This was a first for me... I married Megan and Tyler in a surprise wedding. They invited their friends and family to their new home for a housewarming party and surprised everyone by getting married as well!
What such a pleasure to celebrate with Erin and Luke last weekend at the Fields Reserve. A beautiful winter wedding for a beautiful couple.
Thank you Kaitlin and Jeff for writing this glowing and very sweet review for me on both The Knot and Wedding Wire.
"Pat was truly wonderful to work with! Throughout the process, we were able to meet with her face to face to discuss exactly what we wanted our ceremony to look like. She was also very responsive to email communication. Pat was very organized, which made putting our ceremony script together very easy. She facilitated the rehearsal and made sure to check in with our wedding party to answer any questions they made have had and to ensure they were where they needed to be. Pat's attention to detail made us feel confident that our ceremony would be perfect. We would highly recommend Pat to anyone who is looking for an officiant!"
Kaitlin and Jeff were married on January 18, 2020 at RiverStone, Fort Atkinson, WI
Photo by Caitlin Stemper, caynayphoto.com
There are some classic and also some new rituals I hadn't heard of before in this article by Martha Stewart Weddings...
These special rituals will make your wedding ceremony even more poignant.
This is what Caitlin Stemper from Caynayphoto wrote. I couldn't have said it better myself:
"What. A. DAY! My first official wedding of the 2020 season & if these two are any indication for how the season is going to go... Well let's just say, it's going to be a GOOD year (I mean, I'm not surprised. Everyone I work with is spectacular). Today was one for the books and I can not wait to share more from their day. Congratulations Kaitlin & Jeff!"
Here are some more photos from Katlin and Jeff's wedding this past weekend at RiverStone in Fort Atkinson, WI. I haven't officiated weddings at this venue before. What a hidden gem. And what a gem Katlin and Jeff were to work with. Such an amazing and sweet couple!
If you would like to see more photos from this fun couple, check out Caynay Photo blog.
It's hard to believe that it has been 15 years since I started Koru Ceremony. The first year I had 3 weddings. I recently read through my very first ceremony and I see a rookie trying to figure out how to have a thoughtful and meaningful ceremony. But the words now feel clunky to me. I can see how 15 years and literally hundreds of weddings has helped me hone and perfect how we work with couple to make a one-of-a-kind ceremony that will wow their guests. Some couples I have lost touch with, others I have gone on to baptize their babies and bless their new homes. Even if I don't continue to connect with each and every couple, I still feel honored to have been a part of one of the best days of each couple's life.
Over the years as Koru has continued to grow, I began turning away people because I didn't have the time to be at every celebration. So Amy, then Sarah, and now Peter came onboard to help with officiating. Grace Episcopal Church subcontracts Koru to help with wedding coordination at the church so I have Sarah M., Caryn, and Gwen to help with those weddings when I am not available. In other words, in 15 years Koru Ceremony has gone from 3 weddings to about 90 weddings per year.
Who knew 15 years ago that I would be able to do what I love and am passionate about - helping people celebrate various transitions throughout life's journey whether it is for weddings or other rituals like vow renewals, baptisms, house blessings, blessingways, funerals/memorials, divorce, croning and milestone birthdays. I truly feel blessed and grateful to have had the opportunity to work with so many lovely and delightful couples, families, and individuals. Thank you!
Woo Hoo! We won the Wedding Wire Couples' Choice Award again for the 7th year in a row. Only the top 5% wedding vendors nationwide win this award. The Couples' Choice Award recognizes our "commitment to quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism." We are so grateful to the wonderful and amazing couples we worked with in 2019 and the glowing reviews they wrote about Koru Ceremony that helped us win this award! Thank you.
Larissa and Tim were married at The University Club on Dec. 28, 2019. It was a beautiful ceremony celebrating this couple's love for each other. Thank you to the both of them for the honor of officiating their ceremony and assisting in making their dream wedding come true. I am so happy for the both of them. Congratulation Larissa and Tim.
