Ann McKenzie-Wedding Officiant Raleigh - Raleigh Wedding Minister
 

Unity Ceremonies can be included in your wedding ceremony. They symbolize the couple’s separate lives becoming joined into one future life together. One of the most popular is the candle lighting ceremony , where the couple lights an individual candle then uses each separate candle  to light the center candle. It is a beautiful ceremony. Pinterest is a good source of information for Unity Ceremonies : https://www.pinterest.com/castlefarms/unity-ceremonies/?lp=true

I has been my privilege to help direct many  types of Unity Ceremonies. The Sand Ceremony  can include children from a previous relationship such as the sand ceremony. The couple as well as each child has a different color sand. They pour them together in a vase and realize the individual sands once joined can not be separated . It is a fun way to include children. This is from Vicky and Jessica wedding and including Jessica’s  3 children .

 

 

 

 

 

The Hand-fasting Ceremony is also known as  “Tying the Knot” . It is done by draping pieces of cord or cloth over each couples hands and arms , then the couple pulls the strands apart and it forms a knot. It symbolizes the couples’ devotion and connection to each other.   This was a very creative way for Andrea and Ian to say their vows to each other. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pebble ceremony includes the guests during a ceremony. Each guest holds a stone during the ceremony, making a wish for the couple and then drops it in the jar near the end of the ceremony. The couple may light a candle over the pebbles.  Kathryn and Rich chose this ceremony. 

 

 

 

 

 

The Unity Painting is a really fun ceremony but can be a little messy. A blank canvas with an interlocking heart in  the center, made from masking tape, is placed on a table covered by white paper for spills. The couple and even the family can be included. Each person pours a tiny can across the top of the canvas ,letting the paint drip down. It makes an abstract painting. When you remove the masking tape, you are left with an interlocking heart in white in the center of the painting. Kendra and Matt decided on this fun unity ceremony.

Photo: Lindsay Aikman Photography

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to discuss ways to add an extra level of participation for you and your partner in your wedding. You can contact me at http://www.annmckenzie.net/contact/

The wedding ceremony is intended to show your love story to your family and friends. It is an expression of the love you have for one another and a way to share this with the people that are important to you. I always impress upon couples that it is their ceremony, it can be anything they want http://www.annmckenzie.net/ceremonies/.

I find that couples like the structure of a traditional ceremony: opening words, the gathering of friends, declaration of support, marriage address, vows, exchange of rings, and the final words. This is true for weddings whether they are spiritual, secular or religious. I began officiating weddings in North Carolina when we changed the laws to allow LGBT couples to marry. I was upset with some of the NC government employees, who did not want to do their job and marry all couples. I had become an ordained minister to open an Energy Healing business. It allows you to console someone with a touch on the shoulder, hand etc. A friend saw that I had become ordained and asked me to marry him and his fiance. Thus I began this new career three years ago. 

One of my favorite parts of a ceremony crafted the way the couple wanted was with Molly and Jordan. They both wore long white wedding dresses and both of them had their father give them away. This wedding took place in Farmville, NC, a small rural town at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Benjamin-May-Lewis-House/825608430841590   It was a pleasure to see tradition being challenged and the full embracing of this change by guests and family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another wedding with a different twist was Jessica and Vicky’s wedding in Clayton, NC at the http://www.wagnerhouseclayton.com/

The three children were included from a previous marriage, they all joined in a sand ceremony. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fred and Christopher wanted to be married at Pullen Park in Raleigh https://www.raleighnc.gov/parks/content/ParksRec/Articles/Parks/Pullen.html

since it has been part of both of their lives for many years. The ceremony was performed under the gazebo on the lake, with the final vows taking place on the carousel with all of the

 guests riding with the wedding party.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Look for an upcoming post on the Medieval Wedding I officiated.  Thi was one of the most unusual weddings that I have participated in. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Feel free to contact me for any ideas to make your wedding unique to you and your fiance. http://www.annmckenzie.net/contact/

 

Honeymoons aren’t for everyone. Some couples may want to skip or postpone the whole experience in order to pay off the wedding, buy a house or put money in investment accounts. But if you want your marriage experience to be capped by a truly memorable vacation, there are plenty of amazing places to go for a honeymoon!

