Monday, February 15, 2016

Wedding Services

Since I began this blog, I've written periodically about various services I offer - however, as the years have passed, my life has changed, and many of these posts are outdated! Now that I have officiated at myriad types of services, and can draw upon these past five years of experience, I look forward to sharing some of my thoughts with you about Humanism and Humanist Celebrations.

Weddings & Commitment Ceremonies

For many human beings the world over, non-religious and religiously minded alike, the experience of planning a Wedding or Commitment Ceremony offers an incredible opportunity to create memories that will last in the minds of the individuals making the commitments to each other, as well as all those with whom they choose to share their day.

Five years ago, there were a great number of members of our society who were excluded from participating in the tradition of planning a Wedding. Today, however, it is the law of the land in the United States of America, and many other countries, that any two people may choose to be legally wed - straight, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning - your sexual orientation and/or gender identity no longer precludes your relationship from this publicly validated recognition. And so, congratulations to all the happy couples who are now 'officially' able to plan celebrations that will be recognized in their home states!

The services I offer through Secular Weddings Utah are unique, I believe, in our entire state of Utah. I create each service I offer very personally, with your input. As each service I write is completed, I hand-write it into my Wedding Book, which you will see me holding in the photos of the services I've done. For most services, I am not even 'reading' much from the book itself, only using it as a reference - because I review your service many times before the date of your wedding, so that I can interact with the couple and their guests while delivering the words.

There are only a handful of ministers in our state, to my knowledge, who will officiate at your service without mentioning a belief in God and/or their own religious interpretations of the meaning of marriage. The three I know personally are the Reverend Tom Goldsmith at First Unitarian Church of Salt Lake City, the Reverend Connie A. Anast with A Perfect Moment, and the Reverend Christopher T. Scuderi with Universal Heart Ministry. These three all offer beautiful, heart-felt services - however as you may imagine, they receive many more requests for services than they are able to provide each year, because of the great number of people in our state (and especially within the more liberal, open-minded greater Salt Lake area) who are booking wedding services. Depending on what you are looking for, and how far in advance you are planning, you may find that another celebrant better meets your needs. Please compare prices, availability, and the services we offer to find the best fit for your celebration!

I ask for $250 remuneration for the following Wedding Services:

* Three pre-event meetings, in person or via Google Hangouts/Skype, however is most convenient for you to meet. At these meetings I will get to know you both, ask for stories about how you met, your family's religious/non-religious backgrounds & traditions, and your beliefs, values, and thoughts about marriage and life in general. You will also have access to my Wedding Book(s), which contain all of the services I have given, which you may use for ideas/inspiration in planning your service.

At the first meeting, should you decide that our visions match and I am a good fit for your celebration, I will ask for a non-refundable $30 (cash or check) to hold the date for your event. The remaining $220 will be requested upon completion of your event (typically when paperwork has been signed).

Following our first meeting, I will send you a draft ceremony that you can look over together, deciding what you like, what changes you would like to see, how the tone of the writing will fit with your event, etc. Based on your feedback, I will continue sending you updated drafts that you can edit/change to your liking, until we have a final before your event date.

* At your event, I am comfortable speaking with or without a microphone, depending on the number of guests; indoors or outdoors; as well as welcoming guests and/or directing them to where they need to be before and after the service - giving information such as where/when family pictures will be taken, where/when the cake will be cut, toasts will be given, or any other additional details. I generally wear black and white professional/semi-formal attire, but am comfortable dressing in your preferred wedding colors, or as a themed/costumed officiant, should you desire! Star Wars Fans? Go ahead, provide me a Darth Vader costume (I already have a mask) and I'm game!

* Directly before or after the service, I will lead the spouses and witnesses in the signing of the official paperwork, and following the service will deliver the paperwork to the requisite clerk's office.

* For an additional $50, I will be happy to attend any pre-event rehearsals/practices, such as a rehearsal dinner/walk-through of your planned event.

As a member of LGBTQ and non-religious communities myself, I also wish to recognize and celebrate all those who, regardless of the passage of these laws recognizing our rights to these ceremonies, do not wish to engage with or support the institution of marriage as traditionally viewed. There are many people throughout our communities who are perfectly happy in open, non-traditional, non-monogamous relationships, and these relationships are equally valued, meaningful, and worth celebrating! If you wish to plan a Commitment Ceremony with the one, two, or more partners you are living with / raising a family with / supporting romantically, economically, etc. I will be more than happy to officiate at a public event recognizing the joining together of your families! Even if this is only with a few of your closest, most supportive friends and family members, it is still a wonderful thing to be able to proclaim your love publicly.

Since the laws of our land do not legally recognize these relationships for tax and benefit purposes, I charge only $150 for these monogamous or polyamorous Commitment Ceremonies. Also, if you have any questions for me about what Open Relationships and Polyamory look like in practice, please ask away! I can guide you to many secular, non-religious resources for information, community, and support.

All of life & all consensual adult relationships are worth celebrating!

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