...so here are some answers
Why should a UU minister be our officiant instead of a friend, notary public, or "internet minister"?
If you have to ask, you've never watched "Four Weddings" on TLC. (Of course I watch it. It's fun research!) Every show seems to include a Very Awkward Officiant whose verbal stumbling or hair-raising theology detracts from the couple exchanging their vows.
Your wedding is a singular event: a gathering of your loved ones that might never happen again. As a minister, I call those circumstances sacred: a time set apart from the ordinary.
Whether you want a God-centered ceremony or a secular one, the officiant's role is to set the tone and hold the space. As a minister, I'm experienced at doing exactly that. While you may cherish a friend or relative enough to call them into service, that person may struggle to hold the tender, profound energy of your wedding. You, your wedding party, and your guests should enjoy the ceremony without anxiety, awkward attempts at humor, or other risks that arise when well-intentioned but inexperienced friends step into an officiant role. Let your friends enjoy the day, or ask them to fulfill a different leadership role.
Where do you work?
I live in Bath (Maine), but travel far and wide.
Do you perform same-sex weddings?
You betcha. I'm proud to belong to a religious tradition (Unitarian Universalism) that's long advocated for GLBT justice.
How long is the ceremony?
Most of my weddings last under twenty minutes -- but it's a concentrated, powerful time, like fruit cooked down to its essence. The personalized ceremony will feel like an authentic reflection of you and your relationship.
Do we have to say "God"?
Only if invoking The Holy feels right to you. Many of my ceremonies are secular, or "spiritual but not religious." My job isn't to force religion on you; it's to create a tone of reverence and celebration using the language that feels right to you.
Can we write our own vows?
Of course! Your own words to each other are far more meaningful and binding than anything I could suggest for you. If you’re not sure about writing your own vows, I supply you with a range of options -- from traditional to modern -- to inspire you.
How do you dress for the ceremony?
I wear a black clerical robe and stole. (Like any fashion-forward minister, my stoles come in a range of colors. Tim Gunn would approve.) Shimmering hot summer days find me in a simple black/grey dress and a stole. I cheerfully honor the request of non-religious couples to leave my stole and robe at home.
Can we have a chuppah? A handfasting? Broom jumping?
The sky's the limit... figuratively (I'd prefer not to officiate at a sky-diving wedding). We can incorporate any ritual or element that resonates with you. I've conducted handfasting rituals, sharing of the wine cup, out-at-sea weddings, and more. The more creative you want to be, the more I'll support you.
Is there anything you won't do?
I'm not the minister for you if you want your ceremony to refer to marriage as belonging exclusively between a man and a woman, or if your vows include the word "obey." These choices don't reflect my understanding of marriage as a freely chosen commitment between equal partners.
I won't surprise you. If you choose me as your wedding officiant, you'll understand my process and my fees upfront, and will know what to expect. During the ceremony, I'll say words that you and I have agreed are appropriate for your wedding.
Finally, while laughter is part of most wedding ceremonies, I'll never make jokes that prey on gender stereotypes or denigrate marriage. Nothing makes me cringe more than when a couple's brave and joyful choice to marry one another is marred by cheap humor.
Do we need a rehearsal?
I recommend the clear, calming guidance of a rehearsal for you and your wedding party. Rehearsals aren't just about building "muscle memory" for the processional and standing, but are the moment when most couples (and their families) absorb the full emotional weight of the marriage that's about to occur.
We're pregnant, or hope to be pregnant by the wedding. Does that bother you?
Only if you don't send me baby pictures.
Are you available for our wedding?
Maybe! I'm booked for these 2016 dates:
May 9 (Catie + Brian)
May 14 (Karen + Antoine)
May 21 (Jay + Jake)
June 5 (Krista + Dan)
June 11 (Hayley + Andrew, Erin + Kevin)
June 15 through June 27: away from Maine
June 28 (Christina + Bodo)
July 9 (Anna + Dan)
July 16 (Jennifer + Kyle)
July 17 through July 28: away from Maine
July 30 (Amy + Josh)
August 6 (Nancy + Paul)
August 13 (Amanda + Jason)
August 14 (Allison + Kevin)
August 20 (Catherine + Joe)
August 27 (Bernadette + Justin)
September 3 (Kayla + Chris)
September 4 (Kailtin + Kyle)
September 10 (Jennifer + Clark)
September 17 (Abby + Mat)
September 24 (Kelsey + Duncan, Amy + Celeste)
October 8 (Glynnis + Richard)
October 15 (Rachel + Jibran)
Please note: most of the Saturday dates above are for late afternoon/early evening ceremonies. It's not unusual for me to officiate at two weddings on the same day, so if yours is a morning wedding that falls on a "booked" date, please reach out to me.