Groom

FRIEND LED CEREMONY?


We All Get By with a Little Help from Our Friends:

CONSIDERING A FRIEND LED CEREMONY? 

Kim Kirkley

You are getting married and blown away by the way your friends and family receive your good news! When you think about your big day and your vows, you know you want something meaningful and distinct -- something that feels like the two of you. Of course, weddings tend to be pricey so you may also be thinking about your budget. How do you fulfill your vision without breaking the bank? You may be thinking well we don’t have a clergy person in our lives but we do have eloquent, warm, witty friends. They know  us. They love us. We love them! Let’s ask a friend to officiate! It’s a win-win! Or is it?


I get calls from friends who have been drafted to officiate. They are usually nervous and clueless. Sometimes they even say, “I tried to get them to hire you.” They ask me to compress my many years of officiating knowledge into a nutshell. Although I help in the ways that I can, it’s impossible. Friends quickly see -- there is a lot more to creating and delivering a custom tailored ceremony than most people realize. Do you really want to send them on this journey when they could just be happy for you and enjoy your wedding? 


Adroit officiating calls for a highly specific set of skills. It relies on the knowledge of what makes a meaningful ceremony to the skill to write one and perhaps, most importantly, knowing how to deliver a ceremony that everyone can hear and feel. 


Here’s another challenge. In a friend-led ceremony, the friend is processing their emotions at the same time as they craft and deliver the ceremony. Marriage hasn’t always been good to everyone and no one knows what really goes on behind closed doors. You should be in agreement and certain about how your friend  feels about marriage, love, and commitment because, chances are their beliefs will be present in your ceremony, openly or subtly. In a Celebrant ceremony, you benefit from the expertise and professional distance of a ceremony expert. 


You may think that your friend's public speaking experience will seamlessly transfer to ceremonial speaking. It may or it may not. Delivering a ceremony is different than delivering a lecture, speech or poem. Do you want to test your friend's ceremonial speaking style during your once in a life-time event? That is up to you but I would not. Is your friend familiar with what it takes to create a full-ceremonial experience whether it is religious or not?  Most importantly, is your family willing to take a chance on an amateur at this once in a lifetime event? 


My favorite compliment that I receive time and time again is "How long have you known the couple? Because of the care and attention I offer, your guests will believe that I am a friend delivering your ceremony. And, because my process is tailored so that I only work with couples when the three of us click, by the time we begin to craft your ceremony, I am a friend as well as a ceremony professional. This is the best of both worlds. This is a win-win. With a professional Celebrant you have access to the heart of a friend and the expertise of a professional officiant. 


The truth is not every friend led ceremony is a success. I know because people tell me so. Often saying something like, “I wish my [insert loved one here] had called you.”


Here is my current favorite success story --  I was approached by a humanistic Buddhist groom and a Protestant yoga-loving bride. They didn’t know what to do or where to turn in order to create an authentic wedding ceremony experience. The groom was okay with one or 2 mentions of God and the bride wanted a ceremony that honored the Protestant traditions that she loved growing up. So here’s what we did -- we started by welcoming everyone to the gathering by giving reverence to God. We told a bit of their love story and then spoke about the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism because as a yoga-lover, the bride is studying Buddhism and that was something that they were exploring together. And then in the vows the bride took the groom “In the presence and awareness of God” and the groom took his vow “Giving reverence to life….”  It was a beautiful celebration that represented them to a T -- such a special ceremonial experience for all! Their ceremony was a living work of art dedicated to them, that they and their guests will treasure for a lifetime. 

Isn't that what every couple desires and deserves? 


Celebrants love friends and family and understand that your friends and families are your treasures! As the Beatles sang, “We get by with a little help from our friends.” However, for your ceremony, professional Celebrants would like you to do more than just “get by.” We seek to deliver ceremonies that get invoke a shared euphoric experience! One that leaves every one’s spirits elevated by love -- Elated with life! If you would like to check out how a Celebrant led ceremony can enliven your wedding,  please visit CelebrantInstitute.org and schedule a no-obligation meeting with a Celebrant or, since I am happy to travel, visit my website, OurElegantCeremony.com. You will be glad you did! 


By the way, I am so certain of the quality of ceremony I deliver, I offer a “no questions asked” money back guarantee for every ceremony I deliver. In all of my years of officiating, no one has ever requested a refund. What happens if your friend flubs your big day? 

Nuria and Raven Featured Wedding Review

Nuria & Raven (On Air - Good Morning America)

Nuria and Raven's love story is so genuine and memorable that they won a stellar all-inclusive wedding on Good Morning America! I had the honor of being their officiant. Here are some of the many highlights!

PERSONALIZED CHRISTIAN WEDDING

When you hear “Wide World of Weddings” what comes to mind? For the couples I married in the Good Morning America studios, it can only mean one thing -- an extravaganza! For 24 hours Good Morning America live streamed wedding celebrations all around the world from Britain, Scotland, Korea and right here in Times Square, New York City!

CEREMONY SITE

I had the privilege of performing three of these wonderful weddings. For a behind the scenes perspective of what it was like to participate in this phenomenal event, I interviewed, Nuria and Raven!

