I usually wear a black suit with a tie matching the color theme of the ceremony. I also can wear a stole with the suit. I also wear clergy vestments if the couple desires or the church requires it.
Do you require a deposit?
Yes, a deposit of $375 secures the date of your wedding. A deposit of $200 secures the date for other ceremonies. No fee is charged for memorial services, so no deposit is required.
What happens if you get sick and can't perform the ceremony?
I have never missed an event, even due to illness. I would need to be in the hospital to miss the event. Nonetheless, I have thought of this, and I take full responsibility to make sure your ceremony moves forward. I have a list of ordained pastors I can contact who can fill in for me. Since I will have prepared everything in advance, including every detail of the ceremony scripted on paper, a talented pastor can stand in for me and use my prepared materials. I will pay the pastor personally for his work. What the couple pays for will be done.
How long have you been doing this?
I have over 18 years of experience as a minister presiding over ceremonies and services, sharing in the life experiences of many couples and families from various cultural and religious backgrounds. I have officiated at more than 150 weddings and no longer keep track of the total number. I have done more than enough to be very good. DJs, wedding planners, and venue managers always ask me for my card and tell me that I am either the best or amongst the best officiants with whom they have worked. I have also mentored three other pastors in the Bay Area who offer this ministry to the community (you'll find them online, too).
Should I tip you?
Since you will have paid me, tipping is not necessary. Often family or friends offer a tip. Sometimes in pure joy and expression of their own thanks, weepy eyed fathers want to give me something. That's fine and very appreciated, of course. I'm glad for their expression of gratitude for my service to the couple and warmly accept the gift. It's important that the couple feel no obligation to do this, however.
Wedding & Vow Renewal
What should we expect?
After our initial phone call or email, if needed we will set a casual meeting at my office or a nearby coffee shop to meet in person. This is your chance to get to know me and determine if we “click.” Also, you can ask me anything you wish about ceremonies. Don’t feel bad if you’re not sure what to ask! Most couples aren’t sure where to begin, so I can help you talk through the big picture of your ceremony. If you wish to hire me, you’ll complete a one-page contract and cut a deposit check. (You may pay in full, but it’s not necessary.) I’ll provide you with many samples of vows, ceremony ideas, songs, and readings you could use in your ceremony. I’ll guide you in the process of writing your own vows, if that’s your desire. I’ll also give you both a little homework to help me get to know you—and your responses will become part of my wedding message at your ceremony. We’ll meet again to plan the flow of the ceremony, I’ll attend and lead the rehearsal, and—of course—I’ll officiate at the ceremony.
Do you provide sample ceremonies?
Yes, I do.
Do you perform weddings for couples from different religious backgrounds?
Yes, I do.
Do you require or offer premarital counseling?
I offer premarital counseling and highly recommend it. I do not require counseling. However, too few couples who marry today actually receive any counseling about what to expect in married life. Couples who already live together assume things will just be the same between them—and that is very rarely true, much to their surprise! Set yourself to prosper in your marriage—the sessions are fun, helpful and practical. Read how it has helped others.
How many times do you meet with a couple before the wedding?
If no counseling is involved, we generally meet twice in person before the rehearsal and ceremony.
What kind of legal paperwork is required?
You need to go to the county government offices in which you live and obtain a marriage license. Most county governments have this information on their websites.
Do you usually stay for the reception?
No, I don’t usually stay. The exception usually occurs for couples whom I have gotten to know very well. It’s hard to leave, because receptions are the best parties and so full of joy. However, I have found that the extra hours added up from rehearsals, rehearsal dinners, wedding ceremonies and receptions simply make for a lot of time away from my family.
Do you perform Commitment Ceremonies for same sex couples?
No, I don’t.
How soon should we contact you before the wedding date?
The sooner you lock in your date, the better. I have no minimum requirement.
Should we invite you to the rehearsal dinner or the wedding reception?
Thanks for thinking of me! This is not needed, because I usually don’t attend them. Some exceptions exist—for those whom I have gotten to know well, or if the rehearsal and ceremony are a long way off. Just ask me and I’ll let you know if it’s a fit for me to stay.
Can we say our own vows?
Yes. Writing and saying your own vows highly personalizes the ceremony. I can guide you in the process of creating your own vows.
Can a person be married more than once?
Yes, if you’re legally single you can legally marry. No previous number of other marriages (legal or not) makes another marriage illegal.
Baptism & Dedication
What is baptism?
Baptism has a variety of meanings and beliefs. Most basically, it means “to immerse, to sprinkle.” Therefore, in the Christian tradition water is used to baptize a person. If enough water exists to immerse someone, that can be done and many churches use only this method. However, a smaller amount of water can be poured or sprinkled upon the person’s head, which is more commonly done with babies, and this method is used primarily in many churches. Baptism is a form of blessing, of asking for God’s grace upon you and your child as those included in the Christian community. For an adult, baptism also expresses that person’s desire to express one’s own faith in Jesus Christ for trust in God’s forgiveness and the gift by God of eternal life. It marks the person outwardly with what is already an inward reality—that one belongs to God and to his community of faith, the church.
Why be baptized or dedicate your child?
Baptism identifies a person with Jesus Christ and with the Christian community of faith. In the case of an infant or young child it expresses the parents’ (or parent’s) desire to raise the child with godly principles and to seek God’s touch of grace upon that child. It possesses a sacramental meaning: God’s grace comes upon the child in some way. It also forms a promise to the child from the parents, family and God: “You belong to us all. We will love you and teach you to live in loving respect before God and to love others as yourself.” As long as the church has existed, children have been baptized to welcome them into the family, the community of faith, and to ask for the Lord’s blessing upon them.
What is the difference between immersion and sprinkling?
Immersion involves literal immersion under water of the whole person. Sprinkling involves pouring just a small amount of water over one’s head.
How does baptism differ from child dedication?
Dedication usually applies only to infants and small children. Dedicating your child expresses your desire for God to bless your child as you literally ‘dedicate’ your baby or child to God. No implied meaning of eternal salvation or sacrament or future beliefs of the child exist. Anointing oil may be used as a symbol of God’s Spirit to be present with your child. Parents also dedicate themselves to God in this ceremony to express their desire to raise the child in a godly home where, in time, the child will come to understand what it means to have faith in God. Parents also ask for God’s help to be loving, caring, wise, and godly parents.
Counseling & Coaching
What is coaching?
Coaching is a special process focused on helping you discover and clarify your own desires and goals for your life, your work and your relationships. As your coach, I work with you to create a strategy to help you get what you want out of life!
What is the difference between coaching and counseling?
Counseling generally involves more “therapy.” In counseling we seek to understand and heal the root causes of one’s hurts, bad habits or dysfunctions. I can offer pastoral counseling. I am not a licensed therapist. Coaching doesn’t look back to causes and healing them so much as it looks forward to solutions and strategies. What do you want? How do you get it? How do you create thinking, attitudes and action plans to get what you want most? That’s coaching—along with lots of encouragement and follow-up.
What are your qualifications?
I am an ordained minister. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, a Master of Arts in Theology, and I have completed post-graduate training in counseling psychology and pastoral counseling and I am currently pursuing doctoral studies in my field. I also have over 20 years of combined experience in ministry, counseling, coaching and business consulting. Most of this work hinges around clarifying goals, setting strategy and putting plans into action. For a bit more about my experience on the business side, see The Center for Relationship website.