Saturday, December 22, 2012

Share Something Very Special This Year

This message is for widest dissemination, for I have reached into my favorite book to share a poem. The book of which I speak actually has been near our bed stand for years. Some of you will recall that I have shared poems in the past from A.L. Alexander's collection, entitled "Poems That Touch the Heart." It was first printed in 1941, and there were twenty-five reprintings after that. Well - I have been moved to present another lovely poem at this seasonal opportunity.

Happy Talk can lead to Extended Joy

Elisheva and I were visited two weeks ago by a couple from Washington, D.C. We have been asked to perform their wedding in Luray this summer. During this intimate first time meeting, the couple mentioned that they would immediately depart from the wedding site for the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan - said to be one of the happiest places on earth.

The couple was surprised when we related that one of the most enjoyable reads this year was finding Lisa Napoli's book entitled "Radio Shangri-La." In this intimate little book of her travels, she relates that Bhutan measures its success in Gross National Happiness rather than in GNP. So - we knew something about this place of adventure, where happiness is promoted so integrally into the culture. What was originally to be only thirty minutes over coffee with this soon to be married couple turned into a very delightful, and may I say, happy conversation for ninety minutes. People can lose themselves in happiness.
Being Deliberate in the Pursuit of Happiness

Happiness is a topic for which we both are drawn, and books which explore happiness seldom escape our review. That can run the gamet from books of poems to in depth explorations by social scientists, such as Jonathan Haidt. We have read his excellent book, "The Happiness Hypothesis (Finding Modern Truth in Ancient Wisdom)" several times, and often use it for reference. He is a social psychologist who describes his corner of exploration and teaching as morality and the moral emotions.

Now you know of at least two books which are worthy of your time. The Alexander collection of poems is generally difficult to find, except outside of a library with an extensive diversity; therefore, it is our duty to introduce for your sharing habits one poem at a time over the years.

Thinking Happiness, a poem by Robert E. Farley, is our gift for sharing this Holiday Season

Think of the things that make you happy,
     Not the things that make you sad;
Think of the fine and true in mankind,
     Not its sordid side and bad;
Think of the blessings that surround you,
     Not the ones that are denied;
Think of the virtues of your friendships,
     Not the weak and faulty side:

Think of the gains you've made in business,
     Not the losses you've incurred;
Think of the good of you that's spoken,
     Not some cruel, hostile word;
Think of the days of health and pleasure,
     Not the days of woe and pain;
Think of the days alive with sunshine,
     Not the dismal days of rain;

Think of the hopes that lie before you,
     Not the waste that lies behind;
Think of the treasures you have gathered,
     Not the ones you've failed to find;
Think of the service you may render,
     Not of serving self alone;
Think of the happiness of others,
     And in this you'll find your own!

From our family to yours ... Much happiness
T. Wade and Elisheva Clegg  

Friday, August 24, 2012

I'll Write ... You Read ... then it's meeting time with Bride and Groom

Some important thoughts for a Couple to place on their "To Do" List


And with any luck the time will come when we can sit across a table, sipping coffee and savoring a bit of cheesecake. And we will exchange that most precious commodity: intimate conversation filled with high expectations, new friends discussing plans for their wedding.


Reverend T. Wade & Elisheva Clegg Walking Together Talk of hopes and dreams and the excitement of the journey can turn an hour into two. Many couples simply need to get that sense of comfort with a minister. It's important to hear of concerns, especially to know if their selection of a minister is someone who can bring their ceremony to family and friends in a manner which reflects their wishes. It's important to learn of sensitivities within and between families. It's important to learn of rituals preferred, especially when it is an interfaith wedding. A personal meeting is that opportunity to become comfortable with the person who is performing the most important ceremony in the life of a couple.


Captain Kirk reminded us of an important gift


We were watching a documentary this past evening entitled "Captains." William Shatner, the actor of note from many roles, but especially Star Trek, allowed us to listen to an entertaining couple of hours sharing conversations with all of the Star Trek Captains over the years, and some of the notable cast members so many of us remember. Then at the very end, as the credits were scrolling by, the final thank you came up and stopped. Shatner wrote several comments, and then offered: "These friends allowed me such a marvelous gift ... their time."

That is exactly what we hope to enjoy with each couple: their time ... as time is allowed.


So many couples ask, "Can we meet?"


Of course we can meet, and that should be a part of your planning. However, I live near Charlottesville, Virginia and a meeting generally entails a full day, at least for those who live in Virginia, Maryland and the DC area. Many couples who plan ahead will take a weekend day and drive to Charlottesville, often staying for one night, enjoying the delights of this historic town, and meeting with us for a discussion. If a couple needs directions or ideas for a hotel accessible for visiting Monticello, Carter Mountain, University of Virginia, etc, please ask.