The most common honeymoon destinations over the past few years have been

 California Wine Country.,

Greece Hawaii

 Switzerland 

 Colorado

 Florida 

Belize ,

Las Vegas 

 South Africa 

 Italy 

  http://honeymoons.com/honeymoon-top-tens/top-10-most-popular-honeymoon-destinations/

Even though these places have spectacular views, you don’t really need one of these fancy locales in order for your honeymoon to be special. If you want to have a nice honeymoon experience without spending too much, there are lots of options! You could always rent out a cabin in a local mountainous area, or go to a nice bed and breakfast for a week. Then again, a couple who really doesn’t care to travel could just have a stay-cation for their honeymoon, and cuddle up in front of some great movies with a few expensive bottles of wine and their favorite snacks.

Regardless of what you do for a honeymoon, it’s definitely a great idea to do at least something special after your wedding. For most people, their wedding will be one of the most important events in their life, and you don’t want to look back later and regret not taking a trip, or at least taking a little time off after your wedding!

The Origin of Honeymoons

Where did the honeymoon come from? Well, the first instance of its use seems to be in the 1540s, and was used in a figurative sense from the 1570s onward, and it narrowed to only be used after weddings sometime during the 1800s.

 The first part of the word, the honey, refers to the incredibly sweet nature of a newlywed couple. Yet the second part, the moon, refers to the fleeting and ephemeral nature of that sweetness! So the word seems to be a little more bittersweet than most would probably recognize. Interestingly enough, there are also French and German equivalents. In French, lune de miel literally translates to honeymoon, but the German word flitterwochen apparently means “tinsel week!” (Source: https://www.etymonline.com/word/honeymoon)

How Honeymoons Have Changed Over Time

Today, honeymoons are big business – the honeymoon industry contains somewhere between $8 and $12 billion dollars in spending every year! https://www.tripsavvy.com/wedding-statistics-and-honeymoon-facts-1860546 (https://www.soundvision.com/article/wedding-statistics-in-the-united-states) But were honeymoons always this popular?

Apparently, before the mid-20th century honeymoons were mainly reserved to the upper class. Noble and aristocratic families in Europe would take so-called “bridal tours,” which could consist of up to months of travelling, and typically involved many more family members than just the newlywed couple. But back then travelling internationally was quite expensive and dangerous, so couples tended to stay in Europe. (https://ultimatewedding.digital/2015/03/honeymoons-through-the-ages/)

Nowadays of course, travel is less expensive than ever! After about the 1960s, honeymoons became much more popular, and continue to increase in popularity today. Domestic and international travel has become cheaper than ever, and despite how you feel every Monday, average working hours have gone down quite a bit, over the past couple centuries, while vacation time has increased by a ton!

Today, there are around 2.4 million couples being married every year, and 1.4 million of those couples go on honeymoons. So as you can probably tell, the practice of honeymooning has become much more popular! Newly-wed couples can go almost anywhere they’d like, and it typically isn’t as expensive as you’d think, as the average spending on a honeymoon is $4,466. This number may seem big, but compared to the average spending on weddings – $35,329! – spending on honeymoons doesn’t seem too large after all. https://www.tripsavvy.com/wedding-statistics-and-honeymoon-facts-1860546

Feel free to leave any comments below! If you are in need of a interfaith wedding officiant who works with all couples, tradition and LGBT, please contact me : http://www.annmckenzie.net/contact/

marriage license

marriage license

As a Wedding Officiant , I receive many inquires about the marriage license.  It can be confusing when you have so many things to do for your upcoming wedding. After the ceremony and honeymoon, you start thinking about your new life and how to change your name legally for various documents.  In NC, you do not receive a registered copy of the marriage license unless you request it along with a $10 payment online, in person or by mail.

