Commitment Preparation &
Wedding Celebrant Services
Marriage is a place for intimacy and supporting one another in growth. Combining lives with the intention to share capacity and love, opens a new family system that honors the past yet stands in a new direction.
Thoughtfully preparing for a ceremony allows us to become clear how a couple wishes to honor their families, include their communities, and communicate to the deepest part of themselves that a transformation is taking place. I believe this is the role of ritual in our lives; and a wedding ceremony designed with layers of meaning can be a sacred act of change.
Exploring Values Underpinning Vows: Taking vows with another is a significant act. Usually, a couple that's ready for marriage enjoys a great alignment of core values, yet there are always subtle contrasts, too. It is important to surface and explore those differences early on as part of preparing to navigate life together. Using a process I call Values to Vows, I meet with the couple several times to explore their core beliefs and assumptions about life and partnership. We uncover where they share similarities and where there are distinctions, both with tradition and with one another. Throughout this process, I also listen carefully for mentions of people, times, places, or images that are important to them, so I can weave these references into the vows or text.
Gifts from Values to Vows: The vows are written through a collaborative process; and I use the rich content harvested from these conversations to propose a ceremony design and text. I also provide the couple with a document that records the meaning and significance of each phrase of the vows. Taken together, the couple receives a highly personal wedding that truly reflects who they are and what they intend together. Many couples tell me they revisit their vow meaning map for guidance as they navigate life together.
Crafting Personal Statements: While the vows arise from a shared and collaborative process, it is also touching to create time and space for each individual to speak with their own voice. To welcome this, I encourage each party to write a personal statement, yet that task is not held alone. I work with each party separately, supporting their drafting processes. My aim is to calibrate the statements to match the vulnerability and gravity each person is bringing to the moment, so no one is left hanging. These statements are not shared with the beloved until the ceremony, unlike the vows that have been thoroughly discussed.
Gifts from Personal Statements: Personal statements often reference the quirks and pleasures of shared daily life, from pets, to gardens, to favored places or memories. Sharing personal statements at the ceremony brings the witnesses along on the ride of how the couple expresses joy or shares burden. As one family member reflected, "when I heard his personal statement, I knew he really sees and loves her like we do." Couples reflect years later that the statements are treasured touchstones that stand alongside the vows, bearing witness to their beloved’s care for them.
Utilizing Systemic & Family Constellations: It is incredibly valuable to include a series of Systemic & Family Constellations in the preparation process. I work with each person individually, and then have a Constellation with the couple together shortly before the ceremony. Family Constellations applied to wedding preparation support the couple in shifting from their families of origin (or prior relationships), to the new family path they’re forging together.
Gifts from Systemic & Family Constellations Including Systemic & Family Constellations in the preparations helps immensely while navigating the family dynamics that may emerge when planning the wedding. Conversations at this time of life change often feel tricky or sticky yet provide an opportunity to establish subtle shifts in autonomy with the family system. This is also incredibly helpful to clear former relationship patterns and binds when preparing to blend families that include children. Constellations help us to do this with insight, awareness, boundaries, and compassion.
Preparing for the Moment: Even “wee weddings” benefit from a rehearsal with the couple and wedding party. I take great care to approach the rehearsal recognizing that people are often bringing their hopes and anxieties to the moment. I aim to establish a quiet authority so that everyone can relax into my care as celebrant. I ensure that instructions are clear and simple so everyone feels prepared.
Gifts from Preparing for the Moment: Holding a rehearsal allows the wedding party to feel calm and confident about the vision of the day and their part in it. I aim to ensure that people with a role in the ceremony do not worry they will miss their cue or be lost when their moment comes. They can thus relax and be fully present during the ceremony.
Holding the Space: The day of the wedding ceremony, I will be among the first to arrive and the last to leave. I will take responsibility for making contact with everyone who has a role in the ceremony, as well as ancillary day-of partners such as musicians, photographers, and caterers. I think of the role of wedding celebrant as akin to conducting an orchestra with the focused intent that together we create a glad sound that resonates for the couple and supports them throughout their marriage.
Gifts from Holding the Space: It is common to hear afterward that the couple felt held and supported throughout the process, are moved by the significance, and meaning of the process and ceremony, that a beautiful shift has occurred with their families, and above all, that they feel married.
About the Celebrant:
I honor the role of ritual in human lives and family systems to mark out sacred space and facilitate profound transitions.
I have been officiating weddings since the year 2000 and have been honored to play a role in numerous ceremonies. I'm ordained by the Universal Life Church to sign licenses of marriage in most states in the U.S.
"Amelia worked with us in the months before our ceremony, relieving stress, providing structure, and building confidence and clarity along the way. The result of her approach was a non-religious ceremony packed with more meaning than we knew how to express in words. We thought we were entirely capable of writing our own vows, but Amelia's guidance crystalized our intentions perfectly and we are eternally grateful. After our ceremony, the entire family felt connected. We lived together for years before marriage, but we now enjoy a to-the-core feeling of union that Amelia helped us uncover. We enjoyed discussing, celebrating, and including our families in this transformation. Amelia has our eternal gratitude for the impact of her gift."
C.S. & C.S.