Shrine Wedding: Kim & David

The Lourdes Grotto at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, Illinois was just the right setting for Kim and David to say “I do!” On a warm late summer evening, surrounded by candles, flowers, family, and friends, the bride and groom glowed as they exchanged vows, rings, and kisses.

Congratulations, Kim and David!

May I Have Your References, Please?

Last week I had four last-minute Autumnal weddings come my way in two days’ time, three for September and one for early October. I certainly look forward to working with each of these couples!
At the same time, I was amazed by the fact that three out of the four couples had found their way to me after having the unnerving experience with their previous officiant not only pulling out at the last minute, but also not providing any suggestions or guidance as to how to find a replacement officiant. It strikes me as rather unprofessional and downright rude to put people in such a difficult position so close to their scheduled wedding date. I’m rather stunned that these officiants appear to have taken their commitments to these couples so lightly.

So I just want to remind couples that when looking for an officiant for your wedding ceremony, it is a good idea to ask for references so that you can contact people who have actually worked with her or him before. Of course, I cannot say for sure that checking references would have made a significant difference for any of the couples I met last week. Each was coming from a unique situation which may or may not have been clarified ahead of time with the help of references.

But, in light of the key role that your officiant plays in your wedding day, it will likely be well worth it to take a little extra time earlier in your process of selecting an officiant to contact a several of her or his references. This way you can be assured that you have made the best selection possible.

Certainly I know that even with the best references, you cannot be 100% sure of anything. But at least you will know that you have done everything you can to be assured of the quality and reliability of your wedding officiant, so that you can have the meaningful and personal wedding ceremony you so richly deserve.

Pass This On…

I received the following press release today. Please pass this on to anyone you know who may qualify for these services!

San Francisco, CA
July 22, 2010

Six-month old nonprofit organization Wish Upon a Wedding announced today that it will broaden its scope of services, in order to assist more couples in need. Although its primary focus continues to provide weddings for terminally ill individuals regardless of sexual orientation, the organization will soon help those faced with other personal burdens, such as serious emotional, physical or other debilitating issues.

Due to a significant number of requests, Wish Upon a Wedding will now provide a limited number of weddings to inspirational couples that have experienced these catastrophic life-altering circumstances.

Beginning July 22, 2010, the nonprofit will grant these wishes on a case-by-case basis. Applicants will undergo a detailed screening process, and will be required to provide medical proof of their situation. Because the organization is new and still in growth mode, Wish Upon a Wedding will only be able to grant a limited number of wishes per year, at chapter discretion, and only the most compelling cases as determined by chapter boards will be considered.

“By partnering with Wish Upon a Wedding, Get Married’s goal is to help connect talented, local wedding professionals in order to offer couples in their communities with a dream wedding and turn tragedy into triumph,” said Stacie Francombe, national public relations chair and founder of Get Married Media. “By opening up new doors to more deserving couples with a variety of life-changing challenges, the wedding industry is sharing their commitment to their profession, to these individuals and to the idea that dreams do come true for any couple in love.”

Until now, the 501(c) 3 nonprofit has provided weddings for individuals diagnosed with less than three years’ prognosis. That stipulation has been adjusted to a five year diagnosis. The organizationwill also allow couples seeking vow renewal celebrations to apply for wishes. Wish Upon a Wedding is looking forward to this change and believes this will have a positive impact on hundreds of lives, by providing the opportunity for a celebration of life and love with those most important to them.

Wish Upon a Wedding is now accepting applications from:
* Couples where at least one individual has terminal diagnosis of less than FIVE years to live
* Couples faced with situations that have caused serious emotional, physical or financial stress (approved on case by case basis)
* Married couples seeking vow renewals, who have faced serious life-altering circumstances including but not limited to terminal illness (approved on a case by case basis).

All applicants must be over the age of 18 and legal U.S. Citizens.

Mission Statement:Wish Upon a Wedding is the world’s first nonprofit wish granting organization, providing weddings and vow renewals for couples facing terminal illness and life altering circumstances, regardless of sexual orientation.To fill out an application, click this link:

With 12 active chapters and 2,500 Wish Granters, we are ready to grant wishes today!

Contact Information:
Liz Guthrie, Founder

Grow Old With Me

The other day I was going through a box which contained letters and postcards from early in my parents’ marriage when Dad was stationed in Heidelberg. Among these now 1950’s vintage postcards with scenes from France, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany was this lovely photo of an older couple. Something about it has captivated me and I guess it captivated my parents, too. It makes me think of the hopefulness I hear expressed by so many couples who are about to be married. Part of that hope usually includes the desire to grow old together. And, of course, no one wants to grow old with someone they no longer love. This photo, filled with affection and tenderness, speaks to the hope that love can grow, deepen, and mature with the years.

Of course, being a person who usually has my own personal soundtrack running in my head (who needs an iPod?), looking at the photo is always accompanied by John Lennon’s song, “Grow Old With Me.”

Grow old along with me
The best is yet to be
When our time has come
We will be as one
God bless our love
God bless our love

Grow old along with me
Two branches of one tree
Face the setting sun
When the day is done
God bless our love
God bless our love

Spending our lives together
Man and wife together
World without end
World without end

Grow old along with me
Whatever fate decrees
We will see it through
For our love is true
God bless our love
God bless our love

Welcome, Spring!

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.


Valentine’s Day 2010

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?

How Much Do You Charge?

‘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!”

The People of Haiti Need You

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://

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