Things To Look For In A Wedding Officiant

Your ceremony is the spiritual heart and soul of your wedding day. Yet, many people are uncertain about how to choose an officiate. You may even be a little intimidated when talking with the person who may be saying some of the most important words you will ever hear in your life. If you and your fiancĂ© are already members of an established church, synagogue or mosque, then the choice is easy. But if you are entering into an interfaith union, or neither of you has or desires an affiliation with a local religious group, you’ll want to be looking for an officiate who can serve you well on your special day. Here are some tips on what to ask yourselves and your possible minister/reverend/officiant!


1. Do you like the officiants voice? A person’s voice is not the only consideration in choosing an officiate, but it is important. Is the voice soothing or shrill? Does he or she speak slowly and clearly? Can you understand what is being said? Remember, the officiate is communicating the special words of your wedding ceremony to every single guest. If the voice is too soft, be sure that amplification is provided. The voice must be able to carry to the last row of guests, and hold their interest.

2. How flexible is your officiate? If your Uncle Bill wants to sing a song during the ceremony wearing a toga and a wig, will the officiate forbid it? Are you free to add your own vows or other special, romantic touches? Do you want a little humor in the ceremony? Even if you don’t know up front what kind of wedding ceremony you want, are you confident that your officiate will allow for changes as the wedding day approaches? Can your officiate work with you to develop a ceremony which honors the two of you? Will the minister allow flash photography during the wedding (usually this will help make the pictures look better)? How about a video camera?

3.What is your officiants background? How many weddings has he or she performed? If she is a new wedding officiant, are you comfortable with that?

4. Are you both happy with a nondenominational and nonreligious officiate? Most ministers work with and subscribe to the doctrines of a particular faith, but not the Humanist officiant who will not evoke gods in your ceremony.

5. What donation is appropriate? Some officiates are afraid to bring this up, so you can help them by asking directly. If they’re too shy to give you a clear answer, offer $150 and ask if that will be acceptable. Remember, the officiate will be spending several hours helping you prepare for your big day, so don’t just slip $20 into a thank you card.

6. How many meetings will you have? Some officiates say no meeting is necessary, that he or she will just show up for the wedding and you can run your own rehearsal. Others want you to go through extensive premarital counseling. Some will offer one or two preparatory meetings and a rehearsal. Some are even unwilling to meet with you in person if you are just “shopping around.” What do you want? Can the officiate meet your wishes? Will the officiate be available to talk by phone as questions arise? Can you trust this person with family secrets if you just need someone to talk to about personal matters? If possible, find an officiate who is as helpful as you want him or her to be but not overbearing.

7. Will the officiate run the rehearsal? An experienced officiate at your wedding rehearsal can be very helpful, but he or she may not be available at the scheduled time. If the minister is unable or unwilling to attend the rehearsal, will other arrangements be made for someone to put your wedding party through its paces? Don’t believe a minister who says you can easily run a rehearsal yourself without some advance practical help! If the minister is running the rehearsal, will the facility also have an assistant there to help? If so, the best way to run a rehearsal is to have the wedding coordinator help walk you all up to the front, then have the officiate rehearse the ceremony itself, and finally have the coordinator direct the recessional march at the end. Ask the officiate if it is all right for the two of you to face one another during the ceremony; the pictures will look much better!

8. Should I invite the officiate to my rehearsal dinner or reception? If the officiate has a long-term relationship with you or the family, be all means issue an invitation. Otherwise, the decision is entirely yours to make. Many officiates politely decline the invitation, so if you want them to attend, it may be best to ask casually first.

9. How will the officiate be dressed? I wear a robe similiar to a judges. Ask to see the robe, or at least a picture, to see if it looks good for your wedding day.

10. How elaborate will the ceremony preparations be? Many officiates have only one ceremony they offer. Be sure you get to read their ceremony and make sure it harmonizes with what you want said at your wedding. Ask if they also have an extemporaneous sermon they will add, or if what you see is what you’ll get. Others have a few simple choices (with the option of you adding some of your own ideas) so you can create the ceremony that most speaks to you. Still others want to sit down and design an elaborate, customized wedding just for you. Always ask how long they think the ceremony itself will take; this is critically important information for your facility, photographer, caterer, etc. You may prefer something more simple than what the officiate is offering, or more flexible: whatever you want, let the officiate know up front.

