How long have you been performing weddings?
I have performed over 1000 wedding ceremonies since 1992. I love what I do and always enjoy meeting new people!
What type of ceremony do you perform?
My standard ceremony is non-denominational and civil in tone. Essentially I discuss the importance of having balance in your marriage and to appreciate the partnership in life that you are establishing with your future spouse. If you choose, you are more than welcome to sprinkle in some religious elements to your ceremony. However, that is entirely up to you. I would say that the vast majority of ceremonies that I'm asked to perform are non-religious. Accordingly, unless specifically requested by you, I do not include any religion in the ceremony.
How do your fees work?
As I realize people have different budgets for their weddings my services are designed to be a la carte. This means that you can add on services to meet your goals. These additional services may include a rehearsal, in person meeting or a small PA system with a microphone. I have standard fees that are based on distance and travel time. Obviously, the further I need to travel the greater my fee. Note that if you book with me off season my fees are lower. However, as we approach May through October, which are the peak months for weddings, my fees do increase. To reserve the date and time I do require a non-refundable deposit. This amount is applied to the fee. (Please click on the "Fee Schedule" tab above for my current fees). NOTE: My fees are subject to change.
How long is your ceremony?
My basic ceremony runs approximately 12-15 minutes. However, you are perfectly welcome to add your own elements to the service. These additional elements can include readings, music, a sand ceremony or unity candle. I will e-mail you a copy of my ceremony in advance for review. And no, you do not need to memorize anything!
Where are you located?
I live in Brookfield, Wisconsin and perform ceremonies at locations within a one hour drive.
Will you travel further?
Yes. But please note that for longer distances I charge for my time to travel there and back.
Do you attend rehearsals?
Yes. I love being able to make sure the bride and groom and everyone involved in the ceremony are on the same page. I will work with you to make sure we have the smoothest ceremony possible. Please note that I do charge an additional fee to attend and coordinate the processional/recessional with you. Rehearsals are limited to one hour and may not be available in all areas. Additional fees may apply for travel time.
Do we need to have a rehearsal?
That all depends on your comfort level. For most of the ceremony I'm essentially standing in the same spot. The important parts of the ceremony are how you and your wedding party walk in (called "the processional") and out ("the recessional"). During the speaking parts of the ceremony I will be cueing you both on what to say and do, so it's all a matter of just following my instructions. For larger ceremonies that entail multiple groomsmen/bridesmaids and additional elements (i.e. musicians, readings by others, candle lightings, sand, etc.) a rehearsal is not a bad idea. Again, whether you want me to attend your rehearsal is dependent on your comfort level. Short of a rehearsal I am also available by telephone to walk you through the ceremony and explain everything so you know what to expect. Quite honestly, it's not as difficult as it sounds.
What do you wear?
A black suit and tie.
Can we write our own vows?
Yes. If you feel inclined to write your own marriage vows those can easily be incorporated into my existing ceremony. Often times couples will recite their own vows to each other. If you need to read from your notes, that's perfectly acceptable. Again, you do not need to memorize anything.
Can we write our own ceremony?
While I don't mind reading short passages or poems, I do prefer to use my own ceremony script. Please keep in mind that I have been using the same basic ceremony for many years and have developed a certain style with it that I like to project. As I essentially have my ceremony ingrained to memory I'm able to make eye contact with you and your guests without having to read too much from notes. However, if there is anything that you'd like to add to my ceremony please let me know. I'm happy to work with you.
Can our children be included in the ceremony?
Absolutely. In fact, I have performed many weddings where children of the bride and groom took part in the ceremony. This can include a special reading, family vows or a candle lighting, just to name a few.
When do you arrive at the ceremony and will we have time to talk to you beforehand?
Yes. I usually arrive at least a half hour before the start of your ceremony. I will meet briefly with both of you, either together or individually, to review the ceremony and answer any last minute questions that you might have. Please have both your marriage license and the balance of my fee available for me when I arrive. No personal checks please. It is also your responsibility to make sure that we start at the scheduled time. During the peak season I often have multiple weddings scheduled on the same day, so time is of the essence. While I realize weddings don't always start on time, ceremonies that are egregiously late may be subject to an additional fee for my time.
Do you require a podium for the ceremony?
No. And, if possible, I prefer not to use one. I need to interact with you during the ceremony. A podium will only get in the way.
I'm having difficulty finding readings and/or poetry to use in my ceremony. Any suggestions?
The best place to find wedding related material is on the Internet. Just Google it. You'll be pleasantly surprised at what you can find!
Do you perform renewal of vows or commitment ceremonies?
Do you perform baptisms or funerals?
Do you perform ceremonies in horse drawn carriages?
Do you require or provide pre-marital counseling?
Do you perform Spanish language ceremonies?
Yes. However, my Spanish is limited. Normally I will speak some parts in Spanish and do the remainder of the ceremony in English.
Do you perform themed weddings?
If it's done in good taste and is dignified I'm willing to participate. I have performed Hawaiian style beach weddings wearing an Aloha shirt, motorcycle weddings, hot rod weddings and even sci-fi themed weddings. While I'm happy to help you out, as a professional, I do not wear costumes. Sorry, no Elvis impersonations or Spock ears!
