Breaking and remaking the rules

When discussing weddings, I say it all the time: ‘do what’s right for you.’ There are certainly a lot of traditions and rules for weddings, and I do love history, culture, customs and most everything about weddings. But I don’t subscribe to the idea of doing something just because that’s ‘how it’s done.’  From the smallest detail to the grandest of gestures, couples today crave authenticity and are looking for meaningful ways to express themselves at this important moment in their lives.

Women welcome the bride!

Before it occurred to me it could be otherwise, I thought only a best man could hold the couples’ wedding rings. I now see all kinds of possibilities for that task. One of the truly fun things about being a wedding celebrant is presenting people with choices they never even knew they had.

It all comes down to ‘why’. Why are you doing or saying something? Is it honest? Does it represent your beliefs and ideals? And does it accurately express or symbolize what your wedding means to you?

Taking the example of the rings, you may be perfectly happy to have your best man hold both rings for the ceremony, and that’s fine… but then again, have you considered having your maid or matron of honor (I like to call them best women) hold one as well? Think of it: the best woman hands the bride her ring to put on the groom’s finger, and the best man holds the ring to hand to the groom to put on his bride. Balanced. Now, if you remove the gender identities from the equation, it becomes even clearer.  Simply have your best person hand you your ring for your partner! It really just makes sense. Or take it in different direction; how about having a parent or child hold the rings?

An origami bouquet breaks the rules

A great example of the evolving and changing language of weddings can readily be found in the old phrase: ‘to love, honor, and obey.’ Most officiants no longer say this, and I’ve never said it ever, not once! Women no longer promise to obey their husbands. Marriage is now seen as a mutually shared undertaking based on equality.

Consider the words ‘I now pronounce you man and wife.’ I never say this either, because the equivalent of man is woman, and the equivalent of wife is husband. I prefer ‘I now pronounce you husband and wife.’ Of course I had to come up with something wonderful for same sex couples now that we have marriage equality, and for those couples I like to say: ‘I now pronounce you good and truly married,’ which, come to think of it, I could say for opposite sex couples too!

Personal style matters today!

Here are a few less serious examples of reinvented traditions. Couples who have mixed gender attendants (bridesmaids/groomsmen) standing with them – women and men on both sides. I love that – have the people who matter the most stand with you. Adult flower girls (or perhaps flower women?) The couple walking down the aisle together.

The point is – change is a good thing, re-examining traditions is a good thing, keep what you like, and let go of the rest. As the old saying goes: rules are made to be broken. So break or reinvent when necessary. There are still many beautiful traditions to follow as well. It all comes down to ‘why.’

Let your imagination fly!

 

Thank you Sabrina Schantzen and Lisa Rhinehart for the use of your beautiful photography.

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How to add spice to your ceremony

I’m always inventing, reinventing or rewriting words and rituals to use in wedding ceremonies. It’s kind of my passion! So when I met with a couple who had an idea of their own, I was excited to learn all about it. Having children from previous marriages, they were looking for a family unity ritual, and they found something that was new to me.

I’ve always been a big fan of the Sand Ceremony, but this bride discovered a similar ritual using spices. She shared the gist of the idea, and I immediately loved it. In fact, I wondered why didn’t I already know about this? It seemed so obvious as things sometimes do once you know about them!

Pouring the spices.

When I read up on it I knew I could give it my own twist. I never just take something verbatim, I always need to think through it and give me my own interpretation.  And perhaps more importantly strive to infuse it with the meaning that reflects the couple’s worldview. After more than ten years, I’ve found my voice as a celebrant, but I have to be mindful that I speak for the couple.

The spice ritual is pretty easy to understand – you simply choose different spices to represent the different people participating – in this case the bride and groom and their children. Learning something about each person and finding the herb or spice that related those traits is the key. Poetic license is required, of course.

As with any ritualistic act in a ceremony, I explain it to the guests and also want to be sure the participants are focused on it as well. They need to feel it as in unfolds so it can be a transformative experience, or at least meaningful or just fun.

Examples of spices and their symbolism would be paprika or chile for a person who is passionate and energetic. Lavender is known for it’s fragrance and calming quality and would be perfect for someone who is calm in the face of difficulty.  You could also delve into herbal medicine, historic context, or any way that connects the spice or herb. And this ritual ties in beautifully for a gardener or a cook!

The keepsake!

