What is the difference between a spiritual and humanist ceremony?

This type of ceremony uses a religious tone with the mention of God or a higher power. Readings from spiritual texts can also be included. A humanist ceremony highlights the couple’s love story without any mention of religion.

What does your fee include?

The NYC wedding officiant fee includes the writing and performing of the ceremony, signing and filing of the license, and any travel fees for the day of the ceremony.

bride and groom ceremony

Do you assist with flowers, music or photography?

We offer options to include any additional services needed to make your day special. We work with award-winning professionals and will only refer vendors that we would personally hire for our own event. We also offer “day of” coordination services to assist with taking the planning stresses away from the couple and making your day run smoothly.

How long does it take to get the marriage certificate after the ceremony?

If you obtained your marriage license in New York City in one of the 5 boroughs (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, Bronx), the certificate will arrive approximately 4-6 weeks after it has been filed. State licenses are usually processed sooner. If you need your certificate right away, you have the option to bring the signed license into the office within 5 business days after the wedding to receive a printed copy.

Do we need to provide our own witnesses?

New York state requires that one or two witnesses be present for the signing of the license. The city license only requires one witness so many couples choose to hire a photographer who can then also sign as a witness. We also can provide a witness for a nominal fee.

How do we reserve a spot to have an outdoor ceremony?

If you are interested in having your ceremony in one of the city parks, you can apply for a permit through the City Parks office. A permit is only required for groups of 20 or more. We can obtain the permit for you and offer this service in our Central Park Wedding packages. Permits are required if you wish to reserve Conservatory Gardens ($400) or Brooklyn Bridge Park ($400).

How long have you been officiating ceremonies?

I have been a New York City wedding officiant since 2010. I had already been working in the wedding business as a singer/musician and when I was ordained in 2008, I had been approached to preside over a friend’s wedding. I was deeply moved by the experience and took a leap of faith in 2010 and started Common Ground Ceremonies. I have also had the honor to perform baby welcoming ceremonies for many of the couples I have married.

Are you affiliated with a church?

I was ordained through The New Seminary of Interfaith Studies as an interfaith minister in 2008. I do not practice one specific faith but do believe in a higher power. I was raised in a multi-faith family so my background allows me to offer support to many couples who come from different faiths or are interested in having a non-traditional ceremony.

What are your personal beliefs regarding same-sex marriages?

Love is love. I have officiated many same-sex wedding ceremonies and feel so lucky to have witnessed so much incredible joy when the law was first passed in NY a few years ago.

same sex marriage

Can we come to your office and have a quick ceremony there?

I work all over the city so I mostly offer ceremonies at a location that you choose. I have a “Marry Us Now” service for couples looking to legalize their union outside of the court and aren’t having a wedding.

Will we have a chance to meet with you before the ceremony?

I do prefer to meet with my couples so that we can connect before the ceremony. This gives us the opportunity to discuss your needs in more detail and will also give you a sense of how the ceremony will go.

What is the best way to incorporate our children into the ceremony?

Children love weddings and they feel so special when they also play a role in the ceremony. Depending on their ages, there are many ways to incorporate them. I often suggest a family unity ceremony such as a sand ceremony, family unity candle, or even written vows to the children. I will make suggestions based on your specific needs.

Do you offer pre-marital counseling or support if we are interested?

Yes. My approach is tailored to each couple and I am certified as a Prepare/Enrich counselor. This program equips couples and families with evidence-based skills and fosters healthy relationships.

wedding rings on hands

What happens if you can’t perform our ceremony?

I have a strong network of fellow officiants who can perform your ceremony in the event that I am unable to. The success of your day is my first priority so I will only refer professionals that can deliver the same level of service that I do.

Is our deposit refundable if we change our plans?

The initial $200 retainer fee is non-refundable. Once you reserve a date/time for your ceremony, we no longer offer it to inquiring couples. If you book your date far in advance, there are numerous inquiries turned down so the $200 fee covers the inconvenience.

Are you willing to travel outside of New York to perform a ceremony?

I am available to travel anywhere for your ceremony. There are additional travel fees and/or accommodations required if extensive travel is required.

A family member wants to co-officiate our ceremony, are you open to that?

I am open to co-officiating with other clergy and/or family members. In some cases I have been asked to assist with legalizing the union so that the family or friend can perform the script.

Will you perform a ceremony that we have already written?

As long as I am able to review it first. I believe that your ceremony should be collaborative and I would also want to offer my professional guidance to ensure a successful event.

What is your process for personalizing the ceremony?

I will meet with you to go over some initial ideas for the ceremony. I will then follow up with a questionnaire to learn more about you as a couple and any logistics for the ceremony. Once I create your draft, we will then revise it together until you are completely satisfied.