2. Do you have a back-up minister/officiant in the event you are ill or you get into a car accident? OR If you aren't available for our date, can you recommend another officiant?
the highly unlikely event an emergency occurs and I cannot make it to
your ceremony, I have minister colleagues working exclusively with me,
and if one is available, she/he would come and do your ceremony. If they
are not available, I know of several other independent quality
officiants I could call on. Rest assured, as long as I am
physically able, I WILL be at your event, or you will receive a full
refund of all fees from me, and every effort will be exhausted to find
an alternative officiant for you.
If I am not available for your date when you initially make your inquiry, you may have the option of having one of my minister colleagues, Rev. Pamela, Rev. Kim, or Rev. Rob, or Rev. Val (top to bottom, pictured below) perform your ceremony. All hold a similar belief systems and ministerial styles to my own, are dear friends with joyful personalities, and I asked them to join me in my ministry because I knew they would do a wonderful job for couples. You would still communicate with me to talk all major details, and I would be creating your ceremony script, but then my colleague would actually perform your ceremony the day of. She/he would also be available for an email, Skype meeting, or a phone call in the days before the ceremony to introduce herself/himself and make you feel more comfortable.
5. Do you hold any certification and are you affiliated with a church?
am ordained through the Ministerial Seminary of America, (now called the Peace of God Chapel) and I
completed thorough coursework provided by them specialized for wedding
officiants, earning me their CWM credential (Certified Wedding Minister.) I also further my faith education at Elmhurst College and at a local, open-minded church. I am currently an independent, interfaith minister, meaning I am not affiliated with a specific church or denomination. (This also applies to my colleagues.) At this time, this is what I prefer, as it allows me the freedom to perform ceremonies whenever and wherever I am needed, and however my couples or families want.
6. How many weddings do you book on the same day?
I would very likely only book one per day, unless there is extremely ample time and minimal distance between ceremonies. Only in that situation would I consider performing two in one day. I would very likely not consider more than two per day, but again, I might, ONLY if the timing is ample.
7. Will you co-officiate with another clergy member?
It would be a honor to do so and I would welcome the experience with widely open arms.
8. Do you have a payment plan?
A deposit is required at the time of booking, and the balance is due the day before the ceremony. If you prefer to break up your balance into payments, you are welcome to do so.
9. Do you accept personal checks?
10. Do you accept credit cards?
I can accept credit cards through Paypal, although there would be an added 5% fee in addition to my published fee.
11. Do you provide a service agreement or contract?
Yes, because it serves as a clear communication of what we expect from each other and guarantees we are on the same page and NOTHING has been misunderstood. And, as you've probably heard before, "always get it in writing." Any good professional will provide a service agreement or contract.
12. Do you have any restrictions regarding performing the
None that I can think of, within legal and good moral limits of course, and maintaining proper professionalism, although I do have an open mind, and a great sense of humor.
13. Do you require premarital counseling prior to performing the
Premarital counseling is not required, although I’d be happy to consider it with any couple who’d like to participate with me. I do find however, that as a couple determines what they want in their ceremony, they discover new things about themselves and areas in which they are alike, different, etc. helping them to get a little practice in compromising. So, the process ends up being a bit of a therapy session, in a good way. :)
14. Um, Reverend, this IS legal, right?
Legally binding ceremonies do not only have to happen in a church or a courthouse. Your marriage is legally binding as long as you have properly obtained a marriage license in the county in which the ceremony will be taking place and it is signed and returned to the county by an officiant (That's me, by the way. As a religious official, I am authorized to solemnize marriages and civil unions), in Illinois. (In some other states, like Indiana, you can obtain your license in the county you live, but it is still valid if you get married in another Indiana county.)
15. We don't want to be/can't be legally married or bound to one another, but we want to have a celebration. Will you perform a "spiritual union?" (A "wedding" were no marriage license is filed.)
There are many reasons why a couple may want to declare their commitment to each other, without being legally bound together. I am understanding of any of these reasons. In these cases, I will perform a spiritual union, with the following conditions: Your signed contract states this will be a spiritual union and no marriage license will be filed. I must ask both parties participating it the ceremony, the day of the ceremony, before the ceremony begins, "Do you understand that this is a spiritual ceremony only and is not legally binding?" and both parties must acknowledge this understanding. Also, I will issue a certificate that states I witnessed your spiritual vows, but no marriage license was filed and the ceremony was not legally binding.
16. Will you perform a same-sex wedding ceremony where it is legally recognized, a civil union where it is legally recognized, (and in Illinois, as of June 1, 2014, MARRIAGES WILL BE LEGAL AND RECOGNIZED BY THE STATE) or a spiritual union for a same-sex couple where such a marriage or civil unions are not legally recognized?
Absolutely. Actually, I'm downright giddy about it, and thrilled that the state of Illinois has taken this step. (Pictured below are Kelly and Renee, the first couple to celebrate their civil union with me.)
17. How far are you willing to travel?
I am willing to go anywhere. (Travel fees apply.)
18. Will we get to review our ceremony before it is presented?
Yes, I always provide a written copy of a ceremony for review and approval, and I don't stray from that script during the ceremony.