If you would like any more information you may contact me here: http://www.annmckenzie.net/contact/

 

Q: Where and when do I obtain a marriage license?

A: All of North Carolina’s 100 Register of Deeds offices issue marriage licenses that can be used anywhere in the state. The license can be used immediately upon issuance and is good for 60 days. You must go in person to obtain your marriage license and the cost is $60. Both completed original licenses must be returned to the county where it was issued. http://www.wakegov.com/rod/help/vital/marriage/Pages/application.aspx

 

Q. Who files the marriage certificate after all the signatures are obtained (the two witnesses and the minister’s signatures)? 

A. Usually, the minister will mail the copies to the Register of Deeds. If you are leaving on a trip very soon or need the marriage license for insurance, etc. , you can take it to the Register of Deeds yourself and obtain a certified copy immediately. 

 

Q: How do I obtain a certified copy of my marriage license?

A:  You may obtain a certified copy of your marriage license after it has been filed with the Register of Deeds. This can be obtained online at  https://wakerod.permitium.com/rod ,  in person or by US mail: send  a completed request from, $10 check or money order, and photo copy of a government issued ID , print out request form to mail from http://www.wakegov.com/rod

 

Q. How do I change my name? 

A. Present a certified copy of the marriage certificate to the Social Security Office, wait 24 hours , then present a certified copy to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles)

For more questions about your wedding: http://www.annmckenzie.net/wedding-qas/

Where were you for the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017?  I know thousands of people in the United States traveled to South Carolina to see the totality of the solar eclipse. We were fortunate enough to have family in Spartanburg, SC.  Eric and I visited with his Stepmom, Brenda there.  We went to Tyger River Park and watched the eclipse overlooking a river with live music playing. It was so exciting to be there and experience this once in a lifetime event – a nationwide solar eclipse. Everyone picked up their glasses as the eclipse began. It almost looked like a mouse had taken a bite out of the sun as the moon crossed its path. It also reminded me of the different stages of the moon when looking through the glasses, the sun kept getting smaller and smaller. Started as a full sun, then lost a quarter, then a half, then 3/4 till it became totally eclipsed with just the corona surrounding the sun.  It was a spectacular event. Getting dark during the middle of the day gave a surreal feeling to our surroundings. 

Eric and I had talked about getting married or engaged during the eclipse but had not discussed it at length. When the event was about to occur, I asked Brenda to take a photo of us kissing during the total eclipse. Just as she finished taking it, she asked Eric if that was an engagement photo, and he said: “Yes, it is”.  I was speechless, and if you know me it takes a lot to do that. We had been dating for 6 1/2 years and are considered a mature couple – he is 58 and I am 64 years old. I knew it was a possibility but was a little overwhelmed when he answered yes. Needless to say, it was a total eclipse of my heart as well as the sun. Shortly thereafter a reporter returned to our spot and asked what we thought of the eclipse. Eric immediately said we got engaged and we ended up with a photo on the front page of the Herald Journal with an article following http://www.goupstate.com/news/20170821/nc-couple-gets-engaged-as-eclipse-moves-over-spartanburg

This will always be a time to remember how wonderful this planet Earth and our Solar System is. It helps us understand the connection with our universe and how it is possible to all be connected energetically. This spiritual event that we are fortunate enough to witness, is a reminder of the wondrous things we have yet to explore.  Meditation can lead to a deeper understanding of our universe as well as ourselves. Come join me Monday, August 28 at 7 pm for a meditation focusing on opening the heart chakra to self-love http://omnigirl.net/events/

What has been interesting is the all the questions my wedding vendor friends are asking me about our upcoming wedding since I am a wedding officiant and involved in many weddings in the area http://www.annmckenzie.net/

To be quite honest, I have not even thought about a wedding, since I did not know I was going to become engaged this week. Knowing Eric and myself it will be something low-key and fun. As I tell all my wedding couples, it is your wedding and the ceremony can be anything you want. Let’s hope it will not be the next total eclipse of the sun in 2024 before it happens! 

