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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Wedding: Cathleen & Matt

November 17th, 2009 @ 2:21 pm by Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Cathleen and Matt were married at the spectacular Highlawn Pavilion in West Orange, NJ in late September.

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It was a beautiful, sunny day. Their ceremony was sweet, funny, and meaningful, and included this reading, from Plato’s Symposium (a great non-religious reading!):

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

I recently met with a couple who were interested in ways to incorporate their support of marriage equality in their wedding ceremony – so I turned to one of my favorite sources (the internet!) to find some good ideas for them. I am proud to live in a state that offers civil unions (it’s a big step in the right direction!).

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Officiating at the civil union of Jess & Lorrie

My favorite suggestions came from this A Practical Wedding blog post. I really liked the idea of including a brief notice in your program:

Jessie and Dan believe that marriage is a universal human right, and look forward to the day that they can celebrate the joy and privilege of legal marriage with their LGBTQ friends and family.

Another suggestion that Meg had was, if you include a wine ceremony, to spill a few drops (kind of like at a Passover seder!) to suggest the sacrifices and sadness at the fact that our gay friends cannot have the same rights in marriage as we will.

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

I thought I would take a few posts to write about the various unity ceremonies that can be included in wedding ceremonies. There are not only so many wonderful rituals and traditions that you can include – but there are so many variations on each of them.

Let’s start with one of my favorites, the sand unity ceremony.

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In this ceremony, the bride and groom pour sand into a central vessel, to represent the many aspects of their lives coming together, and their marriage and lives will be as hard to break apart as it would be to separate the many grains of sand.

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

I was a theatre major in college – and when I would stage manage, I was often the voice that told you to turn off your cell phones and pagers and unwrap your candy before the performance would begin.

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Groomsmen at the rehearsal before the ceremony (via melissa blemur)

(And, yes, both of the photos in this post were taken at recent weddings I officiated… before the ceremony!)

Now, I’m often the voice that asks guests to turn off their cell phone and other noisy electronics prior to the wedding ceremony. I like to say, “Other noisy electronics” in addition to cell phones because many cameras make sound now, too, and you never know who’s going to bring a portable gaming system and just play Mario Kart quietly through the ceremony.

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Emily and Nick were married along the shores of Lake Tahoe in August. Now – you might be thinking – isn’t Lake Tahoe in California? And, Jessie, don’t you officiate weddings in New Jersey and New York?

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Emily & Nick, married in Lake Tahoe - ceremony by Eclectic Unions, officiated by a friend of the couple

Emily contacted me a few weeks before her wedding regarding my wedding ceremony writing services – they were having a friend officiate, and were having some trouble putting together a ceremony that really reflected them and showcased their love and relationship. So I worked with Emily and Nick, cross country (hurray for email!) to create a personal and special ceremony for them. It was so lovely to be a part of their wedding, even if I wasn’t actually there!

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Follow Along Ceremony.
Part 1: Meet Sarah & John!
Part 2: First Meeting, First Outline
Part 3: Creating Rituals
Part 4: Choosing the Readings

Sarah and John didn’t have a bridal party, so they had a lot of unique and beautiful ways to incorporate their family (the Circle of Love, and reading introductions for the myriad of rituals they included) and friends (readings!). They had one more unique way to incorporate their siblings: the vows.

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Usually, the vows are read from a card, or prompted by the Celebrant. But Sarah and John had Sarah’s brother and John’s sister come up, stand with them during their vows, and prompt them with each line. They also combined their ring vows with their vows, so after they spoke the vows, they placed the ring on the other’s finger.

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Tips for Beach Weddings!

September 9th, 2009 @ 5:02 pm by Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

I have my final beach wedding of the season this weekend (please send us good weather vibes!!). If you’re planning your beach wedding for next spring or summer, here are some great tips that I’ve culled from my beach weddings this year!

