by Christiana Schuchert - Events Manager
Alexander Homestead gets excited about helping couples customize their big day and finding ways to incorporate their personalities and what they value throughout their event. The piece that of course kicks off this display of who the couples are is the ceremony. Ways of customizing and planning out your ceremony include working with your Day of Coordinator at the final meeting to decide on processional order, flow, and processional song choices as your family and friends walk down the aisle, and working with your officiant on the ceremony itself.
When selecting an officiant, couples will often ask a pastor, someone from their place of worship, or a good friend that is licensed to marry them. But if you are not sure where to turn or are on the hunt for an officiant, we highly recommend Rick Bovey. I chatted with Rick about his experience officiating weddings at Alexander Homestead and his planning process working with our couples. We address some of the questions I’ve been asked the most about the officiant piece of our creative team so I’m really happy for the opportunity to have Rick address them for our couples. See below.
How long have you been a pastor and/or been officiating weddings?
For about 50 years I have pastored a church, been part of a teaching team for a church, traveled the country preaching and served as a missionary.
What do you love about officiating weddings and officiating specifically at Alexander Homestead?
There are several things I absolutely love about this opportunity. I love being part of a celebration of marriage. As designed by God it is a fundamental building part of life together within the family and society. I also love the people with whom I work at the Alexander Homestead. Finally, I get to randomly meet fantastic couples who are entering into the adventure of marriage and to have an opportunity to help them begin that journey through a marriage ceremony of their choosing.
What does your process look like for working with couples on their ceremony, from planning to wedding day?
When a couple contracts with AH for their all-inclusive wedding venue, if they do not have their own preferred wedding officiant, then AH lets them know about me. When I am contacted by AH concerning a couple wanting me to officiate their wedding, I will then contact the couple by email to introduce myself. I will suggest that we get together for a meeting at a Starbucks or something similar. The meeting is for two purposes. One is they get to know me somewhat and they decide if we are compatible for their very important day. If I pass muster ( 🙂 ), then we discuss their ceremony. I have sample ceremonies but they may have one they want. We go over the ceremony and make additions, subtractions or changes. I then make a working draft of their ceremony and email it to them. At this point it is a working draft. When they look it over and make any changes they email it back to me and we have the final draft. I then format it for the wedding ceremony and we are good to go.
How should couples prepare for their meeting with you, and what are some items to think about incorporating into the ceremony service?
Most couples already have at least a general idea of what they want in their wedding ceremony. For some that is a life long history of planning and dreaming. Our conversation together may remind them of things they want to include. Some things to think about – do you have any family traditions you want to keep? Is there a special event you want to include like sand ceremony, unity candle, roses, readings, having children involved, special music? We usually figure that out when we are together but sometimes after they receive the working draft of the ceremony, they or family or friends think of something else.
We get asked a lot if you are able to incorporate different faith traditions into the ceremony, keep things short and sweet, or have no faith tradition incorporated. Can you speak to this and your openness to personalize to each couple?
While I am a Christian minister, I do understand that this is their ceremony and that they should include the things that are meaningful and important to them. As a result I am honored to work with each couple to create the ceremony of their choosing. This may or may not include a faith tradition. As to length, my sample ceremonies usually take less than fifteen minutes. Time may vary depending on what may be included.
Can you walk us through the process a couple needs to undergo to obtain a marriage license?
The State of North Carolina requires four things for a legally recognized marriage. A couple, two witnesses, an officiant and a marriage license. The Marriage License may be attained at any county court house in NC. The information for Mecklenburg county is at this site https://www.mecknc.gov/ROD/Pages/Marriage.aspx
The couple must go together less than 60 days prior to their marriage date (there are some exceptions). It will cost them $60 and they will have some information to fill out, most of which goes on the license. They will sign the license at the Register of Deeds and the license is ready to go. A NC marriage license is only for weddings performed in NC. There are no residency requirements for the couple. The couple must each be 18 or older. After the ceremony, the couple may purchase certified copies of the marriage license either from the Register of Deeds office that issued the license or the State Vital Records office in Raleigh.
For weddings I perform, immediately after the ceremony I ask for the marriage license. I then ask the couples who they want to be their witnesses – 2 people who are 18 or older who were at the ceremony. The witnesses sign the license in my presence. After which I take the license and fill out the officiant part of the license. I mail it on the next business day to the Register of Deeds from the issuing county.
What is your advice to couples for marriage?
While this will be one of the most important days of your lives, it is important that you enjoy it and each other and your guests. Build memories that will bless you for years to come as you enter into a committed relationship. This will be the beginning of an important new stage in your relationship and so focus on each other and allow your family and friends to enter this new phase with you joyously.
If you are interested in adding Rick’s services to your wedding, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or your Event Manager at email@example.com