Hey and hi! Welcome to your wedding ceremony! It belongs to the two of you, and to no one else. I think you’re fun, funny, and pretty damn sweet. I want to do my best to reflect who you are in everything I do, and portray your one of a kind love story in every element we create together.
You might be hiring me a long time out, maybe a whole year! Chances are, you won't hear much from me in that time, but you are totally welcome to stalk us on Instagram at @ritualisms_ or shoot me a hey, what's up! Via email.
Don’t forget! Place your deposit ASAP so that we don’t lose that date! Here's the link to my storefront.
Deposits are refundable within 14 days of receipt, should you need to back out!
Take your time to think about and work on your homework questions, submitting them by the 3 month mark. I use your homework answers to help me build a ceremony that speaks with your own words. I express my gratitude to each of you for trusting me with your one-of-a-kind wonderful love story!
(Hey! No peeking! Homework is meant to be filled out and submitted separately.)
Here are a few other ceremony-related things you might think about in the meantime. These are other elements that you may not have considered taking creative control of. Just remember that your ceremony is your way, all day, and I encourage you to think outside the veil!
How would you like to walk in (‘processional’)? Traditionally a bride is escorted by her father down the aisle and is “given” to her groom. Consider walking in separately but equally, at the same time, coming to the altar as individuals before leaving as a couple. Or, consider an atypical escort- perhaps your childhood best friends could walk alongside of you and take their places beside you as your “best people”.
How would you like the guests seated? Traditionally there are rows with a center aisle. Consider seating your guests in the round, in a spiral, a square, on picnic blankets, etc.
How would you like to BE at the altar? Traditionally you stand the whole time (in those new shoes)! Consider sitting instead, in special chairs or a bench or love seat, or coming to a small table together. Also consider letting your bridal party sit. Isn’t it a novel idea to let everyone relax and enjoy, instead of fussing over how much their feet hurt?
Who will have the rings? How are they getting from point A to point B? (Especially important if working with a little ring bearer buddy!)
How would you like to walk out (‘recessional’)? Dancing? Celebrating? On skateboards? Will your bridal party walk out elegantly in couples, one at a time/every other, in one huge party amoeba hooting and hollering with tambourines and/or goats? (I don’t know what your traditions are but I sure hope you’ll share them with me!)
Okay. Let’s get down to business.
(This is the good part.)
I don’t have to explain weddings here. You’ve seen weddings. You’ve seen them on TV and in the movies, in your families, among your friends, and definitely on the internet. But you haven’t seen your wedding- yet. Sure, you’ll recognize a lot about it that’s familiar to you (the rings, the I do’s, the kiss!) but between the three of us, we’ll also find new and you ways to celebrate and mark your union.
I view the ceremony as a play in three acts. Act 1 tells your story. This explains to everyone why we’re here and gets us laughing at your joy, your jokes, and your shenanigans. Act 2 creates dynamic movement and interest. We invite other people forward for readings and blessings, do unity rituals, and let you speak for yourselves. Act 3 seals the deal. We turn with reverence to the business at hand, exchange rings, and say those two little words that change everything; “I do”.
There are four core aspects of your ceremony, and each one can be explored and manifested in many different ways, including not at all. These are the four things I’d like you to think about between now, and your ceremony’s first draft being written. If anything seems up your alley, tell me! Let’s write it in and read it back! Remember, you can change your mind all the way up to the last minute- (yes, literally) so don’t be afraid to explore an unusual idea, throw it against the wall! You never know what’s going to stick.
Do you consider yourself religious or spiritual at all? How were you raised? What religious traditions have prevailed in your family? How does this change how you view the rite of marriage? Do you view marriage as an agreement between two people, or three (the influence and eye of a higher power)?
How do members of your family view your relationship (or lack thereof) with a higher power? Is there a family matriarch or patriarch that you’d like to invite forward to share with you a gift of a blessing from their/your religious tradition?
If you are spiritual or atheistic, are there elements of the universe at large which you resonate with? Deep space, the natural world, quantum physics, the untapped psyche, complex mathematics? There may be a constant which ultimately rules how you govern your life, and we can work with that!
Do you have ties to your family’s ethnic heritage? Do you take great pride in being French (or Mexican, or Pennsylvania Dutch?) Many cultures have their own special wedding traditions. Is there a tradition in your family that wants reviving? Is there a tradition from your culture that you’d like to make newly yours?
This is your clan, and they are the ones here for you on this day! You may choose to say thank you as part of your ceremony to those gathered, a beautiful way to acknowledge the congregation and your amazing families.
Is there anyone who either cannot be in attendance, or who is not with us anymore, who you would like to acknowledge as part of the ceremony?
