What type of Minister are you?
I am an ordained Minister (through education) and Founder of The Embodiment of God Church, a legally registered Church in the State of North Carolina. I do services for spiritual, Christian, non-denominational, interfaith, and civil or non-religious wedding ceremonies, I am available in the following counties: Wilkes County,Mecklenburg, Iredell, Cabarrus, Surry, Yadkin, Ashe, Watagua, Forsyth, Lincoln and Guilford Counties.
Why hire an Officiant and not use a friend or family members to marry us?
This is a "gray" area of the law. While it is legal to be ordained online and marry someone, how that marriage may hold up later when challenged in a court of law, can be something else! Scary stuff! There are court cases right here in North Carolina where the wedding officiant's credentials were challenged in a Court of Law. The law is vaguely written, and can also be based/determined on the IRS standards of an official Church.
Keep in mind that Federal law supersedes State law.
So, why take a chance?
What do I get when we pay you?
1) I am a professional public speaker and instructor;
2) I am a Minister of a legally established Church in the State of North Carolina;
3) An attorney-written and approved legal contract guaranteeing my services;
4) A customized wedding ceremony (script);
5) Microphone system with amplifier (I can provide prelude wedding music - however, I recommend hiring a professional DJ for the best results, as this is NOT a professional system);
6) My time and travel is incorporated in my fee; and
7) Legal filing of the marriage certificate. This involves making copies of both certificates, and then FedEx overnight first business day to the Register of Deeds with a tracking number (an expense that I pay). I email you the copies in PDF format (not the certified copies - that comes from the Register of Deeds) and send you the tracking number. I do not send regular post.
Here lately I have seen price quotes from couples in the $100 - $200 range. I honestly cannot figure out where this is coming from as the wedding officiant is one of the most important elements of the wedding ceremony. So, to help you have a better understanding of what it is that I do when you hire me, here goes!
1) I plan an in-person meeting (or now, due to COVID, a Zoom meeting). This meeting is usually 45 minutes to 1 hour long. This also includes travel time if meeting the couple somewhere.
2) After meeting the couple, I gather my notes and I start to prepare the wedding ceremony. This again, can take several hours as I write customized wedding ceremonies.
3) If a rehearsal is scheduled, I once again travel to location and spend several hours at the rehearsal.
4) If a DJ has not been hired (I truly recommend hiring a DJ if you have more than 30 guests), I can provide pre-wedding music, downloading your song list (an additional fee of $25). This can take some time, too!
5) The day of the wedding I arrive 1 hour early in the event nerves are frazzled and a calming presence is required.
6) After the wedding, I personally handle the delivery of the marriage license (as required by law). I send the licenses by FedEx for proof of delivery (your responsibility to track). When the marriage license goes by FedEx I pay an additional fee of $30 or more. Before mailing off the license I make copies and email the FedEx receipt and copies of your non-filed marriage license back to you once completed.
AND ONLY THEN have I completed my services!
So! As you can see there is a tad bit more to this business than just standing there and doing a reading. There is some work and many hours behind the scene. We me, I can guarantee you that I am worth every penny that you are spending. Again! I stress why would you shop cheap for one of the most important elements of your wedding day… The Ceremony! Hire professionalism. Hire experience!
NOTE: Rehearsal is not included in my fee unless so quoted in my pricing structure at the time of inquiry (and referenced on the invoice). A date and time must be made at that time for the rehearsal at the time of booking.
What is required to get married in North Carolina?
A marriage license can be obtained in any County through the Register of Deeds. You both must appear in person to file for your license. After you have filed, your license is valid the day of your filing and up to 60 (Sixty) days thereafter. You must both be able to provide a social security number, so make sure to bring your social security cards with you! A fee of $60 (Sixty Dollars) will be required.
You MUST bring your marriage license with you to the ceremony or to the rehearsal, if I am present. Also, 2 (two) legal witnesses over the age of 18 must be present at the wedding ceremony. The Officiant cannot be a witness! I can provide one legal witness if you are in need of one at no additional charge.
Do you provide fee-based pre-marriage counseling?
To answer your question, under the Statutes of North Carolina law, I am not qualified to do fee-based pre-marriage counseling. HOWEVER, I can do marriage coaching! My fee as a marriage coach is $100 per session. I recommend 2 - 3 sessions. 3 sessions $250. I am a CSAC-R (Certified Substance Abuse Counselor) and Certified Hypnotherapist in the State of California.
What is my wedding attire?
Black pants or black skirt with my black Minister robe. I also accent with a stole - religious or non-religious. I have a white robe for a black-tie event or more formal setting. If you wish me to wear something else, we will discuss this, including the cost of my complying to your coordinating request.
How do we pay you?
You can pay me with a credit or debit card through Square, Venmo or by personal check or money order. Personal checks have a two-week processing fee and a $50 return fee policy.
Upon hiring of my services, a non-refundable deposit is required to be paid to secure your wedding date. Sixty (60) days prior to your ceremony date the remainder, if any, will be due in full. I will send you an invoice at that time. If you do not pay by the sixty day time period (the invoice due date), your date will no longer be guaranteed. In the event of State/Federal cancellation your deposit will be refunded.
Prior to hiring me, and upon request, I will send you a copy of my contract for your review. Upon submitting the information/payment form, a contract will be sent along with recommended script/vows. Those are sent once your funds have been cleared.
Please note: All my traveling costs and expenses are incorporated in the price that I quote to you.
For elopements - last minute - CASH ONLY! Stop by the bank or a Teller II machine and get cash.
Friends Marrying Friends: As an officiant I often hear that, "We are deciding on whether or not we will have our friend officiate at our wedding." Trust me, that does not change my quote structure. But, let me point this out. While it may seem "right" to have the friend that introduced you as a couple or is like a family member marry you, there are things that you need to consider: 1) The proper handling of the marriage license: and 2) While that friend may have a wonderful personality and seems to be a great in-large persona, how do they sound when reading from a written script? AND... will they go off script and throw in what they deem cute and amusing antidotes during the ceremony without first consulting with you? In short, stealing the limelight from the couple. Upstaging you, the couple, on that big day!
If you truly want your friend or family member to be a part of your ceremony, select readings so that they can participate during the ceremony. Maybe have more than just 1 friend do a reading! It's your ceremony! This way they are on script and cannot stray from the written script. The officiant will also keep things on track. Don't put the stress on them of messing up one of the most important days of your life. Let them enjoy the party, too!
Unlike the T.V. series, The Big Bang, where all the friends married their friend, this is real life and we need to keep it real!
That is why you hire a professional officiant!