Three Weddings From all over, one at the Shade Hotel in Manhattan Beach, one at the Athenaeum in Pasadena, and one at Los Willows Private Estate in San Diego

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Robert, Trina and I had very little time to get to know each other. So I immediately set up a time to discuss what exactly what they wanted for their ceremony. They both reside in Houston, TX, so as a fellow Texan we all got along so well. As we started the planning process, the news came of Hurricane Harvey. It was set to hit Houston hard, and bring devastating flooding. I only imagined what this couple went through. They were worried for their homes and their personal safety, and the safety of their friends and family. I did whatever I could to bring them some peace and comfort during this insanely challenging time for them. To say they handled it well is an understatement. They were troopers, they never let the situation get the best of them. They stood strong. I was truly blessed to get to know them and celebrate this very special day with them, to find such a beautiful bright sunbeam in the midst of all the devastating natural disaster.

Day of Coordinator – Jennifer Cooper

Shade Hotel, Manhattan Beach

The date: Oct. 14, 2017. The place: The Athenaeum, Pasadena. Christina & Ryan were married by Rev. Ralph under the large Jacaranda tree on the beautiful grounds adjacent to the California Institute of Technology (Cal Tech). It was a beautiful warm day, but comfortable in the shade. Wedding coordinator Samantha Sisk or La Bella Dia events had everything under control. A talented string quartet provided a romantic mood, and the proverbial knot was tied in joyous fashion!

It was a real pleasure for me to be invited to celebrate this weekend with Maria Alindogan and Jeff Rivera who got married at Los Willows Private Estate in the rolling hills of northern San Diego County.  This beautiful young couple and their dog Charlie (the ring bearer) welcomed family and friends from near and far to celebrate their special day with them.

The venue is among the most beautiful I have ever visited.  With a private lake, outside seating with gas fire pits, a beautiful covered pavilion, and a shady meadow, the setting was ideal for a late fall wedding as the sun dipped behind the hills and cool shadow enveloped the small valley.

This lovely couple choose to celebrate an abbreviated version of the Catholic Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass.¬† In addition to using the traditional vows of the Church, the couple wrote vows to one another which, once recited, left not a dry eye in the house.¬† I really enjoyed meeting this couple’s families and friends who were welcoming, kind, and eager to show their love and support for Maria and Jeff as they declared “themselves to be a family before their families, friends, and God.”¬† May they have a long and happy life together!

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Suvin Performed three weddings, one at the Mission Inn in Riverside, one at Waterfront Park in San Diego, and one at the Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach

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The Mission Inn in Riverside is such a cool venue. It has an almost medieval feel to it! The couple was so happy, they wanted something short and sweet, with some epic references. It was a picture perfect day for a summer wedding in Riverside. The Bride walked down the aisle to heavy metal. They looked into each other’s eyes with love the whole ceremony. Congrats to the happy couple!

Melanie and Jonathan are such an awesome couple. On a beautiful August day, they tied the knot at Waterfront Park in San Diego. San Diego is such a cool town, I love doing ceremonies down there. Waterfront Park is a beautiful location near downtown San Diego. It is almost secretly nestled near the water and downtown.

They had a beautiful Christian based ceremony. I performed it complete with some bible readings, and some jokes to make it light hearted. The couple wrote their own vows as well, which added such a nice personal touch.

Congrats to the happy couple!


Antoinette and Jaime are such a loving couple! They had their ceremony at the picturesque Surf and Sand in Laguna Beach. It was a warm August Saturday, but there was a nice breeze to balance out the heat. As you can see from the view, Surf and Sand is one of our favorite places! Look at that amazing view of the ocean.

They had an amazing love story. Almost in Brady Bunch fashion, they met because of their kids! The older kids went to the same school and knew each other, and set their parents up! Their children served as their wedding party, and I made a special mention at the beginning of the ceremony about how this all happened because of the kids and had everyone give them a round of applause.

