Bride Angela and Groom Ron were wed barefoot on a spectacular summer's eve in Sedona, Arizona amidst the red rocks. Two of their sweet friends were present to witness their elopement. Since Ron is an energy worker, the opening of the ceremony began as he did a silent meditation whilst handling Tibetan bells. Another unique aspect of their ceremony was the reciting of their ring vows. They chose to repeat after me in unison which is why the picture shows their rings simultaneously half way on each of their fingers.
Deeply spiritual individuals, as we co-created their ceremony, it was important to include a Native American Blessing and incorporate the elements. They purchased a beautiful smudge feather in Sedona and as the palo santo stick was lit, I had the honor of using the feather to smudge them. The act of smudging is done to clear the space and provide a healing and sacred space for the ceremony. The smoke attaches itself to negative energy and as it clears it takes that negative energy with it, releasing it into another space to be regenerated. In addition, together we faced the four directions and honored the elements (earth, fire, water, and air) while incorporating a blessing for their marriage. To illustrate, when we faced the west and honored the element of water, Angela and Ron dipped their toes into the cool waters of Oak Creek and these words were spoken: Blessed be this marriage with the gifts of Water-- the rushing excitement of a raging river, the gentle flow of this creek, the soft and pure cleansing of a rainstorm, and a commitment as deep as the ocean itself. May the Spirits of Water ensure that your love for one other, like the serenity of the deep blue ocean, be the oasis that forever surrounds you, Angela and Ron. may you be well loved, and love well, letting the surety with which Water makes its journey to the sea, flowing over rocks or around trees, carving canyons, even turning into vapor and riding a cloud, ever serve as a reminder that with love all is well and will endure. Thank you Spirits of the Water, Ahehee (Navajo word for Thank you).
As the sun began setting, thunder boomed and lightning illuminated the sky adding to the vibrant colors. We felt the gentle drops of rain. Bats emerged, dragonflies were dancing, cranes and raven were flying by; all of nature was celebrating and blessing their union!
It was a spring wedding in May (in honor of their anniversary date) at The Chapel of The Holy Dove. An intimate wedding ceremony, a gathering of about 15 members of their family, this bride and groom chose The Love Story package. When I first met with Zac and Cynthia at Firecreek Coffee House in Flagstaff, our connection was immediate. We spent about an hour getting to know each other. Zachary was such a tender soul and couldn't wait to marry his bride! Cynthia wanted their wedding ceremony to include honoring their family and knew that The Chapel of The Holy Dove was the perfect intimate venue for them. They were in need of a photographer, so I recommended Heather Kadar who teamed up with her husband and exquisitely captured the bride and groom's tender love.
As I read Zac & Cynthia's questionnaires and discovered the depth of their love for one another, their ceremony came to life. Cynthia was escorted by her Mother while the chapel was filled with Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Later in the ceremony both of their Mother's came forward to sign the marriage license and they honored each one with a rose. To honor his parents, I used Zachary's quote: “There’s much I’ve learned from you both, but I’m most grateful that you’ve taught me family is most important.” And to honor his grandparents, who have been married 53 years, "You’ve shown me what a life-long marriage full of love should look like.” There wasn't a dry eye in the chapel!
Zachary and Cynthia met in college and became the best of friends. Their favorite dates include attending plays and symphonies or watching debates at their local universities. They chose the most unique yet personable passages to read to one another during their ceremony. Zac’s was by Phillip Pullman from The Amber Spyglass: “I will love you forever; whatever happens. Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I’ll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again… I’ll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we’ll cling together so tight that nothing and no one’ll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you… We’ll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams… And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won’t just be able to take one, they’ll have to take two, one of you and one of me.” Cynthia’s was an excerpt from Plato’s Symposium “Our original human nature was not like it is now. Human beings each had two sets of arms, two sets of legs, and two faces looking in opposite directions. Due to the power of these original humans, the gods sought for a way to end the humans’ insolence without destroying them. So Zeus hurled down his lightning bolts and divided the humans in half. They left us with a memory, a longing for our original other half. Separated, we are but the indenture of a person, and we are always looking for our other half. And when one of us meets our other half, we pass our whole lives together, desiring that we should be melted into one. One person instead of two, and the desire and pursuit of the whole is called Love.”
Here's what Zachary said about their experience with Life Passages:
"When we began our search for an officiant for our small, intimate wedding, we found a handful of officiants we thought might be a good fit. We only had about four weeks to plan our wedding so we were expecting a bit of hesitation as it was short notice. Jen wrote back almost instantly and showed no hesitation - only excitement - for our wedding ceremony. We wanted to meet with Jen to be sure that she was a good fit for us. She was the first and only officiant we met with. Her warm, loving spirit welcomed us and made us feel so at ease. Choosing Jen to officiate our marriage was the easiest decision we made. We could tell she really wanted to know us, as a couple and as individuals. The ceremony she crafted for us was absolutely beautiful and perfectly captured the essence of our relationship. It was very clear to us that Jen takes her work very seriously. She's mindful of your requests, gives so much good advice, helps you every step of the way, spends hours getting to know you and your unique story, and in the end writes a beautiful ceremony that really celebrates *you*. In the less than four weeks we had to work with Jen she was always there, quick to respond, and eager to help. She quickly became a dear friend."