11. Do you feel taken care of? Many people feel that they have to meet a religious officiants standards, and in some religious traditions this is true. You will NOT experience this with a Humanist officiant!
Find an officiant who is nonjudgemental, easy to talk to and eager to serve you, and your wedding day will be a beautiful one for everyone.

Pricing Sheet

My intent is to provide services for non-religious people. Since I am not
in this as a business to make money, rates are kept low. The purpose is to pay for
expenses and nothing more. All prices mentioned here are approximates and open to discussion as I consider services donation based.

Event/Service Price Notes

Birth/Welcoming $110 Minimal modification of prepared services
Commitment $100 Minimal modification of prepared services
Wedding $150-$300 Dependent on complexity, number of meetings, and the
amount of my participation in design of the vows
Elopement $100 Reading of vows only
Separation or Divorce
$100 Minimal modification of prepared services
Memorials and Funerals
$150 Minimal modification of prepared services

Mileage Charge $o.40 per mile each way for any trip over 10 miles of WestLake Village, 91362

What is a Humanist? Does having a Humanist Officiant marry you connect with your core values?

Do you try to live an ethical and fulfilling life without religious belief?
Do you think science and reason lead to more reliable knowledge than faith?
Do you support secular government and an open society that guarantees human rights for all?
If you answered "yes" to these questions, you might be one of the millions of humanists on Earth -- people who live meaningful, fulfilling lives based on reason and compassion.

Humanism in brief
Humanism is a philosophy of life inspired by humanity and guided by reason. It provides the basis for a fulfilling and ethical life without religion.

Humanists make sense of the world using reason, experience and shared human values.
Humanists see no convincing evidence for gods, the supernatural, or life after death.
Humanists believe that moral values are properly founded on human empathy and scientific understanding.
Humanists believe we must live this life on the basis that it is the only life we'll have -- that, therefore, we must make the most of it for ourselves, each other, and our world.
Humanist philosophies have arisen separately in many different cultures over many thousands of years. Whether or not they use the term humanism, tens of millions of Americans and hundreds of millions of people around the world agree with the humanist philosophy of living a happy and productive life based on reason and compassion.

Definitions of humanism
Humanism is:

"...seeking, without religion, the best in, and for, human beings." Chambers Pocket Dictionary

"...a doctrine, attitude, or way of life centered on human interests or values; especially: a philosophy that usually rejects supernaturalism and stresses an individual's dignity and worth and capacity for self-realization through reason." Merriam Webster Dictionary

"...a non-religious philosophy, based on liberal human values." Little Oxford Dictionary

" appeal to reason in contrast to revelation or religious authority as a means of finding out about the natural world and destiny of man, and also giving a grounding for morality... Humanist ethics is also distinguished by placing the end of moral action in the welfare of humanity rather than in fulfilling the will of God." Oxford Companion to Philosophy

"The rejection of religion in favor of the advancement of humanity by its own efforts." Collins Concise Dictionary

"That which is characteristically human, not supernatural, that which belongs to man and not to external nature, that which raises man to his greatest height or gives him, as man, his greatest satisfaction." Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences

"A system of thought that centers on humans and their values, capacities, and worth." American Heritage Dictionary

Marriage License Information

Here is some basic information about obtaining your marriage license in California. You can obtain it from any county in the state and it can be used in any county in the state. It must be acquired no more than 60 days before, and no fewer than 3 days before, your wedding day. Some counties will allow you to apply for your marriage license by mail.
I am authorized to perform weddings in many states. For further details, the best source of information is always your County Clerk.

Changing Your Name and/or Obtaining Proof of Your Marriage

After the wedding, the County will not notify you of anything. It is necessary to go back to them and pay another fee to obtain a certified copy of your marriage license. You may want to wait a week or so after your wedding to make sure the document has been recorded, then contact the county where you purchased the license about getting a certified copy. That’s the one you’ll need to take around if you decide to change your name—Social Security Administration first, then the DMV, and then your bank(s), etc.

A wedding ceremony sample, one everyone seems to enjoy.