Not all couples can make that trip to Charlottesville


Keep in mind that only about half of all couples actually are close enough for meeting with ease. Many couples have waited too late for planning a meeting. Many live in other states, and will fly into their ceremony location just before the ceremony. As much as we would like to have that face to face talk months in advance, and become familiar before a ceremony, sometimes it is just not possible. Then, a bit more time is spent with e-mail exchanges, and the importance of my questionnaire to learn of hopes and dreams and other matters of the heart become so very prominent in order to write for text and tone. Sometimes in the course of exchanges, a phone call might allow for a more open dialogue to settle a matter quickly.


What happens when family members wish to attend that first meeting?


The Reverends Clegg - T. Wade & Elisheva There have been many meetings over the years when a mother of the bride, or both mothers have arrived with the couple. There have been occasions when a couple brought their separate children with them. The list of combinations can be interesting. The question is usually asked: Is it OK for them to come with us? And the answer is: Certainly!


However, at some point after general introductions, I will ask the couple to join me for a private conversation at a separate table, and Rev. T. Wade will occupy the rest of the family with the most interesting conversation one can imagine. He can speak football fluently. There must be private time with the couple.


I have noticed on occasion when mothers are in attendance, there is a tendency on their part to want to know exactly how I will be handling the ceremony. It is at that point, but usually before it is asked, that I offer something like, "Please understand that I do not write a wedding until I have received completed questionnaires from a couple. I then draft the ceremony for their review and their review only. The wedding is therefore always approved by a couple in advance based on their request. I do insist that no one, except the couple, is to hear the script before it is delivered in a wedding. I do this rather deliberately, since a personal wedding must be that of a couple, and exposing it to friends and family lead to exchanges which may put pressure on a couple to make changes. That must never happen, since the ceremony becomes the wishes of others. And I am here to fulfill the wishes of the couple."  


Perhaps this might be considered a gentle reminder that YOUR WEDDING IS YOUR DREAM DAY.


Just sharing.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sound Professionals are Vital to Most Wedding Ceremonies

This is one of those e-mails to be converted to a blog posting which has little merit after a wedding. However, as all couples with whom we have served as wedding ministers will note, our emphasis on securing a "sound" professional was really excellent advice when a wedding had 25+ guests. This is one of those extended articles to serve future couples in their planning.

When Wedding Ministers say you need sound ... believe them

I never understood why wedding planners often neglect telling couples the importance of sound for the ceremony, whereas sound for a reception would never be neglected. The most important part of a wedding is the ceremony. It is the core part of the celebration which has brought family and close friends from great distances to hear the depth of a couple's commitment to each other. It is a rare and wonderful half hour for the couple, and it MUST BE HEARD. Without sound for the minister and readers, inside or outside, any minister or officiant speaking in an intimate voice to the couple will simply not be heard beyond a few rows of seating. Without sound enhancement that can mean the difference in total enjoyment of the couple's personalized 30-minute ceremony, OR at least half of an audience simply sitting in the sun periodically hearing noise from the front. Nothing is more disappointing for grandparents with less than perfect hearing to be totally shut out of a day which is so meaningful to them.

There are consequences when hiring the less than professional

It is not possible to remember all of the sound people with whom we have worked over the years. There have been many who simply were not prepared to accommodate the ceremony, but were hired as a DJ for the reception. The less acquainted have come with a hand-held microphone and no stand to hold it, not realizing that a minister's hands must be free at all times. Some less acquainted with sound may place speakers in a position where feedback can suddenly scream at the audience. Some less acquainted will not have wireless microphones and not enough cable to do the job for a large wedding. Some less acquainted will not have scouted the wedding ceremony site (or asked about the site) to check if the sound system may need battery power, since the site is far from an electrical connection. Some less acquainted will place the system at the site without monitoring the ceremony, and when something goes wrong, there is no one to immediately correct the matter. Some will be dressed far too casual for a large formal ceremony.

SO ... why not hire a Professional?

Recently, I wrote to a number of professional sound professionals, many who are not only employed for the ceremony, but also for their other professional skills. Each of the persons listed below are people and firms who know their jobs and have the equipment to make it happen. I will only offer the four (4)  with whom I have experienced several times, and with whom I am gratified each time they appear at a wedding site. Please read the short notes provided to me, and then explore their websites for complete details. Then - email or call to secure their services. As professionals, please realize that their bookings are made many months in advance.

