You choose the venue that suits you and your fiance the best. Then you book me to develop the script and vows that suit you two the best. Then I marry you with a ceremony that meets all of your needs, wants, and desires. What more could you ask for to make your wedding day as perfect as possible? Check Jon’s Booking Calendar or give me a call at 503-877-4609 to check my availability for your desired date and venue.
Congratulations on your engagement!
Are you scared yet? Let me ease your fears.
Planning your wedding is a daunting task. No question about it and I don’t intend to trivialize your trepidations.
Guest list first. Your one most controllable expense factor. Wedding date. Winter, Spring, Summer, or Fall? Fees for almost everything are typically higher during the peak season — May through September in the Portland/Vancouver region. And Saturdays always get booked first by venues and vendors of all types.
So now to go to work on a venue. Indoors or out? Or outdoors with an indoor backup? Important! Catering might be next — supplied by the venue as part of a package or do you want to bring in your own food (or have an independent caterer take care of that)? What about the cake (or cupcakes or other dessert options)? What about bartending needs if you plan to offer adult beverages at the reception?
Music? For the ceremony and the reception? A DJ, a live musician or group, or a playlist on your smartphone? Can your venue handle your choice?
Oh! And, by the way, you’ll need a professional officiant to perform your actual wedding ceremony! Leaving that detail to the last minute could leave you in the lurch! And that’s where I come in.
I’d love to marry you and your fiance. Let’s have an up-front conversation about what your processional will look like. How many bridesmaids and groomsmen? Flower girl(s) and ring bearer? Grandparents, parents, and ushers? Who gives this bride? Religious or non-religious ceremony? Special readings, songs, or remembrances? Special ethnic, cultural, or other ceremony elements (like unity candle, sand, handfasting, rushnicks, or others)? This part can be the least stressful and simplest part of your wedding planning tasks because I take full care of it for you.
I’ll send you a draft script and vows to which we can make any changes that you’d like so that the ceremony meets all of your needs, wants, and desires. So you’ll know exactly what to expect on your wedding day. I’ll “spoon feed” you the vows and the ring exchange words so that you’ll have nothing to memorize or remember. You’ll simply be able to enjoy your ceremony as we share it with your guests!
Check out the reviews and the photos of the 150+ weddings I’ve been privileged to perform over the last few years and give me a call or an email to see if I’m available on your desired date. I normally do only one wedding per day so that I can make sure that you have the best experience possible.
Many couples make the mistake of leaving their officiant selection to the last minute. I urge you not to do that to yourselves! Let’s give you a ceremony that you’ll love!
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:
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
Don’t wait too long to get started!
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!”
Did you know that you must normally wait three days from the date your marriage license is issued in Oregon to get married? Or that Multnomah County will waive the three-day waiting period for an extra $5.00? You must intend to have a ceremony within the three days before they can issue the waiver. It’s better to get the marriage license at least a week — or even a month — before the scheduled wedding date. The license is valid for 60 days following its date of issue so earlier is better than later.
The last thing you want to do is wait until 1-2 days before the wedding to get it and find out at that moment that you can’t get legally married on your wedding day!
Multnomah County will waive the three-day waiting period for an extra $5.00 but then you must get married within three days of the license issue date. In Clackamas County, upon request, and at the time the license is issued, the three day waiting period can be waived. The waiver fee is an additional $15.00 payable in cash, certified check or money order.
Check with your County Registrar, County Recorder or other Vital Records department for the requirements in your residence area.
Washington law requires a three (3) day waiting period beginning the day you complete your application and make payment. The three day waiting period cannot be waived. You may not get married during this time.
The license is valid for 60 days following the three-day waiting period.
You can use this chart to see when you can get married depending on the day that your marriage license is issued:
Please feel free to share this information with anyone who may be planning to get married. You don’t want them to be disappointed. And I’d love to have your comments on the usefulness of this post. Thanks for reading!