Congratulations and Best Wishes!
1. As soon as you arrive (unless we made other arrangements), you’ll want to place the two-part
2. If the ceremony includes any of the following, you’ll want to be sure they are in place before the wedding begins. Often the best place is the ceremonial table for the
* special ceremonial items such as a
Unity Candle set, wine, sand containers,
lasso, photos, etc.
If I'm preparing vows on scrolls for you, I'll get them on the altar-table before the ceremony begins.
If you are concerned about placing a tight ring on your spouse’s finger, a little soap inside the ring might help.
3. The Chapel staff is eager to assist with entrances and exits. You may also want to double-check if you have arranged for recorded music.
4. INFORMAL WELCOME. For many weddings, just before the ceremony begins, I’ll informally greet your seated guests and, if appropriate, light chancel candles. LEARN MORE.
Weddings with Bride and Groom often begin with the Minister entering
the side with the Groom immediately following, then followed by the
man. Alternatively, couples may process or appear together, or make
best suited to the facility and the couple’s wishes.
6. After the men are in place in a bride-groom wedding, usually the hostess (or someone you designate) helps the Bride’s party to enter from the front door of the chapel to process in. In case of rain, umbrellas or a "Plan B" may be used.
7. During the ceremony, you will want to enjoy looking at each other — not me — except when I’m giving directions. We’ll not rush. Feel free to stand naturally and reach out to each other — and hold hands if you like at any time. I'll guide you through the ceremony so you do not need to worry about remembering anything -- except to kiss after I pronounce you married!
8. After welcoming everyone, in many weddings as arranged, I’ll motion for the bride to give her flowers to her maid/matron/man of honor to hold until the end of the ceremony when the bride takes them to recess with her husband.
9. Here is advice for you to send to your photographer. With your permission, I’d like to take a photo of you together after the ceremony. If your photographer wants me in any posed photos, this would be a good time, immediately after the ceremony.
10. The certificate is yours to take
you leave — unless we make other arrangements, you will find it after
ceremony on the altar-table. It is legal proof of your marriage. Be
have it when you leave the chapel. I return the license
to the court unless we arrange for you to do this yourself.
If you wish, you can obtain a certified copy after it is filed. If you
applied for a certified copy when you applied for your license, it will
be sent to you automatically after the court records the endorsed
11. Current health advice based on local assessments are
12. Please feel free to let me know as any questions arise.
Again, thank you for inviting me to be with you
on this happy occasion!
My arrival at Pilgrim Chapel
0. The mothers of the bride and groom and others designated for the honor of speacial seats, usually closest to the chancel, are seated after all other guests are seated.
1. The minister may provide informal greetings to the guests.
2. The minister, the groom, and best man enter from the side and wait in the chancel.
3. Groomsmen follow the best man immediately from the side or can escort the bridesmaids from the front door of the chapel.
4. The bridesmaids singly or with groomsmen escorts begin the procession.
5. The ring bearer and/or flower girl.
6. The maid or matron of honor.
7. The bride, often with an escort -- her father or other close male family member or friend on her right.
8. When the bride’s father reaches the chancel, he may kiss her and then place her hand in her groom’s hand.
9. The minister begins the ceremony by welcoming the guests.
motions for the bride to hand her flowers to her maid/matron of honor
hold during the ceremony.
11. After the couple are pronounced husband and wife, the bride is handed her flowers in preparation for the recessional.
12. After the benediction, the couple recess, followed by the wedding party.
Welcome by the minister
Consent and Presentations
Prayer if desired and Reading(s) if desired
Exchanging of Vows and Rings
Pronouncement and embrace
Benediction [or Farewell Wish]
2. Some think of weddings as a time of instruction, but it is really a time of celebration. Isn't it rather late at this point for the officiant to offer lecture or discourse on the requirements for marriage? The wedding should be about the couple, not me; references to the minister should be as few as possible; instead, let the focus be on the love and commitment of the couple and the joy they bring to their family and friends. #approach3
3. Here's a specific example contrasting instruction
with celebration. After the couple has
been pronounced husband and wife, many officiants say to the groom,
may now kiss the bride." Frankly, I have no right to give permission
a husband to kiss his wife. A kiss is customary and I
encourage it, but
why should the minister presume to authorize such an intimate moment?
4. Many old sexist customs, if used, can be
to treat each person of the couple equally. This can be easily done to
enhance the dignity of even the most high-spirited ceremony. An example
is the sexist practice of the father giving the bride away. Instead,
families can present (not give away) and bless their children and the
5. I've pretty much given up on the idea that each
action should express appropriate meaning because most couples want to
do the expected or pretty thing.