Expanding upon layering the spices this couple used not only a spice for each of them, but incorporated salt, evoking the Salt Covenant of the bible and the rich history and symbolism of salt. The salt was poured first and last – to seal the layers, and perhaps to seal the deal.

Together they created a beautiful experience and a keepsake jar of spices to be displayed as a remembrance of their wedding day showing the importance of blending their families.

Spices certainly bring out flavor and that is what we do in our own families by combining our personalities, our strengths and gifts. This family certainly had an abundance of taste!

 

Thank you David Coulter for the beautiful photos. I always enjoy working with David! 

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A miraculous wedding in a week

For every action there’s a reaction. Cause and effect. That’s a simple but weighty concept. And it’s not just science, but in life one event often causes other events to occur.

This was the case when I received a call to officiate a wedding that was to take place the very next weekend. The cause was a terminal diagnosis. I quickly learned that the bride’s father was not expected to live much longer and the couple wanted to marry as soon as possible so he witness and participate in the wedding. The couple had been together a long time and always knew they’d get married, but the change in circumstances had its effect.

On my end, of course I said yes immediately. Some emails and phone conversations ensued and once I’d learned enough about the couple, I was able to create a ceremony that was appropriate and meaningful.

With such short notice, no one had thought through other details. Most importantly I reminded them about the marriage license (minor detail!) and the couple applied and received it just in the nick of time.  Remember, there is a three-day waiting period in Pennsylvania.

Distilled to basics there are really only two things you need to get married in PA – the license and someone legal to marry you and sign the document. Other wedding details are nice, icing on the proverbial and literal cake, but not required.

It was not only a wedding, it looked like a wedding.

But marriage is not only a legal act, it is also a public declaration of commitment, and spiritual and emotional milestone in life. That is why most people choose to share their wedding with loved ones.

But back to the story: all of this coincided with the family’s annual get together here in the Poconos at the Shawnee Inn. That was certainly a catalyst as well. Why not turn the family get together into a wedding?  But while the bride’s family was already set to gather there, they still needed the groom’s family to attend. Could they make it there on such short notice? Yes they could, and they did!

The only other suggestion I made, beyond the license, was to hire a photographer, since photos are something to have forever.

We even included a Unity Candle.

When I arrived to perform the ceremony I discovered they’d pulled together quite a few more details as well, such as gorgeous flowers, bridesmaids dresses and the wedding gown. In other words, it looked like any other wedding – and all in one week’s time!

We can learn a lot from their story. While I’m not suggesting you give yourself a week to plan your wedding, unless of course life events dictate, it does show us that a more condensed timeline can work.  It also reminds us that you can pare down plans to the essentials and not sweat the small stuff! A license, an officiant, a location, maybe some flowers and photos… and viola! you’ve got a wedding. Ok, maybe some food and music, too, but really, there are many details couples’ become obsessed with, that really aren’t essential.

Flowers by "Bloom By Melanie"

Here is the big caveat:  this entire event took place off-season, and they already had accommodations booked. They were able to get the space for the ceremony and reception as well as their officiant (me), a great photographer and florist, all at the last minute. In peak season this could never have happened.

If you want a particular venue, and good professionals, and want them on a certain date, you absolutely need to book them in advance….. way in advance. The best people and places book up quickly. But on the other hand, this wedding does illustrate that you can still have a perfectly beautiful wedding without overly planning.

Wedding are really very magical, but a wedding in a week? That’s pretty miraculous!

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Photos by Rob Lettieri Photography

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The Diamond Dilemma

Valentines Day is coming and it is a popular date to become engaged! With so many details to worry about – do you really need one more concern?

If you have already purchased a diamond ring, just stop reading now. But if you’re in the market – please read on!

Do you know where your diamond came from?

It is thought that about 65% of the proceeds from the world’s diamond mines are used to fuel wars. These are called conflict diamonds.

Furthermore some diamond mines exploit workers in slave-like conditions as well as use child labor. This is well documented. Leonardo DeCaprio even made a movie about it, entitled Blood Diamond. Diamonds mined like this are believed to make up about 25% of the market. You can find a lot of research with differing numbers, but in the end, do we really want to take a chance that a diamond we purchase may have been mined by slaves or children?

What a gorgeous ring! Photo: Lisa Rhinehart, Rhinehart Photography

And while these problems are improving it still deserves our attention.

But don’t despair. There are many ethical choices, although I suppose one can never be completely sure. But we can at least try to make better choices.

