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!

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.

Why I Love To Marry People

Let me count the “Whys”

I’ve been asked many times why I became a wedding officiant and I’ve usually answered by telling the story of how I became a wedding officiant, and not necessarily the why. The how is pretty clear: a friend asked me to get ordained and marry her and her fiance and, because she was a good friend, that’s what I did. And I loved marrying her and her fiance. It was one of those moments that said to me that I had found a new calling. And I am not a young man, so a new calling was an extraordinary revelation.

Joyous Occasions

I have seen a lot in my life. A lot of good and a lot of not so good. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and share my knowledge and experience with thousands. But with all the wonderful evaluation form results, nothing was as satisfying to me as seeing, in real time, the smiling faces of the first couple that I had the privilege of marrying. What an absolutely joyous occasion. I usually cry at weddings when I’m a guest, but I couldn’t do that when the bride and groom were depending on me to perform a ceremony according to a script that we had worked on carefully so that it was exactly as they wanted it. This first wedding had 200+ guests in one of Portland’s most prestigious venues. And when I pronounced them man and wife and presented them to their friends and family it was absolute magic! So why to I do what I do? Because from that moment I realized that I love marrying people. They are so happy. Their guests are so happy for them. How can you not feel happy, uplifted and yes, even proud of yourself, for facilitating such a joyous occasion? I love marrying people!

Teaching and Coaching

Most of the people who hire me as their officiant fall into two categories: young couples who are getting married for the first time and more mature couples who are tying the knot with new partners, sometimes including kids from one or both first marriages. I spent many years in the seminar and consulting business and I always found that what made me successful was my ability to listen before speaking, teaching, and coaching. So when I work with couples who have no idea what kind of ceremony they want, how a ceremony usually goes, what kinds of vows they want, etc., I’m happy to guide them and offer suggestions. That’s why the up-front in-person consults are so important. I find out what they really want and suggest ways to make sure that their ceremony meets all of their needs, wants, and desires.

Exceeding Expectations

Many years ago I was profoundly influenced by a boss in my high-tech days. He said that the most important thing that you could do for customers if you (a) wanted them back or (b) wanted them to recommend you was to under-promise and over deliver. To exceed their expectations. To deliver services from the beginning to the completion of the relationship that provided not just customer satisfaction but actually provided customer delight. And I have always strived to do that in all of my endeavors. I think that is one of the reasons that I have been privileged to receive so many wonderful recommendations from so many of my clients. And I love my clients! They have been universally great people who have depended on me to make their special day as perfect as possible. I love making that happen!

Each Ceremony is Unique

I don’t think that “cookie cutter” approaches are the best way to serve my clients. While I have resources to provide “canned” scripts and vows for religious and non-religious ceremonies, and for elements like unity candle, sand, hand fasting, and others, I really like to make sure that I understand where my clients are coming from and what they want their ceremony to convey to their family, friends, and other guests. I know that they — and you —  have a choice of officiants, some more and some less expensive than what I offer. But I don’t quibble with folks who want a “quick and dirty” cheap canned ceremony. There are lots of officiants out there who can provide that. I want clients who value personal service, in-person up-front consultations, and ceremonies that fulfill all of their unique needs, wants, and desires. All at reasonable price points. Those are the clients that I love to marry!

Ask the Officiant

A new live interactive forum to answer your wedding questions.

Please note: This service has been discontinued. But I am available one-on-one via phone, email, or live Internet video chat and I’d love to answer your questions.

announcing-a-new-free-interactive-resource-for-brides

Join us live on Tuesday evenings for this great new resource.

Do you have questions about your ceremony? About your vows? About your venue? About wedding planners and wedding coordinators? You can get answers to these questions during a newly announced series of live interactive video chat session hosted on the Zoom.us platform.

The plan is to have people interested in both getting from and providing answers to prospective brides and grooms regarding virtually any topic. Thus I encourage wedding planners, wedding coordinators, wedding venue managers, photographers, musicians and DJs, caterers, cake makers and anyone else who would like to contribute to participate in these sessions.

These sessions are not a place to provide sales pitches for products or services. They are meant to provide actionable information to help future brides and groom make their special day as perfect as possible. So if we can help them by identifying and providing solutions to common problems we’ve seen occur during other ceremonies and receptions I think we’ll be adding a lot of value. And my experience tells me that if we provide value then we may be considered when they are making hiring decisions.

So please join me on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM Pacific time at https://zoom.us/j/7993445506 for the next sessions. If you are a bride or groom to be, we’ll all do our best to provide you with great information that will help you in your planning efforts to make sure that your wedding day is as perfect as possible. If you are a vendor who can provide valuable advice to prospective brides and grooms, your participation is welcome as well.

FYI, you may CLICK HERE to watch a recording of the first session that was broadcast on October 25, 2016. You missed this event but you can see what I’m trying to accomplish by watching the recording.

As always, your comments and thoughts are more than welcome. Thanks for reading and I hope to “see” you at an upcoming session.

20+ Special Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Wonderful

Some good information for lowering your stress level!vince-and-elena-longview-wa-sept-10-2016

1. Decide how many guests you’ll have
This is the single largest item that affects your wedding reception cost. If it costs $100 per person for food and drink and you cut 10 people you’ll save $1,000.

2. Determine what’s important
Is it the ceremony itself, or the venue, or the reception? Make a list as large as you’d like and then whittle it down to the top three. If you get those right most everything will flow from there.

3.  Listen to Mother Nature
While an outdoor wedding may seem ideal, watch out for summer heat, winter cold, bugs, travel conditions and blackout dates.

