Tags - minister

October 4, 2010October 4, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

If you are planning a wedding ceremony, (or have even attended a wedding ceremony in the last few years, for that matter) you may be considering performing a unity candle ceremony or a unity sand ceremony. They are a great way to visually symbolize your new commitment to your spouse, and for your guests, they are a cool thing to see. Or at least they were cool, the first 8 times they saw a unity candle or sand ceremony performed. If you are running in a social and/or family circle where it seems like everybody has approached "the marrying age" and there are at least three wedding ceremonies every year, you may be interested it doing something a little different than the tried and true unity ceremonies. In the next two weeks on this blog, I will be providing ideas for unity ceremonies that go beyond "the Candle" and "the Sand." Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I help you keep it that way.

October 14, 2010October 14, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 6 - The Broom Jumping Ceremony

Description - Jumping the broom is a phrase and custom linked to wedding ceremonies between slaves in North America.  Marrying couples would end their ceremony by jumping over a broomstick, either together or separately. This practice dates back at least to the 19th century and fell out of favor in many communities because of its connection to slavery, but it enjoyed a 20th century revival largely due to the miniseries, Roots.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony -


Minister: Before we conclude today,  this couple will perform the tradition of jumping of the broom. As our bride and groom jump the broom, they physically and spiritually cross the threshold into matrimony. Traditionally, jumping the broom was also a means of sweeping away all negative energy, making way for all things that are good to come into your lives.

It is also a call of support for the marriage from the entire community of family and friends. In honoring the ritual, (bride) and (groom) issue a hope and a prayer of sweeping away the negative and the welcoming of the positive, making way for all things that are good to come into their lives, as well as your lives. The bride and groom will now begin their new life together with a clean sweep!

(One of the attendants then hands the broom to the groom, who makes sweeping gestures to eliminate any negative energies. The groom then hands the broom to the bride, who places it on the ground in their path.)

Minister: On the count of three you will jump over the broom, and I encourage your guests to count with me: 1, 2, 3... Jump! 

Why it's Good - I love the idea of “sweeping away” bad energy and negative feelings, and beginning a marriage with a clean, fresh, positive start. For your guests, it’s a lovely and fun ceremony to see. And, of course, the broom can be displayed prominently in the home as a reminder of the vows that were made between the couple on their wedding day. (However, it’s wise to tell those unfamiliar with the tradition who enter your home that the broom is not just an ordinary broom. You probably want to avoid walking into your kitchen to find a guest sweeping up his tracked-in mud or potato chip crumbs with your treasured wedding broom. Just saying.)

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 20, 2010October 20, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Just over a month ago now, Sept. 11th fell on a Saturday. Saturdays are, of course, prime days for weddings. I did not officiate a wedding on Sept. 11th this year, not because I choose not to do any, but because I had no wedding inquiries for that day. Despite the fact that Sept. 11th stirs many memories of sadness, tragedy, grief, and even anger for so many Americans, I am sure, that many, many happy couples still chose Sept. 11th as a day in which they will happily celebrate their anniversary for many years to come. And that is okay. In fact, it is more than okay. I think it is fantastic. Why? Because I feel it is a triumphant reclamation of the day for happiness, love, and good memories. Of course, we will never forget the horrors of 9-11-2001, and we don’t want to, but it doesn’t mean that wonderful feelings and  hopeful emotions shouldn’t be able to exist on that day too. 

So, don’t avoid a day because it is the anniversary of a loved one’s passing. Don’t shy away from a day because it the old anniversary of failed relationship. Don’t even fear that wedding day on Friday the 13th. Combat the negative by reveling in the positive.  

I did work on Sept. 11th though. I performed the baptism of a beautiful baby girl, which celebrated her new life, her new role in a loving family and supportive community, and her infinite promise and potential to make the world a better place. There was no mention specifically during that ceremony of the tragedy that had occurred 9 years before on that same day, yet it was the best Sept. 11th memorial gesture I’ve done to date. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

October 13, 2010October 13, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 5- The Truce Bell Ceremony

Description -

A part of the wedding ceremony itself, a bell is blessed by the officiant and then presented to the bride and groom. The couple rings the bell together, while thinking of nothing but good thoughts of each other and of their future lives together. The bride and groom then keep the bell in a place of prominence in their new home, and can be rung as a reminder of happier times, should an argument or discord erupt and threaten the peace.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony - 

This is a Bell of Truce.  Bells have long been associated with weddings as their joyous tones announce good tidings. I present this bell to you and ask you to give the bell a hardy ring while thinking lovely thoughts about each other and your future life together.

<couple rings bell>

Keep this bell in your home to remind you of your wedding day. When arguments arise, and they will, put this bell to its best use. Ring the bell to remind you of your wedding vows, conjure up the happiest memories from this day, and help you resolve your differences with love and compassion, rather than anger and resentment.

