faq

FAQ

What is a Life-Cycle Celebrant?

A Celebrant is a trained ceremony expert! Our mission is to create a ceremony that reflects the needs, beliefs, cultural background, value, and tastes of those involved. More information on Celebrancy can be found at the Celebrant Institute and Foundation’s website. I have served on CF&I's faculty, teaching their Fundamentals and Weddings courses, worked as their Assistant Academic Director, and even developed my own course, Tech Tools for the Savvy Celebrant.

How are you able to legally solemnize my marriage? Are you a minister?

In the state of New Jersey, my status as a certified Life-Cycle Celebrant allows me to legally solemnize marriages. I am registered with the state department as a Civil Celebrant.

However, I am an ordained minister through the Universal Brotherhood Movement, which is what allows me to solemnize marriages in New York. I am registered with the New York City Clerk as an officiant, and can provide my registration number upon request.

Though I am not a judge or justice of the peace, but I often perform non-religious, civil, or secular weddings.

I do not practice or preach a specific religion, belief, or viewpoint – my ordination is simply what allows me to legally solemnize your wedding ceremony in the state of New York.

What’s the process like? How do you write our ceremony if you don’t know us?

We’ll meet for an informal consult, where I can share information with you, and learn about your needs and desires for your wedding. From there, you’ll get “homework” – an in depth worksheet you’ll each fill out that will help me get to know you and understand exactly what you are looking for. I offer suggestions for vows, readings, and rituals.

I’ll then write your ceremony for you, and send the draft to you for approval. We can include any quotes, elements, rituals, or readings that work for you – but there are no requirements. I am available to rehearse the ceremony with you, and will officiate the ceremony on your wedding day. Throughout the process, I am available for unlimited phone and email consultations. Clear and efficient communication is very important to me, and I want you to feel confident in your ceremony.

Is this your full time job? How many weddings have you performed?

Yes, Eclectic Unions is my full-time gig and a one-woman business. If you book with Eclectic Unions, I will be your main contact through the process, I will write your ceremony, and I will officiate – what you see is what you get!

I have performed nearly 600 wedding ceremonies in the seven years I have been officiating!

Do you do destination weddings?

Yes, I travel! Additional fees may apply for travel expenses and accommodations. Please contact me, as we may need to discuss how the legality will be taken care of (depending on the state, or outside of the country).

Do you want a custom Eclectic Unions wedding, but already have an officiant or plan to write you own ceremony? Check out my ceremony writing services!

Do I get to read the ceremony beforehand?

Yes! I will take the information from our discussions and your “homework” (the in-depth questionnaire that you and your partner fill out) to create your ceremony. Drafts will be sent to you via email, and I offer unlimited consultations on these drafts. When it comes to the ceremony, there will be no surprises on your wedding day.

How far in advance do you get booked?

I recommend booking your officiant at least one year to six months before your wedding, for the best availability. But don’t let that scare you away if it’s less than six months! Send me an email to check my availability.

What does “Eclectic Unions” mean?

I wanted to choose a name for my Celebrancy practice that captured my attitude and feelings about weddings. The definition of “eclectic” is “choosing from a variety of sources – not following any one system, but selecting and using what are considered the best elements of a system.” And unions, of course, is the coming together part of weddings.

As a Life-Cycle Celebrant, I borrow from many different traditions and backgrounds and sources, to create and shape the ideal and perfect ceremony that accurately reflects your relationship, your love, and your commitment.

Should I write my own vows?

Writing your own vows can be a bit daunting, I know! I have a lot of resources and options to help you create your own vows, and can also help you to edit and put them together, too. Of course, you don't have to – if you'd prefer, I can offer suggestions and help you find the words that are perfect for your ceremony!

Do you perform same sex weddings?

OF COURSE! We can discuss the specific wording and pronouns that you are most comfortable using in your wedding, too, and I am proud to now be able to offer same-sex weddings in New York State, New York City, and New Jersey!

What do you wear?

I usually wear a black dress, but am happy to coordinate my outfit to your wedding colors or theme. I will also match my nail polish to your wedding colors, if I can! I am happy to note any specific requests or colors you'd like me to wear, and do my best to accommodate.

I do have visible tattoos on my arm and legs, but will cover them during the ceremony, if you'd prefer.

I don’t wear a judge’s robe, vestments, or anything like that. If there is something specific you’d like me to wear, we can discuss it (theme wedding? costumes? I’m game!).

How long do your ceremonies take?

It all depends on what it’s in it! My custom weddings ceremonies usually last between 20-25 minutes, and fit very well in half an hour (as that is how long a venue typically gives you for a wedding ceremony), but I have done shorter ceremonies, too. My quick weddings typically last five minutes or less.

Do you stay for the reception or rehearsal dinner?

I am always honored when a couple invites me to the reception or rehearsal dinner, but it is by no means an obligation – absolutely no pressure for an invitation. I do not usually attend the rehearsal dinner or the reception, but have been known to stay for cocktail hour.

Should we have a rehearsal?

Rehearsal can help assuage nervous bridal party members, and ensure everything will run smoothly the day of. If you have rituals involving a number of people, or children in your bridal party, I think a rehearsal is a great idea. It’s also a great time to make sure your processional and recessional work, and everyone knows where to go. Rehearsals usually take twice as long as the ceremony itself – we’ll run through it twice, to make sure everyone knows where to go, and I’ll provide cue sheets and information for everyone involved.

What rituals can we include in our wedding?

I would love to integrate any rituals, traditions, and readings into your ceremony that you’d like. If I am not familiar with the ritual, I will research it for you. That’s the beautiful thing about writing your own wedding ceremony – you can personalize it to your own taste and tradition, and include rituals to really make it your own. If you’re looking for some ideas on different rituals or elements to use, check out my blog for some inspiration!

How do I change my name?

After the wedding ceremony, obtain an official copy of your wedding license from the town hall/registrar where your wedding was performed. Get more than one – you never know when a bureau may need to keep a copy, or if you need to mail it somewhere. You can use this document to change your name with Social Security, the DMV, and your bank account. Some credit cards may not require proof of the marriage – you simply need to call to have them change your name.

When you apply for a marriage license in NY State, you MUST make the decision whether either partner will change their name prior to applying for the license, as it is recorded on the license. In NJ, you can decide post-ceremony.

How do I get my license?

I’ll go over the license details at our no-obligation interview/meeting. It’s pretty easy! Remember, regardless of where you live, you need to get your license in the state you intend to be married. It’s important to remember that I cannot provide the wedding license for you, and if you fail to get a wedding license for me to sign on your wedding day – you won’t be legally married.

New Jersey: How to apply for your wedding license.

New York State: Getting Married in New York State

New York City: City Clerk’s Office – Marriage Bureau