4.  Lock in a venue before the other details
This is critically important. Most planners and coordinators recommend book the venue 10-14 months in advance to avoid disappointment. This is especially true during the peak wedding season (May to September in the Portland/Vancouver area).

5.  Hire vendors you like
Meet with, or at least talk to, prospective vendors. You can get recommendations from the venues, your planner/coordinator and many of the other vendors you’ll be using. Check ratings from past clients.

6.  Book vendors early
Just as you need to book your venue at the earliest possible moment, you don’t want to wait to select caterers, DJs/musicians, florists, printers, cake makers, etc. And don’t forget the Officiant!

7.  Seriously consider hiring a videographer
Research from WeddingWire.com, and others suggests that one of the biggest, if not the biggest, regrets mentioned post-wedding day by brides is not having hired a videographer. No matter how great a job the photographer does, nothing will replace a video.

8.  Don’t leave hiring your Officiant to the last minute
I mentioned this in “Book vendors early” above but it bears repeating. 5-star rated officiants get booked early and you won’t want to settle for someone who won’t be caring enough, flexible enough and skilled enough to help you make the ceremony and vows as perfect for you as possible.

9.  If you can’t hire a wedding coordinator, let your bridesmaids handle some of the day-of logistics
Putting a wedding together can be a daunting task. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. If your budget is too small to hire a coordinator for the day of your wedding, delegate as many tasks as possible to your bridesmaids so that you have time to concentrate on enjoying your day.

10.  Learn about marriage licenses
These vary from state to state. Many have 3-day waiting periods. Most are valid for 60 days from the date of issue. You’ll need to get the marriage license in the state in which you are going to actually be married. If you are planning a destination wedding, this could impact your costs by requiring an extra trip or arriving early.

11.  Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and complex carbs
You’ll need energy that lasts during the day, from early preparation through the actual ceremony itself. You don’t want to end up being so tired from lack of sustenance that you can’t enjoy your day.

12.  Eat something later
If your ceremony is more that 6-8 hours after breakfast, eat something else. At least maybe a nutrition or energy bar. The last thing you want to do if faint from low blood sugar!

13.  Get plenty of rest the night before
This can be problematical since you’re likely to be both excited that your wedding day has finally arrived and worried about the myriad things that will need to come together to make the day as wonderful as you’ve planned. But don’t drink alcohol to put yourself to sleep. Having a hangover will not enhance your enjoyment of your special day!

14.  Give yourself plenty of time to get ready
To avoid feeling pressured or rushed you are going to want to plan to start getting ready as early in the day as possible. If you start late it’s likely that everything else could be impacted and you don’t need that stress! Set up a timeline, working your way back from the ceremony start time, so that you guests and vendors are not inconvenienced.

15.  If you bought new shoes for the big day, be sure to break them in ahead of time
It’s hard to enjoy anything when your feet hurt! If you can have a pair of comfortable shoes dyed to fit your dress, that’s a great alternative as well.

16.  Don’t forget a wedding day survival kit
There are a great many sources for buying one of these or you can put one together yourself. Check https://www.theknot.com/content/the-brides-emergency-kit for a great list of what needs to be in it.

17.  Take pictures before you say, “I do”
While it is traditional for the bride to be unseen by the groom before the ceremony, the practical aspects of getting the best photos often dictate that you arrange to have the photos taken before the ceremony. Things will get hectic after the ceremony and there is paperwork to be done with your officiant as well. So give this serious consideration.

18.  Speak up during the ceremony
Guests often comment that they couldn’t hear the bride – or the groom, for that matter – as the vows and rings were exchanged. With small audiences in fairly intimate settings, I recommend that you speak loudly. For larger groups and venues, consider asking your DJ or sound person to provide wireless microphones for you, the groom and the officiant (if he/she doesn’t normally bring his or her own).

19.  Breathe during the ceremony
I always remind my brides and grooms when they’ve arrived at the front of the venue to remember to breathe! It is exciting and can be nerve racking, to be in front of a large group and be worried about flubbing your lines. A good officiant will feed you your lines a phrase or two at a time so that that won’t happen. So take your time, breathe and even take deep breaths while the officiant speaks, guests perform readings, etc.

20.  Pack flats for the reception
Why not be as comfortable as possible as you eat, drink, and dance during the reception? Alternatively, if the shoes you wore for the photos and ceremony are comfortable you can keep them on but my experience is that most brides – and bridesmaids! – want to change into more comfortable shoes.

21.  Reapply lipstick after the ceremony
Kind of a silly tip? Not really. There’ll be lots of photography going on, and maybe videotaping as well. This was mentioned more than once as being important in hindsight in more than a few of the lists I consulting in coming up with this list.

22.  Arrange for group photos at the reception
You don’t want to keep guests who won’t be in these group photos waiting before the ceremony or even the start of the reception. So do the group photos during the early part of the reception before the food is served (or the buffet is opened).

There’s much more information available
Find thousand more tips at https://www.pinterest.com/explore/wedding-day-tips/ and hundreds of other boards on Pinterest. And there’s an excellent very comprehensive set of lists in an article you can find at http://www.boho-weddings.com/2013/10/23/real-brides-advice-from-their-wedding-day

Got questions?
Please feel free to call or email me and I’ll be happy to answer what I can and point you to other sources where I can’t. Have a wonderful wedding!

As always, comments are welcome. And please feel free to share this post.

 Sources:

http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2014/05/wedding-advice-from-real-brides.html
https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/31-tips-to-make-sure-you-enjoy-your-wedding-day
http://kellyboitano.com/15-wedding-tips-from-a-photographer-turned-bride/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/19/wedding-planning-regret_n_4564186.html
https://www.theknot.com/content/expert-wedding-planning-tips-and-tricks