What a Year It Has Been!

I Love My Clients! 

My sincere thanks to all of you couples who provided me with the privilege of officiating at your wedding in 2017!

And special thanks to those of you who made the time and effort to provide those 5-star reviews on so many websites for me. Looks like I’ll pick up Top Pro and Couples Choice awards from at least a couple of sites. And I’m now on a bunch more websites for the 2018 wedding season, including these:

https://goo.gl/FVsT3Z  (If you have a Gmail account.)

 

If you haven’t written your reviews yet, I understand. Between honeymoon travel, thank you notes, name change activities, etc., these things can fall into a crack or seem unimportant to you. On the other hand, were the reviews important to you when you selected me to be your officiant? My guess is that your answer is yes, so please help future couples by providing those reviews now. It’s never too late!

I did my first ceremony for Lily and Chong in August of 2015 at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland and I owe a real debt of gratitude to Lily for getting me into my true calling as a wedding officiant. I did a dozen or so weddings in 2015, more than 40 in 2016, and more than 85 in 2017. I’ve loved doing every one of them. And the clients I have served. And 2018 looks like it will be well over the 100+ mark. If you need an officiant I’d love to marry you and your fiance, so please check Jon’s Booking Calendar for your desired date and get your retainer in as soon as you’ve selected your date and venue. I’ll work with you to create a ceremony and vows that meet all of your needs, wants, and desires.

It’s now engagement season. I’ve already booked a half-dozen 2018 weddings from the Thanksgiving holiday and I expect that there’ll be many more through Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and then Valentines Day. Congratulations in advance if you get engaged during these times and I hope you’ll contact me on my website or by phone or email, or via one of the many other sites where I am listed so that I can make your special day as perfect as possible.

In the meantime, I wish you a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy and Prosperous New Year in 2018. I look forward to speaking with you and to marrying you! Here are a smattering of photos and review. There are many more on my website.

10 Tips for How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

(Reposted from BRIDES, Written By Allyson Dickman and Jillian Kramer, Published on July 3, 2017)

How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows: 10 Tips

If you’re writing your own vows, you’ve chosen an incredible and meaningful way to personalize your wedding ceremony. It’s a chance to tell your story, give guests a peek into what makes your relationship tick, and to share meaningful, sweet words with the person you love. It can also be a pretty challenging task because it’s so intimate—you are really baring your heart to your fiancé, and you’re doing so in front of your family and friends. If you’re struggling to come up with the right words, read on for ten tips that will help you get through writing your wedding vows.

 

Getting Married? You Are Not Alone!

This very short video is a placeholder for a video currently in production that talks in much more detail about the topics shown in the graphics.

I’m working on the complete video between rehearsals and ceremonies right now since we are at the height of the wedding season here in the Portland/Vancouver area.

Comments and questions welcome. I’ll try to address them in the completed video!

It’s All About the Sound!

A Plea to Venues, DJs, and Musicians

Wedding guests often complain that they couldn’t hear the bride and groom recite their vows or the words that go with their exchange of rings. This is especially true for outdoor weddings, which are very popular in the Pacific Northwest from June through September.

Image result for wireless microphone system

Image result for wireless microphone system

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an officiant, I carry my own wireless microphone setup: lavalier microphone, body pack transmitter, and receiver with cables for connecting to the audio system in use by the vendor hired for music and sound. Just in case they don’t have one for me. And because a handheld microphone is virtually useless when you are using two hands for the script and vows. And also because many handheld or on-stand microphones are useless unless they are within an inch or so of your mouth.

Try taking that one virtually useless microphone and handing it to the bride and groom, most of whom have never used a microphone before, so that their guests can presumably hear them speak while they are trying to choke out vows or exchange rings and you just add to their stress without success.

Before I became an officiant I did seminars all over the world. Carried my own wireless lavalier microphone setup. A transformer for European and Asian power. A box full of cables and adapters for the various connection needs in multiple countries. And it usually worked flawlessly.

Not always so for weddings. Sometimes mine has frequency interference issues. If the sound person has his or her own wireless lavalier for me, I’m a happy camper. But my microphone won’t pick up the voices of the bride and groom. A fairly important pair of people whose guests would really like to hear them, and not just me!