Consider inviting a close friend or family member to bestow on you a reading or blessing, toast, or prayer, as a way of honoring their incredible role in your life (and vice versa).
An all-hands-on-deck unity ceremony could be a powerful way to involve everyone in the congregation, or in the very least, the bridal party. Consider a ring warming, a stone-warming, a floral circle, etc.
Ultimately, this ceremony is a symbolic representation and outward manifestation of two individuals uniting in a life changing agreement. What this agreement means to you, what marriage means to you, will be very personal and different for every couple.
Do you want to “do” a unity ritual as part of your ceremony? A unity ritual is a tangible way to symbolize your binding. You’ve seen sand ceremonies and unity candles. You’ve seen handfastings. Maybe you’ve even seen a wine or beer sharing, tree planting, or paint pouring! And maybe you know you want something “like that” but have no idea where to start!
Filling out your homework is a helpful way to begin brainstorming unity rituals. Pay attention to the questions which ask about what you guys like to DO together, and what your common passions are.
IE; Plant the first seed of a vegetable garden to come. Create a finishing salt which you cook with every evening (call it “Love” - it’s the secret ingredient!) Read the first lines of a special edition of your favorite book (and have the bridal party sign the inside.) Serve a kickball down the aisle, get special tags engraved for your dog with his new family name, or come rollin’ in on roller skates together, because why not? Hey, I like how you think!
Even the most no-frills couple may appreciate the lovely, reverent validity of the signing of the license as part of the ceremony. It lends solemn integrity (which may, in fact, be your jam.)
Each couple has a story and it’s my delight and honor to bring yours to life. The story of who you are, why you chose one another, and the sweet moments in between then and “I Do” are what make you guys you guys. There was a time when church or state dictated the words which promise you to one another, but now that freedom belongs to you.
In answering your homework questions, you each take your time telling me your story, as well as cluing me in on other foundational beliefs, such as how you personally define marriage, and what kind of agreement it is that you feel you’re making. Additionally, I ask you to tell me little sweet tidbits about one another. I use all of this to weave back together a remarkable, one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony that resembles the two of you in every way, and will probably make your mom cry.
You’ll cry, too.
Another way you may choose to tell your story are in the readings you happen to choose. You may have blessings, book excerpts, song lyrics, or poetry which are important to you and you may wish to incorporate. I had a couple Rick Roll one another in the Canfield Casino. “Never gonna give you up,” he said. “Never gonna let you down,” she replied. It was perfect because it was just so them.
Who you ask to read your readings may have significance, as well. Did your Gran read to you from Velveteen Rabbit as a child? Perhaps you may invite her to once more.
Do you wish to write vows/promises which you’ll read to one another? Begin considering the things you want to say. Yes, it’s okay if it’s hilariously funny (“I promise not to immediately turn off the radio if it’s on the country station.”) Or genuinely tearjerking. (“You’re my best friend.”) Decide together in advance how much you’re planning to write, to keep things in balance at go-time.
Now is when it all comes together. Here’s a helpful timeline so that you know what to expect from our time together:
@ 3 months out
Your homework is due and you will have spent your time thinking about the items we left on the table at our meeting, and will have kept an eye out for any new ideas that may come your way. We’ll solidify and finalize all the ideas and plans we came up with, narrow down what you want from any of your unity rituals, readings, memorials, etc, and put together a first draft.
At this time I'll also be getting your love story woven together from your homework answers, and that will be put in place.
Submit any readings to me around this time, as well as the names and relationships of the readers. (Especially if you have a great nickname or something for them!) Know you want to do a reading but aren't sure what to choose?
Here's the link to my crusty old readings library, where I keep more than just a couple of my favorites!
If you're planning to write vows which you will read to one another as part of the ceremony, I will confirm this with you and make room for them in the script. These do not need to be submitted to me, and you may need every last second between now and "I do" to get them written! Decide together how much you’re planning to write (a paragraph, a page?), in order to keep things in balance.
Need help writing your vows? Aren't sure what to say, or how to say it? We'd be delighted to help you verb those nouns with humor and love, just drop us a line!
@ 2 Months Out
You will need to go to the City Clerk to attain your marriage license. Here's a link to the New York State website about what you'll need to do to secure your marriage license. Hang onto this document until the wedding.
@ 1 Month Out
We will have agreed to a final draft of the ceremony, go team!
@ 1 week Out
I will email to confirm rehearsal and ceremony times, to make sure you got your license, and plan when we’ll secure it and fill it out. We'll also confirm your balance, anything needed for unity rituals, and take care of any other last minute needs you have.
