Couples I've married · Minister/Officiant · Weddings

Who is accountable…

… for starting the ceremony on time?

  • The musician?
  • The DJ?
  • The florist?
  • The officiant?
  • The wedding coordinator?
  • The wedding planner?
  • The photographer?
  • The event rental company?
  • The security?
  • The couple?
This is not the venue mentioned in this article
Prior to a wedding at Forsyth Park; this is not the venue mentioned in this article

Recently a bride was extremely upset with me because five minutes after the ceremony was to start, while the photographer was still taking photos of the couple, and none of the 10 people in the bridal party was lined up, with no professional wedding coordinator, and after finding the couple on the opposite side of the venue,  and telling her she looked lovely and that it was nice to finally meet her, I had the audacity to say to her the wedding needed to start.

She didn’t appear to be upset at the time.  It was only after I received notice of a review from her that I knew she was upset with me.

Who is accountable for starting the ceremony at the agreed upon start time?  That is now a question on my contract which every couple needs to answer with the name and phone number of the person accountable for making sure it starts on time.

My contract is because of bad experiences I’ve had in the past.  Everything in my contract is from bad/awkward experiences with couples.  I haven’t updated it in a while, in fact the last time was 18 months ago; it states the couple needs to have the ceremony choice, and any changes to it to me at least 7 days prior to the wedding or I get to use the Simple Ceremony from my site.

The reason being is that 10 minutes before the ceremony started in January of 2016 a bride sent me the email with her custom ceremony.  It didn’t flow well, I didn’t have time to edit it, or even had time time to properly read it.   All because of this one bad experience, I changed my contract again.

Today I’ve changed my contract because of another unpleasant experience.  Not only unpleasant, but the couple gave me a 3 out of 5 star review.  In her review she even stated I “did a good job on the short ceremony” but that I was rude to her prior to the ceremony.   Her review number was based only on my alleged “rudeness” to her.

In the review just prior to this 3 star, the bride raved about my attention to detail and my professionalism.

*Please note what I didn’t add to my response to this bride was the following, because I was limited on character count. But I thought the reader needs to know this:

•The bride was slow to respond to me. She normally took 2-4 days to answer any of my emails, while I responded to her emails the same day;

•Since the couple didn’t hire me for the rehearsal, she wanted to meet me the Monday morning at 9 am prior to her Friday wedding.  They lived around the corner from downtown coffee shop.  They weren’t there at 9 am.  At 9:10ish the groom finally came in.  The bride never did show for our meeting.  The groom was there for about 15 minutes.

Below was the response to her:

I’m glad that Ms. Chelsee D. wrote this review.  It reminds me that what some people call rude other people call it paying attention to details and being professional.

According to the contract Ms. Chelsee D. signed, the ceremony was to start at 5pm using a short ceremony dialogue.

Since the couple chose not to hire a professional wedding coordinator, they had the venue’s Event Planner, whom was also the DJ taking that extra role, so it wasn’t necessarily an issue if the ceremony started on time or not because he was getting paid to be there during the entire event.

At 5:05 pm I asked someone where the bride was and then I walked to the other side of the venue where the photographer was still photographing the couple. A professional photographer should have paid attention to details and made sure that her job didn’t cause the ceremony to start late and for the guests to wait unnecessarily in the heat.

It was a hot and humid day, and the bride needed to touch up her makeup before the ceremony began, which she did after a few more photos by the photographer.  The photographer was hired for hours, so it did not matter to her what time the ceremony started.

Unfortunately, as much as I would love to be able to delay the start of a ceremony as needed, it does matter to me that the ceremony start on time, which is why I have in my contract where I clearly state that if the ceremony hasn’t started with “Dearly beloved…” or something similar by the time agreed on the contract, that I can cancel the agreement at 12 minutes past the agreed upon start time.  Every couple has to agree to that when they sign my contract, and no one has ever crossed it off.

The reason I can’t delay the start of a ceremony is because it would not be fair to the couple and guests of my next wedding that I am late to their wedding because the wedding prior started late; I am sure Ms. Chelsee D wouldn’t have been happy with me if I had showed up late to her wedding.

In the conversation with the bride, after telling her how beautiful she looked and that it was nice to finally meet her, I believe I said, “Unfortunately, I am the only vendor not hired by the hour. So we will need to start the ceremony.”  That is the coordinator’s job, not mine to start to get people lined up and start the processional.  It’s not my job to even approach the couple about starting. Would you ask the musicians to line people up?  How about the photographer?