Eric Cunningham of Choice Entertainment ... My radius is normally 75 miles from Richmond.  So I will travel to Norfolk, South Hill, Charlottesville and NOVA. Pricing depends on the number of microphones needed.

10035 Sliding Hill Rd Ste 200
Ashland VA 23005, 804-788-4603

Ran and Linda Henry of Blue Mountain Weddings ... offer a unique blend of services as husband and wife, helping to create and capture wedding memories.  From Charlottesville churches and Blue Ridge Mountain wineries to the ballrooms of Richmond, the District of Columbia and the Maryland shores, the Henrys entertain and photograph joyous, romantic celebrations.

Ran Henry is a wedding dee jay and emcee performing at over 1700 events since 1984, with stellar sound, unobtrusive speakers, tasteful lighting and the skills to compose a musical menu brides and grooms and wedding guests will savor.  Ran Henry is an expert reception planner and emcee, assuring a timely flow of formalities and the enjoyment of every blissful moment.  Ran Henry uses Shure microphones to amplify all the voices of a wedding day, and compact discs, not computers, for warm, natural sound.

Ran and Linda Henry provide premium photographic services as a couple, giving you over a thousand images of your wedding day, depicting you and your family and friends through eyes only a husband and wife can share.  Linda Henry is the portrait artist, Ran Henry the photojournalist, focusing on the highlights you can't forget and those candid shots that bring smiles.  The photography of Ran and Linda Henry is featured in the Miami Herald, the St. Petersburg Times, the News-Virginian and the Charlottesville Daily Progress. For complete

Josh Nicol,  DJ ... I am willing to travel around the Central Virginia area if I am not booked at Khimaira Farm in Luray. I would be more than willing to travel between Northern Virginia and Winchester down to between Charlottesville and Harrisonburg.

Address: 432 Sunnyview Drive, Rileyville VA 22650
Phone:  540.860.2653(cell) 540.743.9425(home)

Here is the link to our website detailing info and our Khimaira Farm (Luray, VA) website:

Jason Rethemeyer, the AV Company... "We call Charlottesville home and the majority of our business is done within a 60 mile radius of Charlottesville.  We have worked with most of the wineries in the central Virginia region that open themselves up to weddings and events.  Our most popular package for weddings is our ceremony sound package that provides the client with a slim line Bose tower speaker, 2 wireless microphone systems (typically one clip on style microphone for the celebrant and one handheld style placed on a microphone stand for any readers or singers) as well as a technician to remain on-site during the ceremony to monitor the microphone levels and ensure everything flows smoothly.

We can also play client selected music for guest arrival, processional and recessional if that is requested via a laptop, mp3 player or CD.  We can also offer our clients a large selection of event furniture and d├ęcor elements as well as event lighting, whether it be up lighting, pin spots, bistro/string lights, band lighting or dance floor color wash.  Some pictures of past events can be found on our website

the AV company
1825 Avon Street Extended 
Charlottesville, Virginia 22902
tel: 434-977-8288  cell: 434-566-3772  fax: 434-977-1988                     

A Final Note

When a professional is fully booked, he or she will generally know of other professionals to assist in your area. Ask, so you can continue your exploration. If you know of a professional sound person with whom you had a favorable experience, please share with us, and in future offerings for couples in need of that advice, I will happily pass it along.

Blessings ... Reverend Elisheva

Friday, June 15, 2012

Sharing Throughts ... But Not That Often

A Personal note from Revs. T. Wade and Elisheva Clegg


We cannot be accused of overwhelming recipients with blog postings on the The articles are initially sent to readers on our e-mail list, and immediately placed on the blog site. Therefore, the e-mail is more than just an announcement of the blog posting; it's an immediate read of the item and has a "forward e-mail." The hope is that these less than intrusive mailings will be well received, versus daily bombardment by political parties, and that you will send on to other friends.


Speaking of less than intrusive


The last three e-mails and blog entries were April 21, 2012 (before this e-mail), January 12, 2012, and September 21, 2011. That's about one e-mail every 2-3 months. The topics are easily reviewed as to diversity by clicking the blog site and scrolling back.


The September article emphasized that "Poetry can Lift a Wedding." An example of a poem which the audience really enjoyed and the bride wanted as a part of the ceremony was "Falling in Love is Like Owning a Dog." Take a moment and enjoy.