And, it was a pleasure working with their wedding planner, Betsy, Piece of Cake Consulting,LLC, again!
Here is a good article that explains what Wedding Officiants Cost:
At WeddingOfficiants.com – The Wedding Officiant Directory, we’ve been connecting engaged couples with wedding officiants for more than 15 years and one of the most frequent questions we get asked is “how much does a wedding officiant cost?” This is a simple question with a somewhat complex answer, which we have done our best to provide here. After reading, we encourage you to search our directory of professional officiants to find the perfect officiant for your wedding ceremony – thank you for visiting!
Wedding Officiant Fee – What You Need to Know
The cost of a wedding officiant can vary wildly, from free to well over $1000 for a single ceremony. In order to understand the differences in fees between different officiants, it’s important to understand that that the word “officiant” can mean a lot of different things. So, what is a wedding officiant? The term “officiant” refers to anyone who performs a wedding ceremony, from experienced religious priests and pastors, to professional ministers and celebrants who perform wedding ceremonies for a living, all the way to someone’s random friend or relative who performs a single wedding ceremony one time and never does it again.
Because this definition is so broad, it’s important first to decide what kind of wedding officiant you are interested in hiring for your wedding. If your marriage ceremony isn’t particularly important to you, or if you are simply interested in getting legally married and won’t be having any type of ceremony, then perhaps hiring an amateur officiant is appropriate. However, if you are planning to have a ceremony, especially one with invited guests, then hiring a professional officiant or an experienced clergyman is definitely the best course of action.
On average, professional officiant fees range anywhere from $500-800.– TheKnot.com
What is a Professional Officiant?
While “officiant” is a general term describing any person who is able to legally sign a marriage license, a professional wedding officiant is someone who solicits business from the general public to perform marriage ceremonies for a fee.
This distinction is important, because when couples are searching for an officiant for their wedding ceremony, they are typically only looking for either clergy, which can be priests, ministers, pastors, rabbis, cantors, and other persons ordained by their religious tradition (who typically do not solicit business from the public), or they are looking for an experienced, professional wedding officiant that they can hire.
Professional officiants also differ greatly from amateurs, since professionals maintain high standards of quality because they rely on their experience and reputation among other wedding professionals to garner more business. Amateurs typically solicit their business from websites with little or no quality checks such as Craigslist, Thumbtack, or Respond.com. For more information and advice on this topic, read our article on how to find a wedding officiant.
What is the Average Cost of an Officiant?
It’s difficult to get a true average price of wedding officiants because there is no reliable data on the subject. While amateur officiants and individuals simply looking to make a few dollars may charge a couple as little as $100-$250, the average fees for professional officiants typically range from $400 to $800 depending on experience and the level of service and customization they provide. Many clergy such as priests and rabbis can cost well over $1000, often asking couples to make a donation to their church or synagogue in lieu of being paid directly. Factoring out the low rates from amateur officiants as well as the impact of individuals performing ceremonies at no charge to the couple, our determination is that the average cost for a professional wedding officiant is roughly $600 per ceremony.
…plan to spend $800 total on any ceremony fees and officiant donations…– Brides.com
How Much Does a Wedding Officiant Cost?
How much a specific wedding officiant may charge you for your wedding depends on a number of factors, especially if you are considering hiring a professional, experienced officiant. Some will include premarital counseling and the wedding rehearsal as part of their fee, although these items are typically separate from the cost of the ceremony itself. Many professional officiants will also create a fully customized wedding ceremony for each couple, which takes quite a bit of time and talent and can also increase the cost.
The question to ask yourself is, how important is the ceremony to us as a couple? If it’s important to you, then hiring a good professional wedding officiant should be an investment at least equivalent to the amount you’re paying for your wedding cake or the DJ at your reception. Great talent often comes at a premium price and, while the price someone charges isn’t always a guarantee of the quality of their work, the more talent and experience an officiant has, the more they will typically charge to perform a wedding ceremony.
