Choosing an Officiant That is Right For You

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It is very important to find your officiant early, they are an invaluable resource in planning your ceremony and in answering any questions you might have. In choosing this person, you will want to be sure that he or she is not only willing but able to reflect accurately what you want your ceremony to convey. You will want to find someone who can reflect the quality of your love and speak meaningfully to you and your partner. Think about the following questions:

1. Does the officiant reflect or embody the spirit you want to create at your wedding?

2. Do you feel comfortable with him or her? Will you be able to express your preferences about content; speak up about matters of concern in the preparation of the ceremony; voice objections you might have or ask for silly, even seemingly trivial things to be included in the ceremony?

3. Do you like the sound of his or her voice?

4. Do you have a connection with the officiant that allows you to trust that what he or she will say will be appropriate for the two of you? A person that has a sense of you and understands the uniqueness of your relationship?

5. Above all, will you value what this person has to say? Will he or she have delightful, meaningful, moving reflections that will elevate the ceremony from ordinary, generic, and formal to personal, beautiful and unforgettable?

6. Last but not least, relax in choosing an officiant. When you are all together, having a consultation, discussing how you celebrate your love and the type of ceremony that you have envisioned, you will know if that minister/officiant is the right one for the two of you. Something will click and there will be a connection.

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So, how does finding and hiring the right officiant with Hudson Valley Ceremonies work? Here’s how:

  • First we have you set up a phone or skype consultation with the officiant of your choice or one that has been chosen for you. You can see our officiants Bio’s here.
  • The officiant will ask you many questions about you and your fiance and what you most want for your ceremony.
  • Please ask them as many questions as you want, they are very happy to answer and assist.
  • If you wish to speak to another officiant we can set that up also.
    Finally you will choose the officiant that you have the best connection with and then choose a package.

Please check out our reviews, Hudson Valley Ceremonies has the best officiants in the valley!

Wedding Wire

The Knot

Hiring a Professional Wedding Officiant

We know it’s tempting to ask Uncle Jim to perform your wedding ceremony. After all, he has no problem infecting a whole room with riotous laughter. So why spend the money on a professional officiant when you have a family member or friend ready to fill that role?

Deciding whether to hire professional vendors for your wedding isn’t something to be taken lightly – the professionals (or non-professionals) working at your wedding will have a major impact on your wedding day. Professional photographers, videographers, DJs, officiants, and florists have the experience to handle common, but unexpected, situations that often come up at weddings. How would Uncle Jim react if the flowers or decorations behind him blew over just after the ceremony began? How would he react if one of your guests or a member of your wedding party fainted during your vows? Would he be able to take with the unexpected in stride without getting flustered or thrown off for the rest of your ceremony?

The best way to ensure that your wedding ceremony goes off without a hitch is to hire a professional wedding officiant. When it comes to weddings, and especially performing ceremonies, experience and talent matters. What does hiring an experienced professional officiant get you?

Knowledge
When you hire a professional wedding officiant, you are hiring an encyclopedia of wedding knowledge. Professional wedding officiants have been trained and well practiced in the art of public speaking and know the wedding industry inside and out. A good officiant will know what makes a ceremony appealing to your guests, how to tailor a ceremony to fit your needs, and how to seamlessly work with your venue and timeline. You are investing in an officiant that can answer your questions about the regulations surrounding marriage officiants in your area, local venues and vendors, and about all aspects of various types of ceremonies.

Guidance
Many couples wonder where to start when writing a ceremony or vows, what makes a ceremony great, or how long each portion should last. Luckily, professional wedding officiants are wonderful guides during the planning process. Having participated in many weddings, wedding officiants have experienced a broad range of ceremonies and can work with you to create a personalized ceremony that reflects both your relationship and intents. Not only that, but an officiant can help you find other resources for your wedding, with countless contacts in all fields of the wedding industry.

Understanding
A professional wedding officiant will understand your vision for your wedding day and help you to create a ceremony that sets the tone for the rest of the day. Many do not realize that the mood of the ceremony sets the tone and fuels the conversation throughout the reception, so it is the officiant’s role to create a smooth transition with the couple’s wishes in mind. The ceremony does not stand alone in your special day- it is a part of a larger celebration.

Reliability
A family member may get sick; a friend may be overcome with stage fright. Professional wedding officiants are prepared for every eventuality. You have a contract with your officiant, stating that they will perform your wedding, and in the event of an emergency, many officiants have a contingency plan in place to provide an equally prepared officiant to step in.

Hiring a professional wedding officiant isn’t a decision you’ll regret after your ceremony.

When To Book Your Wedding Vendors

We always have a lot of last-minute requests from brides and grooms, and we’re often sold out on their wedding date. For some of these couples, they know they are “late” in their planning, and are looking for any wedding officiants who are still available on their date. For others, however, I get the impression that they have no idea that most of the companies they are calling will not be available. Are couples being told that they don’t need to hire an officiant until later in their planning process?

