The Minister Diva FAQs

Why choose a non-denominational officiant over a priest, rabbi, etc.?

Non-denominational officiants can offer a ceremony in a variety of settings with any number of rituals and readings included whereas most clergy of a particular denomination usually officiate in one setting with a specific style. In this case, only certain readings, rituals and even music is allowed. Non-denominational officiants can help the couple choose different readings and rituals from any number of cultures and backgrounds. We are able to incorporate what makes the couple happy. For couples who don't subscribe to any particular religion or are having an inter-faith wedding, the non-denominational officiant is the perfect choice.

So why should we choose you?

I have a vast knowledge of religious and cultural backgrounds due in part to my own life experiences but also, because of my education. I was a religion major as an undergraduate student. My program was comparative in nature. I then attended a highly regarded graduate education program at Teacher's College, Columbia University. The counseling psychology program there is deeply grounded in multicultural study and training.

What does counseling psychology have to do with being an officiant?

Well, a lot actually. Counselors are trained to be listeners. I listen to what the couple desires in their ceremonies, their needs, and their concerns. While I might make suggestions and help guide the couple through the creation of the ceremony, I strive to adhere to the couples' wishes. Also, many clergy offer counseling services. As a trained psychological counselor and the fact that I am an LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) I can offer counseling services to the couples I work with.

Did you go to seminary?

I didn't feel that a seminary, whether interfaith or single faith, would add to my knowledge base or my ability to perform ceremonies that make my couples happy. I am a constant student of religion and culture and this is what helps me expand my knowledge.

How are you able to perform my ceremony then?

I was ordained through the Universal Life Church. I register myself in any jurisdiction that requires registration of the ceremony officiant with a town clerk or the like.

Isn't that the online church? How is that valid?

The Universal Life Church is a brick and mortar church. While they do offer many services online, it is indeed a real life church located in Modesto, California. The Universal Life Church is a valid, operating house of worship.

Why did you choose the ULC to become ordained?

I chose to become ordained through the ULC because I am drawn to their belief that "We Are One". This is what my constant study of religion has taught me- that we are all one. The ULC doctrine which is "to do that which is right" is something I hold very dear. Doing what we believe to be right is what guides all of us.

Where do you perform ceremonies?

I serve Staten Island, New York as well as the New York Tri-State area. I also travel quite a bit to New Orleans, Louisiana. I am registered in Orleans Parish to perform weddings there as well. Don't be afraid to ask me about travel. I am always willing to travel to perform a wedding.

When should we hire you?

I would say as soon as you feel comfortable enough to book your officiant. Like other wedding vendors, officiants can be booked long in advance. In order to guarantee I am available for your date and time please contact me at your earliest convenience.

What are your fees?

This depends on the ceremony package you choose. The fee could run anywhere between $100 and $600 and up. There are so many variables that come into play. It's best that we speak about the details before a quote is given.

Do you have a contract?

Yes I do have a straightforward contract. The contract ensures that there are no misunderstandings between myself and the couple.

What is the payment schedule?

I require a 50% retainer with a signed contact to hold your date and time. The balance is due the day of the ceremony.

What happens after we sign the contract?

This also depends on the package you choose. For packages where a ceremony is personalized, we will work together to create your most perfect ceremony. There is much discussion about what you like and do not like, what you would like to include and exclude and what type of ceremony you are interested in. It may be civil, spiritual or religious. It may be straightforward and short or something longer and one that brings tears to the eyes. Your wish is my command!

What will you wear the day of the ceremony?

I usually wear a black suit- dress or pants. I may also wear a long robe. This depends on the location, the feel of the ceremony and what the couple wants.

What type of wedding planning do you offer?

I do not offer wedding planning services. There are some fantastic wedding planners that I can suggest you contact. However, my service is the creation and performance of the ceremony only.

How do we get our marriage license in New York?

Please follow this link: Getting Married in New York State

How do we get our marriage license in New Jersey?

What do we do with the marriage license after the ceremony?

You do not need to do anything. I will mail your marriage license to the appropriate registrar or town clerk. I will also inform you who you should contact for copies.

You keep using the word ceremony, do you offer other services besides weddings?

Yes I do. I perform civil unions, commitment ceremonies, vow renewals, baby namings/blessings, house blessings and memorials or funerals as well as weddings.

Do you serve the LGBT community?

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