The December posting remained the only entry for three months. Blenheim Farm and Vineyards in Charlottesville, Virginia area, although a popular wine-tasting stop for years, had just decided to open the farm for weddings last season. It deserved attention as a possible location for review. Although we have never performed a wedding at the site, it is indeed a pretty location.  


The April posting was strictly of interest for couples planning ahead. Details regarding wedding licenses, along with ideas of fees and other considerations, were the sole focus of that article.


The next e-mail/blog is later this month for a wedding couple's TO DO LIST


"Sound" is the next topic of conversation. Past experiences with medium to large weddings, which neglected to enhance hearing for the audiences, have proven so disappointing. Not for the minister, the couple and the people seated on the front row, but for everyone else! Sound must not be left as optional for the most important ceremony in the life of a couple. We will offer ideas, and specific professionals scattered around Virginia with whom we have worked.

If you have experienced a Sound Professional/ DJ from an event or a wedding, then please send us an e-mail with their contact information and a comment. We would love to provide that information in our next in depth posting.  


The question we often ask ourselves: Are we writing a newsletter or a blog?


Quite frankly, our postings are probably more newsletter oriented. We may give extended attention to one topic, or list several items of interest. A concerted effort is made to pick a topic and offer in depth information with links for a reader. At the core, a blog and a newsletter is simply a Web page. Each communication format can contain text, images, and formatting styles.


It would be nice if readers would actively ask more questions about topics regarding weddings, so that a tailored answer could be addressed. After all, one objective is to offer pertinent information which can serve couples planning a wedding. But remember, we are Interfaith ministers, and weddings are only part of what we do. Some postings will reach beyond planning a wedding.  


A Final Note


It is true that our focus as Interfaith Ministers is tailored to personalization of weddings, and we travel considerable distances when proper planning is allowed. One or both of us is approved in all states and the District of Columbia. Couples are asked to read our website at and click on testimonials for a true sense of how we are received. In addition, for almost four years our dedication has been aimed at our totally independent, non-religious, all volunteer, 501(c)3 public charity, which is Interfaith Humanitarian Sanctum, Inc.


From all wedding fees a portion is allowed for support of this charity for temporary assistance for the indigent population who comes from all over Virginia to be served by the UVA Medical Center. A couple can provide a direct donation for a tax deduction, or we as ministers will direct our income from fees as needed to sustain this worthy objective. In essence, our ministerial roles are an integral part for sustaining our charitable organization, so when you receive e-mails from both entities, please know that our hearts and minds are ONE. Your wedding, if a couple seeking a wedding minister, will make a difference in the lives of the least able among us as they struggle with the most tragic of circumstances.  

Blessings ... US ... Revs. Elisheva and T. Wade Clegg 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

That Vital Document for a Legal Wedding

Some Helpful Tips for Couples as they decide where to obtain a marriage license

This article is one of those NEED TO KNOW renderings.  All couples will need to read the website of the state licensing requirements where a wedding will be performed, but most couples appreciate guidance from their wedding minister. This type of information will only appeal to those just starting their search. The likelihood of changes offered in this article will be minimum, but one must be aware that requirements do change periodically.
Some General Advice

The Marriage License is so important!Always call a Clerk of the Court Marriage Bureau (or similar title) in the county and state where you plan to marry and get details, if it's not already on their website. If you are traveling from a considerable distance, even from out of state, double check what documents you need and have them secured for the trip. Know what the fee is and what form is acceptable for payment. For Virginia and other states nearby, the fee is usually about $30.00.  In Washington, D.C.  the fee is $45.00. In Maryland, depending on which county, the fee runs from $35.00 - $85.00 (cash).  If anything changes, most likely the fee will rise as the years go by.  You may want to clarify hours of operation and any holidays which coincide with your planned ceremony.  Some couples may actually wait until the last few days to obtain a license and not realize that the office is closed for a government holiday. Don't let this happen to you!

Do you know how long the license is valid from date of purchase?

Since most of our weddings are in Virginia, the license is valid for 60 days. In Maryland the license is valid for six (6) months, a very generous length of time.  It may vary in other states, but this is important to know. We recommend that trip to the Clerk of the Court for a purchase from 7-14 days prior to the ceremony. Of course if an out of state resident, then arrival may entail planning the purchase just days before the ceremony.  The wedding must take place within that time period of 60 days in Virginia, or one can find it necessary to return to the Clerk for a return of the first license and purchase of another for 60 days. We recommend allowing that extra time beyond the planned wedding date just in case there is a delay of the wedding due to unexpected family situations, or weather, etc. In 2011 a hurricane in Virginia caused considerable delays in travel and closings of locations. Therefore, the license purchased a week or two prior to the ceremony will be valid for extra time to arrange a new plan.

