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Frequently Asked Questions
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Do you require premarital counseling?
No, but I highly encourage it. See my tab “Optional Couples Relationship Coaching” for how I provide relationship coaching to couples, either before or after the wedding, to help you start out on the best footing possible for a lifetime of healthy communication and love.
The prospective bride is pregnant. Are you still willing to marry us?
Yes and congratulations!
One or both of us have been divorced. Will you still marry us?
Life happens. I believe in a grace-based gospel. Yes.
We just want to be legally married, no fancy ceremony. Can you help us?
YES! “SAY & SIGN” – Fast, affordable! Often available on very short notice. ONLY 2 of you meet with me. Everything done in 5-10 minutes as this is the minimum the law requires for legal marriage. Fee: $149 if you come to my Temecula home; if I come to you at your home/office/coffee shop, $199-$299 depending on my driving distance. Not for formal venues and not intended to be photogenic, but on request for no extra charge I will include an optional prayer and one simple photo. Note: I cannot issue marriage licenses, you MUST obtain a CONFIDENTIAL MARRIAGE LICENSE from the county recorder and bring that license & valid govt photo ID (Driver's license, Passport, Military ID). Call/text 951-234-6538 for info & availability!
Can we write our own vows?
Yes! More than half of the couples I serve write personalized promises which are followed up with more formal "repeat after me" vows. I can offer guidance and examples--see the tab for "Your Ceremony" where you can download guidance. Start early—write them down, don't wing it!
Will you attend/help lead the rehearsal?
Based on how I lead your consultation with a mini-rehearsal, often you don’t need me there. If you have a wedding coordinator, they typically practice getting everyone into place. That’ll save you some money, but if you would feel better with my being there, I will be glad to be present and lead my portion of the rehearsal. My fee for rehearsals within 25 miles of my home in Temecula is $150.00; for greater distances the fee may increase depending on the distance.
When do you arrive to the ceremony?
I arrive 60 minutes in advance to meet with your DJ, photographer, and wedding coordinator so we're all on the same page. I also refresh everyone's mind about the physical movements we’ve already practiced in our mini-rehearsal at my home or on Zoom/FaceTime so you remember what to do. For very small or simple weddings, I’ll arrive 30 minutes early. I'll take great care to ensure you and everyone are calm and prepared!
How long is a typical ceremony?
About 20 minutes is the basic time once it gets started. If we add extra things in like additional readings, songs, unity candles or sand, etc. it takes a little longer, but never over 30 minutes. It’s long enough to be meaningful, and short enough that no one is worrying about when the cocktail hour starts. In special contexts, like in a hot air balloon or hospital room, it can be as short as five minutes. Together we’ll take the setting and weather into account and adjust accordingly.
Will you make an announcement for people to put away their cameras/phones?
Yes, I recommend it! At your request I can make a polite announcement a few minutes before the wedding party enters so that your guests will put their gadgets away and not get in the professional photographer's way (it happens). It is disconcerting to see your wedding photos filled with everyone looking at their phones instead of participating in your intimate moment when you already have professional photographers/videographers. “Please be nice, put away your device!”
Are there any limitations about photography/videography?
Only one--I ask that they not go behind me during the ceremony itself, mostly because it is very distracting to your guests and a wedding is your special moment, not a media event. I am very intentional about working closely with your professionals so you can obtain the best photos and video possible. And yes, I will definitely step out of the picture BEFORE your first kiss as couple!
Do you bring your own sound equipment, or will you wear a microphone provided by the DJ or videographer to capture your voice?
I do have a small sound system that is helpful at beaches/backyards and other small settings. We can play music for your ceremony and use the microphone so your guests can hear your vows. There is a $40.00 charge for bringing this equipment. I do have a strong voice that carries well without shouting in most locations, even outdoors, but the real concern is your guests hearing YOU--that's why they came to your wedding! And some music is nice to have. It is worth a few dollars! I will wear a lapel mike for to capture my voice and yours for the video, but I greatly prefer your DJ to provide a CORDLESS HANDHELD microphone, without a microphone stand, and I'll sound check everything with your DJ before the ceremony.
