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!