Frequently Asked questions
Do you offer Sample Ceremonies?
We are happy to provide sample ceremonies, along with a selection of love poems, inspirational readings, etc. Each ceremony contains certain elements, and you can mix-and-match from the samples or create your own wording (which we are happy to help you wordsmith):
- Discourse on Marriage/Love/Commitment
- Vows/Statement of Intent
- The “I Do’s”
- Exchange of Rings
- The Kiss
- Presentation to Guests
Do you perform weddings for couples who are from different cultural or religious backgrounds?
Absolutely. Many couples come from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds, and we work with each couple individually to create the ceremony that works for them, usually honoring both traditions in some way.
Do you require or offer premarital counseling?
We do not require premarital counseling; however, we are happy to facilitate a communication session for couples who have identified areas in their relationship that need some attention.
How many times do you meet with a couple before the wedding?
This varies with each couple. Generally, we meet personally to make the initial connection. Afterward, we work back and forth via e-mail or telephone to create the ceremony. Some couples like to meet again to discuss the details; others find they are too busy as the wedding day approaches. We are always available to answer questions along the way Occasionally, we get requests from couples who live in another state. We do all of the preparation via e-mail and telephone, then meet for the first time at the wedding (or rehearsal)!
What kind of legal paperwork is required?
To be legally married in the State of California, a marriage license is required. The couple is required to appear in person with photo ID at the County Clerk’s office to fill out the application. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes. The license is good for 90 days. Costs vary with each county.
Recorded information is available by calling the number listed under “County Clerk” or “Marriage License” in the County Government pages of the telephone book. After the wedding ceremony, we will submit the license to the County You will need to request a certified copy from the County Clerk after the wedding. All of this will be explained to you by the County Clerk at the time that you apply for your license, and a form will be provided to you to request your certified copy.
Do you require a deposit?
Upon signing the contract, we request a deposit of half the fee to hold the date. The balance is due on the day of the ceremony.
What happens if you get sick or injured and can’t perform the ceremony?
Fortunately, in the seventeen years that we have been performing wedding ceremonies, this has never happened. In the unlikely event of such an emergency, we will do everything possible to help you find a replacement. Usually one of us is available to step in for the other, if necessary.
Do you usually stay for the reception?
After the ceremony, we stay at least long enough to allow for photos and to get the signatures of the witnesses. Most often, we will find a discreet moment to depart (usually toward the end of the “cocktail hour”) leaving you to celebrate with your family and friends.
How long have you been doing this? How many ceremonies have you performed?
Over the past seventeen years, we have performed over 1,500 wedding ceremonies around the bay Area, and spend most of our time working with couples to help make their wedding day very special. Kathy and Larry are both non-denominational ministers.
Do you perform wedding ceremonies for same sex couples?
Yes. We wholeheartedly support Marriage Equality.
What do you wear?
Depending on the preference of the couple, we will wear either a suit or a black minister’s robe. When possible, Kathy will try to coordinate her suit color to match the wedding party.
We were thinking of having a friend perform our ceremony … do you recommend this?
It depends … If your friend is familiar with all the details of planning and conducting a wedding ceremony, such as: obtaining a marriage license, coordinating the wedding party and family members with regard to where to stand or where to be seated, following up after the wedding by submitting the marriage license to the County and providing instructions for what is needed afterward to change one’s marital status, then this is a way to save on wedding expenses. If however, the friend is not familiar with these details, it can be daunting, resulting in additional stress for both the friend and the couple. We’ve talked to hundred of couples over the years, and the most sage advice we can give is to hire a professional officiant with experience. It will relieve a great deal of stress!
What music should be played during the ceremony?
Generally, music for the ceremony falls into these categories:
Prelude or Guest Seating
Processional of Wedding Party
The Prelude or Guest Seating music:
Usually, the DJ or musician(s) will play music for about twenty to thirty minutes prior to the beginning of the ceremony. You should discuss the type of music that you want played during this time (and also what kinds of music you specifically do not want to be played) with your DJ or musician(s). This music will set the tone for the wedding and helps guests relax while waiting for the ceremony to begin. Family members, including parents, can be seated during this time, or can be part of the processional (see below)
The Processional music:
This marks the beginning of the ceremony. If any family members are walking down the aisle as part of the processional, you can designate a special piece of music for them, or they can walk down the aisle to the same music as the wedding party.
The Bridal Processional music:
Once the entire wedding party is in place, the music fades. The officiant asks everyone to stand. The Bridal Processional music begins, and the bride is escorted down the aisle.
The Recessional music:
The ceremony is over. The officiant will present the couple to their guests, and the Recessional music begins. This is generally an upbeat, happy piece. The couple walks down the aisle, followed by the wedding party (and parents or immediate family members, if appropriate).