@ the rehearsal
I'll work in tandem with your coordinator at the venue (or lead the herd myself if there won't be one.) We'll rehearse your processional, ceremony, and recessional, as many times as you need to, until everyone in the bridal party is comfortable. (But we usually only need once or twice!)
*We will typically fill out the license at the rehearsal, just to get it done and out of the way so there’s no concerns on your wedding day. I pop it in the mail for you immediately, and you should see your certificate in the mail soon thereafter.
On your wedding day
(omg! We made it!) I arrive about 45 minutes in advance, where I touch base with the coordinator, bridal party, and dj, and the next thing you know, I'll be waiting for you guys at the end of the aisle to do the thing! Yay! Your ceremony is beautiful, and I'm there every step of the way.
I get the heck out of dodge while you're enjoying your cocktail hour, and your wedding day goes by in dreamy bliss. We touch base usually one last time (I can't wait to see pics!) so don't worry, you'll hear from me soon! Hope you have an amazing honeymoon!
What types of faiths do you work with?
The short answer is: all! We are well versed in beautifully articulated interfaith ceremonies ebbing and flowing with meaningful moments. Our personal beliefs allow us great flexibility when working with other's spiritual paths (or lack thereof!) Whatever your tradition, we’re here to do the work and research it takes to honor and represent you, no matter what you believe.
Are weddings the only kinds of ceremonies you do?
Before we were doing weddings, we had already done Pagan sabbat rituals and baby namings. Now, we’re proud to have worked with repeat clients, first marrying a lovely couple, and then later doing a welcoming ceremony for the new baby! Additionally we’ve worked with covens to lead ritual, and initiate and dedicate members, and are available for any other ceremonial needs a person could possibly dream up.
Can you legally officiate?
We are legally ordained and can marry you in the state of New York. Laws vary from state to state, so if you aren't local, contact us and we'll look into what can be done so that we can legally officiate your ceremony (no big deal, it’s usually just a little bit of paperwork!) We are ministers ordained through the Church of Spiritual Humanism, as well as the Universal Life Church. (We are affiliated with no specific religions or spiritual paths).
Do you offer same-sex marriages?
Of hecking course!! It is our honor to both be and work with members of the LGBT community! We are so pleased at long last that this has been legalized and we look forward to honoring each couple that comes our way with big time love and joy!
Can I write my own vows?
YES, we insist! We will gladly work with you to incorporate any personally written statements you wish to use, and would love to offer advice, guidance, or just a sounding board if you're feeling stuck about what to write!
What do you wear?
Our "wedding uniform" is basic black, a dress or a jacket and pants. We may choose to accent in colors complimentary to the chosen color scheme. Our goal is to be classy, appropriate, and unobtrusive to your ceremony and your photos! Want to do something fun or weird? Renaissance costumes, tie die, toe-shoes, we’ve done it all.
Can we just elope?
You know it, let's get out of here. Maybe you don't need a lot of fuss, maybe no one needs to know right now. Maybe you just want to meet in that little special spot in the library or in the park that means to much to you. For a small flat rate of $200 we are willing to drive anywhere in the capital region to meet you, marry you, and get you on your way- short and sweet. Want to go somewhere a little farther? No problem. Ask us about the travel surcharge!
How far will you go?
All ceremony rates include up to an hour's travel from Troy, NY. 1-2 hours travel incurs a Travel Surcharge of $100, 2-3 hours is $200. Want us to go farther? Let's talk and work it out!
Will you stay and eat with us?
It is so kind of you to invite us to stay, and the food sounds amazing. We get asked this question constantly, and while we wish we could say yes to everyone, we typically do not choose to stay for dinner (rehearsal nor reception) unless there’s extenuating circumstances. Once we’ve had the honor to marry you and say congratulations, we’ll be on our way back to our own families for the evening! (But we gotta confess, we might swing through your cocktail hour for a bite for the road!)
*What if something conflicts with our rehearsal?
We do our absolute best to schedule all of our commitments around one another. However, as weekends can be very complicated and hectic in the wedding industry, there is a small chance that someone’s ceremony may overlap with your rehearsal time. In the event that we cannot be onsite for your rehearsal, we will instead work to provide you or your venue coordinator with a point by point version of your ceremony so that everyone knows where they need to be when, and what their cues are. We will then arrive onsite day-of extra early to touch base with everyone. *We cannot attend rehearsals more than an hour away unless lodging in the area the day beforehand.
What is your price breakdown (for a la carte pricing)?
DIY or Template Ceremony, performed, license filed: $200
Scratchwritten ceremony complete with love story recap and personal unity rituals, performed, license filed: $400
Travel 1-2 hrs from Troy, NY: $100
Travel 2-3 hrs from Troy, NY: $200