I have tried to answer the most common questions visitors to this site may have. If you find that your question is not answered on this page, please e-mail or call me at 302-354-7317.
The Ceremony What is the difference between a marriage ceremony, an affirmation of love or renewal of vows, and a commitment ceremony? Despite what others might think or tell you, all of these types of ceremonies are similar in that they are used to express love and commitment to another.
For a marriage ceremony, you must first obtain a marriage license, which gives the legal component to the ceremony.
Ceremonies to affirm love or renew vows are not legal ceremonies and do not require any license. They are typically done at special anniversaries, when a couple reunites after a separation, or perhaps even after a life-altering event, but any time is a good time to re-affirm your love and commitment to each other. These services can be even more special than the initial wedding, because as years go by, there are so many memories and loving moments to reflect upon.
A commitment ceremony is the term most often used when same-gender couples wish to express their love and devotion in a public way. In the case of gay or lesbian commitment ceremonies, I believe the same thing as for my more "traditional" couples: it is YOUR ceremony, YOUR day, and I will do it YOUR way! Same-sex marriages are now legal in many states and I am more than happy to perform that ceremony for you. If your state does not recognize same-sex marriages, then let's plan your commitment ceremony.
We want a non-religious wedding, do you do that? I am willing to perform any ceremony that makes your day special for YOU. If I'm not comfortable with it, I'll simply let you know!
We were married in a small civil ceremony and no one knows. Can we get married again in a ceremony with our friends and family? Absolutely. You're already "legally" married, so there is no official paperwork involved. Just enjoy the "pomp and circumstance" with your family and friends. In retrospect, I can perform a small civil ceremony in the privacy of your own home or in mine!
What will the ceremony be like? I am here to perform YOUR ceremony, be it non-denominational with traditional religious or spiritual references to no religious reference at all! Your ceremony is a reflection of you, so I am happy to include anything you can dream of from the usual (unity candles, romantic readings) to the unique. Just remember, it's your special day and the ceremony should reflect your personalities. I am happy to do theme weddings or unusual locations and outrageous requests.
Can we write our own vows? Yes and I encourage it. I provide customized ceremony writing, but still encourage couples to take the opportunity to compose and read personal vows to each other. You may have as little or as much control as you’d like over the content of the entire ceremony, actually.
Do you participate in the rehearsal? A rehearsal is wonderful idea, but not always necessary. Click here to refer to the information on rehearsals.
Do you suggest including children into the ceremony? I have a few ceremonies pre-written for including children, plus, I can create a custom-written ceremony expressly for your family.
As for children having another specific role in the ceremony, such as “Ring Bearer”, I suggest that they NEVER hold the actual rings - just cheap fakes for show.
What if we decide to get married within a few days – or tonight? As long as that date is free on my schedule and you have the license, I can probably officiate on short notice. Give me a call and I'll make every effort to accommodate your needs.
Suppose we want a VERY BRIEF, legal/civil service only? Technically, a Secular/Civil Ceremony COULD be as brief as this: "NAME1, do you wish to marry NAME2?" "I do." "NAME2, do you wish to marry NAME1?" "I do." "I now pronounce you married."
It's really that simple. Of course this is not the kind of ceremony I encourage for my clients, but if it fits the need, then I would absolutely conform to your wishes.
Legal Details Do you issue our marriage license? How do we obtain a license? No, you must obtain your license via the state, or in some circumstances the county, in which you wish to marry. For state requirements and locations, click here.
What makes our marriage legal? I am a legally ordained minister and can perform your ceremony in accordance with local regulations (if you have any question, I can check for you!). It is the obtaining and subsequent filing of the license that makes a marriage legal. Your marriage licensed is obtained by you, then signed and filed with the appropriate officials by me.
Do we have to get married in a church or can we get married anywhere we want? These days, you can get married just about anywhere! That includes public and private buildings, parks and beaches, not just churches. Just be sure to check local regulations concerning your location and make sure that all usage permits are secured (if necessary) and special details and arrangements made well in advance of your wedding day.
Officiant Details What "religion" are you? I am a legally ordained non-denominational minister. In other words, while some ministers may be originally ordained by different specific churches, I feel that we are all of similar spiritual beliefs.
Your ceremony will be performed according to the traditions of your faith or, if you prefer, I will perform a non-religious ceremony for you. This goes for weddings as well as commitment ceremonies and funerals.
What do you wear for the ceremony? I will dress in a professional manner, in a style that reflects the personality of your ceremony.
What do you charge? Please refer to the Reservations link for more information.
I offer packages with varying levels of service to fit almost any budget. Please click here for more detailed information about packages and pricing. If you still do not feel my services are within your budget or you have special circumstances regarding your financial state, please do not hesitate to ask me how we can still get the ceremony you want within your budget.
Why do you charge more than a Justice-of-the-Peace or the Court House? Generally speaking, when you hire a JP, minister, priest, judge or even a County Clerk, all you are getting is a basic, overused ceremony read many times over and over again.
When you hire me, you are hiring someone who is taking a genuine interest in providing you with a special, memorable event. I put a lot of time and research into my work and I feel it's only fair that I be compensated for that effort. Hopefully you will feel the same way after meeting me!
What is included? Please refer to my Reservations page for specific details on what I can offer.
Will you travel? I primarily serve the Delaware Valley region including Delaware, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Northeastern Maryland. If you are within a 10 minute drive of my home in Wilmington, DE there are no additional travel fees. Outside of this area, additional fees for travel expenses will be charged.
I am happy to provide services for destination weddings to any location that recognizes my authority as officiant. Travel expenses (transportation, accommodations and meals) will be discussed at the consultation. If you're headed somewhere I want to go anyway, these expenses could be minimal!
What time will you arrive? I try to plan my arrival to be 15-30 minutes prior to the ceremony, and allow for any known or perceived circumstances (rush hour, construction, etc.) that may delay my arrival.
What happens if you can't officiate at the ceremony due to an emergency? I take my pledge to officiate at your wedding very seriously. Once I receive your non-refundable retainer fee and signed contract, your rehearsal and wedding date are secured in my calendar. You will have my cell phone number for contact in case you are worried, and I will always call if delayed. The only circumstances that would prevent me from being there are those that would literally and physically prevent me from arriving, and all are too unpleasant to detail here. If this were to ever happen, please rest assured that I do have several associates that I can use as back-up in any given situation, and I reserve the right to do so.
Do you require premarital counseling? No, I do not require premarital counseling. You and your beloved are the most important parts of your wedding, and your choices in such matters are strictly your own.
Will we meet you in person? That is entirely up to you. Some choose to meet with me in person while others choose to do everything via telephone and/or email, especially for reasons of distance and convenience. If we do meet in person, I prefer to find a location that is near my home, otherwise I need to charge for my mileage, and will limit the meeting to no more than one hour.
Do we invite you to the reception? That is entirely up to you. Many of the couples I have met with immediately felt a bond and have indeed invited me to continue in their celebration; however, an invitation is certainly not expected.
Do you have references? I am happy to provide references if you show you are serious about using my services. Or just check out my "Photo Album" page!
How do we reserve our date? After contacting me to determine availability, simply fill out a contract and submit your non-refundable retainer fee.
Is it appropriate to “tip” the officiant an added amount for services - or is it an insult or tacky? While it is not necessary to “tip” the officiant, just like the waiter or bartender or D.J., if you feel he/she has done the job in an outstanding or superior manner, AND YOU would like to, feel free to do so. It is NOT tacky and is not insulting either way.