Choose Wisely – It Does Matter
Once you have decided how important the quality of your wedding ceremony is to you as a couple, and what range of investment you’re willing or able to make for a professional wedding officiant, do your homework. Search for wedding officiants in your area and look at their websites and marketing. Read online reviews on websites like WeddingWire. Ask the other professionals you’ve hired for your wedding if they have recommendations for good officiants in your area. The best officiants will also have a great reputation and will be familiar to the vendors in your local area. Take the time to do your research, and choose wisely – a fantastic wedding ceremony can be the highlight of your wedding day if it’s done well.
At Koru Ceremony we are deeply honored to win The Knot Best of Weddings 2020 again for the 6th year in a row. Only 5% of hundreds of thousands of local wedding professionals listed on The Knot receive this distinguished award.
To determine the winners, The Knot analyzed millions of user reviews across various vendor categories to find the highest rated vendors of the year. These winner represent the best of the best wedding professionals. The Knot Best of Weddings award gives couples the confidence to find and book the best local vendors to bring their wedding celebration to life.
It is finally here! After a few technology issues I have loaded onto the KoruCeremony.com homepage the video that Clouds North Films created for Koru. I am so impressed by how Bob was able to condense a full day of filming into 3 minutes. He was able to distill our message and how we love creating a unique and one-of-a-kind ceremony for each and every couple we have the privilege of working with. This first video is an overview of Koru Ceremony and how we work with couples.
April and Tanner were married at the The Fields Reserve on Nov. 9, 2019, in front of their family and friends. This couple was so sweet as they giggled and whispered to each other during the ceremony, and after it was all done, I got to pronounce them husband and wife as Tanner got to kiss his beautiful bride! Congratulations to April and Tanner! I wish them a lifetime filled with love and laughter! Thanks to Mueller DJ Service for providing the music and working the sound system!
Wow! Thanks to Rachel and Nick for writing this glowing review for me recently on The Knot, Wedding Wire and Google. It was a joy to work with this fun and laid back couple and be able to share their love story with their guests at their wedding last April at the Chorus Public House in Stoughton, WI.
"Pat was an absolute pleasure to work with. She is so talented and knowledgeable. We met a handful of times before the wedding, and she took the time to really get to know us and our history in order to pack it into an incredibly meaningful ceremony that our families and friends still talk about seven month later.
If you are wondering if Koru is the right fit, schedule a meeting. You will be absolutely blown away by the passion and care that Pat puts into your day. Everything, from the marriage license to the logistics of walking down the isle is incredibly thought through. Our favorite part of working with Pat was the fact that she was so in-tune with us on the wedding day. She read our nerves and helped us slow down our thoughts so that we could soak in the moment together. It was the fastest day of our lives, and Pat knew just how to help us make it the best day of our lives."
Photos by Blue Tree Photography
As wedding officiants sometimes we are asked to make an announcement before the ceremony begins about it being an unplugged ceremony. Here is the wording I use with very positive results:
"Before we begin today’s ceremony, ___ and ___ invite you to be truly present at this time during the ceremony. Please turn off your cell phones and put down your cameras for an unplugged ceremony. ___ and ___ have hired an amazing photographer to capture this moment. But I encourage the rest of us to capture in our hearts the love between ___ and ___, without the distraction of technology. Thank you."
Here is a good article by Zola.com about this question.
In today’s tech-centric culture, there aren’t many opportunities to disconnect. So, for many couples, their wedding offers the perfect opportunity for them—and their guests—to truly unplug. Zola recently surveyed 500 couples on their upcoming nuptials and found that a whopping 80% planned to have an unplugged wedding. In some cases, that’s easier said than done. Read on for tips to creating a truly technology-free environment as you say “I do.”
What does “unplugged” really mean?
