of Greek derivation, composed of epi meaning 'upon' and thalamium meaning 'nuptial chamber'.

In Greek literature, one of the best examples of epithalamium is a work celebrating Menelaus and Helen's marriage in Ancient Greece, known as the 18th Idyll of Theocritus.

Edmund Spenser wrote his famous work Epithalamium was written in honour of his marriage in 1594.  Poet Robert Graves also wrote an epithalamion called A Slice of Wedding Cake.

And now here's a Valentine's Day heart from me to you:
"There's something beating here inside my body and it's called a heart..."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

INTERESTING: Is it news that online daters research online?

Increasingly, couples who choose me to perform their wedding ceremony IRL met each other online. This is a fact that most couples are happy to tell me about, but some are reluctant to include the details about their online courtship in the text of their wedding ceremony.  NO problem!

 Following some recent public relations issues, the dating site matchDOTcom released the above infographic, which i found via mashable . Whatever it takes to find your 'one', ladies and gentlemen, do it...just be sure to be honest about your snooping if it comes down to it.

It could be a funny story to tell the kids...or at your wedding. It is your choice, so don't be bullied into or out of leaving out (or keeping) details to make it the wedding YOU want!

Friday, January 4, 2013

TRADITION: New Year's Eve Ball Drop...why?

Did you know the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C. drops its own time ball every day at noon?
 Pardon the lateness on this one.

According to the US Naval Oceanography portal, the USNO time ball was one of the first systems to enable the Observatory to support remote users. The ball was dropped at the astronomically determined instant of Mean Solar Noon in Washington.  Back in the day, this enabled the navigators of ships anchored in the Potomac River to rate their chronometers...or in other words, synchronize their timepieces.

The USNO is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the country. Its primary mission was to care for the U.S. Navy's chronometers, charts and other navigational equipment, and was first established as the Depot of Charts and Instruments back in 1830.

Photo from Astronomy Picture of the Day.  Thanks to Margot Adler's NPR story for the inspiration.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

JAPAN: White Weddings Require White Officiants?!!?

The term 'western' equals fashionable, trendy and in Caucasian. A fascinating story on PRI's The World goes on to say:
"The “white wedding” in Japan copies an archetypal Western ceremony...But perhaps the most essential part of the event is a minister who looks the part. In other words, a white person."
The wedding industry is in full effect around the world, and according to the report, "Wedding services often use white grooms in their advertising material. It’s a common scheme to sell the “white wedding” fantasy to Japanese women".  Let alone the wedding fantasy in general! Hear the full story below.
SO weird, but to me not a good weird...  Maybe i'm taking it a little too seriously, but this makes me a little embarassed to be Japanese (albeit i'm actually Japanese-American). Heck, i'm just AMERICAN!

If you simply want a modern officiant to provide the ceremony you want, race or ethnicity aside, please contact A NON-DENOMINATIONAL CEREMONY for your Southern California wedding.