To become a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, I completed the professional training program offered by The Celebrant Foundation and Institute. As a Celebrant, my mission is to create a truly unique and customized ceremony. I take the time to get to know each client personally and, through interviews and research, I learn what is important to my clients and ensure that it is reflected in their ceremony. In addition to wedding ceremonies, I also create baby blessings, memorials, and other ceremonies.
Ingrid Bonne Photography
Where do you officiate ceremonies?
Pick your place and I’ll be there! I’ve officiated ceremonies in all sorts of venues, ranging from barns to breweries, mansions to museums, and including the Sears Tower (as a native Chicagoan, I claim the right to ignore that other name). I typically travel around Chicago and the surrounding Metropolitan area, up to 1 hour from O’Hare Airport. I also sometimes travel to northwestern IL (Galena). And if you happen to be planning a wedding in Morocco or some other cool destination... take me with you!!
How are your ceremonies different from those of other officiants?
The most important difference is that I create a ceremony specifically for you. This doesn’t mean that I have you pick from a menu of options. Every part of the ceremony and every word I say has your input and gets your final approval.
One major difference from most other ceremonies is that I will tell your Love Story. So, as opposed to a “traditional” ceremony where an officiant speaks about love and marriage in general terms, I will tell your story. By having a Celebrant ceremony, you are completely empowered and in control.
What if I’m not religious?
That's okay - neither am I! Whether you identify as "spiritual but not religious" (SBNR) or atheist, or anywhere in between, you can have a beautiful, meaningful ceremony that does not include any religious elements or references.
Jason Kaczorowski Photography
My partner and I come from different backgrounds – is that a problem?
Absolutely not! When multiple traditions or cultures are brought together in a wedding, the ceremony is a perfect opportunity to celebrate and honor each heritage. Your ceremony can include rituals and elements from both backgrounds – it can also offer an opportunity to combine traditions in a creative and meaningful way.
Will you marry same-sex couples?
Of course! Marriage equality is very important to me! I’m proud to have performed the first same-sex civil union ceremony in Chicago in 2011 and have performed many same-sex ceremonies over the years. I’m very passionate about giving ALL couples the opportunity to have a unique and personal ceremony.
I will never knowingly work with any wedding professionals who do not support marriage equality.
Would you do a theme wedding?
Sure! In the past, I have created ceremonies for weddings with various themes including Star Wars, Doctor Who, and a Halloween costume party. They were so much fun, so I’d love to hear your ideas!
Can I write my own vows?
Writing your own vows can be a wonderful, meaningful experience. You are welcome to do it all on your own, or I can help you get started. I’m here to give you as much help as you need.
Jeremy Lawson Photography
How much control do we have over the ceremony?
You have complete control. I will email a first draft of the ceremony to you and you’ll send it to me with your feedback. I will include all of your changes and will keep revising until you determine that the ceremony is exactly right.
What are your thoughts on a rehearsal? Do you charge extra for running a rehearsal?
I am a big believer in rehearsals, which is why it is included in my fee. There is no separate charge. Even if you don’t have a wedding party, I like to meet with you before the ceremony to go over everything in person. I want to make sure you’re comfortable and relaxed on your wedding day!
Do you stay for the rehearsal dinner and/or reception?
After the rehearsal, I typically go home to do any final ceremony edits and to put together cue sheets while everything is still fresh in my mind.
On your wedding day, I’ll stay for a bit during the cocktail hour to spend time with you and your family and friends – and to drink a free glass of wine. LOL. But, I head home before dinner so I can spend time with my family - and you can hang out with your guests.
Please do not feel obligated to invite your officiant to the reception.
Are you willing to co-officiate? Have you ever done so?
Yes, am more than happy to co-officiate with other officiants, and have done so in the past. For example, one of my couples wanted a ceremony that would honor their Jain faith. So, I wrote the ceremony with their input, which included their love story, and explained the religious elements. I officiated most of the ceremony, while their Swami from India performed the traditional Jain rituals.
Do you create other ceremonies besides weddings?
Yes, I do ceremonies to honor any life event, including Baby Welcoming ceremonies and Memorials.
How do I get a marriage license?
You must apply in person (together) for a marriage license at the county clerk's office - in the county where your wedding will take place (regardless of where you live). Here's a linkto the county clerk offices in IL.
For information on getting a license in Cook County, click here.
Feel free to email me at the address at the bottom.