What is River and Root Ceremonies' mission?

To co-create and lead ceremonies acknowledging major life changes and events in ways that are congruent with the complex life stories of my clients.

What is your company's origin story?

I've always loved ritual and ceremony, but I think that this iteration began a few years ago when a friend asked me to create and lead a reflective moment on the night before her wedding. I enjoyed researching and planning this so much, and it led me to the Life-Cycle Celebrancy training program that I eventually completed a few years later. I come from a theater production background as well, and part of the joy of celebrancy and ceremony for me is also the ways it nurtures my creativity and my interest in expressing and honoring the universality as well as the specificity of the human experience — which is something meaningful theater can accomplish as well.

What is one of your favorite projects you've ever worked on?

Wedding-wise, I had the opportunity last year to co-create a wedding ceremony with a couple who had been together for nearly twenty years. One partner's family had decided to sell the family farm outside of DC and they decided they wanted to wed there as a last hurrah for the family and the farm before it passed into different hands. The two guys were based in Florida and coming to the DC area for a very limited amount of time, during which they were getting married. They had a few elements they wanted to incorporate as part of the ceremony, including some antique glass beads they had found years ago and had been saving to exchange as part of a commitment ceremony, which was fun and challenging to figure out. Because of the timing and the distance, we had an intense process (which thankfully both people really showed up for emotionally and psychically - makes it so much easier and more personal). I showed up to the farm two days after Christmas, having never met the couple. The community gathered were family and friends, some local and some who had traveled up from Florida. All of the flowers and greenery were sourced from the farm. They had been searching unsuccessfully for a band to play and ended up engaging a quartet from the local high school down the road. It was a beautiful and intimate wedding and I felt, more than anything, so incredibly lucky and privileged to have been a part of it.

How are you a "wedding space disrupter”?

By centering the ceremony and the people who are getting married, rather than the externalities and the consumption. Don't get me wrong, we all love pretty things and they are important, but I believe that engaging in an active process of ceremony co-creation provides a space for people to feel and process the big things that can come up as they navigate and negotiate this change.

What three ingredients are necessary for a great day at River and Root Ceremonies?

  1. Time outside - so crucial for feeling connected to the Earth. 
  2. Writing, reading, and research time - connecting the dots between the administrative, the reflective, the creative, and the generative aspects of this work is really important to me
  3. Cheese

What are some traits of your ideal client?

Curiosity, openness, compassion, humor, a language of feeling and emotion, and a willingness to engage with big questions and wrestle with what 'getting married' really means on a deep level. I love it when people have ideas about rituals or elements that excite them but they aren't quite sure how to incorporate them into the ceremony — and I love doing research and reading , and presenting possibilities about different ways to tie those elements into a ceremony

What Past Clients Have To Say:

"Hannah's magic, as near as I can articulate it, resides in her capacity to listen deeply, to make meaningful connections among a sea of thoughts, and to produce an event that feel tonally right and deeply in-tune with the meaning of the ceremony. Hannah offered her creative ideas, posing thoughts about symbols or actions that might resonate with me, and approached the ceremony with relish, fully letting me choose which elements felt right without her ever expressing anything other than enthusiasm and utter support. She's an extraordinary crafter of moments and intuitively skilled in detail and pacing. Throughout the day Hannah made sure to check in with me—it was an intense experience for me—allowing for pauses and reflection so the discrete events had a rich sweetness that lingered and dispelled, giving way to something new. A great pleasure for me arose from an unanticipated outcome: my loved ones who were present found the ceremony moving in a way personal to them and their own lives. There's more capacity in all of us, and Hannah knows how to gently coax it forth."

- L.G. (PhD completion ceremony)



Hannah Nielsen-Jones

HANNAH NIELSEN-JONES

Lover of ceremony, ritual, and cheesey action movies. And just actual cheese, the kind you eat. And also the kind you roll your eyes at because come on, it's okay to get deep and maybe a little cheesey at your wedding, if that's what you are into!

Category

Officiants & Celebrants

Website

http://riverandrootceremonies.com

Location

Washington DC Metro Area

Price Range

$175 - $1200

Travel Policy

Travel within 80 miles of the DMV is included within my packages. Beyond that I'm happy to consult long-distance, or discuss travel options! (I love traveling and I would love to expand my in-person ceremonies beyond DC).

Elopement Policy

My flat fee for elopements is $180 and includes a brief interview, your choice of vows and readings, paperwork, and a keepsake copy of the ceremony (in addition to the wedding, of course!)


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