Welcome to the newest version of the Ceremonies by Bethel website! I decided to start from scratch, on a new platform, to better express who I am, who my couples are, and what my business is all about. There are lots of officiants in the San Diego and Temecula region, and making it clear who I am and what I do (and why I do it) felt more important than ever.
I've been intending to write about this subject for a while. It periodically comes up at my weddings, or as an "end-of-season" thought, so it was time to talk about it!
You may have noticed that I am wearing the exact same necklace in every single wedding photo, as, yes, I intentionally put that necklace on when a wedding day or weekend begins, and then I take it off when they are done until it is time for more weddings.
I received an email from Adrienne’s best friend and maid of honor, as she is in the special event industry and was helping Adrienne and Ryan plan from afar (they live in Las Vegas) – and said that she was happy to see that I was on the vendor list at Wiens Family Cellars in Temecula (I love that venue!) and have me as an option, since she knew me from various wedding industry events and loved my approach. Yay!
I get asked regularly about who should be the witness(es) for the marriage license, especially as most couples seem to assume that it should be their honor attendants (like the best man, maid of honor, best woman, man of honor, etc). And it absolutely can be, but it doesn't need to be, and hence this post.
Do you want to know more about me personally, and who I am and what makes me tick? Well, in December 2004, my life completely changed. I had dinner that night with a friend of a longtime and long-distance friend. Deb told me that someone she worked with was moving to San Diego, and she would like to put us in touch, since he didn't know anyone here. Of course! Deb was someone I had known many years earlier in Tokyo, and we'd kept in touch plus randomly saw each other as we'd each moved all over (for me it was then New York and London, and for her, an Australian, it was in Australia and Chicago) - so, yeah, you help out folks who move around.
I received an inquiry through my website and was psyched to see that they came my way not only because I was on the recommended list at their venue (one of my favorite venues, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park), but also because I was highly recommended by their wedding coordinator, Laura of Serendipity Events. And, it was clear that we were on the same page, as they definitely wanted a ceremony like I described, they said – one that was fun, personal, meaningful, and non-traditional, emphasis on the non-traditional, they mentioned. Count me in!
It's funny, as the proposal story is something that I always include in my ceremonies (other than the elopements with no guests, for obvious reasons). And it is something almost always included on a couple's wedding website. Why is that? I think it's a great way to express who the couple is together and what makes them unique.
I was asked to share my/our advice to newlyweds by Equally Wed, to be published on their website, I thought I'd share my thoughts here as well (with updated dates/numbers!). Enjoy!
Congratulations on your recent nuptials and the start to this new chapter in your relationship! I’m excited for you!
I thought I’d share with you some of the things that we’ve figured out in our almost 13 years of marriage, as well as from observing the 900+ couples I’ve married over the past six years (yes, I’m an officiant, and have a ball celebrating all sorts of fantastic couples).
So, there are many things that I believe that I do quite well in my business, but blogging regularly is just not one of them. One of the challenges of being a solo-preneur is that, as the only one really involved in the business, you have to wear all of the hats. That means that some things slip through the cracks and/or intentionally get pushed to the side. Naturally, writing and prepping for my weddings can't and working with my awesome couples can't (nor would I want either of those to, as that's what I most love doing and is WHY I do this), but blogging often can (and does).
I have three different couples to thank for Brooke and Stanley! Yes, three different of my past couples sent them my way, which told me before I even met them that I would really like them – like attracts like, right? And I loved that Brooke told me that they had already read my reviews, as I think that they say so much of what it’s like to work together.
Are you enjoying these readings ideas? If you've missed them, here are the earlier ones: here and here. Since my couples tend to be non-religious and/or non-traditional, it's fun getting to provide ideas about readings that are focused on love, commitment, marriage, friendship, etc, that can be used in their wedding ceremony rather than the traditional or "normal" ones they've heard many times.
I love helping couples find different content and wording ideas that we can use in the ceremony to express what love and commitment are all about for them. And the assumption that including something that could be called a "reading" in the ceremony means that either A) a guest has to come up to read it and/or B) it is religious-focused or -toned is a common assumption to make, but would be wrong. Many of my couples choose one or two or three readings for me to include in the ceremony content and read myself, without anyone else coming up to read them. And since my couples tend to be non-religious and/or non-traditional, the readings chosen rarely could be considered anything but.
There are so many great ideas out there of what can be included in a wedding ceremony, and yet I hear from couples regularly who don't know that they can do anything outside the norm. Oh, yes, please do! And since "readings" often makes folks think "religious" or "traditional" and yet that's not necessarily the case at all, since there are so many great pieces that can be used as ceremony readings, I thought I'd start to share some here.
Here is one of my current favorites, and I love using it right before my couple exchanges their vows:
I received an inquiry through my website about six weeks before their date, and they let me know that it would be an elopement with just their three daughters, and at one of my favorite venues, Milagro Winery in Ramona.
I love when I hear from my couples that they've just gotten their marriage license, as I know that it feels so much more real to them at that point! It sure did for me!
In California, you can actually get your marriage license up to 90 days before the wedding. But, since there is no waiting period, you can also get your license right up until the very day of the wedding (although why anyone would add stress like that on that day if they didn't have to, I don't know!).
I received an inquiry through my website for a wedding at Mt. Woodson Castle in Ramona, and I was glad to hear that the venue had sent them my way, as I know that the team at Personal Touch Dining who run the castle totally know who my favorite couples are!
The three of us met virtually via Zoom soon after to talk about what they wanted and didn’t want from their ceremony, and then we walked through my process and how I work.
I get asked regularly about vows and how to make them truly your own. In almost every meeting with my couples, this is the part where real relief comes across their faces - no, you will not be alone in writing your vows, I promise, and will give you as much help and guidance and ideas as you need!
Here is one of the first pieces of advice I share, different ways that you can do your vows:
I love weddings in the desert, and heading there for Kanima and Johnathan was a pleasure! They reached out to me a little over a year in advance, via WeddingWire, and then we were able to meet in person when I was in Palm Springs shortly after for another wedding.
You wanted to know more about me, personally? Well, I can easily tell you one thing - I am a sleeper! Not sleeper agent nor anything hidden under the surface that I don't let show regularly - I mean really a sleeper. I love to sleep, long and late, and only get up early when is absolutely necessary or the right thing to do.
NOTE: This was one of the few really old blog posts that I decided to bring over to the new website, as I think that it says a lot about who I am and what matters to me. This was originally posted on July 4, 2013!
It's funny. I just realized that it was almost five years ago that my husband and I were off on one of our big annual international adventures (we love to travel), this time visiting close friends of mine from grad school, who were living in Riga, Latvia at the time. I had recently begun to think about the possibility of leaving my normal job to start my own business, doing something that I was passionate about.