May we have a photo with you after the ceremony?
Yes, I'd love to be in a few fun and formal photos with you!
What about special requests, like a sand or wine-blending ceremony, a special song, a reading or something similar? Is it acceptable to include a pet in the ceremony?
I’m delighted to build in all kinds of optional elements to your ceremony--see the tab "Your Ceremony" and look for the button "Optional Ceremony Elements" for lots of wordings of various options. I'm adding to it all the time, and we can likely do something I may not have listed. If you like, one or more guests can read a scripture or other appropriate selection (as long as I approve it well in advance). As long as you don’t want to marry a pet, I am happy to include them and have done so many times!
We have children. How will you make them feel part of the ceremony?
There are many ways to include children in your ceremony besides being a ring bearer or flower girl. We can add family vows, name them in the prayers, you can present them with flowers or other gift, or include them in the blending of sand. Got another idea? Let's do it!
What will you wear? Will you match our wedding colors?
What I wear is mostly your choice! For choices of what I can wear for your wedding, click on the button below. Most couples ask me to wear a black suit and neutral/silvery tie so I don’t distract in photos. If you want me to match with tie or shirt color, we may be able to work that out. Many couples like my traditional minister’s gown, which adds another kind of dignity to the ceremony. For more casual weddings, as in a backyard or at the beach, I can go open-collar shirt with a blazer, or even just a nice shirt that fits the occasion-even a Hawaii shirt if you like. Look at the photos and let’s talk!
What authority do you have to perform legal ceremonies?
I am an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church and have full legal authority to perform your wedding ceremony in California. For other states, I may need to register, but there is no fee for you in this regard. Click here to view my certificate of ordination from 1989.
Do you do non-religious or inter-faith ceremonies?
All my weddings have at least some elements of Christian faith. I have served couples of every Christian faith background you can imagine---Baptist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Greek / Russian Orthodox, non-denominational and everything in between. Based on your desires, the ceremony may have fewer or more religious references, but for me every ceremony must have at least one passage from the Bible, at least one prayer, and mention Jesus Christ at least once. However, I will not be pushy or try to convert people at your wedding--I recognize there are people from many faiths and of no faith who attend weddings. The ceremony I lead is meant to reflect your level of understanding and commitment to God as well as mine. While some couples I serve do have pretty different religious backgrounds from each other, the basis for the wedding is Christian--I can't lead a wedding that is half Christian and half Hindu, or Jewish, or Buddhist or Islamic. If you're looking for something like that, we're probably not the best fit for each other. Let’s talk and find where our mutual flexibility lies for everyone's comfort.
When do you sign the marriage license? At the ceremony or beforehand?
I arrive early to your ceremony to go over last-minute details and when time allows I'll ensure your witnesses complete the license before the ceremony; otherwise I'll take care of it after the ceremony. It is my legal responsibility to turn it in to the County Recorder, I'll do that for you.
Do you stay for the reception?
I will stay long enough afterward to be sociable with your guests--usually about 30 minutes or so, but you do not need to include me in your meal count--weddings are expensive enough already. So usually I do not stay--plus I need to go home and nurture my own marriage! But some couples really do want me to stay to offer a blessing over the meal, or just because he have an unusual connection, which happens a few times a year. In that case, if you would like me to be a guest at your reception, I ask that I may bring my lovely wife so we can enjoy dinner together that day.
Do you expect a gratuity?
No, I don't expect a gratuity, but many couples or parents who recognize the service I’ve provided have given a gratuity after the ceremony, which I appreciate. What I value every bit as much is a well-written review on Yelp!, The Knot or Wedding Wire—5 or 6 thoughtfully composed sentences and however many stars you think I've earned will help me have the opportunity to serve others.
Can you recommend other wedding vendors like photographers, florists, cake artists, wedding coordinators, wedding venues, etc?
Yes! I do have favorite wedding professionals to recommend. Contact me with specific questions and I'll give you contact info for high-quality vendors I have served with and can recommend.