As I talk with brides and grooms about their spring and summer weddings, it is sometimes hard to imagine that it will be warm enough again for these outdoor ceremonies. It has felt like a longer, colder winter than we have been used to around here in recent years. I know that we have not had it as rough as other parts of the country where they were slammed with snowstorm after snowstorm. Nonetheless, everyone I know is grateful to see the first signs of spring all around us, more sunny days, and warmer temperatures.
On this day of the Vernal Equinox, I share this prayer borrowed in part from the Chinook Psalter:
O Lord, may we today be touched by grace, fascinated and moved by this your creation, energized by the power of new growth at work in your world.
May we move beyond viewing this life only through a frame, but touch it and be touched by it, know it and be known by it, love it and be loved by it.
May our bodies, our minds, our spirits, learn a new rhythm paced by the rhythmic pulse of the whole created order.
May spring come to us, be in us, and recreate life in us.
I have a confession to make: I’m not a big fan of wedding shows. In fact, I’ve never gone to one, as either a customer or a vendor. But when I first became aware of the upcoming Off White Indie Wedding Show, I knew this was going to be something different and exciting.
The following is from their website:
Off White is the St. Louis area’s first indie wedding show, bringing together independent minded couples with local, green, independent vendors and artists.
Taking place at The Luminary Center for the Arts, the event will showcase 30 local and independent designers, retailers and vendors with services that let couples express their personality on the big day! The first 100 couples will receive a free, reusable goodie bag and all attendees are eligible for raffle and attendance prizes during the show. A line-up of experiential events allow brides to touch, taste, and feel the creative options; fashion shows, mini dance lessons, cake decorating demonstrations and wine tastings will be scheduled throughout the day.
Traditional couples and off beat duos will both find vendors to fill a niche in their wedding planning. The goal is not to just cater to those wanting an all-out indie wedding, but to introduce couples who want a more traditional wedding to unique touches and alternatives that they can incorporate into their events as well.
04.03.10 $5 in advance and $8 at the door 11am-4pm The Luminary 4900 Reber Place, 63139
Get your tickets now. I’ll see you there!
Last night I had the most fabulous cup of hot chocolate in my life to date. I do not consider myself a connoisseur of all things chocolate but my love affair with chocolate began in utero and continues to this day.
Needless to say, I was thrilled to be invited to an interview with a couple at Café Cioccolato in downtown St. Louis. This “luxurious European chocolate, wine, and dessert lounge” wooed me with tantalizing aromas from the moment I stepped in the door. Not only was I presented with delicious options to eat and drink, I was surrounded by art – paintings and sculptures!
So here I am in this “chocolate café in a beautiful art gallery setting.” I was treated to a cup of hot dark chocolate, topped with a handcrafted marshmallow so divine that I was distracted from the interview several times as I tried to lick every little bit of it from my lips after each sip. Despite my distractions, we managed to have a productive and delightful interview. As I was preparing to leave I learned that Café Cioccolato can host up to 150 people for special events.
To all of you chocolate lovers who are planning weddings and looking for a unique and intimate setting for your small wedding or bridal shower, check out this delicious gem in downtown St. Louis, 816 Olive, right across from the Old Post Office building. For more information call 314-345-1200 or go to http://www.cafecioccolato.com/
It was my first group wedding. I imagine that it was a first group wedding for the couples, too! We were at Windows Off Washington and a light snow was falling outside. There were seven couples standing in front of me. None of them knew the other couples present, but when the brides and grooms looked into each others’ eyes, it really didn’t matter. What did matter was that they had chosen to be there together, ready and willing to commit their lives to one another.
Shortly after noon, the ceremony began. Among other things, I shared the following thoughts with them:
This is not the first time St. Louis has seen a group wedding, and I would be willing to guess it will not be the last. By participating in this wedding ceremony, you join with a growing number of couples from all over the world getting married in large, public ceremonies: from Santa Ana, California to Baghdad, Iraq; from Gaza in Palestine to Beichuan in China; from 30 Navy and Marine couples this past June to a gathering in Soulard yesterday– mass weddings are becoming just one more way to say “I do!”
But no matter how you say it, where you say it, or what you spend on your wedding celebration, today is one of the most important days of your life. Yet we all know that, as important as this day is, what is most important is how you will choose to live out the vows you take today.
And so they said their vows, exchanged rings, and began married life with a kiss, a dance, and a glass of champagne. Families looked on from the sidelines, snapping photos and cheering the newlyweds.
Not a bad way to spend Valentine’s Day, eh?
‘Tis the season for wedding planning. Ask any wedding vendor and she or he will tell you that we are getting lots of emails and phone calls these days from couples hammering out the essential details for their wedding celebrations coming up in the next six to eighteen months.
One of the first and sometimes the only question I get from an inquirer is “How much do you charge for a wedding ceremony?” While I certainly understand the concerns of many brides and grooms for keeping costs down, especially in these tight economic times, I am saddened that so many seem so willing to cut corners on something as important as the ceremony. In fact, in all of the articles I have read about how to have a low budget wedding, I have yet to see an author recommend hiring the cheapest officiant you can find!
