officiant Archives - Ann McKenzie
 

Tag: officiant

 In December , Eric ( my fiance’) and I went to Arizona and were inundated with majestic views everywhere we looked.  At times , I felt overwhelmed with emotion. The majesty of the Grand Canyon https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm at sunset was breathtaking. We stayed for dinner and had the pleasure of seeing the stars over the Grand Canyon too. Boy what a day! I have always been in love with  trees and water but the desert has its own kind of magic. The photo seen here is from Antelope Canyon- you have to book a tour through the Navajo Indian Reservation https://www.antelopecanyon.com/

Since that time I have been busy officiating weddings most weekends. I am fortunate that the majority are outside in nature but it is not the same as taking time for yourself without any obligations to others. 

This was truly a rejuvenating trip for our energy and soul. Gratitude comes easy when you are blessed with beauty all around you.

 

I realized recently how much nature means to me. We had not been on a trip in nature by ourselves for 6 months. That is a long time for us. We traveled to Elkin, NC so I could officiate a wedding at the Barn at Blueberry Hill While in Elkin, wttp://www.blueberryhillweddingbarnelkinnc.com/


For more information about wedding officiant :http://www.annmckenzie.net/

 

 

 

 

 

 

While in Elkin, we camped at the the the Bryd’s Branch Family Campground http://byrdsbranchcampgroundcom/   

This was our breakfast nook. After running the rehearsal and officiating the wedding, it was relaxing to come back to nature without any commitments. This was time well spent recharging our energy. Another bonus was a waterfall that we  hiked to 1/2 mile away.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We came back to civilization on Sunday afternoon before our trip home to enjoy a trip to a local winery https://www.jonesvondrehle.com/

We got caught in an unexpected rainstorm. I can think of worse places to be stuck. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The following weekend I officiated a wedding at Thorndale Oaks in Oxford, NC http://www.thorndaleoaks.com/

This is a beautiful venue an hour north of Cary . It was a wonderful wedding, but it was time to recharge again with nature. Eric and I traveled to Carolina Beach that evening and spent the next two days swimming in the ocean while staying with my child hood friend, Diane. 

 

 

 

 

 

It seems after the lengthy  dry spell of very little time in nature since December , we were at  it again for the third  weekend in a row travelling to Spartanburg, SC for Brenda, Eric’s stepmom’s 80th birthday party. We had the fun time staying at her daughter and son in laws’ pond house by ourselves. What a serene place after visiting with family and attending a very large party on Saturday night. Sometimes being around a lot of people can drain your energy. As much as I love socializing, I find the need time to myself in solitude or nature . It recharges my energy and brings me back to a firm foundation with my inner spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We decided to  have a little extra fun in Spartanburg exploring . We found a Rock Bottom Moonshine, where they make their own legal moonshine infused with fruit or charred wood( delicious and smooth) http://www.rockbottomdistillers.com/

As well as an authentic Cuban restaurant https://www.facebook.com/ACaribbeanSweetness/?hc_ref=NEWSFEED&fref=nf

Many of us can feel our energy drained after being around some people, as well as others who seem to give us energy.  As I grow spiritually throughout my life, I realize that I have started focusing more of my time with my energy boosting friends. I love all my friends but you have to take care of your own spirit and limit your time with others who do not want to take responsibility for their own happiness. I am always willing to work with others who want to find more joy and happiness  in life if they are willing to take the time and effort for this life-changing spiritual journey http://omnigirl.net/contact/

It is a real commitment with desire coming from your soul, to find self-love and happiness in everything  you do. It is a practice with daily steps , but well worth the reward to live a  joy-filled life. Everyone can do, but not everyone is willing to make the change. Your heart and soul will thank you for it. Start by spending more time in nature- it is truly a way to recharge your energy.

Also, taking time to meditate or just quiet your thoughts for a few minutes, can bring peace to a hectic day.  This is something I learned in my 30s and it has been the path I have followed since then. My life is filled with joy, and when I experience negativity in myself, I take time to think of everything I am grateful for. I also remember to talk kind to myself just as I would to my friends and loved ones. I wish you peace, love and joy in your life- you deserve all the happiness you can find!

Weddings are focused on the couple as they should be. But sometimes the couple wants to acknowledge the role their mothers have had in their life and honor them at the ceremony. One example of the Rose Ceremony is found here https://www.greatofficiants.com/mothers-rose-presentation

Red Rose Ceremony

I have done this in many weddings using  red roses  but any flower can be used. Both mothers are always appreciative of being recognized as a key factor in the couples life up until this point.Rose and rings The ceremony ends with “These Roses are a promise that no matter how far away you are that you are not forgotten and that you are always in their hearts.” This is very touching and fun to be a surprise at the wedding. Photo by http://www.lindsayaikmanphoto.com

 

 

 

Mothers Holding the Rings

Another way to honor both mothers is to have them hold the rings and bring them forward for the ring exchange during the ceremony. This a way to include your mothers and also make it easy for the wedding party to keep their hands free for bouquets, helping with bride’s dress, etc. 

The Last Kiss as a Single Person to the Mothers

The last kiss as a single person before you become a couple includes the mothers https://celebrateintimateweddings.wordpress.com/2010/11/06/last-kiss-before-the-first-kiss/

 In this blog the officiant invites the mothers up just before the couple kisses to give them one last kiss as a single person.

“These mother’s their lips were the first to kiss them and bring them into this world and today a mother’s love – together with their blessings – will be first to send them on their way to their new life together as wife and husband.

Mothers. . . please kiss the Bride and Groom!”

Another way to do it is to surprise the mothers by having the couple go to them early in the ceremony and give them a kiss, with the officiant saying : “At this time ( the couple) would like to have their last kiss as single people……they would like to have that kiss come from the two people who taught them love and gave them their first kiss, their mothers.” .

If you would like more ideas about ceremonies  please contact me at http://www.annmckenzie.net/contact/

I will be happy to help!

Your Wedding! Your Way!

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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/

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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