Are you available by telephone to discuss the ceremony?
Absolutely! My fee includes a telephone consultation. I will walk you through the ceremony and answer any questions you might have about the entire process.
Do you have a chapel?
No, but I am happy to meet you at your selected location.
We need a place to get married at. Do you know of any good locations or venues?
Yes, I have many contacts in the area and can always refer you to a venue or suggest a location.
Do you provide a PA?
I do have a small portable PA with a mic available for rental. Please let me know in advance if you would like for me to bring it along. There is a nominal fee.
In the event you become unavailable to perform our ceremony, do you have a back-up officiant?
Yes. I have associates who can cover for me in the event of an emergency or scheduling conflict.
Do you charge for in person meetings?
Yes. For in person meetings I charge a $30 consultation fee. I accept pre-payment via PayPal, Venmo or CashApp. Meeting location will be my choice.
What is your preferred mode of communication?
E-mails and/or text works best for me. I can usually get back to you much quicker than by phone.
Do you file the marriage license?
Yes. I will file your license with the county register of deeds. Note that the marriage license is always filed in the county where the ceremony was performed. I do not send you a copy. To obtain a certified copy of your marriage license you can contact any county register of deeds within the state of Wisconsin.
What if we lose or don't obtain our marriage license in time for our scheduled ceremony?
I can still perform the ceremony, however, it will not be legally binding until you present a valid marriage license to me. In these situations you'll both need to sign a waiver indicating that I am performing a mock marriage ceremony and that it is not legally valid.
What is your policy if we need to reschedule our ceremony?
I allow one reschedule contingent on the new date and time being available. There may also be an additional fee if the venue is changed to a more distant location.
How far in advance will you schedule a wedding?
As a rule of thumb I don't book any weddings more than one year out. As I don't know what my work/vacation schedule will be it's difficult to lock in a date that far in advance. Late Spring, Summer and early Fall is the peak season. During the colder months I'm usually wide open.
Deposit and Fee:
A $50 non-refundable deposit is required to reserve your date and time. You may pay with personal check, money order, CashApp, PayPal or Venmo for the deposit. Upon receipt of your deposit I will e-mail you a confirmation. The balance of my fee may be paid on the day of your wedding - cash or money order only. No personal checks on the day of wedding. Also, please keep in mind that during the peak season my services are in high demand. As such, I can only hold a date for THREE BUSINESS DAYS pending receipt of your deposit. Failure to timely remit a deposit may result in the date being offered to another party. Please click on the "Booking" tab above for further instructions.
If we cancel our ceremony with you do we get our deposit back?
No. Please keep in mind that I only have so many weekend dates available that are also time sensitive. If a party cancels I'm not guaranteed that I can reschedule that same date. Others may have been turned away who also wanted the time that you originally scheduled with me. I also have administrative costs. If you do decide to proceed at a later date I will honor your original deposit.
May we pay for your services all in advance?
How and where do we apply for a marriage license?
In Wisconsin both parties to the marriage will need to apply in person at the county clerk's office in the county where you reside. You will both need to show a drivers license, passport or similar form of government issued ID. In addition, you will both need to bring along certified copies of your birth certificate and a divorce judgment (if either of you were previously married). Once the license is issued it is valid for 30 days. You CANNOT use another state's marriage license in Wisconsin. The county clerk does make exceptions for out of state residents and will provide the license the same day that you file. If you have any more questions, please contact the clerk's office in your county. I have included a list of phone numbers for selected county clerk offices. Click on the "Resources" tab above.
Do we need witnesses for the ceremony?
Yes. In Wisconsin two adult witnesses are required. Both witnesses must sign the marriage license. Relatives can sign.
Do you use a formal contract for your services?
No. I will confirm the ceremony time, date and location with you via e-mail so that you have a written record of our transaction. Your deposit check or PayPal payment notification is your receipt.
Do you attend the reception and/or rehearsal dinner?
Not required, but if you'd like to invite my wife and I for dinner we'd be more than happy to attend! If you could please let us know in advance that would be appreciated. Please don't feel obligated.
Do you accept tips?
Again, not required. However, if you feel that I did a good job a gratuity is always appreciated.
Are you also available as a DJ?
Yes, I have had couples ask me to DJ at their wedding receptions. Besides practicing law and officiating wedding ceremonies, deejaying is my "hobby job". And while there are many professional DJ services available, if you are on a tighter budget I can certainly provide you with an affordable package. Please contact me for more details.
What is the process for booking your services?
Please click on the "Booking" tab above which will take you to another page to download an information form. Please complete the form and return it to me along with your deposit either via snail mail or e-mail if using PayPal, Venmo or CashApp. Upon receipt I will send you an e-mail confirming your date and time. Please note again that dates are held for three business days on a first come basis. If I do not receive your deposit within that time frame your requested date may be given to another party.
Any other advice for us?
Weddings are serious affairs. But, more importantly, they are also meant to be fun! Don't overthink it. The people you hire to help you with your wedding (i.e. officiant, DJ, photographer, caterer, florist, etc.) are all professionals who are well versed in what they do - including myself. Have fun. You will be in good hands. I promise.