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

Page 4 FAQ's

FAQ’s

1.    I wanted my Cousin, a Minister from another state to conduct my wedding, but he does not want to go through the registration process.  Can he still be involved in the ceremony?

I will be happy to include him in the ceremony for readings, homilies, etc.

2.    What qualities should I look for in a wedding officiant?

The officiant should consider him/herself as the spokesman for the couple, heeding their wishes, as long as it is in good taste.   The officiant should give the couple resources to assist in the development of the ceremony. He should provide many choices of vows, readings, symbolic acts, including words to go with unity candles, sand mixing, wine sharing, jumping the broom, etc.  He should offer words for remembering those absent, and should give the couple a draft for review before the wedding. The officiant should not make extemporaneous remarks or jokes.  He should not consider his presentation as an informal chat session with the couple, but should stick to the formal script agreed upon by the couple.  The officiant should be impeccably dressed.  The officiant should have a trained voice that can be heard without amplification in outdoor venues.  He should speak with clarity, emphasis, and tone.   He should avoid colloquial and heavily accented speech.  His English should be refined, his pronunciation distinct, his vocabulary extensive, and his writing professional.   He should have training in public speaking.

3.    The groom’s parents are from the “old country.”  Can you welcome them with a few lines in Italian?

I have done this for several languages including Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Swedish, French, German, and Dutch.  I will try others if you provide the translation and phonetics.

4.    Do you have any restrictions on who you will marry?

The Code of Virginia sets forth who may marry.  I have no added restrictions.  If you have a valid (VA) marriage license, I will perform your ceremony.

5.    Do you perform other ceremonies, such as memorial services.

Non-regulated ceremonies for rites-of-passage other than weddings would be handled on a case-by-case basis.  Please call to discuss.

6.    We want a Colonial-themed wedding in a tavern in Williamsburg.  Would you wear period clothes?

  I will accommodate such a request, if additional costs are covered.  Other period or national clothing (e.g., Civil War, Victorian, etc.) may be suitable.  

7.    May we have the copy of the ceremony you read from?

Yes!

8.    How did you get into this activity and why?

A friend of the family requested I do her wedding.  After some study, I realized that those couples without a church “connection” either turn to a minister with whom they are at philosophical odds with, or obtain the services of a civil celebrant.  Unfortunately, the “justice of the peace” route may result in a ceremony not befitting the formality of a large wedding .  There are also “wedding ministers” who are ordained but are without congregations.  I try to give the level of personal service that a seasoned minister would, yet without the necessity of religious statements the couple disagrees with.


9.     When do you plan to arrive at  the site?  How long is the ceremony?

30 minutes before official start time.  When you sign up, please give the actual start time, not a "doors are open for guests" time.  If you are late more than 15 minutes, I may have to leave to go to another event.  The typical spoken part is usually 15 minutes.

10.    When are payments due?  Are deposits required?

Due at rehearsal or just before wedding.   Deposits are not required or accepted.

11.    How do I get a license?

The couple must present themselves before any Virginia Circuit court clerk, fill out a form and pay a fee of $30 - $35 in cash.  Be prepared with photo ID.  If divorced, decrees may be required. Call the clerk's office for any other local requirements.   No blood tests or waiting periods are required.  No witnesses are required.  The couple does not sign the marriage license.  The license expires in 60 days (not two months).

12.    When do I  get my formal official marriage certificate?

Upon completion of the ceremony, I complete and sign copies A and B and send by mail to the court of issue.  Upon their receipt, they will make you a certified copy.  Most courts will mail it to you.  Check the policy of the court you will be using.

13.     How do I change my name?
Take the certified copy to Social Security and DMV.

14.     Do you perform same-sex or gay marriages?
Yes, I do.  See FAQ No. 4 above.
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