So here is my plea: Invest in a SYSTEM with at least three wireless microphones and a mixer so that you can provide body packs and lavalier microphones for the bride, groom, and officiant. It is not prohibitively expensive and it will drastically increase your customer satisfaction.

I just did a wedding today at a famous popular venue. That venue provided a useless microphone on a stand and a small amplifier and speaker with the quality of a child’s karaoke machine. It was pitiful, and far below the level of service that I would expect from such a prestigious venue at such a significant price.

I’ve seen vendors, many of whom appear to be real professionals, with thousands of dollars worth of turntables, computers, mixers, amplifiers, speaker systems and other fancy equipment who somehow don’t even think about making sure that the couple being married can be heard.

Please, people, make the needed investment. I’ll bet your client satisfaction scores will skyrocket!

And one last bit of advice for brides and grooms: When you select your venue, or your DJ, musician, or other audio professional, make sure that you ask them if they provide the equipment that you comfortably need in order to be heard (and also maybe connected to your videographer).

I’d love to hear from you folks, vendors and brides and grooms alike. Let me know what you think. And thanks for reading.

 

Wedding Day Emergency Kit

55 Things to Put in Your Wedding Day Emergency Kit

In a perfect world, there would be no emergencies and certainly no need for a wedding day emergency kit.  The reality, however, is that sometimes dresses tear, tuxes get stained, and if you’re to believe Alanis Morissette, you should even be prepared for rain on your wedding day.   The trick to making it through the unknown when it comes to your special day is to be prepared, and there is no better way to hedge against accidents than having a fully stocked wedding day emergency kit.

What Is a Wedding Day Emergency Kit?

Contrary to the name, a well thought out emergency kit should be used throughout your wedding day, not just when emergencies strike.  It’s filled with basic necessities and unique tools meant to solve the common issues a bridal party might face on the wedding day.   From water to wet wipes, your kit is there to support the entire wedding party through hunger, sickness, clothing malfunctions, and even anxiety.  Think of it like a Swiss Army Knife of wedding day preparation – designed and tested by countless wedding parties before you to be both practical and comprehensive.

Why Do You Need One?

Weddings are exciting and unpredictable events – sometimes nerves get the best of a person, someone almost always drinks too much, and occasionally there’s a fight or argument.  And with dresses being literally being ripped off of brides and stories being told about wine spilling on dresses, it’s best to be prepared, right? A wedding survival kit helps mitigate the risk of all of those, and while it’s impossible to account for every scenario, we feel like the following 55 items come pretty close.

How to Build and Manage Your Own

There is no wrong way to build your kit and you are always better off having something rather than nothing.  However, the more prepared you are easier the day will go – having stocked the kit with wedding necessities like makeup remover, shoe polish, and fashion tape will save you trips to the hotel, or worse, the store.

Plan your kit well in advance of the wedding, you can even make a game of it during the bachelorette party.  Once it’s stocked, treat it like the nuclear football and give total responsibility to a bridesmaid (preferably not the Maid of Honor, she likely has enough on her plate).  After that it’s just a waiting game – stay disciplined and resist the urge to use any of the items before the wedding!

When the big day comes put your kit out where it can be seen and utilized – the idea is to make your approach proactive instead of reactive when it comes to wedding support.  Let people know where they can find refreshments, makeup, and whatever else you stocked – be a beacon of preparedness on a notoriously hectic day!

Ready to build your own wedding day emergency kit?  Click HERE to start!

Note: This guest post is courtesy of Top Gift Guides. Used with permission.

OMG! He Popped the Question! Now What Do I Do?

I got to thinking last night as I reflected on this past weekend’s two weddings where I was privileged to officiate. I’d met with both couples well before the weddings and customized the scripts and vows for them. I also advised them on the processional and talked to them about staying calm on their wedding day because it was all going to be fine. I am an optimist, after all.

Both weddings went beautifully. And when I spoke to the brides they were both happy with the ceremonies and happy that it was finally done! They both confessed to being a little overwhelmed with planning and details between engagement and ceremony time. So I put together a little 55-second video with some slides and put it up on YouTube. You can watch it below.

