Wedding Officiant & Elope NYC
Life is meant to be enjoyed and celebrated! I take the responsibility of creating your wedding ceremony seriously, and I also want it to be fun and meaningful for you.
Whether it’s just the two of you eloping, or a big wedding with all the family, I will customize your ceremony per request with the words, readings, vows and rituals that mean the most to you and support you in this important moment.[tabs style="1"] [tab title="Philosophy"]
As an Interfaith Minister, I honor all faiths, and respect your personal beliefs. Whether your ceremony is civil, spiritual, secular, traditional, non-denominational, modern, romantic, serious, silly, it’s your ceremony and your day, I will listen closely and honor your requests.
As your wedding officiant, I am here to answer your questions, provide creative as well as traditional ceremony ideas, and support you on your wedding day. I will customize your wedding script exactly to your liking. I assure you that the most important part of the day, your ceremony, will be wonderful!
Your love has brought you to this day—I am honored to be in your presence and share this journey with you.
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When you contact me by phone or email, I’ll respond to you ASAP. I’ll ask you your wedding date, time, and location, and a few questions about the two of you, and what kind of ceremony you are dreaming of.
If you are in New York, I suggest we meet face to face if possible after our initial contact so you can decide in person if I am a good wedding match for you. I don’t expect you to make any decisions on the spot. Let’s just get to know each other, and then you can take some time to decide if I am the minister for you.
If you are outside of New York and coming here for your destination wedding, let’s communicate by email, phone, or Skype to talk more in detail about your NYC wedding plans.
Wedding fees vary for each ceremony. Some couples want a light and breezy elopement in Central Park, others have big bridal parties and require more time, preparation, direction and management.
My fees start at $500 for elopements and small weekday ceremonies within Manhattan, and are competitive with local officiants and celebrants of similar professionalism and experience. My fees are based on the date, time, location of your ceremony, travel expenses, and your personal requests.
If you choose to hire me, I’ll ask you for a deposit of half the wedding fee and begin the 1st draft of your wedding ceremony. I’ll provide you with suggestions and options, and craft the ceremony so that it’s exactly what you want to hear and what you want to express in your ceremony. I’m happy to provide you with recommendations of other trusted wedding professionals that I’ve worked with directly and can recommend with confidence (see Resources).
On your wedding day, I’ll arrive in advance and can dress in semi-formal attire or a ministerial robe—whatever makes you and your guests most comfortable. I will coordinate with your wedding planner or maitre d’, your musicians or DJ, and your photographer and videographer to see that everything takes place in a smooth and timely manner. In the absence of a wedding planner, I am happy to function as your guide and coach, and I will support you and your wedding party at every moment.
I am with you every step of the way through the ceremony, and I will guide the process to help you feel centered and able to really relax, experience it, and enjoy it! I am there for you to make this special moment everything you imagined and dreamed of. [/tab]
Are you able to perform ceremonies outside of New York?
Yes! My registration with New York City allows me to perform weddings virtually anywhere. I have officiated weddings in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts, Georgia, Texas, and District of Columbia. I’m delighted to be asked to travel to your out of state or destination wedding.
What is Interfaith?
Interfaith is the practice of acknowledging the truth in every religion–that God or The Divine is Love. In our global community we have the opportunity now more than ever to learn and grow from each other’s spiritual and cultural contributions. Interfaith respects every faith, looking for commonalities, not differences. Interfaith speaks to my soul. I honor every person, spiritual and secular, any denomination or non-denomination, and minister to you in the spiritual or personal language you find most comfortable, including in your ceremony your cultural rituals like Candle Lighting, Wine Blessing, Handfasting, Breaking the Glass, Jumping the Broom, per your request.
How do you reconcile religious differences between a couple?
This usually happens before the wedding ceremony plans! Acknowledging each other’s spiritual lives and personal philosophy is part of the intimacy that builds trust and respect in your relationship. If you would like to do some pre-marital counseling to discuss your religious or personal values before planning your ceremony, I am happy to discuss this in our initial consultation and offer referrals and recommendations.
