Frequently Asked Questions


Below you will find answers to common questions regarding marriage ceremonies and my services.  These are questions that couples that are getting married often ask. Some of the questions refer to issues relating to getting married or joined, and some refer to my specific wedding services. Please feel free to telephone or email me with your questions. I hope some of this information and the information provided elsewhere on these pages will be of assistance in the planning of your special day.


1. How does a couple actually get legally "married?"
2. Is a commitment ceremony legal?
3. Isn't a commitment ceremony always much smaller than a formal wedding?
4. If our wedding is a commitment ceremony, will there be any kind of certificate given to us?
5. Other than a Church, where can we get married?
6. May we include children in our ceremony?
7. Do you recommend any other vendors such as photographers, florists or DJs?
8. We just got engaged. What do we do next?
9. What are the primary things that should be considered for a customized wedding ceremony?
10. What is a Unity Candle, and why is it often used in a wedding ceremony?
11. What  is a hand fasting ceremony?
12. What is the Ceremony of Roses?
13. What is the purpose of having "readings" performed during a wedding ceremony?
14. Who do we invite to the rehearsal dinner?
15. Do you accept credit cards?
16. Will you be staying after the wedding for the reception?
17. Will I have to pay extra for your travel?

18. Can we get married as soon as we get our marriage license?
19. Are you available at short notice to perform ceremonies?
20. Do I offer a Military Discount?


Q. How does a couple actually get legally "married?"

A. In Georgia a marriage must take place according to the laws of the County in which the union takes place. It's where you get married that counts, not where you live. A couple is officially "married" when a legally authorized person such as myself performs an official ceremony uniting them in marriage, signs the County marriage license and submits the signed license to the county probate court office. Depending on the county, sometimes there is a requirement for signature of two witnesses as well as the officiant.  Here in my home County, witnesses are not required, so if you are eloping once you have your license we can get you married anywhere you wish. Legally authorized persons are all clergy (i.e. priests, ministers, rabbis, etc.) and certain other persons specifically authorized such as Judges, Retired Judges, Justices of the Peace, etc. Vows of commitment are required to be exchanged by the couple, but wedding rings are optional and not required. For specific information on the county you intend to be married in visit the Marriage Laws page, or contact the County Clerk's office of the County in which you plan to be married.


Q. Is a commitment ceremony legal?

A. A commitment ceremony is not formally recognized in most states as a legal marriage.


Q. Isn't a commitment ceremony always much smaller than a formal wedding?

A. A commitment ceremony IS a wedding, and it can be as big or small, with as much or as little detail or formality as you choose. The only difference between a commitment ceremony and a traditional wedding in my view is that the latter is the only one recognized as a legal marriage.


Q. If our wedding is a commitment ceremony; will there be any kind of certificate given to us?

A. I have a beautiful certificate suitable for framing which you as a couple sign, and I sign as well.  The cost of marriage licenses and certificates varies from county to county and be as little as $15 or as great $90.  The beautiful certificate that I can provide for a commitment ceremony costs $25.


Q. Where can we get married besides a church?

A. In Georgia, you may get married anywhere within the State, regardless of which County you acquired your marriage license. This includes all public and private buildings and property, bodies of water (lakes, rivers, etc.), or even in an airplane!  

I have performed ceremonies on farms, in private homes, in botanical gardens, on beaches, in parks, golf courses and in restaurants, on boats and historic buildings.


Q. Can we include children in our ceremony?

A. Absolutely!  There are a number of ways to include children in your wedding. In addition to having a flower girl or ring bearer, there are ways to include children in the vows, readings or in the lighting of the Unity Candle.


Q. Can you recommend any other vendors such as photographers, videographers or DJs?

A. Yes!  I choose very carefully those vendors which I recommend to people.  You can be assured that if I provide you with the name of a Wedding Planner, photographer, DJ, etc., that their services are of the highest quality. 


Q. We just got engaged. What do we do next?

A. There are almost an infinite number of wedding planning resources online.  Take a look at some of those listed at the bottom of my main page or just do an online search and you will find more pages than you visit in a weekend.  I highly recommend the use of a good wedding planner/coordinator for all large and elaborate weddings. If you are not systematic and organized with a lot of time available, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the details and choices.  I can make recommendations.


