Bright Path Ceremonies

News and Insight on Wedding Officiants

Bridal Wedding Shows

Published 09/18/2015

I love Bridal shows, although they can get a bit crazy. However I think they serve an important service for couples to get valuable information concerning what types of vendors are available in their area. But in this day and age the word “Bridal” is written on every publication pertaining to weddings. I think advertisers need to think a little more forward-this isn’t the 1950’s.

I am a wedding officiant, so I get to legally marry all types of couples. From inter-faith, bi-racial, some already have children, some have been married before, same sex, cross gender, etc. Our cultural has changed so drastically in the last 10 years but I don’t think the advertising has kept up with this new trend of marriage being legal to most types of couples, and that brides aren’t the only one’s getting married.

When I first meet with a couple all I see on their faces is love for each other, whether they are a man and women or two women or two men. They are equally involved in the entire process of their wedding. No one is given them away, they don’t need permission from their parents, they usually are in their late 20’s and up, they both work, etc. So I’m not just talking with a bride, I’m talking with a couple.

So this brings me to my epiphany I had that made me think about this “Bridal” language. I recently met with two men from another state that I had booked on the phone so when they came to my area to take of some wedding business I met with them.

As I was driving to meet them I saw a large sign that read “Bridal Show February 28th, which happened to be the day I was meeting with them. I thought to myself , I should let them know about it since they were in town. So I met them, such a great couple, I liked them right away. After discussing their ceremony details we started to talk about casual subjects. I brought up that there was a Bridal Show in town that day and maybe they would want to go. They looked at me strangely and I realized they weren’t brides. The light bulb went on and I was a little embarrassed for mentioning it.

Instead of using the word, Bridal maybe the industry can come up with new names to describe all kinds of couples.

Does anyone have any ideas?

Placement of a Rememberance

Published 08/21/2015

This time of year is my slower season which gives me the opportunity to pause, regroup and evaluate my passed year, personally and professionally. Professionally I hit my goals and personally I lost two imported people in my life. My mother in law, 87 years old  and my cousin’s husband, 53 years old. My mother in law was expected but not my cousin’s husband. Both losses were equally painful and both lived a purposeful life and left behind many close family and friends who were all touched by their lives.

As a wedding officiant, I always ask in my initial consultation if there is anyone they want to mention that they have lost. Someone close to them whom they will miss having them physically present. Often times couples first response is “we aren’t sure we want to bring the energy down and have a sad moment and start crying.” I completely understand their concerns but I feel every type of ceremony, especially big life events brings out all types of emotions. We are emotional human beings and I feel a ceremony with out emotion is bland and isn’t complete and doesn’t honor the full spectrum of the couple. The personal elements makes ceremony come alive.

My position as a celebrant is to recommend and help couples decide on what personal element to incorporate that are meaningful to them and then how to logically order those elements so the ceremony flows smoothly. So I encourage couples to add a remembrance if someone special has touched their lives in a way that honors rather then mourns their loss.

For instance, my mother in law has three grandchildren that she was very close to and loved deeply, and they felt the same about her. I know she would want to be remembered on their special wedding day.

Here are a few examples from previous weddings I created:

I had a groom who had recently lost his mother and I asked him what object reminded him of her. He share that she love wind chimes. This was perfect because the couple had their ceremony in their backyard under their favorite tree. I suggested to have a wind chime hanging from the tree they were standing under and when I mentioned the memory of his mother, he tapped the chime. In that sweet sound we all could feel her presence. It was a special moment for that groom.

One of my bride’s dream was to have her father walk her down the aisle so when it came to developing this couples ceremony the brides father had gotten very ill and was not going to be able to attend. I suggested she find a poem or song that reminded her of him. She picked a poem that I read as she walked down the aisle alone. The poem replaced her dad and we could all feel his presence.

A similar bride had lost her father as a young girl and she wanted him remembered. She choice a song that was his favorite and she also walked down the aisle alone with the song playing. For her it gave her comfort and again we could all feel his presence. She didn’t mourn him but honored him.

There are so many other ways of adding a remembrance. I do suggest that it fits better toward the beginning and then the bulk of the ceremony would be the process of the two becoming one. Other suggestions for a remembrance would be a candle lightening, the bride could add a charm to her bouquet with the persons picture on it or the groom could add the charm to his lapel. Simply pausing in a moment of silence in honor of certain people could also be beautiful. There are many options.

Ceremony creation is an art, not a science so I always listen to my couples and intuitively bring out ideas that will enhance the structure, letting each piece naturally flow into the next, creating a magical, emotional, and warm rite of passage.