Most couples like to begin with a basic ceremony and customize it to meet their specific needs. There are no rules. Feel free to copy this one and play with it. Be creative. Use your imagination, and most of all, have fun!

Although Humanist ceremonies do not invoke any god or deity, we can always include cultural references or ceremonial symbols if they have personal significance for the couple. For example, a wedding might include a wine glass breaking from the Jewish tradition.

Welcome to the ceremony that will unite ______ and_____in marriage.
We gather here today to celebrate their union, and to honor their commitment
to one another
Today ______ and _____proclaim their love to the world, and we rejoice with and for them.

In marriage, we give ourselves freely and generously into the hands of the one we love, and in doing so, each of us receives the love and trust of the other as our most precious gift. But even as that gift is shared by two people who are in love, it also touches the friends and family members who in various ways support and contribute to the relationship. All of you are __________community, and each of you has played some part in bringing them to this moment. This is why gathering as a community is such an important part of a wedding ceremony. Because _______are now taking a new form as a married couple they become part of their community in a new way.

_____ and_______, it is in this spirit that you have come here to today to exchange these vows.


_________, repeat after me:

I ______ take you ________ to be my wife /
I promise above all else to live in truth with you/
and to communicate fully and fearlessly with you everyday/
I give you my hand and my heart /
as a sanctuary of warmth and peace/
and pledge my love and devotion to you
as I join my life to yours.



For thousands of years lovers have exchanged rings as a token of their vows.
These simple gold bands are not of great value in themselves,
but are made precious by our wearing of them.
Your rings say that even in your uniqueness you have chosen to be bound together.

________, take _______ ring and put it on her finger, and repeat after me:

Just as this circle is without end, my love for you is eternal/
Just as it is made of indestructible substance/
my commitment to you will never fail/
With this ring I take you to be my trusted confidante
and partner for life.



_____and____, although I'm officiating here today,
it is not truly in my power to sanctify, legitimize or bless your relationship in any way,
because the two of you have already done that in your hearts.
So, by joining hands right now and looking into each other's eyes,
let it be known that you are joined, body and soul in this lifetime,
and that this bond is sacred and eternal.
And now that you have stood before everyone here and exchanged these rings and these vows,
and have agreed to be married according to the laws of the state of Washington/Oregon,
it gives me gives me great pleasure to pronounce that you are Husband and Wife.

Credo Of Spiritual Humanism

We believe...

*Truth is conformity to fact or actuality. All truths are derived from natural causes and not from revelation.

*The truths of human nature demostrated in art are as important as the truths of the natural world demonstrated by science.

*Ordinary people are capable of solving problems. It is more productive to actively work together toward solutions than to rely on Divine assistance.

*Ordinary people ar ecapable of understanding the world using logical, rational, and analytic thought. All phenomena can be explained in terms of natural causes and laws without attributing moral or supernatural significance to them.

*Each person is born a good person and without "original" sin. Furthermore, each person is capable of living free from sin.

*Each person has the ability, called judgment, to assess situations or circumstances and to draw sound conclusions.

*Each person has the ability, called free will, to use their judgement to choose acts conforming to a set of principles defining right and wrong.We believe it is better to choose actions according to how closely they conform to ideal principles defining right and wrong rather than according to the perceived consequences of the action.

*Each person has the obligation to take responsiblitity for their accidental and deliberate acts. This responsibility includes expressing regret to the person wronged, making all possible reparations, and making every effort not to repeat the wrong. We all err, but we are not "sinners" and do not need to be "saved".

*Natural consequences are the only results of our actions. We do not believe in the existence of heaven or hell.

*All life came into being during the process of evolution. We are a part of the world and not dominant over it. We belong to each other and to the world itself.

*We do not believe that any text is the literal word of God; the bible, the quran, and all other so-called "holy books" were written by human beings and are not divinely inspired or authoritative.

*It's important to honor the great thinkers who have contributed to the world's body of knowledge. While we do not worship these people (or always agree with them), we do take time during the year to celebrate their lives and their contrubutions to our world. Through their works they have achieved a type of immortality. They are our mentors.

Principles of Spiritual Humanism again Spiritual Humanists of St. Croix Valley is where I took this from.