How “scripted” are your ceremonies? How much creative freedom does a couple have with you?
I always explain to couples that the only thing we have to hear in a ceremony is consent (“I do”) and the pronouncement. Everything else is based on your religions, cultures, history, and our collective expectations. The “main event’ in the ceremony is the ritual sharing of your vows & rings. There is a recognized order of ceremony that we can honor and use as an outline. The ceremony can be as creative as your imagination. It’s always fun to weave traditional elements with original ideas. I love to hear what couples have in mind! We work on the ceremony together until we finalize the ceremony script. I will not add anything they have not already approved–no surprise sermons, dogma, or advice! I know my ceremonies well enough that it does not sound like I am reading, but speaking from the heart–because I truly am.
Are there things that you will NOT do, mention, etc.?
We will not ask if anyone objects–this dates back to another era, and nobody really says, “Speak now or forever hold your peace” at a wedding ceremony anymore. It works well on soap operas and in the movies, though! Many women ask me about old-fashioned elements of a wedding ceremony like “honor and obey” in the vows, using the words “man and wife” (as opposed to “husband and wife”) and asking the father’s permission for the bride’s hand. In the procession, women may choose to be escorted by Father and/or Mother, or Brother, Sister, or other Family member or Escort, and many couples choose to enter together, holding hands. At the end of the ceremony, I’ll ask you if one partner is taking the other’s last name, or hyphenating your last names, and if you wish to be introduced as “Mr. & Mrs.” or (“Mr. & Mr.” or “Mrs. & Mrs.”) or simply, “The Newly Married Couple: (Name) & (Name)!”
Do you perform same-sex ceremonies? Now that Marriage Equality is legal in New York, are weddings here recognized in states that do not offer same-sex marriage?
Right now same-sex marriage laws vary state by state. I am so happy to welcome couples from around the country and every corner of the globe who choose to celebrate their gay wedding in New York, and proud to send them home with their New York State legal Certificate of Marriage, with high hopes that their marriage, Marriage Equality, and Equal Marriage be recognized some day in your home state, every one of the United States, and around the world. Your gay marriage in New York may or may not come with associated rights and privileges in your home state, and that is what we are fighting for as allies and activists for Marriage Equality. I am truly blessed to celebrate ALL love stories and honored to marry ALL couples.
Why do you reach out to same-sex couples so demonstratively?
I am a proud supporter of Marriage Equality. I’ve been fortunate to grow up surrounded by wonderful gay friends and family, and I believe that gay relationships deserve the same respect, attention, and civil rights and privileges as straight relationships. Some people have asked me, “Are you afraid your stand on Marriage Equality will turn off conservative couples?” No. I am honored to take a stand for Gay Rights, and if my activism and stand on Civil Rights turns someone off, I am probably not the right wedding minister for them.
If a couple just wants a civil ceremony (a la City Hall), would you perform it?
I am happy to provide civil (“We Celebrate”) as well as spiritual (“Bless” or “God Bless”) weddings, and I specialize in warm, romantic, personal ceremonies that are joyful, emotional, and allow for the expression of your love and your deepest feelings. If you are looking for a five-minute “just marry us” ceremony, I ask you to consider that you are missing out one of the best, brightest, and most meaningful moments of your life, and will recommend that you will be more comfortable not working with me, but simply going to City Hall.
Are you available for last-minute elopements?
My wedding calendar is booked months in advance–but if I am available for a last-minute elopement, I will let you know asap. Please refer to the Calendar on my Home page to check if I am available for your date.
Will you perform my small legal ceremony here in New York before I fly off to my destination wedding elsewhere?
I’d love to! In the case of a legal US pre-ceremony before your destination ceremony, I want to assure you that anything we say and do will not take away from your destination wedding, but only enhance it. In your legal pre-ceremony, we may refer to your future destination wedding, you may wish to recite vows or simply consent (“I do”) to your marriage, we might like to bless or acknowledge your rings now, if you choose to exchange them later. All my ceremonies are personal and meaningful, and in many cases you will not know your destination officiant or have any contact with them before your marriage on a beach, in another country, or in another language. Let’s celebrate your love and feelings now, especially if you have booked a package wedding or are not sure what kinds of wedding awaits you at your destination.