Of course, I understand that not everyone is in a position to have the ceremony of their dreams. Sometimes finances and other circumstances dictate paying as little as possible. And there are many wonderful officiants who offer their services and structure their fees specifically to accommodate the needs of these couples.
But those couples who do have options regarding how they spend their budgeted amount for one of the most important days of their lives should not overlook the key role the officiant plays in setting the tone for that special day. The wedding ceremony attempts to put something into words and rituals (lifetime committed love) that is nearly impossible to express. Couples should be sure to take the time to find someone who is willing to work with them to create a ceremony which will reflect the meaning they have found in joining their lives together in marriage. Do not settle for less than an officiant who has both the experience and the desire to design a truly customized and personalized ceremony.
Will such a ceremony cost a little more? Probably. Is it worth it to pay for the experience and training which will insure that your wedding ceremony is meaningful and memorable? That’s what you get to decide. But ask any couple who has had such a ceremony and they will likely tell you, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
There was a tremendous rainstorm that poured down on Lafayette Square Park less than an hour before Shannon and Tobin were scheduled to be married on that amazing September day. Yet, here we are half way through the ceremony: the sun is shining, Milan is with his people, and all is well!
From the bride and groom:
“Ruth did a fantastic job of guiding us in the right direction, yet allowing us the freedom to curtail our ceremony to be exactly how we wanted it. She was a pleasure to work with during the planning, rehearsal, and wedding day. Ruth is professional and timely. She ‘goes with the flow’ and is flexible to needs, wants or any ideas you can dream up. We highly recommend Ruth’s services. She worked perfectly in our quirky, fun, park ceremony!”
-Tobin and Shannon Lichti, St. Louis, MO
I found this challenging gem today:
“And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy.” – Kahlil Gibran
Today I am praying for the people of Haiti, a strong and beautiful people, many of whom live a level of poverty unimagineable to most North Americans. Now they suffer even more deeply following such a devastating earthquake. If you are someone who believes in prayer, please include them in your prayers. If you have some extra change to spare, please forward it toward relief efforts.
For information about trustworthy aid organizations which will use your financial contributions wisely, see Sarah Van Gelder’s blog with the Huffinton Post. http://http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sarah-van-gelder/what-you-can-do-for-haiti_b_422058.html
I am excited about the possibilities for my Celebrant work in 2010. Here are some of the things I am considering:
There were a number of weddings I officiated this past year where everyone could have benefited from the use of a sound system. I believe that I could be heard (my fifteen years in the classroom and several years of community theatre taught me a lot about projecting my voice!), but the bride and groom and readers were not always able to be heard. So I think it is time to look into getting my own sound system.
I would like to offer couples the option to use a credit or debit card to pay for my services. I know that there can be all kinds of crazy fees involved in doing this, but if I can figure out a way to make it work for St. Louis Ceremonies, I will.
I am going to develop my Spanish-speaking and comprehension skills. My recent experience with a December wedding stirred an interest in me for speaking this language that a growing number of new St. Louisans speak as their original language. If I work hard, perhaps a year from now I will be able to say that I offer bi-lingual ceremonies. OK, maybe two years from now, but eventually I hope to make this happen!
I have signed up to take “Funerals and other Ceremonies for Healing” this winter from the Celebrant Foundation and Institute. Once I receive certification, I look forward to expanding my Celebrant practice into funerals, memorials, and other ceremonies to assist people with some of the more difficult transitions and losses that are a part of being human.
If this year is anything like the last, I know it will be filled with more of the wonders and blessings that are at the heart of celebrating life’s most profound moments. I can’t imagine doing anything else!
This past year has flown by, as they all seem to these days. Recalling twenty-five weddings and one memorial service in 2009 brings on a rush of memories and feelings. As I reflect back I am grateful for so much.
First I want to say thanks to all of you who trusted me with your wedding ceremonies in 2009. I feel privileged to have worked with you to create some truly lovely and meaningful ceremonies.
Regarding St. Louis Ceremonies, I find I am most grateful for the people who have helped me to get things rolling this year. The list is long so I won’t attempt to name everyone who has shown me so much support and encouragement, but I do want to mention a few:
Thanks to local Celebrant extraordinaire Lamira Martin, from whom I received over thirty leads this year. I am most grateful for the wisdom of her experience and for her refreshing lightness of being!
In preparing to set up my website, my St. Louis friend Andrew Wimmer and Seattle Celebrant Annemarie Juhlian were invaluable in providing me with guidance and suggestions as I went through the early stages of website development. As the website vision moved toward a reality, Zoe Feast of Indigo Image helped me to pull it all together. My deep gratitude goes out to you all.
And, finally, none of this would be happening as smoothly as it has been without the constant support of my husband, Rocky. He has been on board this Celebrant project 100% from the start. Rockmeister, you are the man!