Which love language speaks to you:  words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service, or physical touch? These love languages are from the book “The Five Love Languages: The Secret To Love That Lasts” by Gary Chapman. Learning your own love language and the one of your partner can be key to feeling loved and appreciated in your relationship.

Do you feel loved when someone says “I love you” or compliments you on how wonderful you are? Many of us need verbal messages to feel appreciated from our partner. This may be what we experienced growing up or have felt was a show of love from others or from we have seen in the media.

Do you feel loved when someone takes time out of their schedule to do quality activities together? It could be dinner, a movie, hiking, boating ,etc.  You may feel that you are truly close to the person when engaged in an activity that you enjoy, especially if it is not their “cup of tea”. By their willingness to do something you enjoy, it sends a message that you are important and they are want to see you happy.

When you receive a gift , without a special occasion, does it make you feel closer to your partner? It is a welcome surprise to realize you are being thought of in the moment and not just out of a social obligation for a birthday, anniversary or holiday .

Recently , my partner, Eric, spent a whole week in between his regular job as an electrician , to place new laminate floors in my home. His “act of service” was a truly generous gift.  It taxed him physically and mentally since he had to juggle his other jobs to do this. This was one of the most loving things I have experienced. I realize that this type of love language is how he shows his feelings. In the past, I have not always appreciated this, but after reading the “Five Love Languages” I found that love can be expressed in many ways. After taking the “love quiz” in the book, I discovered that is how I show love also. I am a nurturer with my partner even sometimes too much. I take time to prepare healthy food and to assure he is eating well. I also try to do errands for him whenever his schedule is hectic.

Does a hug or kiss make you feel loved? I am talking about affection, not sex. The physical touching by another person is something we all crave. There is a saying by Virginia Satir, a respected family therapist, “We need four hugs a day for survival. We need eight hugs a day for maintenance. We need twelve hugs a day for growth.” I totally agree with her. Some people are not used to physical touch and it is difficult for them to express their feelings this way. To others  it is as natural as breathing. I come from a family of huggers. All my friends know that hugging is something I do automatically without thinking. This is one of the ways I feel loved. I realize that sometimes I need to initiate this since my partner can not always “read my mind”.

In the “Five Love Languages”, Gary Chapman says to keep love alive you need to understand how your partner feels loved and try to express it in that manner. One way to tell is how your partner shows love to you. Usually the way a person expresses love is the way that they feel loved themselves.

A simple exercise to discover this is for both  of you write a list of the 5 ways your partner shows love to you. It can be providing financial support, taking care of the kids, sending  flowers, hugging every day , going to theater or saying “I love you” when you are least expecting it.

Now try expressing love to them in the same manner they show their love for you. It may not seem natural, but it can make a big difference in your relationship. To love another unconditionally  is a true joy. It is your choice to keep this joy in your life by letting them know how much you care in a way that they understand.

This blog is dedicated to Eric Lytle, to show my true appreciation for all you do by your “acts of service”.  And for helping me realize there is more than one way  to show love. For more information concerning wedding ceremonies :http://www.annmckenzie.net/ceremonies/ .  Please contact me if you would like to discuss ways to enhance your relationships: http://omnigirl.net/contact/

 

Would you like a joy-filled event , stress-free? Here are questions to ask when looking for a wedding officiant or spiritual guide.

