Bright Path Ceremonies

News and Insight on Wedding Officiants

Minister for the Day

Published 02/12/2016

“Your pal is becoming a minister for a day to marry you? Really? Maybe your Aunt Joan who makes great deviled eggs can be your caterer.”

Getting married will be the most important decision you make in your life. Without the wedding ceremony performed by a qualified officiant it’s just a party. So why would you choose someone who doesn’t know what they are doing to perform your ceremony? One reason is it usually would be free because a relative or friend volunteers and thinks it would be cool. I know everyone has a budget but don’t take the ceremony off your budget.

Case in point: I performed several weddings this year on the beautiful beaches of Rhode Island. As wonderful as this is it can also be a nightmare if you don’t know what your doing. For one know one will hear the officiant if the waves are crashing right behind you, or if suddenly the wind kicks up and you have no back up or this wasn’t even a consideration. Also public speaking is usually a major fear for most people and when an inexperienced officiant has a hundred people staring at them it can be paralyzing.

As you can see from the picture I included it was a perfect day for a beach wedding but the logistics of getting to this site was horrible. I had to drag my equipment from the top of the parking lot down a dirt road and then to find out there wasn’t any power source for my speakers. As a professional I had a sound system because I knew no one would hear a word I said or a word the couple said. My ceremonies take hours to develop and they are creative and interactive with guests so I wanted to make sure everyone heard every word I said to create scared space for all involved.

I also knew if the weather turned and it could on a dime near water, I would be able to remain calm and redirect everyone to a sheltered spot and continue on.

This couple shared their intimate thoughts on love and marriage with me and I created a ceremony that highlighted their love for each other and all their friends and family. It was a warm, emotional and tender moment for everyone. It set the tone for the rest of their day. You won’t get that with “A minister for a day”.

Creating Sacred Space for a Quick Wedding

Published 01/11/2016

I started my 2016 wedding season this passed Saturday very unexpectedly. I received the call one week before the couples scheduled date. This couples has been together for 15 years and had a four year old daughter. They were planning a summer wedding this year but a work situation for one of them forced them to do it earlier and needed to within the week. Of course they were scrambling to get this done and were intending to just find someone to basically do their vows and sign the marriage license. Being who I am and how I feel about just doing a no meaning ceremony, suggested that they give some thought to how they want to remember that moment. We met for a consultation and by the time we finished discussing the particulars I had a very clear idea of who they were and I suggested they give themselves space to feel what they needed to say and feel.

This is what I came up with to honor them gracefully: I suggested they write their own vows to each other and their daughter-they were both very close to their mothers so I suggested they could be the two witnesses that sign their marriage license and also honor them with words of appreciation. Several of their family and friends came from New York to be with them even thought it was such short notice. From this gesture I knew these people where very special. Since this couple love the beach and both lived close to a beach I had them give their guests each a stone that they had collected over the years from their favorite beaches. I then called each guest up to hold the stone to their heart and give a blessing or good wish to the couple. It was very endearing especially the young people and how they expressed so eloquently how they felt. (not easy for a teenager) even their four year old daughter took their hands together and said “love each other”.

We ended the ceremony with a Family Unity Sand Ritual-the couple and daughter each poured a different colored sand into a vessel symbolizing their unity. The blessed stones from their guests sat on top of the sand vessel, to complete the circle. They now have a keepsake to remember this day.

Even though I only had a week to prepare I asked them several key questions to personalize their union.

1. What do you feel about your mothers, your daughter, your guests.

2. Give me a description of each of your personalities - the couple and daughter.

They couldn’t figure out where to have the ceremony and since it was winter, snowy I thought having it at their home would be perfect, especially since they loved their home. I recommended creating a sacred space by having a small table with flowers, the sand supplies and anything else they felt a connection to. As I entered their cozy home they had transformed the living room into their sacred space adorned with a table filled with special momentous. I also wanted them to have a processional and come out from two different doorways and meet in the middle with music playing from a iPod.

They created their sacred space for a sacred ceremony and it was obtained in such a short time. I could feel they felt validated, I could feel the love from their guests, and I could feel their daughter felt included.

In that short amount of time “Every moment mattered” and I felt I knew them for a long time when I only met them last week. Thats the beauty of ceremony- it brings humans together.

Tea for Two

Published 12/11/2015

I ended my wedding season on a sweet note!! I married two women who have been together for 30 years and had their ceremony at their favorite tea shop and confectionary store. Not only was the shop sweet (no pun intended) but Denise and Linda were adorable. My interview process allows me into the lives of my couples which aids in my designing of each ceremony to make it authentic to each couple. They originally met attending the same chorus group and through this shared interest of music over time they fell in love.  Curious about why they were having their wedding at a tea shop I asked why this particular place. They shared with me one of their favorite passed times is sitting back and preparing and drinking tea listening to classical music. The tea shop is a place they feel very much at home and being surrounded by the teas brings them comfort.  So of course I had to suggest  to add these two aspects into their ceremony; the music and tea.  They loved the idea but couldn’t imagine of how to bring those elements into their ceremony.