Jess & Kenny exit their ceremony, at Seven Presidents Beach, Long Branch, NJ

Jess & Kenny exit their ceremony, at Seven President’s Beach, Long Branch, NJ

Amplification is a must! There is something about the sand / water / wave crashing combo that just SUCKS sound. Even if it costs a little bit extra to have your DJ set up a separate sound system – it is worth it so your guests can hear every word of the ceremony. I recently purchased a new sound system, specifically because my portable system was not going to cut it for a beach wedding. Check with your venue to see if there is power at the beach as well, to let your DJ / band / musicians / officiant know what kind of plugs / power they need to bring.

It’s windy! Veils will blow around, and so will your hair. It’s a good idea to tie rings securely to any ring pillows (if they’re not safely in the honor attendant’s pockets). If you have a structure or altar with a cloth, make sure everything is attached securely.

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Wedding: Chris & Mike

August 31st, 2009 @ 6:11 pm by Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

I knew when Mike, the groom, emailed me and told me that his fiance, Chris, was going to place a special bug smooshing clause into her vows that we would get along well.

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Chris and Mike were so much fun to work with. Mike told me he wanted to have a lot of laughs in their ceremony, so I tried to be as light-hearted as possible, while still capturing the importance and reverence of their day (and to make the parents happy!).

There were a lot of fun details that went into creating their ceremony – let me share just a few with you:

I threw some Star Wars/Star Trek wording into my remarks.

  • Towards the end of my opening remarks: And now – we are here to witness the next step – marriage, the final frontier.
  • At the beginning of their love story: A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away – or, well, in 2004, in New York City, Chris and Mike had their first date.
  • When I declared them husband and wife: You are now joined, and by the power vested in me by the State of New Jersey, it is my honor to pronounce you husband and wife. Live long and prosper and may the force be with you.

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Part 1: Meet Sarah & John!
Part 2: First Meeting, First Outline
Part 3: Creating Rituals

Sarah and John had a lot of interesting ways to incorporate their family and friends into their wedding ceremony, but this had to be my favorite: their readers.

electic wedding

They asked six of their friends (three couples) to each choose a reading to present during the wedding ceremony. I thought it was great that they were going to let their friends choose the readings, so they could pick something that they thought was very representative and appropriate for Sarah and John. But here’s the big thing: they asked me to keep the readings a secret from that!

That’s right – the readers “reported” directly into me. I placed the readings into the ceremony, based on their content, and had full veto power if something wasn’t quite right or a duplicate. But the bride and groom had no idea what was going to be read at their wedding!

I sent the readers an email, with some of my favorite wedding reading resources, a deadline, and encouraged them to use me as a resource as well – to ask me any questions, have me offer suggestions, or simply point them in the right direction. But all six friends did a fabulous job and picked perfect readings for the wedding!

The first reading was a selection of notes that Charles Darwin had written down in his sketchbook – the pros and cons of getting married. It was a piece I had never seen before, and I love it!

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Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions's Picture
Jessie Blum, New Jersey Vendor: Officiant Website: Eclectic Unions About Me: I began writing & officiating wedding ceremonies in 2008, and love every single moment of it. It all started when my best friend asked me to officiate her Jewish/Lutheran/Pagan (but completely non-religious!) wedding - since then, I've found a love and passion for creating original wedding ceremonies that truly reflect the couples being married. Wedding ceremonies should be all about the bride & groom's love, relationship, and commitment, and I do my best to make sure everything is just perfect! I live in Northern New Jersey with my fiance and our two kitties, and, when I'm not meeting with my awesome couples or writing wedding ceremonies, I love to knit, obsessively check my email, and plan my own wedding (Oct 2010!).
About Jessie Blum @ Eclectic Unions

Jessica and Steve got married in the beautiful Kirkpatrick Chapel, on the grounds of Rutgers, in New Brunswick, NJ. They wanted a secular interpretation of a traditional Christian ceremony, so I worked with them to personalize a few elements and really make the ceremony feel like them (like a few mentions of their cats and the story of their engagement).

Jess&Steve1

They used one of my suggested vows, which I just love, and did them “repeat after me style,” where I broke them into chunks, and they repeated them – no memorization, and no little piece of paper to hold – they could just look at each other.

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