Why it's Good - If only ending arguments really were as easy as ringing a bell, right? Of course, the bell won’t work miracles, but if it does end up reminding a couple deep in the throws of an argument (especially a silly one) of why they love each other and why they married, and it allows them to take a step back, a deep breathe, and solve problems more with logical reason rather than raw emotion, maybe minor miracles will happen after all. Just encourage a “no abuse of the bell” policy. Even if you ring the truce bell, you still have to make sure your dirty underwear make it to the laundry hamper from the bathroom floor.

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 11, 2010October 11, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 4 - The Unity Water Ceremony

Description - The idea here is pretty much the same as a unity sand ceremony. In this ceremony, the couple together pours two glasses of different colored water into a larger glass, creating a third color.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony -Today,  __________ holds water the color of yellow. Yellow is the color of sunshine. The color yellow represents joy and happiness. It also stands for wisdom.
__________ holds water the color of blue. Blue represents confidence and trust. A "true blue" friend is faithful and trustworthy.
__________ and __________, this empty vessel between you represents your marriage. It is a new beginning in your relationship with each other.
__________ as you pour your yellow water into the container you bring sunshine and wisdom to your marriage. And __________ as you pour your blue water into the marriage vessel, you bring confidence, trust and loyalty to your marriage.
The blending of the yellow and blue water creates green, representing the blending of your lives together as one. The color green represents stability, endurance, growth and harmony. Two become one, just as you have today.
May your marriage reflect these qualities. May your energies in this marriage blend just as equally as you give freely of yourselves while honoring the greatness of each other. 

(You can, of course, use different colors and descriptions of why you choose the colors, etc., according to your preferences.)


Why it's Good - Maybe it was just me, but in elementary school, when I found out that you could take two colors, mix them together, and make a completely different color, I thought it was some kind of magic. There is just something cool about the fact that you only need red, blue, and yellow and you can make every other color in the palette. Yes, it’s just water, but I promise at least a few guests will “oh” and “ah” over this like it’s a 4th of July fireworks finale. Be aware though, you will want to experiment a little with this first to make sure you get the right “recipe” for your colors, so that when you end up blending them, it actually looks like a new color. (For example, you’ll need a lot more yellow dye and only a few drops of blue to make the end result green.)

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 8, 2010October 8, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 3 - Handfasting

Description - In this ceremony, the couple together binds their hands/wrists together with a cord and a knot is tied, symbolically binding their lives together. This is apparently where the term “tying the knot” comes from. This ceremony is traced back to several origins. A version of it is found in traditional Hindu ceremonies, and sometimes even also in Wiccan ceremonies, but most often, it is attributed to Celtic and European tradition.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony - As this knot is tied, your lives now bound.  Woven into this cord, into its very fibers, are all the hopes of your friends and family, and of yourselves, for your new life together. With the tying of this knot you tie all the desires, dreams, love, and happiness wished here in this place to your lives for as long as love shall last.

May this cord draw your hands together in love, never to be used in anger. May the vows you have spoken never grow bitter in your mouths.

Two people in love, bound by commitment and fear, sadness and joy, by hardship and victory, anger and reconciliation, all of which brings strength to this union. Hold tight to one another through both good times and bad, and watch as your strength grows.  Remember that it is not this physical cord, but what it represents, that keeps you together.


Why it's Good - While being physically tied together with a cord during your wedding ceremony may not be for everyone, and I will concede, the first time I read about it, I thought it sounded a little, alright, I’m going to go ahead and say it; kinky. But it doesn’t have to be that way at all. I ultimately think this ceremony is pretty neat because after the wedding day is over, many couples hang the cord over their front door, as a blessing for them as they go in and out of their home, or as a reminder of the vows they made on the first day of their marriage. (Or, maybe some DO use it to spice things up again, you know, when the honeymoon feelings have faded. Eh, I say live and let live.)

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 6, 2010October 6, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 1 - The Chocolate and Champagne (or wine) Ceremony. 

 Description - In this ceremony, the couple together eats some bitter dark chocolate and drinks some sweet champagne (or whatever wine you like, but since the bride is likely in a white dress it may be wisest to have a beverage in the white or rose family - Booooo to having a bad laundry detergent commercial moment before you've even made it to the reception. ) The ceremony symbolizes the idea that with marriage, you will have sweet moments and bitter moments, and either way, you will share them and weather them as a unified front. 