Have you ever worked with Bridezillas? Groomzillas? Or Momzillas?
So many people ask me for my wedding “horror stories,” for which I blame reality TV! I only work with couples that I feel I am able to truly support and be present for on their wedding day. Over ten years and in hundreds of ceremonies, I have seen it all–fits of giggles during the ceremony, brides feeling overwhelmed and in tears five minutes before we begin, grooms in a heavy sweat, guests who may have had too much to drink at pre-wedding cocktails (which I do not recommend!) and a Father of the Bride who slipped, fell, and took a full-on wipe-out and hit his head in the Procession. In each case, I respond to circumstances with grace, patience, attention, love, and when appropriate, a bit of humor. It all works out in the end! I do my utmost to clearly communicate with each couple, review our preparation, and meet expectations. I do not do “perfect” weddings. I do fantastic, awesome, emotional, beautiful, memorable, amazing weddings! It is my hope that your dress, suit, flowers, hair, weather, and wedding providers live up to your expectations, and if for some reason they do not–can you still manage to remember that what brought you to this day is your Love for one another?
If a couple comes to you completely unprepared as far as location, flowers, food, music, etc., can you make quality referrals?
Absolutely. I’ve done hundreds of weddings and have met some fine wedding vendors over the years (see Resources). You can find me on reliable wedding sites like TheKnot, Wedding Wire, Style Me Pretty, Bridal Tweet, Engayged and Purple Unions, which also offer vendor resources. Keep in mind that I am an officiant, responsible for the ceremony portion of your wedding day, and not a Wedding Planner, who specializes in locations, transportation, wedding vendor referrals, and seeing that your Wedding Day goes smoothly in every way. I can’t say enough about the benefit of working with a Wedding Planner/Coordinator, and I know some great ones!
What about Wiccan, Pagan, or Earth-Based ceremonies?
I love earth-based traditions, and find that most Wiccans, Pagans, and Earth-based practitioners choose someone from their spiritual community to officiate their ceremony. I am happy to provide consultation, to witness and sign the papers, co-officiate, or lead the service, as they wish. Many couples I meet with wish to honor the Earth and Mother Nature, and ask me to include traditions in their ceremony such as the hand-fasting and honoring the directions, elements, seasons. I love these rituals, and enjoy including them in ceremonies by request.
If I ask a friend or family member to write and officiate my service, will you “sign off” on the papers/wedding license?
Occasionally I am asked to be the legal representative to oversee a ceremony performed by a non-registered officiant or celebrant, and I am happy to offer this service as my schedule allows. If you are asking a friend or family member to officiate your ceremony, be sure you feel confident in their creativity, courage, and reliability. I’ve been contacted a number of times last-minute by couples who asked someone close to them to officiate, only to find that person bow out at the last minute due to nerves or lack of preparation. I can offer my services as wedding ceremony script and stage directions consultant, as well as legal representative for overseeing the proper signing of and submission of the wedding license.
What is the one piece of advice you would (or do) give to a couple you are marrying?
It may feel time consuming or like a Part-Time job preparing for your wedding, but it has it’s rewards! Know what you want, and rely on your wedding professionals, your officiant, planner, stylist, photographer, videographer, and on-site consultants to coordinate the details on your wedding day. Let your wedding party support you, ask your Best Man, Best Woman, Maid and Matrons of Honor to help be in charge of seeing that everyone is in place and on schedule, so that YOU can relax, get dressed, and bask in all the love and attention that is sincerely meant to celebrate you two. On your wedding day, “let it go” and focus on the meaning of the day–your Love for each other!
What are your rates/fees?
My rates are determined by date, time, location, travel & my preparation for your personalized ceremony, starting at $500 for elopements and small weekday ceremonies within Manhattan. Please provide me with your wedding details and I’m happy to provide you with a quote. I look forward to hearing from you!