Unplugged can mean different things to different couples. Generally speaking, though, going fully unplugged is slightly different from a social media-free wedding. A social-media free wedding usually just means the couple has asked guests to refrain from posting pictures of their big day on the day-of.
A fully unplugged wedding means free of all technology: no cell phones, no cameras, no electronics, no social media.
Why are couples having unplugged weddings?
The couples we surveyed shared plenty of insights into why you might want to have an unplugged wedding. Here are some of the most popular reasons to go unplugged:
How to Go Fully Unplugged
The key to success with throwing an unplugged wedding? Making sure that all your guests know your event is fully unplugged.
There are a few different strategies to loop your guests into your unplugged wedding (and make sure they stay unplugged!).
How To Enforce The Rules
Chances are, most of your guests will be fully on board with your unplugged wedding. However, there may be an outlier or two who have a real problem putting down their phones and being present (and electronic-free!) for your big event—and here are a few strategies for dealing with those guests:
Thank you Katherine and Michael for writing this very sweet review for me on Wedding Wire and The Knot after your wedding this past weekend at The Park Hotel. It was a great pleasure to work with both of you. Wishing you all the best in the years ahead.
"Pat Werk was absolutely amazing and a blast to work with. We loved that she had a customizable ceremony, with plenty of options (including write ins!) that let it make it unique to us. She also paid a lot of attention to details. Beyond that, even more importantly she was kind, very experienced, and made the whole process smooth and easy.
We could not have asked for more on this special day. We are indebted to her for helping make it as wonderful as it was."
Wow! I just read this super nice review that Stephanie and Jay wrote for me on The Knot, Wedding Wire and Google. Today I also received in the mail a gift certificate from them to go to a Food Fight Restaurant. Both things warmed my heart. What a thoughtful, kind, and generous couple! It was truly a joy to work with them too!
"Pat is the LITERAL BEST! I could not have had a better experience working with Pat as the officiant for our wedding. She sat down with my now husband and I on two separate occasions to get to know us and to plan out our wedding ceremony. We did the customized ceremony and it was one of the best wedding planning choices that we made. We had numerous wedding attendees tell us that it was the BEST WEDDING CEREMONY THEY HAD BEEN TO IN YEARS, and even moved some guests to tears with how beautiful it was... seriously! Pat helped us nail down every detail of the ceremony and provided numerous options to really make it our own. She also will remind you when you need to get stuff done so you don't get behind :).Pat is also very responsive to e-mails, which is so appreciated when you're planning your wedding along with a busy lifestyle. Additionally, Pat had great suggestions on rehearsal day, and I appreciated her direct approach to make things run efficiently for rehearsal and then seamless on wedding day. Pat was worth every penny and then some! I would HIGHLY recommend her to anyone tying the knot and she was truly a HIGHLIGHT of our wedding day. Thanks, Pat! :)"
Here is a nice article on Zola.com about writing your own vows:
Writing your own wedding vows is one of the most personal ways to add a romantic and intimate touch to your wedding day. While traditional wedding vows have stood the test of time and represent the beliefs and sentiments of different religions and cultures, they might not be right for every couple, especially if they don’t speak to your heart. Vows that you pen yourself are specific to your relationship—whether you share precious memories or illustrate just what defines your love—in a way that adds an extra layer of meaning to your wedding ceremony. However, as you may have already learned, writing your own wedding vows isn’t as easy as you’d expect. These tips on how to write wedding vows will help guide you through the process from start to finish.
Writing Your Own Wedding Vows: How to Start?
Knowing where to start when writing your vows might be the toughest part: when staring at a blank sheet of paper, just getting a few words down can feel like a huge hurdle. You might be putting a lot of pressure on yourself to write the perfect set of sentences, considering your vows are a reflection of your marriage and the promises you intend to keep for the rest of your days.