Q. What are the main things to consider for a customized wedding ceremony?

A. There really are three main things to consider in choosing your ceremony. They are:

1. The kinds of ceremonial traditions. The choices range from a very traditional "church-style" wedding to little or no religious references at all. Many people like to include things like romantic readings, singing, etc. My recommendation is to include only what is meaningful to you, and not to confuse a wedding ceremony with a church service.

2. The kinds of romantic imagery. The most common types of romantic expressions are readings and the lighting of a Unity Candle by the couple. Other choices include special music, giving flowers to mothers, drinking wine together out of a unity cup, singing to each other (Groom serenading the Bride, etc.), original poetry, blowing bubbles or the release of butterflies or doves after the ceremony. There are a lot of creative ideas that you can borrow from others, or even think up yourself, but the rule is to be true to yourself.

3. The kinds of cultural traditions. If you have a strong tradition from another country or culture, you may want to include that in your wedding ceremony and/or reception. I am happy to accommodate any such rituals, etc. that you would like. Please discuss this with me during our initial contact.


Q. What is a Unity Candle, and why is it often used in a wedding ceremony?

A. A wedding ceremony is a pageant of sorts, and usually includes romantic imagery. The purpose of the imagery is to paint a picture of the words being spoken. Often couples will have two taper candles lit to represent their separate lives, and after the exchange of wedding vows and rings, they will light a third candle together. This "unity candle" represents their union, the joining of their two lives into one. It is purely a romantic image, without any religious implications.

 


Q. What is hand fasting?

A. In ancient Celtic times, a couple declares during a hand fasting ritual to live together for a year and a day. At the end of the year and a day, they can repeat their declarations publicly again, part their own ways or get married legally. A Hand fasting today usually is done by draping a cord over the couple’s hands which are joined together.  Some of the most beautiful and meaningful vows are written by the two getting hand fasted. Like any ritual, you should feel free to adapt it to your own needs and even create your own meaning for it.


Q. What is the Ceremony of Roses?

A. In the book, "Conversations with God III", the Ceremony of Roses accompanies an exchange of vows with red roses, and the ring exchange with white roses.  I am familiar with two other wedding traditions in which roses are used. In one, the mothers are given roses as tokens of the bride and groom's love for family. This is often kept a secret from the family until the roses are presented.  In another, roses are exchanged as the bride and groom's first gifts to one another as a married couple. They can also symbolize your understanding of your vows, or any other meaning you choose to associate with them.


Q. What is the purpose of having "readings" performed during a wedding ceremony?

A. People have been in love since the beginning of time. All over the world, in many different cultures and throughout history, people have written wonderful expressions of their love in poems, sonnets, love songs, etc. Other people may have said things about love that are very similar to how you feel, and they may have said it more eloquently than you or I could. Take William Shakespeare for example. His artful creativity with weaving words together is unsurpassed in its ability to convey romance and love in a highly unique and original manner.
It is appropriate to have a few romantic readings performed during a wedding ceremony, especially texts that have been recognized over time as "classics.


Q. Who do we invite to the rehearsal dinner?

A. Traditionally, the couple invites all attendants and their spouses or significant others, the couple's immediate families, and the officiant. However, if the budget allows, you should feel free to invite anyone else you would like.


Q. Do you accept credit cards?

A. No, I cannot.  Tradition and etiquette suggest the officiant be paid after the ceremony by the Best Man or Groom and that the cash or check be in a sealed white envelope.


Q.  Will you be staying after the wedding for the reception?

A. If you invite me to stay for your reception and my schedule permits, I am happy to stay for as long as you would like. Otherwise, I will stay only as long as necessary to make sure we get all of your paperwork signed, photos and get all of your questions answered.

 


  Q. Will I have to pay extra for you to travel to my wedding?

A.  Unfortunately with today’s gas prices the cost of travel is increasingly expensive, I will travel within a 50 mile radius of Warner Robins with no travel fee.  For more extensive travel, there is an additional fee.


 

  Q.  Can we get married as soon as we get our marriage license?

A.  Absolutely.  There is no waiting period in the State of Georgia.  You can find links to most county clerk's offices at the Marriage Laws page.




  Q.  Are you available at short notice to perform ceremonies?

A.  Yes,  I am available at short notice if my schedule permits.


 

Q     Do I offer a Military Discount?

 

A. Yes, I offer $50 off the cost of each type service listed on the Fees page to Active Duty Military.

 

 


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