Weddings by Windsong - FAQ's, and Q's that should be FA!
Can We Marry Ourselves?
In a few states, couples can actually "solemnize" their vows without the aid of a judge, magistrate or religious official.
North Carolina is not one of those states. They don't recognize common law marriages either. And you need to provide two adult witnesses to sign the marriage license.
You can, however, handfast yourselves. It's not legal, but it is a lovely ceremony of commitment. There are lots of resources for writing your own vows, etc. and I have provided a list of parts to a ceremony that you can adapt to your needs.
I have set rates called honorariums, based on the complexity of your chosen ceremony, as well as mileage charges for non-Wake County venues. You will find that I am a relatively inexpensive wedding officiant for all that you get! I don't want price to be a significant factor in having a beautiful wedding. Please see my contract for details.
I would expect locations more that three hours by car to include paid round-trip transportation and accomodations in lieu of the mileage fee.
Since not everyone has a wedding rehearsal (I didn't have one) I have made that a separate charge. I welcome tips for service above and beyond, and if you are in desperate financial straits, please let me know.
Why do Officiants charge so much for "a half hour of work"?
Please keep in mind that an independent Officiant does not necessarily receive
a salary from another source, like a church. An Officiant's fee for services is his or her income.
It takes an average of 10 hours of work per ceremony:
- About five hours for consultations, scheduling, emails, phone calls
- Sometimes research for a particular ceremony
- Around 45 minutes for ceremony modifications, last minute changes, re-approvals
- At least 45 minutes for ceremony practice time (not including the full rehearsal with the wedding party!
- 30-60 minutes (or more) of travel time to and from rehearsal and ceremony
- paperwork, paperwork, paperwork...extra tax forms, managing client files, updating ceremony "choices" book, hours spent quarterly updating advertising
- Not to mention, all that weekend time lost with their own significant others and family
Here's the most important part:
Rev Su Windsong is a licensed, ordained professional, without whom there would be no sacred blessing, or no legal marriage.
Hiring the officiant is the least expensive cost in the typical wedding, yet the only part that is really required. You can have a wedding without flowers or centerpieces; you can't have a marriage without an officiant. Be careful where you cut your corners! :-)
Here are some testimonials about me.
Are you registered to perform weddings in my state?
I am ordained by a seminary in California, and according to North Carolina law, because I am an ordained minister I may legally marry any male-female couple who are 16 or older, and who are not first cousins or closer relations. Contact your local Register of Deeds for special regulations for people younger than 21, and those who have been divorced.
I choose to celebrate love between all couples, legal or not, although by law I cannot pretend to be marrying anyone.
I am able to perform weddings in the following states in the U.S.:
How long have you officiated weddings?
I have officiated weddings since my ordination in October 2007. I have performed over 125 weddings, handfastings, vow renewals, commitment ceremonies, and elopements.
About how many weddings do you do per year?
I have the time to perform one or two weddings per week. I currently average about 3 per summer.
What training have you had?
Each time I perform a wedding, I learn something new, whether about parking or people! And couples often bring unique prayers that I collect into my ceremony planning book as available options for future couples.
Will you come to my location to do a ceremony?
I will definitely travel to your special location. My honorariums include 30 miles travel to your venue, and I only charge one dollar per mile beyond that for each trip. This mileage fee applies to the Rehearsal and Ceremony.
Exact overage fees may be calculated by using Google Maps to find the actual distance from my home base in Raleigh to your ceremony/rehearsal site(s), then subtract 30 from the distance.
I may also be able to schedule ceremonies in areas more than three hours drive away, if plane fare and accomodation is provided by the wedding party/couple.
What type of ceremonies will you perform?
I specialize in civil or spiritual weddings (as well as non-legal renewal, commitment and handfasting services) for interfaith, unchurched or "other-churched" couples. A "civil" ceremony means completely non-religious in nature.
These are always tasteful. While I cannot legally proclaim Christian rites, I have adapted them to be ecumenical. There have never been any complaints. In fact, testimonials of my services have been nothing but glowing!
I also perform other life-stage blessings, such as baby/belly/Mommy-Daddy blessings, home blessings and cleansings, grandparenthood, and retirement blessings. I performed my first baby blessing on June 6, 2010! I will also perform hospital visits upon request. Pleaseemail me for details at email@example.com.
I am just happy to help people celebrate the stages of their lives!
What are your rules about photography?
I have no objection to being photographed at your ceremony. I only ask that you label the pictures "Rev. Su Windsong."
And, hey, if you take a picture with me with the happy couple, may I please have a copy for my testimonials web page? ;-)
Is pre-marital counseling required?
Yes. I do require that we meet prior to any rehearsal or ceremony.
You can fill out the "Couples Inventory Questionnaires" beforehand and email them, or bring them, or we will fill them out at the consultation appointment.
I want to check you out, and you'll want to check me out! It's just safer for all of us, and it's good business. No hard feelings. I also want to make sure you are not joining your lives together frivolously. It gives some lead time for you. Be prepared to discuss all prior marriages.
At this consultation, we will also go over the order of the service. The whole thing takes 45-90 minutes. More if we get chatty LOL
Do you have ceremony samples?
I have a wedding ceremony worksheet that we go over at the consultation (and follow-ups via e-mail/US-mail, if needed.) It includes the order of service, and is a place to say, omit this, tweak this, etc. Because there are a gazillion ceremony options, it's hard to put out a representative sample. I will work on providing this on my web site in the future. Please expect to be at our consultation for about 90 minutes if all the paperwork is not filled out beforehand.
I also have a generic civil ceremony.
TIP: Be sure to contact an officiant in time before booking a rental hall or location so you are sure you have a good officiant for your ceremony.
TIP: Referral service available through American Association of Wedding Officiants (if you don't want Rev. Su!) North Carolina is in Region 4 of the AAWO.
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