6. As I say, I've pretty much given up on such points
and recognize the force of tradition and expectation. I
in favor of what the couple wants.
The bride, wearing a simple dress, did not even carry flowers and none appeared on the altar-table. She processed gracefully without music. The altar-table did have lit candles, a sign of sacred festivity; and a goblet and two cruets of wine, sweet and bitter, which, mixed, the couple would share; and scrolls with the vows the couple would exchange with each other. These items furthered rather than detracted from the ceremony.
A relative was honored by reading a poem. Nothing was extraneous; everything focused on the love and commitment between the couple. And the recessional was celebrated with such enthusiastic applause that would have made music utterly superfluous.
This was not
money; it was about the best way this couple had to express an
vision of their love and commitment. Their focus was not on flowers, or
expensive attire, or elaborate ornaments, or other embellishments, but
rather on family and friends who decorated the space from around the
with their presence. In this case, decorations would have detracted
from the elements of the ceremony they had carefully planned.
Once a couple who did not heed my advice about the length of the vows wore out the patience of their guests with a two-page single-spaced, tiny-font set of promises so exhausting to deliver that the bride had to sit down for a time before the wedding could proceed. Surely such a catalogue could have been given as a wedding present to her groom rather than making folks wonder if there was any end to what she would promise her groom in public. #approach9Star
9. Specific examples and circumstances appear in the columns I wrote about weddings for The Kansas City Star.
9. Most weddings do not need a WEDDING PLANNER. If you do want professional help, please select carefully. You may want to refer them to these notes:
I usually conduct the rehearsal. After introductions, I ask the wedding party to take their places as if the wedding ceremony itself were about to begin with the Words of Welcome from me. Then I ask the planner to help the wedding party learn how to get to those places, and how to recess. The rehearsal may include actual parts of the ceremony, depending on the wishes of the couple. Often the rehearsal ends with a prayer or a circle of best wishes.
Planners will want to be familiar with the physical layoutprocessional options, and with the law regarding the license and certificate.
A wedding should be well-planned, but not over-rehearsed. This is a real event, not a stage production. You want to be free of concerns about photography, arrivals, seatings, and such, to be able to rely on me to guide you through the ceremony, and comfortable enough to enjoy your wedding and each other and your guests.
Planners should review my rehearsal routine and are welcome to contact me with any questions before the rehearsal or wedding. of Pilgrim Chapel, with possible
arbitrary simple labels
A "CIVIL" ceremony contains no religious references, though words like "sacred" (what is of great importance and "benediction" (good-word, a fare-well, a good wish, a blessing) may be used unless the couple wishes otherwise.
A "SPIRITUAL" ceremony will invoke "God" unless the couple prefers expressions like "Spirit of Generations" or "Creator" or "Souce of All" or some other wording.
A "CHRISTIAN" ceremony explicitly uses the name of Jesus Christ.
A "UNIQUE" or "CUSTOM" ceremony may involve various
If your wedding is ceremonial only,
no license is needed. Just let me know if you want to
a--. keep your earlier mariage a secret,
b--. include that information within the ceremony,
c--. have a wedding without a legal status, or
d--. or any other preference you might have.
The Marriage License and Certificate
For Kansas weddings, see this.
Before or after special seatings (as for parents and other close relatives), an informal greeting may be offered, and candles may be lit.
Several ways of formal entrances are in use. You will want to decide on which style or how to adapt one according to your wishes.
+These plans can be enhanced if the groom escorts a mother (or other relatives) to his/her/their seat(s) from the rear and then takes his place with the minister (and best man and groomsmen) in the chancel area.
1 or 1+. Traditional Plan
2 or 2+.
3 or 3+. Paired Plan
4 or 4=. Couple Plan
Most weddings do not need a rehearsal, but sometimes couples like to have them to preview the ceremony to feel more comfortable and help the wedding party be sure of their roles. or even as part of an evening prenuptual celebration by including family and friends. Whatever your reason for scheduling a rehearsal might be, these considerations might be helpful:
If there are health concerns, I will begin the rehearsal when safety and health guidelines are observed.
1. Please remind folks that the Chapel is sometimes scheduled with events back-to-back, so it is important to be on time.
2. Usually I dress casually for a rehearsal. If you want me to dress up, please let me know.
2. Bring the paperwork (license, certificate, return envelope) in the big white envelope from the courthouse and place it on the altar-table as soon as you arrive unless we make other arrangements. Preparing the documents at the rehearsal with your two witnesses makes it possible for you to focus on each other and your guests at the wedding itself with this detail already completed. You have nothing to sign.