Curious, I went to the top three wedding planning websites to see what they tell brides. Some of what I found made sense, but certain parts of each “wedding vendor checklist” didn’t seem to match reality. There is a general rule of thumb that you can follow when booking your wedding vendors, “If it requires a specific person, do it as soon as possible.” Certain wedding vendors provide products (like cake, flowers, and invitations) and can provide those products to multiple couples in a single day. Anything else needs to be secured as quickly as you can, because they are a scarce resource. Wait too long, and the one you want will probably be booked.

When to book a Ceremony Officiant, Pastor, Minister, Reverend, Priest or Rabbi:
The Knot: 9-11 months
WeddingWire: 6 months
Brides.com: 11 months
My suggestion: 9-12 months
Notes: Finding the right ceremony officiant is crucial, assuming that your ceremony site doesn’t come with an officiant included. A really good officiant can make your ceremony amazing. Since you’re hiring a specific person, I recommend booking them early in the process.

When to hire a Wedding Planner or Day of Coordinator:
The Knot: 9-11 months
WeddingWire: 9 months
Brides.com: 11 months
My suggestion: 12+ months
Notes: A wedding planner will have the greatest amount of utility to you and can help with the rest of your vendor selection, so start here. I highly recommend hiring one — you’ll thank me later.

When to book a Wedding Venue:
The Knot: 9-11 months
WeddingWire: 9 months
Brides.com: 11 months
My suggestion: 12+ months
Notes: This should also be done as soon as possible. This is another scarce resource, and reception venues will book up to two years in advance of a popular date. Contrary to popular belief, simply saying a date is your wedding date does not mean that is your wedding date — unless it doesn’t matter to you where you have your wedding . You do not have a wedding date until you put down a deposit on your ceremony and reception sites. Without a firm wedding date, you can’t hire any of your wedding-related services. Hence, this is the place to start.

When to hire a Wedding Caterer:
The Knot: 9-11 months
WeddingWire: 9 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 10-12 months
Notes: Once you have your reception site booked, it is imperative that you hire your caterer as soon as possible, unless catering is included at your reception venue. Every caterer has a limited number of events they can do on any given date, and booking early ensures that you will be able to choose the one you want. I would also advise you not to wait for a tasting if it’s more than a month into the future — you should be able to get a clear picture of a caterer’s quality and their style of food from their website and WeddingWire reviews. This is an area where a wedding planner can help a lot. They have probably worked with every good caterer in your area and know who is good, who is not, and who will fit your budget.

When to hire a Wedding Photographer:
The Knot: 6-8 months
WeddingWire: 6 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 10-12 months
Notes: I was actually surprised by the “expert” timelines on this one. Six months? Really? Most couples think the photographer is an important part of their wedding, and I can tell you that most of the top-tier wedding photographers are going to be long gone at 6 months to go. In my opinion, you should include the wedding photographer in the group of vendors you hire immediately after setting your wedding date. The top talent will book first, so hiring a wedding photographer close to a year before your wedding is a good idea.

When to book a wedding DJ, Band or Musicians:
The Knot: 9-11 months
WeddingWire: 9 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 10-12 months
Notes: The same rule from above applies to your wedding music as well — you are hiring a specific person and the top talent will be the first to get booked. Waiting too long to book your wedding music will leave you with a limited number of available vendors to choose from.

When to hire a wedding Videographer:
The Knot: 6-8 months
WeddingWire: 6 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 10-12 months
Notes: If you’re going to hire a wedding videographer, you need to decide early in the process how important the wedding video is to you. If a fabulous, amazing wedding video is a high priority for you, then you need to treat the videographer the same as the photographer and book them as early as possible. For the top wedding videographers the same scarcity rule will apply and they will get booked very early.

When to hire a wedding Florist:
The Knot: 6-8 months
WeddingWire: 6 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 6-9 months
Notes: Now we’re getting into the wedding vendors who can do multiple weddings in one day. Most florists can handle a few weddings at a time depending on the size of their shop, so booking one at a year before your wedding isn’t as crucial. That being said, I think that it also depends on how important the flowers are to you. If you have your heart set on a certain florist or a certain style, then I say pull the trigger and put down a deposit. The really good florists still sell out during the busy season, so you can’t wait too long.

When to book the wedding Cake:
The Knot: 6-8 months
WeddingWire: 6 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 6-9 months
Notes: Most wedding cake bakeries will do multiple wedding cakes on any give date, so you’re safe waiting for a little while. I highly recommend visiting multiple cake shops and sampling their cakes. You’ll end up making a better decision if you shop around a little bit.

When to buy wedding Invitations:
The Knot: 6-8 months
WeddingWire: 6 months
Brides.com: 5 months
My suggestion: 6 months
Notes: Since you’re not going to be mailing your invitations a year before your wedding, you don’t need to buy them that early either. However, I do recommend sending “save the date” cards to your guests as soon as you secure your reception site and wedding date.