Here are a few ideas:

One easy solution is to buy an antique ring, or use an heirloom diamond and have it reset. The ‘Turtle Love’ website is a good example of some of the choices available. You may even enjoy the hunt for a vintage ring.

This ring belongs to Caitlin Holleran. It was her grandmother’s engagement ring and holds deep meaning for her.

Consider a synthetic diamond such as cubic zirconium (CZ) or the newer variety, Moissanite. These man-made gems are 100% conflict free as they are made in a laboratory. Call them cultured diamonds!

There are also certified diamonds, especially those that are mined, cut and polished in Canada under strict environmental and working regulations.

There are other certifications known as conflict-free or fair trade, or simply go to a company such as ‘Brilliant Earth’ that specializes in this. They also sell cultured gems.

It’s very difficult to know for sure if you have found a conflict-free diamond. I recently learned that the effectiveness of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KP), established in 2003 to prevent conflict diamonds from entering into the mainstream, has been called into question. The KP was a noble attempt by the UN to try to do something to improve the situation, but you don’t have to be an expert to understand how difficult this entire process would be.

And finally, you might consider looking at something other than a diamond. Yes, imagine an engagement ring that is NOT a diamond! I know, I know, its difficult.

But like so many things in life, once you know about it, it is hard to ignore. But the good part is that now that you do know you can take the opportunity to make a difference.

 

Thank you Caitlin Holleran for sharing the photo and story of your grandmother’s ring. And thank you Lisa Rhinehart for your stunning photos!

 

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One Wedding – Many Ideas

My horizons continue to expand with every wedding I officiate, and recently I officiated for a wonderful couple who created a celebration with their own personal flare. I want to share how it reflected their personalities and interests in several ways.

As patrons of a local theater they decided to use the smaller ‘black box’ venue that was part of the institution. A ‘black box’ consists of a simple, somewhat unadorned performancespace, usually a large square room with black walls, and this one was part of the civic organization the couple supported for many years.

Using the marquee is a great idea.

They turned the lobby into their reception area – but turning the tables a bit more – they offered coffee, cocktails and light refreshments before the ceremony, which was scheduled for noon.

When the doors to the theater opened and guests were seated, they were treated to a surprise video. Again, a great use of the venue. They’d created a presentation of photos, short video clips and music, complete with humorous titles, that elicited much laughter from the crowd. They called it: 23 Years in 23 Minutes. Yes, the couple had been together 23 years, and as a same-sex couple, they never imagined at the beginning of their journey that they would be able to legally marry.

After this charming, fast paced video, I took the floor for the ceremony. Having worked closely with them to create the ceremony I had a few references to the ‘prequel,’ their back story, and a few (but not too many I hope) movie and theater references.

Inside the 'black box' theater.

For a unity ritual we used a special port wine that had been given to them in the Portuguese tradition. In Portugal people often give wine to honor a special event, such as the birth of a child. The receipts are supposed to keep the wine and use it for their own special event, and a wedding seemed like the perfect time. So they shared in the ‘cup of life,’ by sharing some of this special bottle as a symbol of sharing all their future will hold. One of the grooms was also a scientist, so I included reference about the chemistry of wine, which he loved.

The special port wine.

So what can we learn from their wedding? Many things. First: having something to eat or drink before the ceremony can be lovely.  It’s really quite nice to have some socializing, something in your tummy, and perhaps a drink in hand, before the ceremony begins. But if the couple is not planning on seeing their guests before the ceremony this should be kept short.  I have also seen a pre-ceremony cocktail hour with the couple socializing with their guests.  Radical? Maybe, but also reduces the nervous factor.

This wedding was also an excellent example of how to have a successful theme wedding. Great ideas come from real places. When we tap into our passions in life we are on the right track. A theme can be anything. The key is to not over-do it, but reference it with small, meaningful touches. Some other themes I’ve witnesses included books and literature, beaches and sailing, love of dogs, sports, nature and trees, and of course seasonal themes.

And finally what I take from this wedding is when you are true yourself, everyone will feel the love. This was one I really enjoyed!

 

Thank you Marco Calderon for the photos!

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At that In-Between Age

Sometimes I write about big sweeping concepts, sometimes this column is about cultural or religious traditions and rituals, and other times there is just something very specific to look at. Today I want to address what role should a pre-teen can play in your wedding?  I’m not referring to the couple’s children, who should have an important role in the event, but rather that special niece or nephew, a close friend’s child, or anyone you wish to include who is too old to be a ring-bearer or flower girl.