Know exactly where you must be married with the license you have purchased

This is really important!  In Virginia you can purchase a license from any Clerk of the Court in any county, and you can marry anywhere in Virginia.  This is not true in Maryland, where you must marry in the county where the license is purchased. Most states allow for purchase at any County Clerk office with freedom to marry anywhere inside that state. Every state requires that the ceremony take place inside the borders of that state, and an address where the ceremony took place is required on the license.  In most states, especially in Virginia, a couple takes possession of the license immediately upon purchase. In Maryland a couple takes possession of the license immediately but must wait for two (2) days until a ceremony can take place.  In Washington, D.C. the processing and waiting time from application to pickup of the license for a wedding performed by a minister in the city away from the Courthouse is  three (3) days.  Always clarify with a Clerk any changes in processing time.

What are the responsibilities of a minister performing a legal marriage?

In Virginia a minister must be registered with a County Clerk in order to marry couples. The VA license provides for the minister to indicate which county of registration, year of registration, and address of the minister. The license only has one signature: the minister.  The license (two copies) and a return envelope is provided to the couple and then is presented to the minister prior to the ceremony for review and retention. The minister completes and returns both copies by regular mail to the Clerk of the Court within the week following the wedding.

What are the requirements for a minister performing legal marriages?

There are different requirements for each state. Virginia requires that a minister presents documents proving credentials and is then registered with a particular County Clerk of the Court.  It is acceptable to ask a minister or officiate regarding proper registration for performing a wedding on behalf of a state or in the District of Columbia.

Reverend Elisheva Clegg and Reverend Thomas Wade Clegg III are registered in most states which require registration. In Virginia our registration is with the Fluvanna County Clerk of the Court.  In West Virginia the registration is with the WV Secretary of State, who then allows for marrying couples anywhere in the state when presented with a license from any WV county. Maryland and North Carolina do not require a state registration.  In Florida both Reverends Clegg are registered in Bay County with the Clerk of the Court. Only Reverend Elisheva Clegg is registered with the Washington, D.C. Clerk of the Superior Court, and also in New York City for the State of New York.

Final Comments

Locate and read the State or District  website for requirements for a marriage license. If you have questions, CALL AND ASK!

Blessings ... Reverend Elisheva 

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Blenheim Farm & Vineyards - A Spendid Place to have a Wedding!

Blenheim Vineyards & Mountains
Splendid Opportunity for a Wedding!

This past Monday, January 9th, we were invited to visit a truly marvelous vineyard in Albemarle County along Carter Mountain Road. It was rainy and cold, probably the least likely time of the year for a wedding. However, once on the farm and inside several of the farm's 1800's style buildings, one could immediately sense all the possibilities for small-medium size weddings inside those cozy buildings. And it is easy to visualize the outside lawn area in spring, summer and fall with views over the vineyard.

When reviewing all of the marvelous locations for a wedding, couples now have another stunning setting near Charlottesville, Virginia from which to choose.  The Blenheim Farm has several buildings for selection to accommodate various audience sizes for a wedding. There is the Main House, the Library and the
Blenheim Vineyards Chapel
Chapel can host 20 - 25 guests
Historic Chapel. Outside on the lawn are a number of possible wedding sites near large trees.  Of course there is also the opportunity to rent the entire farm for events up to 200 people.

The Blenheim Farm and Vineyards  is located at 31 Blenheim Road. The first objective driving from Charlottesville is to head out toward Monticello on Highway 53. Keep driving past Monticello to the Thomas Jefferson Vineyards.  Just past their entrance on Highway 53 is James Monroe Parkway.  Go south 4.8 miles down the James Monroe Parkway after leaving Highway 53. You will pass Ashlawn Highland (home of President James Monroe) on the right.  James Monroe Parkway becomes Carter Mountain Road at about 2.6 miles.  Turn onto Blenheim Road at the new Trump Vineyard Tasting Room sign. Drive 0.6 miles to the Blenheim entrance on the left side of the road.
Blenheim Library Exterior
Historic Library
Just reading the directions should give a rather good impression of the magnificent area which is wine-growing country unequalled in Virginia.

Blenheim Outdoor Table Setting
Who says you can't dine outdoors?
Many of you reading this description and the Blenheim Farm website will be interested to know of the possibilities for business and family gatherings, in addition to weddings. Call or e-mail Kathy Del Rosso, Director of Sales and Marketing, a marvelous tour guide for planning an event. Her e-mail is  or call her cell phone at (434) 962-4241.