  1. Are they easy to talk to?  Are you comfortable talking to them?  Are they friendly with a pleasing tone of voice?  Do they listen to you and seem in tune to your wishes?
  2.  Do they welcome your input? Do they ask what you would like in your ceremony and vows?  Are your ideas being taken into consideration?  They may let you know that as far as the legal ceremony , only your names, your intention, your vows , two witnesses and the declaration of a marriage couple are required.  This is your wedding and it should embrace the essence of your relationship to your family and friends.   Anything you want to add is OK as long as the legal requirements are present. 
  3.  Do they offer suggestions for Rituals or Remembrances? Unity ceremonies  such as candle lighting or sand ceremony can add an extra element to the service.  A nice gesture is the remembrance of loves ones, parents, grandparents or others who are no longer with us in the physical plane.  If there are children from a previous marriage, are they to be included in the ceremony?
  4. Open-Mindedness? Do they welcome your preference for the type of ceremony :secular, spiritual or religious? Are they free of religious, sexual or racial bias? Will your friends and family feel comfortable in the presence of them ?
  5. Description of Services and Fees? Do they describe their services including: unlimited texts,calls or emails leading up to the ceremony and expected response time; creation of ceremony and vows : officiating the ceremony and filing of legal documents. The average fee for a wedding officiant is $500 ( rehearsal and wedding). The average fee for spiritual guidance $75-100 per session. http://www.annmckenzie.net/ceremonies/

If you ask these questions, your wedding or spiritual guidance session should be stress-free and filled with joy. It is your natural right to have a joyful life and experience! Interview your minister to see if it will be a good fit for you. 

I offer personalized ceremonies, as well as De-Stress sessions for  the bride, groom and parents leading up to the wedding. The sessions will focus on reducing stress associated with the upcoming wedding. It will include a discussion of the wedding and the causes of your stress. A guided mediation will follow to relax and allow you to let go of worrying thoughts. You will take a trip through nature in your mind and focus on pleasant surroundings. Next you will visualize the wedding unfolding with ease and grace. You will have techniques to help calm yourself and enjoy the wedding when it occurs. http://www.annmckenzie.net/ceremonies/

I also offer spiritual guidance and energy healing sessions to everyone on an on-going basis. http://omnigirl.net/energy-healing/

 

My aunt transcended to the spiritual plane this week. She was full of love and laughter during her 80+ years of life and freely shared those blessings to all around her. I felt so strongly about her wonderful soul that I made up my mind to speak at her funeral, which made me very nervous. Public speaking is not fun to me , but in the past year I have been officiating weddings in front of large groups of people and knew if I could do that, I could do this for my aunt. My real concern was getting through it without crying the whole time. These are my thoughts I shared with our family on Friday;

“We are born feeling unconditional love for everyone around us. As we grow up, we begin to feel separation from others and spend our life looking for peace in our heart as a key to happiness. Some of us are fortunate enough to know a person who lives from a place of unconditional love. There is no judgment, no jealousy, no anger at other people-everyone is seen as their true self- a child of God with a pure soul. This person radiates love in all they do and say and shows no preference to anyone around them.

Melba McKenzie was a person whose heart and love always shined upon everyone she met. I had the honor of being part of her family. I also had the privilege to know another person with this rare quality-of total unconditional love- my mother. Melba and Rachel( my mother)  were sisters from first sight after marrying brothers from the McKenzie clan. There was a special bond between these two women that were stronger than family-it was at the core of their soul-their love for all God’s children.

This week I have spent in reflection of Melba’s life and have seen Melba, Rachel, Paul( my father) and Stan (my uncle) together again, all with radiant smiles. Even though we are sad today with Melba’s passing to the spiritual plane, we know she is sending her love down to us now and will for the rest of our lives. Let us all open our hearts to love and share it with everyone we meet. Melba would be proud.”

Our lives expand beyond happy when we come from a place of unconditional love to all we meet. It is a daily practice but one well worth the undertaking, allowing us to find heaven on earth. And yes, I made it through the tribute to Aunt Melba without crying (although a few voice quivers). It is amazing when you let go of fear and focus on what is really important, the things you find yourself doing, that you would never have thought you could. http://www.annmckenzie.net/ann-mckenzie/

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