Find a meaningful role for this age group.

A ring-bearer or flower girl is typically between about 3 to 7 years old, although often people send younger kids down the aisle, with less than satisfactory results. Teens or young adults are often considered Junior Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and have little distinction from any other Bridesmaid or Groomsman, but what about the pre-teen, those around 8 through 12?

There are several great ways to incorporate this age group.  Here are a few ideas:

They may be a ‘greeter’, one or several of these pre-teens can give out programs, bubbles, water bottles, paper fans, or anything that needs handing out. They can help direct people, especially if there is a water station, coat closet, rest rooms and just about anything that arriving guests might need to know before the ceremony.  If there is a guest book or something to sign or put your fingerprint on – having someone direct people is helpful.

For the girls be sure to encourage a matching dress to make them feel part of the bridal party.

You might have these young people design and put together a children’s table or area for the little ones. They should receive full credit for this chore, which takes quite a bit of responsibility. They may also look after and help entertain any little ones at the party, helping them with coloring or other activities that are at the kids table.

Older children helping younger children is a great idea!

Helping the flower girl or ringer bearer make their way down the aisle is an appropriate job for them. Those very young flower girls and/or ring bearers often have a hard time. Have them escorted by your pre-teen, maybe even pull them in on a wagon.

If you want to have your dog in your wedding, putting a pre-teen in charge of your pet  would also be great, especially if they know and love the dog. They could even walk the dog down the aisle, a more grown-up job than flower girl or ring bearer!

For the more precocious pre-teen, have them read a poem or other type of short reading.

Once they pass the magic age of 13 (give or take) they can be designated as a junior bridesmaid or groomsmen. They’re old enough to stand with you. They should enter in the processional just like anyone else. It’s quite an honor.

                                                                                   Photos by Lisa Rhinehart - gorgeous as always!!   Follow Me on Pinterest 

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Including A Remembrance in Your Wedding

Because a wedding is such an important milestone in life, acknowledging the death of a parent or someone close to you is worth your consideration. Anyone who has experienced a profound loss is thinking of that loved one on their wedding day, wishing they could be with them. Life is complicated, and even at such a joyous time, taking a moment to remember something sad is ok, because it is part of who we are and have become.

Memory pins on the bouquet

There are many ways to approach this idea.

Including a remembrance in the ceremony itself is very appropriate. Simply ask your officiant say something and give her or him some guidance. This is both direct and meaningful. It doesn’t have to be long, a sentence or two will still be effective, and will not over shadow the joy of the day.

Lighting a candle for a deceased loved one is beautiful, but remember – I do not recommend the use of outdoors. It just doesn’t work well and spoils the symbolism when you can’t get the candle lit, it blows out, or you simply can’t really see the beauty of the flame if it’s daylight. Indoors candles are more impressive. If you are outdoors consider using a flower instead. Do this by ceremoniously placing it into a vase, set on your altar table. A nice touch for a bride is to have the special flower designed into your bouquet so it may be easily removed for this purpose. This gesture says ‘you are a part of me.’ A ritual such as this can be done with or without an explanation.

If it is not possible to customize your ceremony, there are alternatives.

You may want to carry a special token of some kind – a tie-tac or cufflink, locket or necklace, or even a small photo. It can be in a bouquet or pocket, carried with you as you walk down the aisle.

Your program booklet is another place to put a remembrance, and even include a photo. Although I’m not big a fan of wedding programs, especially when they don’t add anything to the ceremony experience, when you can include content such as this, then I believe it adds real value.

A table with remembrances on it.

At your reception you can have a table with photos and candles or other remembrance items.

I am also not fond of the empty chair for the deceased. A chair is left empty at the front, signifying the person’s absence and can have something placed on the chair – a photo or flower. For me, it just feels too maudlin, and goes too far in pointing out a loved one’s absence.

This is a very personal and emotional topic and everyone is different. I’ve worked with couples who felt they did not want any acknowledgement of deceased loved ones, and those who wanted quite a bit included.

While your wedding day is a joyous day it is also a time of honesty and meaning, so let those feeling in, but in the right measure, in whatever feels best for you.

Another beautiful example!

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Hispanic Wedding Traditions

I’m posting this from Spain today, so I thought it would be a wonderful opportunity to write about some of the many rich, historic traditions for weddings that come from Spanish culture.

