|Exploration is important in order to establish comfort|
It is so important that a couple opens our website and reads the unsolicited testimonials and blog postings, accessed from the website home page. The blog postings are not all directed just for a couple planning a wedding, but a scan over the last year will offer some very helpful input. This deliberate review will offer a sense of comfort about "us," even before we speak by phone.
Who is US?
Just for a bit of early clarification, my husband and I work as a team, both writing and delivering a ceremony. A description and background can also be accessed from the website home page. Our general pattern is that I handle most of the ceremony, and Rev. T. Wade Clegg III provides requested readings, poems, blessings, and assists with rituals as needed. We are both ordained Interfaith Ministers. My personal background includes an MA in Pastoral Counseling, and completion of the University of Virginia Health System Intensive Chaplaincy Program in 2006.
There are NO obligations for exchanges
Many couples worry that having a friendly conversation through phone and e-mail exchanges may obligate them. The first time there is an obligation is after you have complete details in an attachment which is sent by e-mail, after we have talked, and then receive an e-mail from you which requests my participation as your wedding minister. I will then dispatch by e-mail an agreement for return by regular mail along with a deposit. The date is of course secured while the agreement and deposit are in the mail. Remember - you should not request a minister's services until a complete review of fees has been established. You should have an agreement with all vendors and participants hired to perform services for your wedding, and that includes a minister or officiant.
Why are we asked to perform weddings?
Our efforts to personalize a ceremony in collaboration with a couple is the main reason. The core theme of all my weddings is the love of two people, and how we proceed to learn of hopes and dreams and other details of this growing relationship is obtained through the use of individual questionnaires. The questionnaire is not a test; it is a tool for knowing you and being able to produce text and tone to reflect for family and friends why this gathering is the most important day in your life's journey. The answers are all known to each partner, and through tailored narrative responses, and perhaps more phone conversations, a ceremony is written and provided for your review. Generally, a ceremony encompasses about 30+ minutes.
Personalization can be much more than just the text of the ceremony
Family involvement is so very important if there are close relationships. Involvement can involve family or friends performing a reading or a poem; having two close friends or family members each holding a ring; having parents involved in special rituals to honor their presence, such as lighting candles, or offering a blessing of the union. If there are children from present or previous relationships, and they are age appropriate for participation, then this should be considered. Information which is obtained from Questionnaires allows me to know what to suggest in order to make a ceremony family friendly and a lasting memory for everyone.
A personal meeting is always possible with adequate planning in advance
About half of couples who are planning a wedding many months in the future make a plan to visit us in Charlottesville, Virginia for a tabletop conversation, usually on a weekend day which is not already obligated for a wedding. Many week days are also available for planning. We understand the need for some couples to have an added sense of comfort, and a personal meeting can be important. Most couples who travel from Maryland, Washington, DC, West Virginia and even hundreds of miles in Virginia enjoy coming to Charlottesville, and even plan for an overnight stay and enjoy the history of the area. However, when a meeting is not convenient for distance, work or obligations, the e-mail and phone exchanges between minister and couple has always proven adequate for purposes of creating an intimate ceremony.
Remember - planning a wedding is part of marriage. Stay involved together. Discuss and arrive at a comfortable place together. Now - complete that Contact Form accessed on the website home page, and let the conversation begin!
Blessings ... Reverend Elisheva