A beautiful day for a beautiful couple, congrats!

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Father Jacob had two awesome weddings, Plaza de Magdalena in San Juan Capistrano, Catamaran Resort in San Diego

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On Saturday, the eve of the Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, the Jaramillo and Benton families gathered with their friends to celebrate the Catholic Rite of Marriage Outside of Mass at Plaza de Magdalena. Located only a block away from Mission San Juan Capistrano in south Orange County, Plaza de Magdalena is an ideal and beautiful place to celebrate a wedding.

Kimmy and Kevin opted to have scripture readings included in their Rite of Marriage allowing for fuller participation of their families in the ceremony.  In addition to using the vows of the Church, they also wrote their own beautiful vows to one another.  The ceremony ended with the parents of the newly married couple performing a “sand ceremony” along with the couple.

It has been a real pleasure over the last few months to work with Jinwen Li and Christopher Fong on the preparations for their wedding ceremony.  Today, surrounded by their families and friends, we finally celebrated their wedding at the Catamaran Resort in San Diego.

The Catamaran, a truly beautiful place to celebrate a wedding and to mark the start of a new life together, is located in the San Diego neighborhood of Pacific Beach.  The beautiful property sits between the San Diego Bay and Mission Beach.

The actual ceremony took place in the warm white sand overlooking the calm blue water of the bay.  Although the marine layer rolled in off the Pacific just before the wedding started, the sun came out from behind the clouds as the couple read the vows they prepared for one another. Appropriate to the setting, they closed their wedding with a sand ceremony to mark the permanent character of their commitment.

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Father Jacob celebrated the wedding of Rachel Chaikin and Gerry Guzman at the La Mesa Community Center near San Diego on Saturday

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I celebrated the wedding of Rachel Chaikin and Gerry Guzman at the La Mesa Community Center near San Diego on Saturday.¬† The ceremony and reception took place at the same location which was convenient and allowed for a very relaxed atmosphere.¬† The ceremony took place overlooking a distant baseball field (Gerry and Rachel are avid softball players) and all of La Mesa.¬† The day was sunny and a cool breeze ensured the comfort of Rachel and Gerry’s many guests.

When they contacted me through Great Officiants, I learned that Gerry is Catholic and Rachel is Jewish.¬† The traditional Order of Celebrating Matrimony between a Catholic and a non-Christian in the Roman Rite does not acknowledge or celebrate the Jewish partner’s faith or heritage so I wanted to write a ceremony just for the them that was truly Catholic, maintaining all the traditional and necessary elements of the the Rite of Marriage, but which also explicitly celebrated Rachel’s rich Jewish heritage and faith.

To accomplish this, I reworked some of the language of the traditional rite.¬† For example when Gerry placed the ring on his wife’s finger he said: “Rachel, behold you are consecrated to me with this ring according to the Law of Moses and Israel.” ¬†When Rachel placed the ring on her husband’s finger she said, “Gerry, behold you are consecrated to me with this ring in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” ¬†In this way, each of the spouses acknowledged the faith and heritage of the other. I inserted a Kiddush which included the Sheva Brachot.¬† Since Catholicism is descended from Judaism, there are many, many ritual similarities including the use of wine in liturgy so it seemed natural to include this tradition which is remarkably similar, though not identical in each faith. By the way, as a Catholic priest, I almost always use Maneshewitz¬†when I celebrate Mass and it always reminds me of my faith’s Jewish roots. I sang the blessing over the wine in Hebrew and Rachel and Gerry shared from the cup in the presence of their families and friends before Gerry broke a glass beneath his feet and I presented them as husband and wife to their guests.

This was one of the most interesting weddings I have ever celebrated and definitely one of the funnest.  

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Another fabulous wedding preformed by Great Officiants and Officiant Lisa Smith.

