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.

SaveSave

SaveSave

Advertisements
Awkward Moments · Elopements · Facebook · TV · Vendors · Weddings · What I don't know

With this ring, I _____ wed.

Yep!  Many people don’t know this phrase, “With this ring, I thee wed.”

The words thee and be sound nearly alike.  Yet they don’t mean the same thing!

Probably 30% of the time, couples hear the word wrong, even though i really enunciate the T H sound of Thee.  So I often hear, “With this ring, I be wed.”

Maybe I’m just old and know the phrase from movies and older tv shows, and English weddings, and well wait, current TV shows too!

If you can think of a good phrase to use, I’ll give you credit!

Marriage LIcense

Wedding Mondays!

This is the first of many more Wedding Mondays!!

332910_3373808074943_721866329_o

How do we get a marriage license?

If one or both of the couple live any where in Georgia and have a valid Georgia ID then they can get their marriage license from any county probate court.  If however, neither of the couple live in Georgia then they will need to get their license in this county, which is Chatham County.  The phone number to the court house here is: 912.652.7267.  If you are getting married in South Carolina, the phone number to the court house on Hilton Head Island is 843.341.8413.  Both bride and groom need to be present when obtaining their license.

If you get a marriage license in South Carolina it can only be signed in South Carolina. Likewise, if you get a marriage license in Georgia, then the ceremony must take place in Georgia. 

Once the license is signed, it can either be taken in by you the next business day, unless you get married during business hours, or it can be mailed in.  If you mail it in, you will need to provide them with a self-addressed stamped envelope so they can mail you the certified copy.

Georgia has no waiting period.  South Carolina has a 24 hour waiting period once you apply for a license.  In Georgia and South Carolina there are no blood tests required.

If either or both persons have ever been divorced, they must bring final divorce decrees. 

South Carolina marriage license expire within a certain time of obtaining them, whereas a Georgia license has no expiration date.

Awkward Moments · Bride · Marriage LIcense · Weddings

Divorce Decrees now REQUIRED in GA if you’ve been divorced and want to get married.

Yup, that’s right!

Now Georgia requires you to bring divorce decrees. Not just from six months ago, but from forever ago.

This is important, but who knows why?! You can marry your first cousin in GA but you can’t marry your same gendered partner. HOWEVER you have to bring up your past that you’re trying to forget! If you’ve EVER been married you HAVE to bring the divorce decrees.

Call the probate court and complain… or ask why: (912) 652-7395

Thank Yous · Weddings

Cheryl and George….

Thank you for these words on WeddingWire.com

#justmarried @savannahido @visitsavannah @savannahwedpros #savannah #wedding #SavannahWedding #RevSchulte #AWeddingForTwo #ElopeInSavannah #AWeddingWithRevSchulte
#justmarried @savannahido @visitsavannah @savannahwedpros #savannah #wedding
#SavannahWedding #RevSchulte #AWeddingForTwo #ElopeInSavannah #AWeddingWithRevSchulte

This review for Rev. Schulte is long overdue, but even today, several months after our wedding, a guest commented on how fantastic our officiant was. He really exceeded our expectations and went way above and beyond the call of duty for us.

We booked Rev. Schulte via email about a year in advance as we were planning a destination wedding. From the outset, he was responsive to both email and phone. His website and blog were incredibly helpful, and he always had advice about practical wedding details, including which Savannah squares were best for our outdoor ceremony and what other vendors he recommended. He also has several sample ceremonies, and was very open to any sort of customization that we wanted.

We didn’t actually meet in person until two days before our wedding. We’d had quite a stressful week in Savannah (it included a trip to the ER for one of our family members), and I think Rev. Schulte could immediately tell that we were stressed. He was incredibly calming, and went over every detail of the ceremony with us over coffee. He really knows EVERYTHING – including the best places to stand in the square based on uneven pathway bricks, and which angles are better for photographers!! He then made the very generous offer of finding us a day of planner at a reasonable price- which he did almost immediately!!! He gave us the reminder that we needed at that moment, which was that our wedding was important and we were entitled to a special, perfect day! And it was, largely because of him.

The day of, my father was so overwhelmed that he blanked at the altar when it came time to give me away, and Rev. Schulte, with barely even a blink, very calmly walked him through it. We also loved loved loved his seersucker suit, which was perfect for our outdoor ceremony! We feel very lucky to have had him officiate for us – he really worked hard to give us a perfect day. We can’t thank him enough, and hope he takes us up on our offer to visit us in NYC!

 

Minister/Officiant · Vendors · Weddings

Is hiring a friend as an officiant a good idea?

Let me say for starters, that the word is officiant (noun). If the person that you’re thinking about hiring doesn’t spell the word correctly, you’ll want to continue to look.

It’s a great idea to have a friend or family member officiate (verb) at a wedding. I was the officiant at my younger brother’s wedding. That was 7 years ago, and I’d been officiating weddings for 10 years at that time.

If you ask a friend or family member to officiate your ceremony, here are the things to consider:

First, even if they are used to speaking in front of others, how will they handle the unexpected? A crying baby, an outdoor ceremony with a loud motorcycle? Or take for instance, will they know to look at the couple during the exchange of vows to see if their face/eyes start to show emotions/tears? Will they know how to handle that: will they pause or just plow right through?

And, this is a tougher one: when people became emotional they will laugh or cry. Often times people laugh during the vows rather than cry, and it can be very disconcerting. Imagine the groom repeating after the officiant, “I promise to be faithful to you,” and then the groom starts to laugh, or the bride starts to laugh. How will the officiant handle that?

I’ve also seen officiants get so nervous they NEVER look at the couple: they only read from the papers in their folder.

Will the officiant tell the bride when to hand off the flowers? Or what if they forget to tell the guests to sit down? I’ve seen a couple weddings where guests stood the entire time because the officiant either forgot to stay anything or didn’t realize they were standing because they never looked up.

It is a very high honor to preside at a wedding – I never take it lightly.

Why hire an experienced professional wedding vendor? What do you do for living? Imagine you’re leaving for a one day vacation and a temp is brought in. How well will they do? Will you be comfortable leaving your job to this person, knowing when you come back things will probably be a mess?

The same goes for having an inexperienced person participating in one of the most important days of your life. I’m not saying you shouldn’t ask a family or friend to take part of your special day. I’m asking you to take a look at it from their point of view.

Once I saw an officiant do his first wedding. Going into it he was so calm and comfortable. But as soon as it started he got so nervous (and it was so obvious on his face) that he skipped over 1/2 of the ceremony, including the rings! Afterwards, during the reception, he told me it was MUCH more difficult than he ever thought. In fact he said he’d never do it again!

Also, you may not want to ask a parent to be the officiant. If my son asked me to officiate, I would say no. My reasoning is this, I can’t be the officiant and father of the groom at the same time. i can’t do the duel role and be in the moment. It’s not possible to be the father of the groom, enjoying that proud moment, while being the officiant.

Speaking of family members having a role, albeit officiant, photographer, coordinator, florist, if I were to be asked to officiate a relatives wedding (sibling, niece, or nephew) I would say no. And if the day comes that I would be asked by a grandchild to officiate their wedding, I would say no. I want to have a single role and focus.

Oh, BTW, I didn’t answer the headline question did I?

If you want family or friend(s) to participate in your wedding day, have them do a reading, or give them a special role that you say that it is so important that they do it: brining marriage license; bringing rings; being your personal assistant (taking care of bringing dress, makeup, hair products, etc.) There are so many things which need to be done, that I’m sure you can make them feel special by giving them a special small part/role for your wedding and/or rehearsal.

Share your thoughts!