CUSTOM WEDDING CEREMONIES IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA
B. MEREDITH WINN, JR.  - CIVIL CELEBRANT

Page 3 How my Service Works

Note: The following description applies only if you want a personalized ceremony performed at a wedding site. If you simply want to have a private, legal ceremony between the two of you using standard language, just make an appointment to stop by my home and we will have an exchange of vows followed by filling out the certificate.

PERSONALIZED CEREMONY

If you are interested in having me to assist you in developing a personalized ceremony to be performed at a wedding site, the first step is to call and see if the date and time of your wedding is open. If so, we will make arrangements for a meeting. I urge you to call early! Some bookings are made over a year in advance. If I am booked already, I will be happy to recommend other celebrants.

When we meet and get acquainted I will show you a workbook, from which you two, together, would select the introductions, meditations, readings, homilies, vows, and other components of your wedding. You can even pick how the proclamation will be said. The workbook will be presented to you in a Powerpoint display, with photos for reference. Then, if you decide to use my services, you will be given the hard copy of the workbook. This workbook is designed with many choices, so that you can go through and pick the parts you like, eliminate the parts you do not like, and add items you find independently or write yourself.

RESOURCES

Although not in the booklet, I also have collected extensive information on less-traditional ceremonies such as Handfastings, Hindu, and Buddhist traditions. I also have access to the standard ceremonies from various Christian and Jewish denominations. I also have access to Humanist resources.

Should the couple wish to look into a "theme" wedding, I will be happy to assist. It must be remembered, however, that any wedding must retain the dignity and solemnity befitting the occasion, and I will not conduct any wedding that is undignified or at an unsuitable location.

The process allows you to create your own personalized wedding, without having to create a new ceremony from scratch each time. You have time to go over the options, and then you send your selections back. Of course, you are welcome to add readings, vows, etc., from any other sources, or write something yourself. If special circumstances require, I will write special words for that situation (e.g., for a baby on the way or already here, blended family situations, to recognize a recently departed loved one, close friends who could not attend, etc.)

You may want to select family members or friends to do the readings. However, be sure to get people who are good at public speaking. Readers who cannot be understood detract from your wedding ceremony and may become embarrassed. Also remember that outdoor weddings without a sound system require really loud voices in order to be heard.

I then put together a draft of your own unique ceremony, checking to ensure that the ceremony flows smoothly throughout. I let you know how long the ceremony will last, and make any suggestions for improving continuity or eliminating redundancy. This can all be handled via email. After the ceremony, I will give you, for a keepsake, the copy of the ceremony used at your wedding.

Before The Wedding

One month before the wedding, mail or email your selections for the wedding ceremony back to me. We will then put your selections on computer and send you the draft for your review.

Within one week of the wedding, call us to make any last minute adjustments to the ceremony. You will bring the license to the rehearsal (preferred) or the wedding, and I will fill it out after the ceremony. I am responsible for mailing the signed version back to the court for recordation. If you wish our help in ceremony “logistics” or “choreography” you may visit again to review or get ideas (additional meetings are usually reimbursed for a small cost).

Rehearsal

Attendance at rehearsals depends on availability and the level of service you wish from me. Wedding rehearsals must be planned carefully. If there are many attendants, flower girls, ring bearers, it can be difficult to keep them organized. The choreography must be planned ahead so that there need be few, if any, last minute decisions. Most venues allow only an hour for rehearsal, so there is no time to waste. Make sure all participants are given directions to the location and are instructed to be on time. A good wedding director is very valuable.  If the ceremony is straightforward and the director well-prepared, I may not be needed at rehearsal.

The Day Of The Wedding

I will usually arrive at the wedding site approximately 30 - 45 minutes before the ceremony, so that I can run through highlights of the ceremony with your readers, father of the bride, best man, photographer, musicians, and any others who need last minute reminders of the cues they each will have.

After the ceremony, you will receive the keepsake certificate and your ceremony copy. I can usually stay for a few minutes if you wish for me to be in the photographs. Please advise the photographer to include me in any shots early, in case I have to leave. I usually try to greet the parents and grandparents and other close family before I leave. I always mail in the license the next business day after the ceremony and I also keep a xerox copy in case it would get lost in the mail. I keep all ceremonies digitally and your license copy for at least 5 years, in case you would ever want to refer to them.
 
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