Wedding parade in Mexico

Most ceremonies in Spain and the wide-ranging Spanish speaking countries of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central and South America, take place in the Catholic Church. But whether you are to be married in a church or not, you may still be inspired by some of these traditions, or just enjoy learning about them.

One ritual I’ve focused on before is The 13 Coins, or ‘Arras.’ These are coins that are given as a promise to care and support your spouse. There are many ways to interpret this wonderful tradition, and I’ve put a modern twist on it from time to time.

The ‘Lazo’ (or Lasso) is a large rosary, ribbon, rope, or even a rope of flowers, that is wrapped around the necks or shoulders of the bride and groom. It is placed in a figure eight (infinity) shape as the couple kneels at the altar. This affirms their commitment to be side-by-side always. Often a veil is also placed over their heads. In the way many traditions and rituals are similar in differing religions, in the Jewish wedding a tallit (prayer shawl) is also draped over the couple with almost the exact same symbolism of unity.

Another couple in Mexico - how cool is this???

In church the bride will hold a rosary with her bouquet and orange blossoms are the flower of choice for Spanish brides because they symbolize happiness. In the past Spanish brides and grooms would not have groomsmen, ushers, bridesmaids or flower girls. The couple’s grandparents and/or godparents (padrinos) however, will have a role in the wedding! Grandparents and godparents are important Spanish culture. They are ‘sponsors’ which means they get to participate in the ceremony, serve as witnesses for the marriage certificate, and contribute to the financial responsibility of the wedding. On the spiritual side sponsors should help couples through conflicts in their marriage, imparting the wisdom that comes with age.

Today most couples do want bridesmaids and groomsmen. An interesting old tradition had the best man chose the bride’s bouquet, but again, today that won’t fly. However, learning that the bouquet was presented with a poem, some couples want to keep that portion alive and do have the best man deliver a poem. Much like the best man’s speech at the reception, this is simply too fantastic to leave behind.

In 19th Century Spain a bride wore a black gown, symbolizing ‘til death do us part.’  But as the white dress grew in popularity thanks to Queen Victoria’s influence, the black was left behind. But guess what? The black dress is back! It seems that everything comes around. Another popular touch is the mantilla, which is a triangular view trimmed in lace, still popular today.

Grooms in many Latin countries wear the guayabera, a short-sleeved style tropical shirt.

Music can also be a big part of expressing your culture and in some places in Mexico a joyous wedding parade will take place in the streets, complete with mariachi band. I simply adore this tradition!

Out on the street after the ceremony!

In Spain the wedding will usually take much later in the day, around 6 or 7pm, mostly because of the heat, and that makes complete sense, doesn’t it?

Maybe I’ll crash a wedding while I’m here in Spain, and if I do you know I’ll have to write about it.

Thank Jorge for permission use these gorgeous photos! Photo credit: Jorge Santiago Photography

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Wedding Trends for 2015

Once you do your year in review, it’s only natural to think about what’s coming up in the next year. And inquiring couples want to know – what are the trends for 2015? What the media tells me about weddings, and what my couples are telling me, aren’t necessarily the same things. Perhaps its because a more unique couple chooses a celebrant to officiate their wedding, or maybe I just want to think that. More likely the wedding industry decides things differently than actual people.

Either way, here are a few projected trends for 2015.

Every year Pantone (the corporation known for the PMS color system) picks a color of the year. Last year was radiant orchid, and this year they announced aquamarine. A palate consisting of soft, muted hues is expected, mixing the blues with tropical greens and throwing in a bit of toasted almond for contrast. I guess I’ll have to wait to see if real people take follow this plan in coming year.

The pantone color scheme

Many of ‘my’ couples are choosing very unique unity rituals, including versions of the ‘box ritual.’ This is appealing for many reasons, and it can be so uniquely personal. The box ritual has been evolving from the ‘love letters’ ritual – this is the one where each partner writes a letter to the other, to be given to one another just before of their wedding. One variation is to put these letters into a box and to be kept, and opened sometime in the future. Perhaps if they hit a bump in their journey and want to be reminded of what they love about each other, or they could be read on an anniversary, in celebration. Many twists are possible from there. Add a bottle of wine into the box (The Wine Box Ceremony), or another beverage (bourbon, scotch?), special glasses, keepsake items from the wedding, or for a really interesting twist – ask your parents to also write letter to you.

Box Ritual - photo by Wesley Works

Many of the couples I’m working with are choosing unique music for their processional and recessional. It’s a great way to express their style and say something through the lyrics. Anything goes!