If you’re stuck getting started, try these suggestions to get your creative and romantic ideas flowing:
1. Start Writing Early
Do yourself a favor and give yourself plenty of time—this is a point that we cannot stress enough. Perhaps you have months until your wedding day, but this a task that you want to save for the last minute. By starting early, you’ll give yourself plenty of time to overcome any nervousness or writer’s block, make revisions to your first draft, and practice reading vows aloud before your big day.
2. Establish Your Tone
Before you really get started writing, establish what sort of tone you want your wedding vows to have. Your vows should reflect your personality, whether that’s quirky and romantic or more tear-prone and sentimental. Or maybe you’d rather keep your vows light and humorous. It doesn’t matter what style you choose, just make sure the tone you choose for your vows makes you happy and excited to share your words with your spouse-to-be on your big day.
On that note, it’s also a really good idea to decide on the tone of your wedding vows as a couple. You might not be thrilled if you bare your soul with heavy, heartfelt words while your partner goes a completely different direction with a hilarious or semi-embarrassing story. Make sure you and your fiancé(e) are on the same page here.
3. Seek Out Inspiration
Love is one of those confounding topics that humans grapple with constantly. How can we describe how love feels? How can we capture it through words? What does it mean to be in love? Thankfully, over the past few centuries many famous poets, writers, playwrights, and screenwriters have come very, very close to getting at the heart of those questions through beautiful, relatable, and transcendent works of art. Don’t let these resources go to waste when you’re battling writer’s block or struggling to put your feelings down on paper. If there was ever a time to return to your favorite pieces of literature or beloved films, it’s now. Once you find something that speaks to you, feel free to try to mimic that sentiment in your own words or quote it verbatim in your wedding vows.
4. Talk to Your Partner
One of the best ways to figure out a direction for your vows is to sit down and have a heartfelt talk with your fiancé(e) about your relationship, your feelings for each other, and your marriage goals. Discuss what you want your ceremony to feel like and how you’d like your relationship to be portrayed in front of friends and family. Talk about what makes your relationship yours. You might remind each other of special or defining moments in your relationship, or even come up with the very words you’ve been struggling to find. This conversation will not only help guide the focus of your wedding vows, but also verbalize your promises to each other.
5. Reflect Alone
After your talk with your fiancé(e), find time to be alone and reflect on that conversation. Tackle the big questions, such as how he/she makes you feel, what inspires you about him/her, and how he/she has made a positive impact on your life. This is no easy task (hence why we recommend starting this process early), but once articulated, your responses will give you lots of material for your vows. A little bit of quiet meditation might just reveal the language you’ve been carrying deep in your heart.
6. Take Trips Down Memory Lane
Another great way to personalize your wedding vows is to highlight specific details of your relationship. Think back on special moments with your spouse-to-be, beyond some of the obvious ones like when you first met or your first kiss. What was the first trip you took together? When did you first make each other laugh so hard you cried? Think of your private jokes, hilarious stories, and even embarrassing moments. Whether or not you choose to mention these memories in your vows, remembering them will absolutely help you define what makes your relationship—and, thus, your vows—unique.
7. Don’t Worry About What Others Think
When you start writing your own vows, it’s easy to wonder (and worry) what others will think about what you have to say. “Will guests think our inside jokes are dumb?” “Will they get bored if we go on too long?” “Will Grandma and Grandpa judge us for foregoing traditional vows?” We know it’s hard to not take your guests into account after addressing and sending all those save the dates, but your ceremony is no one’s but yours and your partner’s. Let your vows reflect who you are together and what you want to celebrate about your relationship.
8. Create an Outline
Without a bit of organization, your wedding vows can easily turn into stream-of-consciousness rambling. Stay on track by crafting a brief outline that will organize your thoughts chronologically or thematically and ensure your vows have a clear beginning and end. Something as simple as the following will do just fine:
9. Keep It Short and Sweet
When it comes to wedding vows, often less is more. Don’t feel pressured to write lengthy vows when a few short, from-the-heart thoughts can be just as moving. After you’ve finished writing, it’s a great idea to practice speaking your vows aloud while timing yourself. If you go over two minutes, try cutting them back. We know 120 seconds doesn’t seem like much time, but when it comes to speaking in public, that minute will last a whole lot longer than you expect. Plus, there is no need to try to impress the crowd by showing off your prose skills—your vows are a message to your partner, after all.
