The New Year 2010

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!

Mi Espanol Es Primitivo

This week finds me working on my Spanish speaking skills. Are you surprised? Well, I am! Yes, I took ten hours of college credit Spanish as an undergrad oh so many years ago. But, like many of my peers, I took the courses but never practiced further than I needed in order to pass. And truly, in late ‘70’s St. Louis, there were not many opportunities to connect with people whose first language was Spanish.

But along comes a wedding between a native St. Louisan and a native of Columbia (the country, not Columbia, Missouri!). Upon learning that some members of the bride’s family are travelling here for the wedding, knowing little to no English, I decided to dust off my language skills in order to have some parts of the ceremony be bi-lingual. Thanks to the Microsoft Word program which offers translations and to the bride who made some adjustments, I will be speaking, for better and for worse, some Spanish at tomorrow night’s ceremony.

I’m glad that those ten hours of Spanish has finally paid off!

Happy Hanukkah

Tonight at sundown begins Hanukkah. For the next eight nights, those who observe this Jewish holiday will celebrate a Festival of Light.

They will remember the miracle that occurred when the Maccabees, though surrounded by their enemies, were able to keep the altar lit for eight days and nights, even though they only had enough oil to burn for one night.May all who celebrate Hanukkah be blessed by love and light in their families, in their souls, and in their lives!

Seasonal Blessings

Although today is December 1, I have just pulled four carrots out of my garden along with enough lettuce for this evening’s salad. I’ll admit that it’s a little bit of a stretch for me to embrace the yuletide season when the previous seasons’ gifts are still pouring in, not only from my kitchen garden, but in the form of photos and testimonials from my summer and autumn weddings. It’s been a year of delightful wedding ceremonies with a variety of couples from all over the metro area and beyond.

I am counting my blessings, a good thing to do this time of year when our national holiday of Thanksgiving flows right into the other holidays of Hanukkah, Kwanza, Christmas, and New Years Day. I’ve never been much of a shopper, so a series of decisions which Rock and I have made over the years to step back from some of the commercialization of these holidays has left me with more time to enjoy the visitors, the gatherings, and the food of these days.

To those of you who have chosen the holidays for your wedding ceremony, my best advice is to keep breathing and to keep your eyes on the prize which is your marriage, not your wedding day!
To those of you who will become engaged during the holidays, I congratulate you on taking such a momentous step in your lives.

To all of us, may the holidays become a time to not only count our blessings, but to find ways to share them with others.

We’ve Come This Far By Faith

Tomorrow will be my 26th wedding anniversary. Wow. Since I had just turned 26 a few weeks before my wedding day, this means that I have now been married for half my lifetime. Wow, again.

Most of those who marry do so with the intention that the marriage will last for the rest of their lives. Sadly that is not always the case.

This year for Thanksgiving, I am delighted and grateful that we have made it this far and, “God willing and the creek don’t rise,” I look forward to many more years with the Rock-man!

Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!

The Wedding Design Studio Open House

Don’t miss the open house of The Wedding Design Studio!

The Wedding Design Studio is a comprehensive studio offering brides complimentary access to an extensive vault of wedding resources including the portfolios of handpicked wedding professionals, each carefully chosen based on their reputation for flawless style, innovative spirit and integrity.

The 3-day open house is December 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Mingle with St. Louis’s most in-demand wedding professionals, browse inspiring portfolios and view the latest in table top design and couture wedding décor. Open house bonuses will run throughout the three day event including a magazine swap, color sample sets and free planning advice with a Proposing Dreams coordinator.

Hours for the Open House are Tuesday, Dec. 1st and Thursday, Dec. 3rd, 12pm to 5pm, and Wednesday, December 2nd, 12pm to 6pm with followed by a happy hour from 6pm to 7pm with complimentary drinks, hors d’oeuvres and giveaways!

The Wedding Design Studio is located at: 3520-1 Greenwood Blvd. Maplewood, MO 63143. For more information, email:

St. Louis Ceremonies is proud to be a partner with The Wedding Design Studio. I hope to see you there!


