What is your Denomination?
I am an ordained Christian Minister. I have been saved for over 25 years and have spent most of that in some sort of church ministry. Although, my theological study is from a baptist university I am Non-Denominational Pastor with a Pentecostal foundation. I like to call myself a Bapticostal. 🙂 My family and I currently attend the Bear Creek Christian Church in Medford, Oregon.
Are you certified to perform ceremonies?
Yes, of course, I was educated and ordained at N.A.C.M. and meet the requirements of not only the State of Oregon but across America. I am also educated through the Patriot Bible University. BUT, please don’t let the word “Certified or Licensed” give you peace of mind with your Officiant choice. Here’s a scary thing; Did you know that by simply going online you can get ordained and by sending $5 you get a legitimate ordination certificate? Here’s one better, some sites allow you to just ‘register’ and you are ordained? You can actually do it for someone else without them knowing!!!! That’s fun.
Being certified and having a religious title (you get to choose the title you want when you order online) does not automatically mean experienced or you are a Christian. Anymore than sitting in your garage makes you a car. 🙂
Not to say those wedding celebrants that have this type of certification are not legal nor are they any less or more qualified to perform a wedding ceremony. I simply state this so you fully understand that there is more to performing a ceremony than the certificate one holds. Remember that your ceremony is the reason everyone has gathered and you want to make sure the person performing your ceremony is experienced to handle not only the ceremony but all the little “Ooops” and “Uh-Oh’s” that can….and will happen during the ceremony.
If it is important to you that your Wedding Officiant actually be worthy of their title and that they are actually a Christian you may want o ask them where they attend church and who their Pastor is. Can you contact their Pastor for a reference?
Do you work with Wedding Coordinator/Planners?
Of course. One must remember that your wedding day is actually two separate events; Your Ceremony and Your Reception. Although most event planners participate in the ceremony by making sure the florists, D-Jay or musicians and staff have everything ready and will usually participate in the sending out and receiving of the wedding party (Processional and Recessional) they are not clergy and those who intrude into the ceremony planning and in the ceremony on the day of the event are going beyond the scope of their experience and authority, this intrusion is unwelcome and unprofessional.
Do you have any restrictions or rules for photographers/videographers?
Only two; first, don’t embarrass my bride and groom and second, do not stop the processional or recessional for a photograph. Other than that, it’s wide open. The way I see it; you’re spending a lot of money to capture these memories, who am I to set restrictions? This makes me one of the more popular Officiants with the many professional photographers in the area. (NOTE: Do keep in mind that some churches have rules regarding ceremony photography and you should check with the venue.)
Can you recommend a photographer or Wedding Planner?
Absolutely and I am happy to do so. However, remember this is your day and you should interview more than one. The decision on who you hire is yours.
I am paying for a “Package” that includes everything but we’re unhappy with the Officiant they provide (preferred vendors list), can we still use your services?
Of course and good for you for not “settling”! As your ceremony is the main focus of your day, you should find an Officiant that is a direct reflection of the two of you and allows you to be creative in the ceremony process rather than someone the company has made a arrangement with. I do not contract third party nor do I become part of any “Package” or rate. I work directly with each couple to avoid any misunderstandings or leave the impression that I am part of a group. Sadly, many companies have back room handshake arrangements with wedding vendors and will only work with or refer these individuals and even though you have paid a package rate and they will not be using “their” Officiant, more than likely they will not compensate or refund any part of their fee and you will have to hire me independently. This happens quite often and I would hope that sometime in the near future these types of companies (one stop shopping and backroom deals) will learn that the ceremony Officiant should be an independent process rather than making a big profit, if not for anything else other than; What’s best for the couple!
Do you overbook your day?
Not at all and as of today, I have never been late to a wedding! Sadly, some Officiants will and if just one starts late or runs late, those that the Officiant has scheduled after suffer greatly. I plan my schedules around my couples needs. Unless asked otherwise, I arrive 30-45 minutes early to assure the couple that I am there and ready to go.
Do you attend the reception?
99% of the time, no. I need to be honest with you, the only two people I will know will be the two of you and following the ceremony and during the reception, the two of you are rather busy (LOL). Finding the right table is also a tough one and your guests have no idea just who I am and how fun and contemporary I am. This leads to no one at the table dancing, drinking, smoking or doing the chicken dance! I have learned over the years that this saves my couples a lot of money too. Take the per-head charge and enjoy a nice lunch on your honeymoon! (Note: Remember this as you interview Officiants, some require that their spouse attend as well (for the same reasons above) and you need to consider this for your budget and head count.)
What about references?
Yes and you should ask for them!
What do you charge?
That’s a tough question to answer without first talking to you and discussing your ceremony plans. I need to know what you expect from me too, like do I need to dress like Elvis or jump from a plane? The fees for Officiant services in the area are anywhere from $200 to $800 and I’m in the lower end. Normally, I work on an offering basis. We will discuss it at the interview. Whatever is in your budget. I do this because I want to do it not because I can’t find another job. 🙂 The best thing is, the meeting with me won’t cost you a thing but a little time. If you plan to meet with other Wedding Officiants meet with me first and I’ll even give you the questions to ask an Officiant so you’ll be even more prepared for the other interviews.
Do you have a sound system?
This is a very tricky thing. There are several D-Jays and entertainment companies in Medford and most claim to be able to provide ceremony sound and charge an additional fee to provide it. The most common mistake is; they won’t spend the money for the right equipment for the ceremony. Most place a wireless microphone (the one they use for the reception events) on a stand (or no stand at all) and viola! there’s the sound and they go back on focusing on the music portion. In my opinion, there is nothing worse that seeing a minister trying to juggle a bible and your rings while trying to hold a microphone in his face (excuse me, can you hold this for a moment) or worse yet, all those beautiful ceremony photos with a big black microphone in your faces. Yuck! As a solution, if your sound professional does not have a lapel microphone
What else should I know before I call you?
For most people this is not a problem, however, I like to be upfront so that you are not surprised at our first meeting and that you are prepared at your ceremony to accommodate me.
I am a paraplegic (no use of my legs). I have been in a wheelchair for over 6 years. The weird thing is they have no idea why I am paralyzed. One time I was at the dentist and she gave me some shots to numb me for the procedure. She came back in the room about 15 minutes later and asked me if I was numb. I answered her, “I can’t feel my legs!” This got a big laugh out of the Dentist and her assistant. I am okay with this as long as you are ok.
Please remember that I can’t move around tight places…so be sure and have room for my chair. Being in a wheelchair does not affect my preaching ability or my ability to deliver a beautiful ceremony for you. I believe that we are only as handicapped as we feel. Today I am more alive than ever and I trust my Lord to heal me in His good time.