"Best. Ceremony. Ever." An Interview with Wedding Officiant Christopher Shelley

"Best. Ceremony. Ever." An Interview with Wedding Officiant Christopher Shelley

Christopher Shelley has a new book out: Best. Ceremony. Ever.

He wrote this book for the friends of the couples that ask him to officiate their ceremonies. I read it expecting it to be straight forward and factual. In reality, I was laughing out loud as I went through (awkward, because I was on a flight!) and couldn’t wait to get back to New York to call him.

This is our interview.

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Being an Inclusive Officiant // The Joy of Saying "Yes!"

Being an Inclusive Officiant // The Joy of Saying "Yes!"

A couple of weeks after September 11, 2001, I got on a plane, flew to D.C., and joined two women in holy and completely illegal matrimony. Same-sex weddings were a crime in the state of Virginia, carrying a two-year prison sentence and a $250,000 fine. I was not concerned about going to prison. I was a tad concerned about terrorism and the war that was breaking out, and a bit worried about my own safety. One of the brides was a Marine, and her father, also a Marine, had threatened to come shoot both brides if he could find them. I did not wish to be shot. I am an avoider of arguments, embarrassing social situations, and conflict of all kinds. I did not wish to be shot or shouted at or even to receive snarky, sarcastic comments. But I also could not stand by, and say no, and refuse to marry this couple of women who loved each other and wanted God’s blessing on their union. So I said yes.

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Incorporating Ceremony and Ritual into Bridal Showers, Bachelor/ette Parties, and Weddings // River and Root

Incorporating Ceremony and Ritual into Bridal Showers, Bachelor/ette Parties, and Weddings // River and Root

Ceremony and ritual help us acknowledge change and transition in our lives. You can think about the difference between a meal that starts with a toast or saying grace versus a meal that just starts. In the former, everyone takes a moment to settle in and be present with each other before eating, and in the second we just start right in and we don't necessarily stop to be present.

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Your Wedding Pantsuit Fits You, But Does Your Wedding Ceremony?

Your Wedding Pantsuit Fits You, But Does Your Wedding Ceremony?

Marriage is changing (can I get a hallelujah?), and these days, getting married can be an act of social justice.  

A wedding is a symbol, after all, and like the marriage it’s ushering in, a wedding is full of potential and increasingly devoid of rules. In this way, its meaning deepens.  

One of the most powerful ways we can create meaningful shifts around marriage is by how we honor ourselves and each other through our wedding ceremonies and vows. Rewriting any social narrative means working in big blank spaces, and while that can be super liberating, it can also be super disorienting. Ultimately, though, like every creative pursuit, it’s an empowering act of self-discovery that benefits us all.  

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The Pros and Cons of Asking a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding // River and Root

The Pros and Cons of Asking a Friend to Officiate Your Wedding // River and Root

The good news is that it is possible to take the pressure off of your friend to prepare a perfect ceremony for you, while still allowing them to lead the celebration and legally marry you and your partner. Life-Cycle Celebrants are trained ceremony and ritual professionals who can work with you and your officiating friend to create a ceremony that feels comfortable and meaningful to all of you. We are skilled and trained in blending and incorporating elements of different faith traditions and backgrounds into secular (but possibly spiritual) ceremonies.  

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The ARQ Wedding Guide // Understanding & Incorporating Jewish Customs

The ARQ Wedding Guide // Understanding & Incorporating Jewish Customs

Jewish tradition teaches that a wedding celebrates the creation of a new world, a new beginning that may change the meaning of everything that has come before. We love the endless possibilities to be inspired by and to build upon ancient Jewish wedding rituals.

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