3. I will conduct the rehearsaI and call on the couple (and the wedding planner if one) to be sure that entrances and exits are what is desired.
4. Often is fun to begin with introductions
-- who are you and what is your role in the wedding? This can be
important for children.
5. I outline the ceremony sequence to give you a good sense of the order of things.
6. Rocio (and other staff) at the Chapel and I want to help everyone know how to enter and exit, where to sit or stand, and how everyone gets in place, and departs when the ceremony is completed. Questions and suggestions are welcome.
7. The ceremony in sequence itself is rehearsed, though many parts need only to be mentioned, not run through completely. For example, any readers need only know when and where they appear and stand, and may rehearse with only the first and last sentences of their readings.
8. Sometimes ending the rehearsal with a brief prayer of blessing or, for a civil ceremony, a circle of best wishes, may be appropriate.
9. If everyone is on time, and there are no technical problems with recorded music, the rehearsal usually should take less than an hour.
Many couples choose to exchange rings during the wedding ceremony. Unless you have other plans, I suggest placing the rings on the altar-table when you arrive. This makes it easy on your best man (what pocket did I put that ring in?)(who probably doesn't have a pocket in her dress). and maid of honor
It is often appropriate for the minister to consecrate, bless, or explicate the rings, then offer them to the couple with short phrases each might repeat to the other.
If you have any concern about slipping them on your
beloved's finger, a little soap on the inside of the rings may make it
slide more easly. If you have difficulty, take your time -- no rush,
if your beloved wants to help, that's OK, too.
About the minister
Dr Vern Barnet, ordained in 1970, founded CRES in 1982 as a multi-faith resource for Kansas City. For eighteen years, his column, “Faiths and Beliefs,” appeared each Wednesday in The Kansas City Star into retirement. Here are some of his columns about weddings.
Zoom may be the easiest and best way for us to meet. These recent
years, I've also discovered that having access to all sorts of material
at my study while Zooming has sometimes been particularly useful to the
(Pilgrim Chapel is exceptionally well-ventilated, and other measures are in place for those concerned about health safety. Masks can be available in the entryway for any who might wish them. It is important that you and your guests feel safe so that this happy occasion can be fully enjoyed.)
It is important to me that your wedding is what you want it to be, and that you are delighted with your officiant. The wedding is not about the offciant -- it is about your expression of love and commitment celebrated in the company of your guests.
Fees for the minister and site
Fees for my services are included
For inquiries about, and
For more about
was initiated and conducted by a marketing agency with which Vern
not to establish a relationship, though the questions seemed
How does your service stand
What is your typical process for
a new request?
What education and/or training do you
that relates to your work?
At Pilgrim Chapel, my fee is included in the arrangements made with Pilgrim Chapel.
Elsewhere my fee depends on the extent of planning required, whether the couple wishes a rehearsal, the involvement the couple wishes from me in associated festivities, and such. I suggest a sliding scale and respect each couple's financial situation. The quality of my work deserves appropriate recognition.
How did you get started officiating
What types of folks have you worked
I recently enjoyed doing an interfaith baptism for a couple I had married several years ago. The ceremony used waters from the Ganges, the Tiber, the Seine, the Missouri, the Yangtze, and other rivers of the world.
If I can mention another: marrying a young couple. The groom was the son of a couple I married decades ago.
What advice would you give a folks
to find a professionally-trained officiant?
What top three questions might folks
through before talking to professionals about their needs?
I've written about my general approach to weddings and offer some specific thoughts "the kiss" and such on my website, as well as in a dozen of my columns for The Kansas City Star.
Pilgrim Chapel has proved to be an exceptionally beautiful and convenient site for many weddings, and I have a wonderful relationship with the staff there.
The Kansas City area offers many choice sites for weddings and receptions --
parks -- example: Loose Park
gardens -- example: Powell GardensIf you have not yet selected a location, I may offer suggestions depending on the kind of wedding you wish to have. Facility fees are arranged directly between you and the venue.
elegant venues -- example: Webster House
religious settings -- example: Pilgrim Chapel
historic sites -- example: Alexander Majors Barn
and perhaps your own home or a friends's home.
The honorarium for the minister’s services depends on the extent of the planning, whether a rehearsal is desired, and the context of the ceremony. You will want to include it in your wedding budget. The minister's fee is included in rental arrangements with Pilgrim Chapel.
|The 36 Questions That Lead to Love
By Daniel Jones
Jan. 9, 2015
In Mandy Len Catron’s Modern Love essay, “To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This,” [below the list] she refers to a study by the psychologist Arthur Aron (and others) that explores whether intimacy between two strangers can be accelerated by having them ask each other a specific series of personal questions. The 36 questions in the study are broken up into three sets, with each set intended to be more probing than the previous one.