 Here’s what Nuria and Raven say about being in the contest, “Entering in the Good Morning America contest was the best decision we could've ever made! We thought about eloping or even having a very small intimate beach wedding but the experience we had was beyond our biggest dreams."

LOVE STORY FOCUSED

I did my best to stay centered in the ceremony discernment process that has helped me to create memorable one-of-a-kind ceremonies for nearly 14 years. I interviewed the couple via FaceTime and the three of us decided that a God-centered, traditional Christian wedding ceremony with their love story being woven into the script, symbolically and literally would be the best fit for them. In order to help create a wedding ceremony experience that would genuinely reflect their union and vision for the future, I asked this lovely bride and groom about their initial attraction to each other, the characteristics of the love that is leading them to their beautiful commitment and the love that intertwines their lives with family and friends. The result was outstanding!

ON-AIR

On-air, their wedding began to unfold with some fun chit-chat with ABC News Correspondent Mara Schiavocampo.

 

FIRST VIEW

Then, Raven, Nuria’s handsome groom was ready to see his lovely bride for the first time on their wedding day!

PRESENTATION OF THE BRIDE

Escorted by her father, Nuria was gracefully presented, as we honored her mother, father, family and friends for the all of the love and care that they offered our beautiful bride her entire life. Nuria was gorgeous in her Kleinfeld wedding gown and I believe her groom and many of us fought back a tear or two. As a love story ceremony specialist, I really enjoyed describing their first meeting.A wedding is often a time of intense emotions and reflection upon the ideals that really matter in life. Nuria is exceedingly happy to share this day with her mother and father. Both of her parents have dedicated themselves to her happiness in many, many ways. In these cherished moments, Nuria honors her mother for all that she has done for her and the ways that she has given of herself. We also highlight the joys of the relationship between a devoted father and a loving daughter. Indeed, the bonds between parent and child embody some of the most precious ties of our world. In these sacred moments, as Mr. Kalifah stands before us, Nuria’s father represents all of us, as he also represents his wife and their family, and today in a special gesture he symbolizes his own love for his daughter. Mindful of these values, ‘Who presents this woman to be married to this man?’ If you would like to view Raven and Nuria’s wedding ceremony, click here.

CEREMONY REVIEW

Interview with the Couple

1. Anything you are really glad you did? Or wish you didn’t do?

"Entering in the Good Morning America contest was the best decision we could've ever made! We thought about eloping or even having a very small intimate beach wedding but the experience we have was beyond our biggest dreams."

2. Any stand out vendors from your wedding? Who did you connect with? Who went above and beyond?

"Kim.... We truly loved our ceremony!! Our family/friends all over the country thought we knew you before the ceremony because it was so personal! We truly felt like it was specially designed just for us."

"We absolutely loved our engagement photographer Rhea Whitney. Our photo shoot at the United States Capitol was absolutely breathtaking!"

CELEBRANT KIM KIRKLEY'S REFLECTIONS

I continue to hold Nuria and Raven and their distinct love story in my heart. They have so much in common and a truly inspiring love story! Thank you Nuria and Raven and the staff of Good Morning America for this honor!Here are some more beautiful images from the other ceremonies I performed for Good Morning America on that magical day! Here is a quick video clip of one of the grooms’ vision for his family, and some comments from the couple!

VIDEO

For many years I have been the go-to-teacher of professional Officiants and Celebrants. Having been declared, “The Officiant” by New York magazine, families whose milestone events I celebrate will tell you that choosing to work with me is always the easy choice! I delight in helping each couple authentically and meaningfully enjoy their walk down the aisle, as the ceremony invokes an experience where everyone feels more alive and euphoric than when it began! It is also a joy to work with the amazing wedding professionals like the ones that the Good Morning America staff assembled. For example, the wedding photographer, Roberto Falck of Roberto Falck Photography did a phenomenal job of capturing the memories of this once in a life time experience. As you might imagine, Good Morning America invited the best of the best vendors to participate in this remarkable experience. It is my joy to share these ceremonies with the seasoned, stellar professionals listed below.

PROFESSIONAL CREDITS

Wedding Photographer: Roberto Falck Photography

Engagement Photographer: Rhea Whitney Photography

Florist: Good Morning America

Venue: Good Morning America Studios

Dress: Kleinfield Bridal

Reception Gown: David's Bridal

Catering Reception Dinner: Del Fresco's Double Eagle Steak

Rings: Zales

Hair Stylist: Ann Hanible of Encore Hair Boutique LLC

Makeup: Good Morning America

Videographer: Good Morning America

Shoes: Davids Bridal

Travel Agent: Erica McKinney at CruzDiva

Other Desserts: Desserts by Gerard

Accommodations: New York Marriott Marquis 1535 

The Couple also really loved their engagement photo shoot and their wonderful photographer, Rhea Whitney. Photo by   Rhea Whitney Photography .

The Couple also really loved their engagement photo shoot and their wonderful photographer, Rhea Whitney. Photo by  Rhea Whitney Photography.