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I am a Chicago Wedding Officiant
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Elopement Ceremonies in Chicago
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(800) 523-5957

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About Thomas Witham
How My Ceremonies Are Different
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Letters of Appreciation
For Those Previously Married

Designing Your Ceremony

Facing Your Guests (Modern Format)
Backs Turned (Traditional Format)
Examples of Wedding Vows
Environment
Ushers
Effective Seating
Aisle Runner or Petals
Children in Wedding Ceremonies
The Escorting of a Bride
Taking Parental Vows
The Use of Music
Using a Pedestal
Using a Wedding Carriage
A New Role For Grandparents
Readers
Wedding Ceremony Readings
In Memoriam

Ceremonies in Special Places
Ceremonies in Theme
Taking Your Ceremony to Others
Improvisation
Staying in Character
What Name Should I Use?
What if it Rains?
Fibbing Your Start Time
Ceremonies in Candlelight
The Reception Line

The Order of Events

Primary Options:
Read this First
The Unity Candle
Champagne Sharing
The Sand Ceremony
The Blessing Tree
Tying the Knot
Tasting the Elements
Using a Photomontage
The Giving of Roses

Options In Finale:
Butterfly Release
Dove Release
Balloon Release
Tossing Petals
Bubbles in a Wedding Ceremony
Applause Walk

The Five Rules:
Rule One
Rule Two
Rule Three
Rule Four
Rule Five

Advice on Photography
Advice on Wedding Coordinators
Death by Venue
An Invitation To Journalists

Resources and Links

For Those Considering Plagiarism

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What Name Should I Use?
Bride and Bridesmaids
A bride and her bridesmaids await the beginning of her ceremony.


For Some, There's a Lot in a Name

A bride once came up to me before the start of her ceremony and asked: "Tom, during the ceremony, do you have to use my real first name?" No, I said, you can be called by whatever name you like. Why do you ask? She replied that her real first name was "Joneomawanna."

Some couples want to be introduced with their new title as "Husband and Wife" while others don't. Most brides take their groom's surname, while some grooms change their surname to that of their wife's. Some brides don't change their last name to that of their husband's.

Let's say that Robert Carlin is marrying Anita Wyrick. Their introduction, at the ceremony's conclusion might go like this:

"Ladies and gentlemen, please warmly receive and welcome into the community or your families..."

  • Mr. and Mrs. Robert Carlin
  • Mr. Robert Carlin and Mrs. Anita Carlin
  • Mr. Robert Carlin and Mrs. Anita Wyric
  • Robert and Anita

These are just some suggestions. The point is that you may use any name you wish for your ceremony and be introduced to your guests at its conclusion in whatever title or name arrangement you like.

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