Enso Painting Wedding Ritual

Published 07/24/2015

My profession as a wedding officiant and ordained minister is to create a ceremony that takes into consideration what once was familiar to society is not very clear today. Most couples are confused of what to include that will honor their diverse backgrounds and traditions. The beauty of tradition is the familiar, and the security of what many generations have passed down. The familiar helps us feel connected to our community but often does not feel familiar to the couple getting married. This globalization of our society forces society to create new traditions and rituals so we can continue to feel connected. This is why Ritual is so important in a wedding ceremony to bridge the gap of tradition and modern day life. This is why as an officiant I need to understand and honor this shift in consciousness. I take the familiar and add modern day flair to create a ritual so unfamiliar but feels so right for the couple.

 

I recently married a same sex couple who practiced Buddhism. They practiced the art of Enso painting which is a Japanese ink painting mindfulness meditation. Staying true to their practice I suggested they do this painting as their unity ritual. The Zen Buddhism on Enso is a circle that is hand drawn in one brushstroke to express a moment which the mind is free to let the body create. It symbolizes absolute enlightenment, strength, and elegance. Once the Enso is drawn, one does not change it. There is so much metaphor to the Enso that relates to a marriage, so I had them hold the paintbrush together and draw together in one fluid stroke and center on the moment they became wed. This ritual was familiar to them; it helped them be in the moment; it brought them enlightenment and gave them strength. To watch them participate in this ritual was elegance in motion!

 

The Blanket Wedding Ceremony

Published 06/24/2015

The most wonderful part of my job as a wedding officiant is to creatively, co-create a ceremony to fit the personalities of each couple I work with. So every ceremony I design is different and fresh. As a ceremony designer as well as a qualified officiant my job is to help merge the traditional with a contemporary flair. I enjoy taking a traditional theme and weave it into something new, especially for the Unity Ritual.

A marriage ceremony is a ritual that honors the couples legal union. Through sub-ceremonies/rituals a couple can express their cultures and beliefs. A unity ritual usually takes place right after the vows and rings have been exchanged but can also be put in a different order, depending on the flow of the ceremony. Through my process of getting to know a couple I usually can get a good idea of what they hold sacred and what they enjoy doing together. This is where my knowledge of other traditions and my creativity come in to whip something together that becomes magical, alive and true to the couples spirits. I like to use objects that have meaning and an energy to remind the sub-conscience when gazing on the object to help the mind re-visit a feeling of that special day. Often times the wedding day is filled with so much love and joy and the unity ritual object can bring the couple right back to that day. Let’s face it, life happens and we can get lost in the everyday tribulations of life. Having an object present in the couples home can be a reminder of why they got married, why they love and admire about each other. That object could be the saving grace to a rough spot in the marriage.

I will be blogging about different types of rituals in the next few months that you can use and make them your own.

My first one I want to share is “The Blanket Wedding Ceremony”. This is a Native American tradition but can easily be reconstructed to create an idea of your own. When I think of a blanket in general it gives me a warm, cozy feeling. Several ideas come to my mind about using a blanket. Each person might have a special blanket that they have had for years that gave them comfort. Perhaps each couple parents could walk down holding the blankets symbolizing their love for their children. During the unity ritual each parent can wrap each child with the blanket and then the couple would take them off as a symbol of honoring and thanking the parents for their love and support over the years. (Certain wording would be used here by the officiant) Then the parents or the couple themselves can have a new blanket that would be wrapped around them symbolizing bringing each other comfort and love. (So many options here)

The Blanket can then be displayed in their home as a reminder of the comfort they bring to each other. Maybe when they have a rough spot they can wrap each other in the blanket. This blanket then becomes a heirloom that can be passed down to other generations.

Gives me happy chills just thinking of the possibilities of using this ritual.

Why Choose Your Wedding Officiant First

Published 05/21/2015

Congratulations your engaged and every company related to weddings start to hound you. So who do you hire first? The officiant-why you ask? The wedding officiant sets the tone for the rest of your day and also the officiant makes you legal. Without the legal officiant pronouncing you married and sending in your marriage license you might as well just have a party.

Don’t wait until the last minute to locate an officiant. With the globalization of our culture times have changed.The trend of couples getting married outside a house of worship and the legalization of same sex marriage leaves room for the officiant to be creative with the ceremony. This is new territory and modern celebrants need to be educated in traditions of many cultures, beliefs and religions and also be able to merge the traditional with todays contemporary view points.

An educated and professional officiant will ask you questions about what you want to include and what you don’t want to include. They should be able to give ideas of how the ceremony could flow and what to include to represent the needs of the couple. An officiant shouldn’t only be compliant with the state the couple is getting married in but also be a ceremony designer.

Years ago most people got married in their house of worship and the ceremony was straight forward and all the same. I’m not saying this is wrong but there needs to be options for todays couples who want something original, fresh and creative and true to their personalities and life choices.

So when looking for a wedding officiant make sure they are legally qualified and also ask how they develop their ceremonies to fit your needs. Especially don’t wait until the last minute to find one,without them you can’t get married.