10. Embrace Free Association
Unless you’re a walking thesaurus, it can be hard to find the exact right words to express yourself. A great vow-writing exercise that will keep you from looking up words every 30 seconds is to write with free association. This means writing down the first few words that pop into your mind when you think of your fiancé(e), your relationship, your feelings for each other, etc. and leaving the narrative editing for later. This practice will help you make natural word choices without fear of misunderstanding.
11. Include Sincere and Meaningful Promises
Wedding vows are, in essence, a list of promises that you make to your partner. Whether it’s loving him/her always or guaranteeing that you’ll do the dishes every Monday and Wednesday night, your vows should incorporate the promises you swear to uphold, and demonstrate the sacrifices you are willing to make as an equal half of your union.
12. Think to The Future
In addition to making promises, make sure that your vows also include a look to the future of your relationship. Where will you go from “I do?” What do you expect or want your marriage to look like a year from now? Fifteen? Fifty? What will you do to keep your bond strong over the years? Even if the phrase “’til death to us part” doesn’t make the cut, don’t forget to anticipate the joys and challenges of marriage ahead. These important details will both guide the promises we mentioned above and give weight to your wedding vows.
13. Speak from Your Heart
Above all, your wedding vows are about expressing your true feelings about, and to, the person you’re about to spend the rest of your life with. When it comes right down to it, nothing is more important than saying what you truly feel in a style, length, and tone that defines your and your partner’s relationship.
From the arousing applause for Graham as he entered and took his place in front of his family and friends, to the overwhelming applause as Stephanie and Graham stood before their congregation as I introduced them for the first time as husband and wife, the love and joy in this room was exciting! Throughout the ceremony, Stephanie and Graham were whispering, laughing, and enjoying every minute of their magical ceremony, which took place at the Vennebu Hill Event Venue in Baraboo, WI. What a beautiful venue that was very professional and well organized! David Charles Productions , who ran the sound system and music during the ceremony, was great to work with, too! Thank you, David!
It was an honor for me to be a part of this couple's journey to becoming husband and wife. Thank you, Stephanie and Graham! Rev. Sarah
The second wedding I did last weekend was at the Madison Children's Museum. What a super fun venue for a really fun couple to work with! Wishing Claire and Brendan all the best in the years ahead!
Thank you Hannah and Kyle for this very great review you wrote for me on The Knot.
"Pat was absolutely amazing to work with! We were able to customize our ceremony to make it really personal. She made sure we were comfortable and prepared for the day. The number of compliments we received on our ceremony blew me away. Thanks so much!!"
Hannah and Kyle married on October 19, 2019 at the Barn at Harvest Moon Pond, Poynette, WI
On Saturday I had the pleasure of marrying Mary and Chris at Blackhawk Country Club. What an amazing family and a pretty amazing day. The leaves are just starting to turn as we looked over the golf course and Lake Mendota.
I also had the great pleasure of working with two fantastic vendors- Bailey with Blackhawk Country Club and Katie with MatKat Productions! Simply the best!
What a great experience it was working with Bob and Clouds North Films! We will be sharing the videos we created in the upcoming weeks!!
Here is what they wrote in a recent Facebook post:
"We couldn’t wait till Thursday to show this throwback of our summer shoot with Koru Ceremony: Celebrating New Beginnings. Keep checking back for more updates on our production process with them." 🎥 #production
Welcome to our blog. As an officiant and wedding coordinator I delight in assisting couples celebrate one of the best and most memorable days of their life. I hope you find this blog to be a source of inspiration and joy.