The idea is that mutual vulnerability fosters closeness. To quote the study’s authors, “One key pattern associated with the development of a close relationship among peers is sustained, escalating, reciprocal, personal self-disclosure.” Allowing oneself to be vulnerable with another person can be exceedingly difficult, so this exercise forces the issue.
The final task Ms. Catron and her friend try — staring into each other’s eyes for four minutes — is less well documented, with the suggested duration ranging from two minutes to four. But Ms. Catron was unequivocal in her recommendation. “Two minutes is just enough to be terrified,” she told me. “Four really goes somewhere.”
1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?
2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?
3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?
4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?
5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?
6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?
7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?
8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.
9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?
10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?
11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.
12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?
13. If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about yourself, your life, the future or anything else, what would you want to know?
14. Is there something that you’ve dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven’t you done it?
15. What is the greatest accomplishment of your life?
16. What do you value most in a friendship?
17. What is your most treasured memory?
18. What is your most terrible memory?
19. If you knew that in one year you would die suddenly, would you change anything about the way you are now living? Why?
20. What does friendship mean to you?
21. What roles do love and affection play in your life?
22. Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner. Share a total of five items.in story
23. How close and warm is your family? Do you feel your childhood was happier than most other people’s?
24. How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?
25. Make three true “we” statements each. For instance, “We are both in this room feeling ... “
26. Complete this sentence: “I wish I had someone with whom I could share ... “
27. If you were going to become a close friend with your partner, please share what would be important for him or her to know.
28. Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time, saying things that you might not say to someone you’ve just met.
29. Share with your partner an embarrassing moment in your life.
30. When did you last cry in front of another person? By yourself?
31. Tell your partner something that you like about them already.
32. What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?
33. If you were to die this evening with no opportunity to communicate with anyone, what would you most regret not having told someone? Why haven’t you told them yet?
34. Your house, containing everything you own, catches fire. After saving your loved ones and pets, you have time to safely make a final dash to save any one item. What would it be? Why?
35. Of all the people in your family, whose death would you find most disturbing? Why?
36. Share a personal problem and ask your partner’s advice on how he or she might handle it. Also, ask your partner to reflect back to you how you seem to be feeling about the problem you have chosen.
To Fall in Love With Anyone, Do This
By Mandy Len Catron
Jan. 9, 2015
More than 20 years ago, the psychologist Arthur Aron succeeded in making two strangers fall in love in his laboratory. Last summer, I applied his technique in my own life, which is how I found myself standing on a bridge at midnight, staring into a man’s eyes for exactly four minutes.
Let me explain. Earlier in the evening, that man had said: “I suspect, given a few commonalities, you could fall in love with anyone. If so, how do you choose someone?”
He was a university acquaintance I occasionally ran into at the climbing gym and had thought, “What if?” I had gotten a glimpse into his days on Instagram. But this was the first time we had hung out one-on-one.
“Actually, psychologists have tried making people fall in love,” I said, remembering Dr. Aron’s study. “It’s fascinating. I’ve always wanted to try it.”
I first read about the study when I was in the midst of a breakup. Each time I thought of leaving, my heart overruled my brain. I felt stuck. So, like a good academic, I turned to science, hoping there was a way to love smarter.
I explained the study to my university acquaintance. A heterosexual man and woman enter the lab through separate doors. They sit face to face and answer a series of increasingly personal questions. Then they stare silently into each other’s eyes for four minutes. The most tantalizing detail: Six months later, two participants were married. They invited the entire lab to the ceremony.
“Let’s try it,” he said.
Let me acknowledge the ways our experiment already fails to line up with the study. First, we were in a bar, not a lab. Second, we weren’t strangers. Not only that, but I see now that one neither suggests nor agrees to try an experiment designed to create romantic love if one isn’t open to this happening.
I Googled Dr. Aron’s questions; there are 36. We spent the next two hours passing my iPhone across the table, alternately posing each question.
They began innocuously: “Would you like to be famous? In what way?” And “When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?”
But they quickly became probing.
In response to the prompt, “Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common,” he looked at me and said, “I think we’re both interested in each other.”
I grinned and gulped my beer as he listed two more commonalities I then promptly forgot. We exchanged stories about the last time we each cried, and confessed the one thing we’d like to ask a fortuneteller. We explained our relationships with our mothers.