There were about 10 people in the wedding party. I didn’t notice anyone lined up and ready to walk down the aisle when I spoke to the bride at 5:05pm.

I find it very unfair and in poor taste that Ms. Chelsee D. chose to use pejorative words to describe my professionalism and work ethics, and giving me a 3 star review.

After over 6000 weddings I have successfully performed throughout the years, I have learned that it is of ultimate importance for weddings to start on time, for many reasons, otherwise why have a contract?

I have married over 12,000 people and they have agreed to the 12 minute clause. If a couple cannot agree to it, then it would be best if they have a different officiant as I don’t want the next couple waiting on me and then give me a bad review because I showed up late.  I’m sure Ms. Chelsee D. wouldn’t have wanted me to show up late to her ceremony because the previous bride was still taking pictures with her photographer.

I’ve worked with hundreds of photographers over the years and most of them have a timeline to which they stick.  Many are down to the minute.  However with this photographer I never saw a timeline.

It would be easy to blame the unprofessional photographer for not being a detailed person.  But I won’t.  I stand by my contract and reasons behind it.

If given me a 3 star review is because of the photographer’s lack of professionalism, I can handle that.

Lastly, the bride is a nurse. I would hope she pays attention to details when given patients medications and treatments.

Why is it when I pay attention to details I’m called rude, but when she pays attention to details she isn’t rude as she is helping keep a patient alive?

Maybe it’s a double standard.

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Elopements · Lipstick! · Weddings

Lipstick….

The only thing I know about lipstick is that it can look weird on a groom after the bride kisses him!

What surprises me is the reaction the bride often gives when she has purposely put on the bright red lipstick, yet is shocked when she see it on the groom after the kiss!

I’ve given away hundreds of Jos A. Bank handkerchiefs because after the kiss the groom has bright red lipstick on, the bride tried to wipe it away and now it looks even worse!!

Red lipstick can look stunning on the bride, but not so much on her groom!

Brides consider the color of lipstick you wear when walking down the aisle.

Share your experience!

 

Credentials

Preacher. No one’s perfect…. #WeddingRescue

This past Saturday I had a #WeddingRescue!

At 6:15pm a Savannah Police officer called me, while I was having a quick break between weddings, at Leopold’s Ice Cream which is a Savannah staple!

He said “This is Captain so and so with the Savannah Police Department.”  My first thought was something had happened to my son.  He continued “Lt. Gunther gave me your number because the preacher for a 6pm wedding didn’t show up and he thought you could help.”

“Yes, I can, where is the ceremony?”

“Greene Square.  Let me give the phone to a person in the bridal party”

“Hello.  The preacher we hired didn’t show up can  you come and perform the ceremony?”

“Yes.  I can be there in 5 minutes.”

“Seriously?”

“I just so happen to be down the street. I’ll be right there.”

When I arrived everyone was so grateful for me showing up.  I went inside the rented home and spoke to the groom.  While doing so, word came that the “preacher” showed up at 6:30pm.  “It doesn’t matter to me who officiates your ceremony, I can stay or you can have him officiate.”  “You stay.”  So I did.

The “preacher” wasn’t a preacher.  He was an internet ordained wedding officiant.  He wasn’t a pastor of a church, nor had he ever been to seminary to study the Bible or theology.  He is recognized by the State of Georgia as clergy because of his internet ordination.   Basically: he does weddings for the money.

While working out at the local YMCA one day, about a year ago, I heard this “preacher” brag to his friend about how he gets $175 to marry people and that he could hook him up too.  “It’s easy.  You show up, read the words and you get paid.”  The “preacher” didn’t recognize me from when we worked together on a volunteer school resource team in 1995.  I was 30 then, he was about 60.

I take what I do seriously.  Have I ever been late to a wedding?  I believe twice: both times about 5-10 minutes due to traffic.  Have I ever missed a wedding?  No.  Have I ever filled in for an officiant who missed a wedding?  Dozens of times.

Even if you don’t hire myself or my company, find out the reputation of the person/company you hire.  And also see if they have a business license.

I am a pastor of a local Lutheran church, yet I still have a business license for weddings.  For me, a business license separates those who are serious and professional from those who just do it for the money.

Share your stories and your thoughts.

Minister/Officiant · Outdoor Location · Weddings

Pros and cons of a non-local professional wedding coordinator

It’s great to have all of your friends and family at a wedding.  But is it great to have someone from your own town (or not local to Savannah) be the professional wedding coordinator for  your special day?