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Another fabulous wedding preformed by Great Officiants and Officiant Lisa Smith. This one was very special, it was an elopement ! Just two people in love, the photographer and myself attended. We were on Coronado Island in San Diego at the Loews resort overlooking the beautiful skyline of San Diego and the Coronado Bay Bridge Kyle and Deirdre decided to do a Videotape of their special day from beginning to end. That told a story of their love for one another. They told their family’s they were on an engagement weekend getaway. But really were Eloping !! Kyle and Deirdre looked amazing so in love and both just glowing. We had a sunset wedding with beautiful Vows and all the perfect words spoken to unite them in marriage. They will have a reception celebration and unveil the heartfelt video to friends and family. Best wishes to the newlyweds for a beautiful future together forever. Thank you for choosing Great Officiants!

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Rev. Anthony is Staying Busy With Multiple Weddings

The much loved Rev. Anthony has been very busy with multiple weddings. Take a look at some memorable moments he wanted to share.

 

Katie & Michael 

Katie & Micheal 20130907

September 7th, 2013

This ceremony took place at the beautiful Heisler Bench Park in Laguna Beach. It was scheduled to start at 6:00pm but ALL of the guests arrived on an old school bus converted into a party bus painted like an old woody.

Since everyone was there – we started early!

Katie & Michael stood up alone, no wedding party at all. The groom cried, the bride consoled him, and I provided tissue. The weather cooperated with a nice shore breeze to make the ceremony quite pleasant.

Jaclyn & Daniel

20130914 Jaclyn & Daniel

Saturday September 14th, 2013

This wedding was out in Temecula / Murrietta at Harveston Lake. This very similar to Lake Mission Viejo, man made with homes all around. A lovely fountain was just behind us.

Jaclyn & Daniel had a short and simple ceremony. They included the Lasso ritual with Daniel’s mother and step mother as sponsors.

20130914 Haverston Lake

It was quite warm but a good breeze helped created some havoc with decorations.

 

Jane & Will 

20130914 Jane & Will

I had two Great Officiant weddings on Saturday September 14th, 2013

The second was at The University Club on the University of California, Irvine Campus. A GREAT LOCATION!

20130914 Universtiy Club UCI

William and Jane were both a bit anxious before starting but the weather was fantastic and the staff excellent!

Will & Jane wrote their own vows to one another and there was not a dry eye anywhere by they time they finished.

They had a secular ceremony and included The Wine Box and Love Letter Ceremony.

20130914 Wine Ltr Box

The box was decorated great. The cooperation, both holding the hammer while inserting the nails, was fantastic! (if you do this ceremony, use short nails!)

They created a twist to the ‘rose to mothers’ side ceremony.

Near the end, they asked for both sets of parents to stand. In place of roses, they gave them hugs!

 

Joyce & Jerry

09202013 Jerry Joyce & Anthony

September 20, 2013

Rev. Anthony¬†had the privilege to officiate the wedding of Joyce E. Sorby & Gerald ‘Jerry’ L. Bailey in San Diego, CA.

It was a small, intimate back-yard event with 20 +/- guests.They had a full Hawaiian theme with Conch blowing (took two tries!), Lei exchange, hand lei ceremony using blonde kekui nut lei & Sand Pouring.

The couple were both nervous, excited, smiling, giggling and even making faces at each other throughout the ceremony.

The bride was escorted by her daughter, the Matron or Honor and Best Man gave leis to all the guests as they walked in.

Stacey & Devin

09212013 Stacey Devin & Anthony

September 21, 2013

I had the privilege to be the Officiant for Stacey Eaton & Devin Vink at the Dove Canyon Courtyard in Trabuco Canyon.

It was an afternoon event, sunny and warm. The venue has a small ‘brides room’ with a lovely staircase for a dramatic entrance.

0921201 Dove Cnyn Crt Bride Walk

¬†The anxious groom and father of the bride both skipped the stop and wait for “who gives…” part. I did go back, ask dad to stand up and give her away. It was¬†a light and¬†fun moment.

The bride lit a memorial candle for her late mother very early in the ceremony.

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