As I was editing the video above, I was inspired to create a longer version of the presentation so that I could reassure future brides that as panicked as they might be feeling at the moment, everything would work out just fine, at least as far as the ceremony and the officiant — me! — were concerned. We had that part of the ceremony fully under control. You can see that longer (8-minute) video starring yours truly below as well.

I would love to have your comments on these two videos. And a description of your experiences from when he “popped the question” to when your ceremony had been completed. I think other future brides would like to be reassured that what they are feeling is normal!

Thanks for reading and watching. And feel free to share this blog post.

 

21 Clever Tricks To Make Any Wedding So Much Easier

When people think about wedding planning, they generally think of stress, stress, and more stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way!  If you go into the process knowing what you need to do, it can actually be fun.

But the question is, “what do I need to know”?

We’ve built a list of wedding tips that will prepare you and anyone getting married for what’s to come.  You will also learn what you should do to avoid the annoying problems so many couples complain about.  Additionally, you’ll learn about some of the major pitfalls that can hit you on the day of your wedding and how to do damage control.

For example, what to do if your heels break or it rains the day-of in an outdoor venue?   You have to think about these things!

But it’s not just about actionable things you can do to make wedding planning less stressful, it’s also about the mindset you need to have throughout. For example, many people will try to tell you what to do every step of the way.  And some advice you’ll get will contradict other advice you get.  That doesn’t make any sense.

Ultimately, you are in charge and you need to assert yourself early on.

But it’s not just about being the boss.  It’s also about having a good time and you need to find ways to make wedding planning fun!

After all, shouldn’t the happiest day of your life be fun to plan? So check out the article because we have you covered for all your wedding planning woes!

This summary is posted with permission from EventForte. The full article by EventForte can be found here: https://blog.eventforte.com/17-wedding-planning-tips/.

4 Common Wedding Ceremony Snafus and Exactly How to Handle Them

Photo by You Me Photography

(Note: This article was originally posted by Jaimie Mackey on February 18, 2017, at http://www.brides.com/)

While every bride hopes everything goes right on her wedding day, there’s only so much planning and preparation you can do. With so many moving parts, something is bound to happen! And even with a script, carefully selected readings, and an officiant to keep everything in order, there is always the potential for some little snafu to come up at the wedding ceremony. We asked our experts for tips to handle the most common of wedding ceremony mishaps.

Tripping as You Walk Down the Aisle
Even with a perfectly hemmed wedding dress and heels you’ve painstakingly broken in, tripping as you walk down the aisle happens. But don’t panic! It’s easy to avoid—and to recover from. Before you head down the aisle, practice walking (slowly!) in your full ensemble to get comfortable. Then, if you’re walking with someone like your father or both parents, take a short lap on their arm(s) to make sure everyone knows how to move around your skirt. After a deep breath, head down the aisle slowly. A serene pace means you’ll be less likely to catch your skirt as you’re walking. And if you do stumble a little? Grab Dad’s arm, pause for a moment, and then keep going.

Flubbing Your Vows
With emotions running high during your wedding ceremony, trouble with your vows is pretty likely and thankfully makes for a little comic relief that definitely helps to lighten the mood! Laugh it off, then ask your officiant to repeat the line you’ve messed up. If remembering an entire sentence through the happy tears isn’t working, ask your officiant to break your vows up into shorter segments (“I, Susan” followed by “take you, Mike,” and so forth) that will be easier to manage.

A Ring That Doesn’t Fit
Out of all the ceremony snafus, this is probably the most common. From a change in the weather to water retention after too many drinks at the rehearsal dinner, there’s a chance your ring won’t fit on your finger. And of course, men tend to have larger knuckles, which means slipping your hubby’s ring on his finger could be an issue too! There’s no need to worry, though. Do your best to get the ring on, and if it really doesn’t fit, either leave it above the knuckle or move it to a finger where it fits more easily (like the pinky finger of your left hand). Then continue with the ceremony and wrestle with your ring once you’re back down the aisle. It’s nothing a little hand lotion can’t help with!

