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.

 

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.

 

What Are You Waiting For?

Spring, Summer, and even Fall are coming up fast!

Statistics from WeddingWire.com last November indicated that Officiants are almost the last to be hired as a necessary vendor in the wedding ceremony planning process. That may have been true in 2016, as I received dozens of requests during July, August, and September and was able to accommodate those clients for the most part.

But this year seems to be different. People are planning their weddings earlier and requesting officiants much earlier in the planning process than I’ve experienced before.

The graphic above, with March on top and November on the bottom, shows the number of bookings for which I have confirmed dates with paid deposits for the rest of the coming year. By my count, there are fifteen on the books already. What is more interesting, though, is the increase in the number of requests that I’ve experienced over the last week or so.

I have had to turn down three requests each for June 10th and June 17th, two on July 7th, three each for August 12th and 26th, and another for September 9th. Those seem to really be the most popular dates coming up.

I hate turning people down when I’m already booked, but when I am booked for a date, time, and venue I honor those commitments. And I feel sorry for the folks I’m unable to serve because, frankly, I love marrying people! So if you are planning to wed in the next 6-8 months, I suggest that you select your officiant once you’ve secured your venue, rather than waiting until the last minute. That way you can avoid disappointment by having to settle for someone who would not be your first choice.

There are literally hundreds of checklists, many in previous posts on my blog, that can help you with your wedding planning needs. Please take advantage of these resources and remember: If you fail to plan, you may be planning to fail! You don’t want to subject yourself to any more last minute stresses than you need to, so proper planning and early hiring are critical to accomplishing that.

If you have any questions at all about scripts, vows, rehearsals, or other ceremony elements, I’m available by phone, email, or live video chat on multiple platforms. Have a wonderful ceremony!

 

 

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.

The Ultimate Wedding Checklists List

This gallery contains 14 photos.

How to make sure you don’t forget ANYTHING! With so many things to think about for your wedding, checklists can be of huge help. See this ultimate list of checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. One of the … Continue reading

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

When to Hire What for Your Wedding?

Don’t wait too long to get started!

Sequence of Research Chart

Data and image courtesy of WeddingWire.com

The chart to the left shows the typical time frames during which the average couple — sometimes the bride, sometimes the groom, and many times together — start doing research on where, what and who to hire for their upcoming nuptials.

Choosing the venue for the ceremony and the reception needs to be done well in advance before you do anything else. Choice venues are typically booked a year or more in advance on Saturdays — THE day of choice for weddings. And you’ll need to pay attention to which month you’ll want for your event. June is traditionally the month for weddings (15%), but in the Portland/Vancouver area September (21%) is the most popular month, followed closely by August (18%).

Photographers are the next busiest people when it comes to your wedding so you’ll need to make a choice here as early as possible as well. Other services — catering, flowers, invitations, the cake and the limo/other transportation — don’t have to be done quite so early but it does pay to start as early as possible so that you’ll have the widest range of choices.

As you can see from the chart, the officiant is usually one of the last people to be hired! Here again, especially if you’d like one for more up-front consultations on how YOUR ceremony should be arranged and scripted, and help with your vows, you’ll want to start your research a couple of months before you do do the actual hiring and pay your deposit to hold the date for your ceremony (and any rehearsal you’d like to arrange to have with your officiant’s participation).

You can find information on almost all of these categories of services, plus the myriad other services you’ll need that are not on the chart, at a wide variety of websites designed specifically to help you find the best people (or firms) to fill your specific needs. Some of the most popular sites include WeddingWire.com, MyWedding.com,, Thumbtack.com and several others you can find with your favorite search engine. See the bottom of my website home page for some additional links like Yelp, Google+ and others.

I’d love to have your thoughts and comments on this blog post. Did you find it interesting? Useful? Length OK? Thanks for reading and responding. I appreciate it.

“I’d love to marry you!”