When to hire the wedding Transportation:
The Knot: 2-3 months
WeddingWire: 2 months
Brides.com: 6 months
My suggestion: 5-6 months
Notes: If you are going to hire professional transportation (limos, shuttle buses, whatever) you need to do it more than 2 months before your wedding. My advice is to do this about 6 months before your wedding. Remember If you are getting married from late April through the beginning of June, you really need to jump on your limo situation. Most brides don’t think about it, but it’s prom season — most limo companies will completely sell out on Fridays and Saturdays.

A Hudson Valley Ceremonies Wedding at The Rhinecliff Hotel

James & Stacey

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Wedding Location: The Rhinecliff Hotel
Ceremony Officiant: Jeanne Stark, Hudson Valley Ceremonies
Photographer: Jean Kallina of Hudson Valley Photographer
Videographer: The Pros
DJ/Band: Flag Medeiros of Medeiros Black Tie DJ Entertainment
Florist: Floral Fantasies by Sara
Bridal Attire: Hayley Paige Gown from Bridal Beginnings in Pittsburgh, PA
Men’s Attire: Calvin Kline
Rings/Jewelry His- Anna Sheffield Hers- Tiffany’s
Hair/Makeup: Alyse Schiffman from Alyse B Salon
Invitations/Favors: Wedding Paper Divas

Advice From The Newlyweds
Make your wedding fit who you are as a couple, not just as individuals. Have fun, take deep breaths, make memories and enjoy the day. Relax, don’t stress out about every detail, the day will be perfect once you finally get to say “I Do”.

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So You Want Your Friend to Officiate Your Wedding

So You Want Your Friend to Officiate Your Wedding

Stu

That is fantastic!  There is nothing more personal for a wedding ceremony than a friend or relative that you have known most of life performing your ceremony.  Let’s discuss the pros and cons to this gift.

Pros to a Friend or Relative Performing the Ceremony

1.  Personal, history, and comfort level.  This person knows you both really well and that makes it so easy to create a ceremony together.  The know the history of you and your fiance and speak about this in the ceremony.  You have a real comfort level with this person and that will make the ceremony easier.

2.  Free of charge.  Hopefully they are providing this as a gift, but if there are any expenses that they are occurring, etiquette says that you must reimburse them or pay for these items.

Cons to a Friend or Relative Performing the Ceremony

1.  Are they legal to perform ceremonies in your state.  So they decided to fill out that little form online and maybe even paid $20 to get ordained.  Many states, counties and towns will not recognize these forms of ordination.

2.  Creating the ceremony.  There is an incredible knowledge and ability to an official officiant with the wording of a ceremony.  What you are paying for with a professional is the writing talent.  A good officiant can write a ceremony that guests want to listen to and are eager for the next part.

3.  Crossing the lines.  When you hire a professional officiant, they work for you and your fiance.  You have the ability to say to them what you want them to wear, what to arrive and what you want them to say and not.  Friends and relatives are not professionals (unless if they do this job professionally).

What are your options:

1.  Hire a professional to perform your ceremony

2.  You decided to have a friend or relative perform the ceremony anyways.  Hudson Valley Ceremonies has a solution.  The Friend Officiates Package.  One of our legal officiants comes to your venue before or after the ceremony and takes care of the legal paperwork.  That’s it!  So simple.

Any questions please contact Hudson Valley Ceremonies at 845-244-1482 or email at HVCeremonies@gmail.com

A HVC Wedding at Brotherhood Winery

Congratulations to Jess & Chip Desjardins!

Wedding Location – Brotherhood, America’s Oldest Winery
Ceremony Officiant – Reverend Kevin Cook
Photographer – Natalie Hedley, George Street Photo
Videographer – A Train Productions
DJ/Band – DJ Aux, Scratch Music
Musicians – Set3 Jazz
Limos/Buses – Leprechaun Lines
Florist – August, Sage, & Violet
Coordinator/Planner – Rebecca Shenkman, Pink Bowtie Events
Bridal Attire – David’s Bridal
Men’s Attire – Vera Wang Black
Rings– Bride: Danhov, Groom: Benchmark
Bridal Accessories- Kate Spade New York
Hair– Salon on the Hudson
Makeup – Jennifer Matteo
Invitations/Favors – Customized Stemless Wine Glasses, Exclusively Weddings

Advice from the happy couple: Enjoy getting to spend the time together planning the wedding – it is 99% of the experience and so rewarding day of to see your joint creation come to life on your wedding day.

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A Hudson Valley Ceremonies Wedding at The Saugerties Lighthouse

Congratulations to Sioux and Paul who were married at The Saugerties Lighthouse on June 27th!

Wedding Location: Saugerties Lighthouse
Ceremony Officiant: Debra Romano
Band: Bash Bish Bluegrass Band
Florist: Dancing Tulips
Bridal Attire: Anthopologie
Rings: Gemvera
Invitations: Celebrations

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