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony - In your marriage, there will be days of great sweetness, and days of bitter sorrow. There will be celebrations, and there will be tears. There will be triumphs, and there will be tragedies. Life holds indescribable happiness in store for you both - and unavoidable pain, as well. And so to symbolize your acceptance of this reality, today you will share the bitter and the sweet, just as you will share them in the years to come. Both of you, take and eat this bitter, dark chocolate. Taste in it the dark days which will test your marriage and test its strength. It represents disappointment, illness, grief. Know that these hard times will come, and with them, the opportunity to deepen your bond as husband and wife. Now, take and drink this sweet Champagne (or wine.)  Taste in it the sweetness and light that will fill your marriage with joy. Savor the fruits of this wine, just as you will savor every happiness that you bring each other. It represents shared laughter, your children’s first steps, your golden anniversary. Delight in it, as you will delight in your husband, your wife, your life together.


Why it's Good - This is probably obvious, but I'll say it anyway; what a great excuse to eat chocolate during the ceremony, AND then enjoy a bubbly livation. Also, it's a very touching ceremony with a great, and truthful, meaning behind it, besides being just a little bit sensual for the couple, especially if you choose to feed the chocolate to each other. Plus, you can provide your jealous, salivating wedding guests with the same kind of chocolate and/or beverage you enjoyed as wedding favors.  Vive Le Chocolat et Le Champagne!

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.



September 14, 2010September 14, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

If you are hiring an independent minister or officiant (meaning he/she is coming to your venue, rather than you are going to get married in their church or judge's chambers) to perform your ceremony,  you are likely going to have a lot more freedom in how your ceremony will be presented and what will be said, so go ahead and take advantage of that fact! Consider incorporating literary passages, poems, musical lyrics, or an original idea for a unity ceremony, ANYTHING THAT YOU WANT, and don't worry if you don't know exactly how you actually want to incorporate something special; your minister/officiant should be able to help and offer suggestions in that regard as long as you have a vague idea in what you like to include. Remember, the ceremony is the beginning of your marriage. Every word of it should leave you happy, hopeful, and looking forward to an amazing future!

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx


October 7, 2010October 7, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 2 - The Rose Ceremony 

Description - In this ceremony, the couple together presents a rose to each of their Moms, and sometimes also to any other women (aunts, godmothers, etc.) who have played significant roles in their lives.  This celebrates the new union between their two families, as hugs, kisses, and kind words are often exchanged along with the roses. It's also a nice place to incorporate music in the background as the roses are presented.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony - Before ______ and _____ exchange rings today to symbolize their union, they would each like to honor the togetherness of their families with the giving of a rose to their mothers, grandmothers, and women who have played a special role for them.  They would also like to honor all that each woman has done to make them who they are today. (Bride and Groom present roses to each woman.)


Why It's Good - There are, in fact, times when it is a good thing to ruin your eye make up with emotional tears of happiness. This is one of them. Dads often get the glory of walking their daughters down the aisle at the beginning of the ceremony. This is a great way to give a little glory during the ceremony to “the Mamas” too. And, be sure you have enough tissue handy for everyone attending the ceremony. It won’t be just the Moms shedding a tear or two. Or three.


Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 17, 2010October 17, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 8 - The Hourglass Ceremony 

Description - In this ceremony, the couple together flips an hourglass to represent the idea that prior to getting married, their time was separate, but after the ceremony, their time is united.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony - Behind me is an hourglass. 

Although your time has run separately, it shall now flow together, as symbolized by the turning of this hourglass. May you share as many happy moments as there are countless grains of sand in this hourglass, as well as on the shores of this earth._________ and _________, please turn over the hourglass at this time.

Why it's Good - As far as I know, this is an original idea. I know that there are some companies online that will take the sand from your sand ceremony and put it in an hourglass, (and seriously, is there anything that you CAN’T find online? What the heck did people do before the internet?) but I don’t think you’re going to run into anybody else out there doing this one like I’ve written it. It’s an idea that I WISH was mine, but it was actually the idea of a couple that I am marrying in June 2011. I think it’s awesome, super easy, fool-proof, and I can’t wait to see it done. Now, carry on with eight new ideas rather than, or in addition to, the tried and true unity candle and sand ceremonies. And go forth, IN UNITY!!! Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 15, 2010October 15, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Unique Unity Ceremony Idea # 7 - The Unity Coin Ceremony

Description - Unity Coins are a contemporary version of the traditional wedding coins called Arras Coins in the Philippines and Spain and are used throughout the world in many cultures.

The thirteen coins, either gold or silver in color, represent the universal tenets of marriage; Love, Trust, Commitment, Respect, Joy, Happiness, Harmony, Wisdom, Wholeness, Nurturing, Caring, Cooperation and Peace. The coins are said to represent the groom's commitment to support his family and the couple's dedication to mutually contribute to the relationship. During the ceremony the officiant often receives the coins from a coin bearer and blesses them.

How It Might Sound in Your Ceremony - Officiant: May I have the coins please? Dear Lord, bless these coins representing the universal tenets of marriage; Love, Trust, Commitment, Respect, Joy, Happiness, Harmony, Wisdom, Wholeness, Nurturing, Caring, Cooperation and Peace. Grant that [name] and [name]may enjoy not only the material possessions of this life but abundant spiritual blessings as well.