Danielle & Adam were wed on a beautiful summer day high atop the San Francisco Peaks (aka Mount Humphreys, aka Arizona Snowbowl) in Flagstaff, Arizona surrounded by Ponderosa Pines and the love of their family and friends. During their ceremony, I asked them to face their family and friends in order to honor them for they are the ones who will hold them up when times get tough and their love has shaped this couple into the strong, young adults that they are today. Their ceremony was filled with laughter, tenderness and stunning surroundings. They included their infant son in the ceremony who was the star of the procession as he was wheeled out by a Junior Bridesmaid in a cute little red wagon! Danielle even took breaks to nurse him in between all of the photo taking, kissing, hugging, eating and dancing!
If you are being married at Arizona Snowbowl, congratulations! I would be delighted to create the ceremony that is just right for you and your fiance.
Photos by Ryan Williams Photography.
Riordan Mansion is a great historic Flagstaff venue perfect for a DIY wedding. Their cost is very reasonable and they provide plenty of chairs. You can be married outdoors, although K&M were wed indoors on a chilly overcast winter day.
Their ceremony took place in front of the historic fireplace surrounded by about 15 of their closest family and friends. K&M are a laid back local Flagstaff couple who wanted a sweet, non-denominational, simple, yet meaningful ceremony. The proposal took place at Granny’s Closet (a former favorite local restaurant) where they first met. M secretly got the staff involved and had them play, ‘I think I’m in love’ by Eddie Money over the loudspeaker. Then, he got down on one knee. How fun is that?
To quote K, "Who knew a love of sports and cheap beer could be the foundation for a genuine, infinite love?!"
I was super happy to be a part of their big day at Riordan Mansion which was filled with so much laughter and smiles.
2017 was such an amazing year! I enjoyed each and every couple I had the honor to work with in crafting and officiating their ceremonies! Thanks to all of you who made this award possible. I'm so grateful!
For E & J it was the perfect day in November to wed one another. Although the morning began with quite a bit of wind, the afternoon was calm, clear and just the right temperature. The bride was stunning in her blue dress and the groom looked like a dapper cowboy. The groom's sons were his groomsmen. The bride had her niece and a close friend as her bridesmaids and her Mother and Brother gave her away. They chose their favorite country tune for the procession 'Keeper of the Stars' by Tracy Byrd. The bride had tissues, however, she didn't need them but her bridesmaids did and she tenderly offered them tissues, although they refused.
They chose Instructions for Life in the New Millennium by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama for the closing blessing:
Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
And that a loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
Be gentle with the earth, be gentle with one another.
When disagreements come, remember always to protect the spirit of your union. When you realize you’ve made a mistake take immediate steps to correct it. Remember the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
So love yourselves, love one another, love all that is your life together and all else will follow.
The crowd exploded in applause as they kissed!
In 2015, couples spent an average of $35,329 nationally, with Arizona weddings costing just over $29,000, according to The Knot's 2016 Real Weddings Study. With Arizona weddings being lower than the national average, consider getting married in Arizona!
How to save money on your wedding?
Marry at a park or in the outdoors and keep your ceremony small.
Have a backyard wedding.
Consider marrying in Winter and/or on a weekday.
Consider renting your wedding dress.
Have a cash bar.
DIY as much as possible.
Instead of a wedding, consider eloping.
For your ceremony, I offer packages from $299-$599 to fit any budget!
This is a great twist to the Unity candle ceremony for beach lovers or if you want to include members of a blended family. It's such a lovely keepsake to remind you of the love that brought you together and it's fun to watch the layers of sand create a visual work of art!
J&K were wed on a perfect fall day in Sedona. From the moment they exchanged smiles, they were captivated by one another. You can see why, they have the best smiles ever! It was an incredibly moving and fun ceremony complete with laughter and tears. At the end, the father of the groom brought over the glass which was wrapped carefully in a towel and as the groom stomped on it we all exclaimed 'Mazeltov!'
Here's what the groom had to say: Jen was wonderful! She really invested in our celebration. She created and delivered a very personal and original ceremony. She picked a beautiful, breath taking location. There were tears and laughter and a whole-lotta-love!
D&D were wed on the Summer Solstice at Thornager's in Flagstaff! Their ceremony included a handfasting. Their handfasting was unique because they had a variety of cords that matched their colors and they chose to have them draped over their hands rather than tied. You can see that it was a wonderful affect!
They chose the Simply Chic Ceremony which included a questionnaire. From their answers, I was able to weave some very cute stories about their relationship into their ceremony which created a warmth and connection with all.
This is what the groom had to say about Jen Paul of Life Passages.....
Jen helped us with so much, I'm not even sure where to start. Her entire service was so personal and she really captured our love story with the information she gathers from an in-depth questionnaire. She also worked incredibly hard on our behalf, speaking closely with our D.J. and our venue to make sure there were no complications. Many of our guests said it was the most beautiful ceremony they had ever seen. I will recommend Jen Paul to everyone.
Jen Paul, Life Cycle Celebrant, Ordained Minister, Wedding Officiant, Healing Arts Practitioner, Life Coach, Death Doula