*It is wrong to cause harm or discomfort to anyone.

*It is wrong to steal, damage or destroy the property of others.

*It is wrong to deceive or dissemble.

*It is right to protect and teach all children.

*It is right to benevolent, kind and compassionate to others.

*It is right to enjoy life.

Goals of Spiritual Humanism from Spiritual Humanists of St. Croix Valley.

*Our goal is to create a community fostering goodwill, good friends, and emotional support during hard times, and happiness during good times, a moral grounding, and the spirit of creativity.

*Our goal is to return to the roots of humanism. We have passion for the classics, for science and technology. We acknowledge and respect our American traditions ( as well as others traditions - my words), especially the separation of church and state.

Essential Elements

Essential Elements of Spiritual Humanist Ceremonies

The distinctive elements of Spiritual Humanism:

-Religious inspiration should come from: the beauty of the natural world and recognition of our place in it; art, music, or poetry; hopes for future generations yet to be born and remembrance of those that have past; and calling on each person to be part of a community to make the world a better place.

-Have references to the universe and life and recognize our scientific understanding of these processes (evolution, the age of the universe in billions of years, etc.)

-Treat all people as equals

-Rituals are encouraged, like lighting a unity candle.

-There should be no reference to supernatural (no spirits, gods, etc.)

An officiant may not perform ceremonies involving-animal sacrifice, bloodletting or circumcision.( I would not do those anyway).

The official list of ceremonies that an Ordained Clergy Person may perform are: Marriage, Baby Naming, Hand Fasting, Commitment, Affirmation of Love, Invocations, Renewal of Marriage, Funeral, and holiday ceremonies.
However if your religious traditions include ceremonies not mentioned here you may also perform them as long as they break no law and harm no one.


Traditional Elements, Contemporary Elements, Totally New and You Elements, or a Fusion of Elements

I encourage you to sit together and discuss your day-your way. I am only limited by what it actually takes to marry a couple, the legal language and marriage license signing- the rest is up to you.

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I promise you a wonderful-fun experience that will live in your hearts and memory forever.

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I have several resource texts I like when it comes to ceremonies- however, they are not the only things I use- You are very welcome to come up with your own unique ceremony that is all your own- In fact I encourage it. See my Elements of Ceremony,Texts page for more ideas.

What I think

I think that all people are special and important simply because they exist. People should not judge or be judged on anything other than content of their character.

I do not believe in discrimination against any one for any reason.

Because something is typical does not make it normal- typical and normal are two very different ideas.

Race is simply a social construct. If the scientific definition of a species is thus... A group of organisms that can mate naturally and produce fertile offspring.Then it is perfectly obvious to me that "race" is a construct not a reality. Any one person on the planet can mate naturally with anyother person and have fertile offspring. Yes, of course there are exceptions(infertility etc) - but I am talking as a whole, as a species we can and do have children with each other. Race is a construct to keep some people down and raise others up- artificially. Plainly put- this is crap.

Heterosexuality is NOT the only "correct" sexuality. Sexuality is very much a part of our and other species genetic makeup. Many non-human species engage in homosexual behaviours. Being Gay,Lesbian,Transgendered,Straight,Bi or anything else is not a disease, it is not an abberation of nature,it is not a sin to be punished and condemed, it is not a choice; it is simply part of the bigger picture of love and being loved. Many species in nature- and we as humans are a part of the natural world- reproduce in ways that do not involve heterosexual activity- so to say that heterosexual is the only normal way is incorrect.

Humanism does not preach. It does not speak of a Heaven and eternal bliss as a reward for true believers and those who follow correctly; nor does it speak of Hell and eternal pain and suffering for those who do not follow correctly. It speaks to a persons innate right to make a connection on a spiritual level with the Universe. It is not a scripted dogma. There is no real right or wrong- however this does not make it a non-moral, non-conductive religion. People do not have to be a part of the main stream religion to be moral, they do not have to follow the dogma and teachings of a "legitimate" or widely recognized religion to be honest and loving people. Human life should be based on reason, rationalism and science. Finding our way in the universe is one of the most important undertakings that each of us will ever attempt. Spiritual Humanism chooses to take each person as a real and legitimate human being and journey together.