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Ceremony Planning



I love weddings. I always have. There's something so touching and heartwarming about two people believing so totally in the strength of their love for each other that no matter what challenges they may face or the odds against them, they are willing to take that leap of faith and commit themselves to each other for a lifetime.

You could say that I know whereof I speak, because I’ve had a few weddings of my own! I’ve been divorced twice and now widowed for the second time, after being married to the same wonderful man for 28 years.

Regarding my own wedding experience, I’ve had a military wedding, a church wedding, one at my parents’ home, and one held in a banquet hall.

They’ve been tiny (just 11 guests) and large (nearly 200 in attendance), and in-between in size.

I planned one from afar, and pulled one together in just six weeks.

Marti Barton, Officiant

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 living room.

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 promises” to each other.

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.

Things happen. 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.


Office Hours by Appointment Only:
P.O. Box 1094, Bolingbrook, IL 60440

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