DSC_0037
Behind the scenes photo by Andy Resende of a photoshoot for a local project – no connection to the post other than I like the photo 🙂

Here is the list of cons:

  • They don’t know the area.
  • They don’t know the how long it takes to get from your lodging to your ceremony, etc.
  • They don’t know the details of how to keep people out of uninvited guests out of your ceremony (that, BTW, is not the security/police’s job at your reserved park/square wedding).
  • They normally aren’t worried about time lines, since they may be doing your ceremony at a reduced rate in order to have it on their resume.
  • They don’t have the connection to local vendors to get you the best ones.  Some coordinators bring all their vendors from out of the area.
  • Rarely do weddings start on time (one wedding started 45 minutes late – imagine your guests sitting for 45 minutes waiting for you).

Here is the pros:

  • You may know the coordinator personally – may have more fun.
  • They may give you a huge discount to get the out of town/state business.
  • They may be a friend, so you would only have to pay for their lodging.

Nothing against out of state/town professional wedding coordinators but I find that for the most part, local Professional Wedding Coordinators are steps above out of town ones.

Share your thoughts!

http://www.RevSchulte.com  #RevSchulte

Weddings

Awkward moments at weddings….

Over the last 20 years that I’ve been officiating weddings, there have been many awkward moments.  I’ve been hesitant to share any of them for fear of embarrassing the bride/groom/guest. Most of these examples below are years ago 😉

  • Brides, when you show your garter at a wedding/reception, make sure you keep the dress from going above your thigh!  Not sure if guests want to see your underwear.
  • Grooms, if you think you my emote (cry/tear/runny nose) bring a hanky.  it’s not pretty when your running nose drips to the  ground in long strings all while you try to sniff it back in.
  • Unless you are French, please don’t french kiss.
  • Brides, when you go to pull out the vows you have written for your groom, please don’t turn towards me to hide that fact that you are pulling them out of our bosom.
  • Don’t let the skinniest groomsmen go out drinking the night before a wedding – he may just pass out.
  • Brides, if you’re going to have a drink before your wedding make it just one, not seven!  It will be obvious to everyone, but you, that you are not walking down the aisle straight.  And, guests will notice if you call out their name as you are walking down the aisle waving to them.
  • If you say you’re going to write you own vows, PLEASE have them written and DO NOT do them extemporaneously.  It might sound good in your head, but not to your guests when they hear you say, “you’re the best women i’ve ever slept with.”
  • If the groom is going to drink so much that he has to go to the bushes to relieve himself minutes before the wedding starts, make sure that the one been seen coming out of the bushes with him isn’t a female. Especially if he’s zipping up his trousers.
  • If your groom hasn’t met your father, consider choosing a time that isn’t when I ask “who gives their blessings to this bride to be married to this man?”
  • Grooms, if you’re going to start your wedding on time, make sure your parents know that you’ll start without them.  (It’s beyond me why a parent would be 30 minutes late to a wedding when it’s across the street from their hotel).

If you have more awkward moments, PLEASE share them!

http://www.RevSchulte.com #RevSchulte @RevSchulte

Aisle Runner · Awkward Moments · Handkerchief · Lipstick! · Minister/Officiant

Some dos and don’ts for your ceremony

I can give you a lot of examples of why the don’ts don’t work!

Don’t have a traditional style aisle runner – Do consider using some flower petals. I’ve seen bride’s heels get stuck.

Don’t have flower petals on the beach. Sea gulls think it is food and will attack.

Don’t wear heals if your gonna stand in grass, unless you put those high heel protectors on them – to keep you from sinking into the grass.

Don’t laugh during your vows – do let tears and emotions happen.  If you are a laugher, then you may get laugher in the wrong time:  “I _____ take you ____  to be my ________.  To love and to cherish “laughter.”  I’ve seen the laughter at “and I promise to be faithful to you.”  Awkward.

Don’t wear makeup which will give you streaks if you shed tears.  Do wear make up which will not leave streaks.  This is different than mascara.

Don’t wear red lipstick – Do wear lip sealant.  Otherwise your spouse will have red lips, too!  Awkward for pictures.

Don’t let the groom arrive to ceremony without a real handkerchief.   Do get the groom one so that he can dab your tears or his perspiration.

These are just for starters!

Let me know your thoughts and your experiences!

my website: http://www.RevSchulte.com

Outdoor Location

Which Square or Park is right for your wedding.

Needing a few ideas on which outdoor locations in beautiful historic downtown Savannah is right for you.  Here is a list of these parks and squares with photos.   All of these locations are the most popular in Savannah, and are listed in order of popularity.

Short blog post, but great information!