Sonoma County Weddings by Rev. Terri Daniel

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    Couples and their families look to officiants for guidance on much more than just ceremony content. During the planning and execution of a wedding, we're often required to play multiple roles, including etiquette consultant, time-management expert, family therapist and circus ringleader.

    Producing a wedding isn't much different than producing a movie or a stage play. There's a cast and a crew, a budget, a timeline and a script. There are props, costumes and a set. There’s even “craft service” (a film industry term for catering). And don't forget the stars of the show – the couple -- and their devoted fans.

    In this production, the officiant has many potential roles, including script supervisor, stage manager, director and even legal counsel.

    So how do you find – and work with – a professional wedding officiant? Let's start with the initial consultation. In our initial meeting (which usually takes place at my house in Sonoma County, but can also be done by phone), I spend most of the time listening. I want to learn about your ideas for the ceremony, your wedding guests, your spiritual outlook and any cultural references you might want to incorporate into the ceremony.

    During the consultation I will show you some sample ceremonies and an array of alternatives. I will advise you about planning and logistics, and explain the process of filing the paperwork and obtaining the certified copy (including issues that may come up with name changes, immigration, insurance policies, etc).

    Most of my clients are looking for a non-religious ceremony (which is my specialty), though some wish to include elements from either their inherited or chosen religious traditions. I am an interfaith minister and happy to include elements from any religion or culture you choose.

    What should your officiant wear?

    Your officiant will be prominently featured in wedding photos and videos, and you have a say about what he/she looks like, because it can make a big difference in the overall look of the ceremony. Is the wedding formal or informal? Indoors or outdoors? Is there a color scheme or cultural theme? Should I cover my tattoo?

    I’ve done ceremonies that include Celtic handfastings or Native American rituals (one couple loved the idea of me wearing my Kiowa acorn dance shawl). I’ve even done nude weddings. I did a wedding once for a couple from India (in Alabama of all places, but that’s another story). Their families came from India for the ceremony. I happen to have a traditional Indian women’s outfit called a Salwar Kameez, and I wore it to this wedding. The family felt very honored.

    In summary, even though it may seem that the costumes, the photos, the party, the catering, the friends, the venue and the honeymoon demand top priority, it is the officiant that puts real meaning into the ceremony. Choose an officiant whose personality you genuinely like... someone you can laugh with and feel comfortable with, and who resonates with your personal, social and spiritual values.

    Contact me. Let’s talk!

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Vendor Category: OfficiantsVendor Tags: Gay Wedding, Healdsburg, LGBTQ wedding, Marin County, multi-cultural, non-religious, northern california, same sex wedding, San Rafael, Santa Rosa, sonoma county, spiritual, and wine country