My wedding attire
has ranged from a formal bridal gown (I made myself), an ankle-length
summer jacket dress, to a tea-length semi-formal ensemble, to a
street-length dress; and I’ve
carried a single rose at one, small nosegay at another, and a cascading
bouquet for another.
The ceremonies have been officiated by a judge, an
Army chaplain, and a minister; over time I’ve spoken vows that were
secular, traditionally religious, and ones we’d written
ourselves. And there have been kids involved; flower girls, ring
bearers, and his-and-hers.
I’ve also orchestrated the weddings of friends
and family. One year I planned and facilitated my sister’s
nuptials along with the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations of
both my parents and my in-laws, all within four months of each other!
I even gave some serious consideration to becoming a professional
wedding planner... but then I came to my senses! (Can you say, "Bridezillas"?)
As a professional officiant, the ceremonies I have
performed have been equally varied. I have performed ceremonies in
couple's homes and backyards, in elegant golf clubs and hotels, outdoors
in parks and forest preserves, under a tent, in a trapper's cabin,
and in front of the fireplace in my own
Geographically, I have performed a wedding along the lakeshore at Montrose Harbor in Chicago in January;
amid the fall foliage in a park in Geneva; under a floral arbor
at a banquet hall in Alsip; on the elegant front porch of a mansion in Valparaiso, Indiana; and in a gazebo in a park in Libertyville.
The weddings have been tiny (just the bride and
groom) and huge (with 20 attendants). There have been children involved;
flower girls and ring bearers, his, hers, theirs, and a number of brides
with "buns in the oven".
The ceremonies themselves have been short and sweet,
or have included additional elements such as readings, solos, unity
rituals, and family vows. I have performed weddings, civil unions,
and vow renewals. I have also performed several double ceremonies,
and shared officiant duties with another pastor.
So you can say my wedding experience has been extensive and varied.
And while the size, shape, and details of each wedding
have been different, what made each of them meaningful was that underlying
everything was the love shared by two people making “joyful
I also have this philosophy: no matter what happens
at your wedding, as long as you end up married at the end of the
day, the rest is just window-dressing. So all the stress, the anxiety,
the angst of trying to have the perfect wedding just isn't necessary,
because there's no such thing as a perfect wedding.
People are human. And no one knows what's supposed to happen
but you. If you just act as if it's what you intended all along,
no one will know the difference. Your guests will take their cue
from you -- if you're uptight and upset, they will be, too. But if
you can relax and laugh off whatever happens, they'll relax as well.
Besides, it's the mistakes, the calamities, the personalities that
help make your wedding unique -- and they make great, funny stories
to tell your grandchildren later!
But wait — there's more! I actually have credentials....
My background also includes a Bachelor of Arts degree in English
and Speech/Theatre with a minor in Education from Adrian College
in Adrian, Michigan, where I was a member of several honorary fraternities
in English, Education, and Music.
I have operated my own writing, marketing, and website
business called WordCrafters,
Inc. since 1999, which won the 2005
Bolingbrook Area Chamber of Commerce’s
Best of Bolingbrook Businesses award in my category. I served a total of 12 years on the Chamber’s board of directors,
and served as its president in 2005-2006. In 2006, I was honored
to be chosen as Bolingbrook's Female Citizen of the Year, and in 2014 was awarded the Chamber's Women in Business Community Leadership award.
I am also an award-winning Toastmaster, and have achieved Distinguished Toastmaster, its highest level educational award. In addition, I received my pastoral ordination from the Universal Life
Church and Monastery, and to date have performed roughly 400 ceremonies (I stopped counting at 300).
I believe my education, training, and experience makes me uniquely
qualified to bring a depth of understanding and meaning to each and
every ceremony I create and officiate.
I also believe that everyone deserves to celebrate their “joyful
promises” in their own uniquely personal way.
Did I mention that I love weddings? And I would be deeply honored and
privileged to be a part of yours.