In more urban areas the food truck trend is going strong. I’ve heard we have some here in the Poconos, but I’ve yet to see one myself. Interesting idea, though!

Food truck! photo: Michelle Lindsay Photography

Speaking of food, the midnight snack is gaining in popularity. Severing that little extra bit at the end of the night is fantastic.

I’ve long been touting the benefits of dining-style tables, and I’m glad to see the world is finally catching up with me.  Instead of the many round tables, use long, narrow tables, often all connected together. One of the benefits of this style in dining is that it promotes better guest interaction. I also think it looks so cool, and it can save space if needed.

You may also consider serving family style meals, so people can take as much or as little of the entrees and side dish selections as they wish. It’s a great cross between full table service and buffet style.

Edible favors continue to be popular, but taking it up a notch, food kits jammed with all kinds of snacks are all the rage.

Wedding dresses are showing less skin and more lace. Cover shoulders and arms with sheer fabrics and lace – still sensuous but less revealing! I simply love these looks, and how they flatter many body types. Straps instead of strapless can be just as sexy while providing more comfort, confidence and support.

Trends come and go. There are some customs you might to leave behind. Many couple’s are opting out of the bouquet toss, the garter ritual, and the receiving line. The important thing is always to be true to yourself, and make the choices that work for you.

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Highlights from 2014

It’s time for those year-end reviews from everyone else, so why not me? Looking back at my celebrant work in 2014 I’d have to put marriage equality in Pennsylvania at the top of my list. It was in May when Governor Corbett decided not to appeal the ruling that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. Without an appeal, the fight was over and Pennsylvania officially became the 19th marriage equality state.

Photo Credit: Garth Woods

 

This led to a few other highlights because I was then honored to officiate two weddings for close friends, one of them being together for some 20 years. Another wedding included one partner who serves in our military. At this time I have officiated for six same-sex couples and have more coming up.

Other highlights of the year include a gorgeous bride at Mountain Springs Lake Resort in Reeders, arriving on horseback! What an entrance – it was magical. Another memorable couple consisted of a bride who is a U.S. Marshall and her groom, also in law enforcement. Talk about understanding challenges!

Photo by Kiwi Photography

I thoroughly enjoyed working with a groom who is a television producer and a bride who is a doctor – and both were extremely creative. Together they made the world’s most amazing save-the-date video and with their particular quirky sensibility they gave me the freedom to create quite an interesting ceremony. It took place at the Glasbern Inn, a somewhat little known but amazing venue just west of Allentown.

At Glasbern Inn, photo by Matthew Szoke

Speaking of venues, I performed quite a few at my favorite spots the Poconos: The Stroudsmoor Country Inn, Skytop Lodge, The Shawnee Inn, and the afore-mentioned Mountain Springs Lake. Each has something special to offer.

Best date for a wedding was this year: 12/13/14 – so glad I was booked for that. There won’t be another like that in our lifetime!

I performed many elopements this year, especially at my own intimate wedding site, Harmony Gardens. This is exactly why my husband created the garden for me – so we can provide a couple alone, or with just a few guests, with a beautiful ceremony experience. One of those was a couple who called from Philadelphia with quite a story. It seems they had gone to someone to marry just the two of them, and found the minister intoxicated and the whole environment less than appealing. They walked out and started looking around on the internet, found me and called. They drove up the next day and I married them in the garden, and referred them to some great places to stay. They were a stunning amazing couple and I felt a strong connection to them, the ceremony went beautifully and I felt like a real life celebrant super-hero, having saved the day.

At Harmony Gardens, photo by Garth Woods

A few lessons from the year to pass on to you:  if you have an arbor (you are bringing) for an outdoor site, make sure it gets firmly anchored to the ground. Enough said!

If you are getting married outdoors in the summer and there is no shade around, please create some!

And if you are getting married in a rustic outdoor setting please let your guests clearly know, especially letting women know about high heels in the grass and suggest they bring their dress shoes along and change into them for the reception. You’ve got to be specific, folks!

I had a great year working with wonderful, thoughtful, loving couples and look forward doing it all over again in 2015.

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    Lois Heckman

    Lois Heckman is a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant who officiates at weddings, funerals, and other ceremonies in the Poconos and beyond. She has performed hundreds of ceremonies and brings a wealth of knowledge to her work. Follow her on Pinterest, ... Read Full
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