The questions reminded me of the infamous boiling frog experiment in which the frog doesn’t feel the water getting hotter until it’s too late. With us, because the level of vulnerability increased gradually, I didn’t notice we had entered intimate territory until we were already there, a process that can typically take weeks or months.
I liked learning about myself through my answers, but I liked learning things about him even more. The bar, which was empty when we arrived, had filled up by the time we paused for a bathroom break.
I sat alone at our table, aware of my surroundings for the first time in an hour, and wondered if anyone had been listening to our conversation. If they had, I hadn’t noticed. And I didn’t notice as the crowd thinned and the night got late.
We all have a narrative of ourselves that we offer up to strangers and acquaintances, but Dr. Aron’s questions make it impossible to rely on that narrative. Ours was the kind of accelerated intimacy I remembered from summer camp, staying up all night with a new friend, exchanging the details of our short lives. At 13, away from home for the first time, it felt natural to get to know someone quickly. But rarely does adult life present us with such circumstances.
The moments I found most uncomfortable were not when I had to make confessions about myself, but had to venture opinions about my partner. For example: “Alternate sharing something you consider a positive characteristic of your partner, a total of five items” (Question 22), and “Tell your partner what you like about them; be very honest this time saying things you might not say to someone you’ve just met” (Question 28).
Much of Dr. Aron’s research focuses on creating interpersonal closeness. In particular, several studies investigate the ways we incorporate others into our sense of self. It’s easy to see how the questions encourage what they call “self-expansion.” Saying things like, “I like your voice, your taste in beer, the way all your friends seem to admire you,” makes certain positive qualities belonging to one person explicitly valuable to the other.
It’s astounding, really, to hear what someone admires in you. I don’t know why we don’t go around thoughtfully complimenting one another all the time.
We finished at midnight, taking far longer than the 90 minutes for the original study. Looking around the bar, I felt as if I had just woken up. “That wasn’t so bad,” I said. “Definitely less uncomfortable than the staring into each other’s eyes part would be.”
He hesitated and asked. “Do you think we should do that, too?”
“Here?” I looked around the bar. It seemed too weird, too public.
“We could stand on the bridge,” he said, turning toward the window.
The night was warm and I was wide-awake. We walked to the highest point, then turned to face each other. I fumbled with my phone as I set the timer.
“O.K.,” I said, inhaling sharply.
“O.K.,” he said, smiling.
I’ve skied steep slopes and hung from a rock face by a short length of rope, but staring into someone’s eyes for four silent minutes was one of the more thrilling and terrifying experiences of my life. I spent the first couple of minutes just trying to breathe properly. There was a lot of nervous smiling until, eventually, we settled in.
I know the eyes are the windows to the soul or whatever, but the real crux of the moment was not just that I was really seeing someone, but that I was seeing someone really seeing me. Once I embraced the terror of this realization and gave it time to subside, I arrived somewhere unexpected.
I felt brave, and in a state of wonder. Part of that wonder was at my own vulnerability and part was the weird kind of wonder you get from saying a word over and over until it loses its meaning and becomes what it actually is: an assemblage of sounds.
So it was with the eye, which is not a window to anything but rather a clump of very useful cells. The sentiment associated with the eye fell away and I was struck by its astounding biological reality: the spherical nature of the eyeball, the visible musculature of the iris and the smooth wet glass of the cornea. It was strange and exquisite.
When the timer buzzed, I was surprised — and a little relieved. But I also felt a sense of loss. Already I was beginning to see our evening through the surreal and unreliable lens of retrospect.
Most of us think about love as something that happens to us. We fall. We get crushed.
But what I like about this study is how it assumes that love is an action. It assumes that what matters to my partner matters to me because we have at least three things in common, because we have close relationships with our mothers, and because he let me look at him.
I wondered what would come of our interaction. If nothing else, I thought it would make a good story. But I see now that the story isn’t about us; it’s about what it means to bother to know someone, which is really a story about what it means to be known.
It’s true you can’t choose who loves you, although I’ve spent years hoping otherwise, and you can’t create romantic feelings based on convenience alone. Science tells us biology matters; our pheromones and hormones do a lot of work behind the scenes.
But despite all this, I’ve begun to think love is a more pliable thing than we make it out to be. Arthur Aron’s study taught me that it’s possible — simple, even — to generate trust and intimacy, the feelings love needs to thrive.
You’re probably wondering if he and I fell in love. Well, we did. Although it’s hard to credit the study entirely (it may have happened anyway), the study did give us a way into a relationship that feels deliberate. We spent weeks in the intimate space we created that night, waiting to see what it could become.
Love didn’t happen to us. We’re in love because we each made the choice to be.