This is what I came up with: For their Unity Ritual they carefully chose a special blend of herbs to create their Marriage Tea blend. At the ceremony they set out china teacups and saucers and prepared their tea blend. As it steeped this is what I read; “Tea is basically water and herbs and each  has different chemical properties to aid in all kinds of ailments. Certain teas soothe, or give energy-it’s what you need on a cold rainy day sitting on a sofa with a good book. Tea can be strong or sweet and some people can even read your fortune from the tea-leaves. Tea making is similar to a marriage-it’s all in the preparation knowing exactly what makes a tea right for you and it’s also about taking the time to enjoy the moment. So as you drink your first cup of tea together here today remember: As in a cup of tea, and in love, your worries, your problems, your thoughts fade away into the aroma, and you are at peace. One of you may take it sweet, the other perhaps dark or somehow different. Let this pot of tea you share today serve as a reminder of your commitment to each other and the love you share.

They ended the ceremony by inviting all their guests to sing along to the song, ‘Let me call you sweetheart” and then they danced in the crowded room of tables, chairs, teapots and tea to their favorite song, “Our love is here to stay”. Then organically their guests joined them in the dance.

The ceremony was intertwined with their favorite passed times, memories and family and friends singing along with them. It was romantic, meaningful, touching and very very sweet!!

These moments is why I love what I do, I get to witness LOVE.

Beach Barefoot Wedding Ceremonies

Published 11/20/2015

This was the season of Beach and Barefoot Wedding Ceremonies, which are now my favorite spot to officiate. Something happens to a person when you take off your shoes and feel soft sand in your toes. The tension just melts away and then on top of it the sound of the ocean is right behind you and hopefully a gentle breeze accompanies the experience.

Unfortunately as wonderful as that sounds it also can create a horrible experience if not prepared. For one the ocean waves can be very loud especially when you are on top of them making it very difficult to hear the officiant. A lot of times there also isn’t any power source for the officiant or DJ.

I recommend and I use a small battery with my sound system. It works perfectly without a power source and I am assured that all the guests will hear every word I say and especially the couples “I do”.

For some feeling your toes in the sand is a horrible experience especially if guests are formally dressed or they just simply hate the sand.

I recommend on your invitations to mention about being barefoot and also have available throw away flip flops for those who just got a pedicure. lol

The beach-barefoot wedding is definitely more relaxed and laid back so it’s important for the couple to dress appropriately. If the gown has a very long train you are going to gather every piece of seaweed and barnacles on the beach, which doesn’t smell so good later. (again another lol) and suits just don’t fit with the ocean backdrop.

I recommend a dress that is less frilly and casual paints and shirt.

And finally a back up plan has to be in order for that occasional storm. You just never know what could happen unless you don’t mind getting rained on but your quests might not show up.

I recommend a place with shelter, this could be the venue you are having the reception at or a gazebo near by. A tent might work but it has to be a strong, professional one that can with stand high winds.

All in all I love marrying couples on the beach especially the beaches in Rhode Island. I love the easy going feel of them and I don’t have to worry about what shoes I’m going to wear.

Seeing the Difference

Published 10/16/2015

As a professional wedding officiant and a new resident in the state of Rhode Island, I wanted to get to know my fell Rhode Island vendors. I recently joined the Rhode Island Wedding Group (RIWG), which is an association of wedding professionals whose mission is to enhance each other’s work, refer each other and grow our individual businesses. It has been a wonderful experience for me to be involved especially getting to know other wedding professionals work personally. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by so much talent. It takes a village to create a wedding and I am fascinated with all the different vendors that make a wedding come alive.

For my next coming blogs I will be highlighted people I have worked closely with and sharing their story, what makes them stand out and why I would recommend them so you can “See the Difference”.

This week, I’ll be starting with Nicole Gesmondi who is the owner of Nicole Gesmondi Photographer, LLC. Nicole’s fine art background and contagious enthusiasm for creative photography is inspirational. She approaches every wedding and portrait session as an opportunity to create works of art for her clients home.

Nicole was very young when she was given a camera. She photographed anything and everything from family members to zebra’s at the zoo. In her sophomore year of High School, she took her first photography class in a traditional darkroom and was immediately hooked. She followed her passion for photography to the Hartford Art School in CT and graduated with a BFA in Photography in May of 2005. At the time she was working at a local portrait studio and assisting two local wedding photographers and building her own business on the side. Once she realized she could make a career being a professional she jumped in and never looked back.

I think because of Nicole’s fine art background she has an eye that can capture a moment in time and make it come alive. She can make the wind move in a still picture and can show joy and love besides just a smile on a face. She also uses the natural landscape that surrounds the couple so a viewer can feel the type of day it is. She makes her pictures move while standing still. That’s the difference she brings to her work.

Many couples don’t know the value of a good photographer until they have a bad experience. More then any other wedding professional the photographer will probably be with a couple almost all day. Nicole says: “Our clients need to be comfortable with us, that’s when the “magic happens” as we call it.

With so many photography studios turning into a “one stop shop” and a “jack of all trades”, Nicole prefers to remain a boutique photography studio. She likes the focus to be a one on one experience offering advice and a comfortable environment. She has created a beautiful studio at 35 Baker Street, Providence, RI for her clients to view her work or have a photo shoot.

Most of Nicole’s clients appreciate art and see the value in hiring a professional photographer. After all the time and planning that couples put into their wedding, they want high quality photos to document the day. They usually come wanting something different that is unique to them.

Nicole’s pictures tell a story and emote a feeling. She can see something beyond what is happening and that is “Seeing the Difference”.

To view more of Nicole’s work and bio visit: www.nicolegesmondi.com and her blog at http://blog.nicolegesmondi.com