Rogue Ring Bearers or Flower Girls
The tiniest members of your wedding party are certainly the cutest but can also be the hardest to wrangle. The best way to get them down the aisle is to prepare early. If their parents or grandparents are sitting in one of the front rows, give them a seat along the aisle and stash nonsticky, noise-free treats like gummy bears beneath the seat as an easy bribe. Of course, once they’re on their way, there’s nothing you can do! From taking an alternate route to rushing (or not rushing) down the aisle, they’ll get there however they please. Make sure your videographer captures the hilarity, put a smile on your face as your guests chuckle, and get ready for your own trip down the aisle! Of course, if a meltdown ensues, ask Mom or Dad to grab their kid, comfort him or her, and head to the back of the venue so the tears don’t distract from your vows.

8 Ways You’re Annoying Your Bridesmaids Without Knowing It

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(Note: This article is by Jillian Kramer and was published on February 7, 2017, at http://www.brides.com/)

You’d never purposely annoy your ‘maids, we know. But sometimes, well, it just happens. 

Even if a bride doesn’t mean to annoy her bridesmaids, it can happen. What with all the decision-making, etiquette rules, and other specifications a bridal party needs to follow, no amount of good intentions can stop the inevitable. To help you be more cognizant of your ‘maids during the wedding-planning process, here are eight ways you might be getting on their nerves without being any the wiser.

1. You talk about your wedding nonstop.
Your wedding is pretty darn exciting, so who could blame you for wanting to talk about it 24/7? But “even though you’re just excited to share all of the details, you may be unintentionally annoying your bridesmaids by talking about the wedding nonstop,” warns Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. So remember to ask what your friends have going on too.

2. You’re blowing up their phones with wedding-related messages.
Dress news? You text your ‘maids. Caterer drama? You send ’em an email. “You may be a slave to your iPhone and your email, but that doesn’t mean everyone else wants to read 10 emails a day,” says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special events and cofounder of the Poppy Group. Send succinct, necessary messages only.

3. You won’t let them bring a date.
You’re trying to keep your guest count down—and we get it. But Fisher says, “A surefire way to irritate your bridesmaids is inviting them to your wedding without a date. They’ve shelled out a pretty penny being your bridesmaid, so let them share your special day with someone who is special to them.”

4. You expect them to spend a lot of money.
Weddings are expensive—for your bridesmaids too. “If your bridesmaids’ dresses are $300 each and you’re insisting that they also wear matching $250 shoes, that may turn a few ‘maids a shade of green,” warns Nichols. “Be respectful of everyone’s budgets where possible, and if need be, offer to help any bridesmaids who might truly be in a money or budget crunch.” And if they need to bow out, make it easy.

See More: 7 Major Bridesmaid Pet Peeves, as Told by Real Bridesmaids

5. You’re micromanaging their duties.
If you’ve hijacked the planning of your own bridal shower or bachelorette party, you’re micromanaging your ‘maids to an annoying degree. “Let your bridesmaids do their job and plan something nice for you,” says Fisher, “because trying to take the reins makes you seem ungracious and annoying.”

6. You’ve booked them for too many DIY days.
Yes, bridesmaids love to help. “But if you just crafted a giant to-do list that included DIY flower day, program-folding day, menu-ribbon-tying day, and more, they might be calling you a bridezilla behind your back,” says Nichols. “Consider leaving the DIY days up to them as an option instead of a requirement. Some aunts or cousins might jump at the chance to help.”

7. You’re treating your bridesmaids differently.
You have different relationships with all of your bridesmaids, but that doesn’t mean you can treat them all differently. “It’s annoying when you treat them differently in terms of wedding planning,” says Fisher. “If you have a small bridal party, consider inviting all of your bridesmaids to check out your venue or go dress shopping, not just your two childhood besties. All of your bridesmaids should feel special and included in the same ways.”

8. You picked a bridesmaids’ dress that you like, not one that looks good.
Just because it looks pretty on the hanger—or even on you—doesn’t mean a dress is right for your best gal pals. “While you may have gorgeous olive skin and can rock a peach bridesmaid dress, your paler bridesmaids may feel like they’re going to disappear,” explains Nichols. “When in doubt, stick with solid colors in more saturated tones. White, pale pink and nude can be really tough for many people to wear, but a pretty blue or even a deep red can work on a variety of skin tones.”