Dominique and Michael

They had a class together their first year of college. Stealing looks across the room, Mike noticed her exotic beauty and sense of style. Though drawn to her, he concluded she was way out of his league. Dominique saw his leather jacket, spiked hair, and heavy metal t-shirts- he looked cool even while on crutches after shattering his toe. She decided someone as “cool” as that would not be interested in such a “girlie” girl. The following year when they, coincidentally, moved into the same dorm and actually met, they discovered an immediate spark between them, became instant friends, and a few months later started dating. Apparently, the girlie girl was not way out of the cool dude’s league after all!
Dominique and Mike married on August 15, 2009 at The Magic Chef Mansion in a colorful outdoor ceremony, immediately followed by cool drinks and frozen fruit juice bars. The St. Louis heat and humidity did not dampen anyone’s enthusiasm for this ceremony uniting these two people so obviously in love!

Wedding planner Allison McDonald coordinated the day’s events, while Susan Jackson Photography beautifully captured the ceremony and their delight in one another in the photographs you see here.

Help for Couples

Now that I’ve explained that most Celebrants do not do marriage prep, I am going to recommend a book to anyone who is in a committed relationship and interested in a little help with keeping their relationship alive, healthy, and vibrant, whether they are newlyweds or have been together thirty years.

A few years back when I was teaching high school seniors, I asked one of my regular guest speakers if he had any background reading recommendations for me on the topic of “healthy marriage.” Tim Jordan, M.D.* is a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician who graciously donated his time each semester to talk with my students about ways they could learn to take care of themselves as they moved through the stressful transition from high school to college. One of the books he recommended to me was, Getting the Love You Want: A Guide for Couples, by Harville Hendrix, Ph.D.

Reading this book is a terrific opportunity to learn healthy relationship skills that can greatly enrich the lives of couples in committed relationships. It is available in its 20th anniversary edition at most bookstores and online. My husband Rock and I have recently rediscovered it on our bookshelf and have begun working through the exercises together. My recommendation of this book is offered, not as a Celebrant, but as half of a married couple who always appreciates insights and support in developing a stronger, deeper, and more intimate marriage.

*For more information on the wonderful work with children and adolescents that Tim and Anne Jordan are doing, see

Do You Do Marriage Prep?

Recently I ran into someone I had not seen for a number of years. We were getting caught up with each other, asking questions like, “What are you up to these days?” When I explained my work as a wedding officiant and Celebrant, my friend asked a question I frequently get in such conversations. She asked if I was doing any marriage prep or counseling with the couples whose wedding ceremonies I perform. My answer always starts with, “No,” and it often includes lots of explaining.

First let me say that the majority of people with whom I have this conversation are either active Catholics or former Catholics. St. Louis is a very Catholic town! And my work history includes five years of college campus ministry in Catholic institutions and fifteen years of teaching theology at Catholic high schools. So most of these conversations have a Catholic framework and assumptions as a starting point.

For those of you who do not know, to be married in the Catholic church, a couple must meet certain specific requirements, including participation in one of a number of marriage prep activities sponsored by the Catholic church. It could take the form of a couples retreat (not at all like the movie!), a class, a workshop, or a sponsor couple program. One of the hopes for all of these programs is to help the couple take a good look at some of the realities of married life and to assess their own readiness to be married.

In the long run, one goal of these programs is to help couples avoid divorce in later years. Unfortunately, the last time I saw any studies on the subject, it appears that Catholics divorce at about the same rate as the rest of the population. This is not to say that these programs are not helpful to some or even most couples who participate in them. It is simply a suggestion that most current marriage preparation programs in general cannot possibly prepare couples for all of the complexities of married life between two very fallible human beings.

Of course, it isn’t only Catholics who require some sort of marriage prep for couples. There are many churches whose requirements for engaged couples include a minimum number of meetings with a minister or with people specifically involved in ministry to engaged couples.

Celebrants trained by the Celebrant Foundation and Institute do not require counseling, retreats, or workshops of the couples with whom we are planning weddings. Sure, we like to meet with the couple, but usually that meeting is a mutual interview where the couple gets to know us a little and we get to know them a little in an effort to decide if we will be a good match for one another. Once hired by a couple, our work as Celebrants is simply to design and officiate at customized ceremonies which help each couple celebrate their relationship and commitment as they see it.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that churches and ministers requiring some kind of marriage prep for engaged couples should change what they are doing. Not at all. I’m simply saying that Celebrants offer an alternative for couples who may prefer not to participate in such programs, and for couples who do not have a particular church affiliation at the time they decide to be married. And isn’t it always nice to have options? I think so.

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