(The officiant hands the coins to the groom who then pours half of them into the hands of the bride.) Officiant:These coins in your hands are a sign that your blessings are not separate but mutually given to you by the God from whom all blessings flow. (The coins are returned to the coin bearer or placed on a table.)

Why it's Good - Here’s a riddle for you: Like it or not, you need it. At least some. Most think they need more of it than they actually do. Many act like they have more of it than they do. You can save it or use it all up, without ever actually seeing it. What is it? Yup, it’s money. Ah, money. Whenever you hear marriage statistics, particularly ones involving why couples argue, disagree, fight or even divorce, “money” is often mentioned.  I like this ceremony because it takes money, assigns it symbolic and spiritual value rather than just material value, and we hopefully remember that without these thirteen qualities in a marriage, it is probably, ultimately, pretty worthless. Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

October 25, 2010October 25, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

It used to be one of the biggest concerns couples faced on their wedding day; “The ceremony is at 1:00pm at the church and the reception starts at 6:00pm. What the heck are we going to do with the guests for the 4 hours in-between?” (Because, you see, Aunt Edna and Uncle Frank can’t figure out what to do for four hours on their own, and they really didn’t appreciate the idea getting one of those “4 hour nap” hotel rooms, as your brother suggested.)  Of course, some couples will still have those concerns, particularly if they are planning a big church wedding ceremony, but more and more couples are choosing to have their ceremonies and their receptions at one place, (usually a banquet hall, restaurant, big rented tent, hotel, or country club), creating what I like to call the “one-stop wedding day.” Why? Well, for one thing, you can’t beat the convenience. No trucking around all over the place in a limo that smells like Pine-Sol and feet, no mad dash to get ready for an early afternoon ceremony, because the ceremony is usually scheduled just a half-hour before the reception time, no directions required on how to get from the ceremony site to the reception site, (you know darn well Aunt Edna and Uncle Frank would get lost anyways, no matter how good the directions.)  It’s often a little more cost-effective too. Need I mention the fact that you can often prance your way down the aisle after the ceremony and straight to the bar for a celebratory cocktail? No? Okay, I won’t mention that then.  It’s a great option to consider in addition to a church or a courthouse, and all you have to do is hire an independent minister (like me), a retired minister, or a justice of the peace, and find out what your ceremony site options might be at your reception site. Certainly it’s not for everyone, particularly if you are very involved in your church/religious community, and your pastor/religious leader will not travel to do a ceremony, but for many, it’s a fabulous way to make the day a whole lot more streamlined. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

November 8, 2010November 8, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

There are three kinds of behaviors I generally see from couples during their wedding ceremonies, particularly when they are reciting their vows:

  1. The Gigglers - This is the couple that often has trouble taking anything seriously, and that is perfectly great, (as long as both are giggling. It is not so great, however, when one is giggling uncontrollably and the other is giving their soon-to-be spouse a look of withering scorn) because it usually fits the kind of relationship they have; fun-loving, comfortable, and casual. The best, though, is when a couple gets the giggles and it is uncharacteristic for them. That’s like watching Saturday Night Live, when the actors are supposed to have a straight face but they just can’t manage it. Funny stuff. 
  2. The Robots - A wedding is a stressful event, no doubt about it. There’s a lot to think about. So, this couple is probably thinking about everything else going on that day, besides what’s going on right in front of them. They are simply saying words in a monotone fashion, with blank looks on their faces, not really letting everything sink in. I don’t blame them. (I blame rock n’ roll music. No, I don’t really.) I don’t blame anyone or anything for this. Some people enjoy being in front of all of their loved ones, exposing their souls and declaring their livelong love and commitment to another person. Some people don’t. And “the robots” are usually just plain, ole nervous. Really, really, REALLY nervous. So, they end up sounding a little robotic. 
  3. The Cryers - Finally, you have the couple who lets it all hang out, emotionally speaking, of course. The words they are saying hit them like a slap in the face, and the next thing you know, they can barely get any words out. Then, the guests are all getting emotional. It’s a beautiful thing, plus it tells me that they are in the moment, they are present, and years from now, at their 50th anniversary party, they are still probably going to be able to remember that moment - the moment that they lost it during their wedding ceremony. 

Which is the most desirable? Well, what’s desirable is that you stay true to yourselves and your emotions during one of the most pivotal and defining moments of your lives.  You wanna laugh? Go ahead. You wanna cry? Let it happen. You are barely worried about how you sound or look, you are just doing all you can not to pass out cold from the anxiety? Embrace it. No one looks back fondly on the moments that they held back the tears or the giggles on their wedding day. None of your grandchildren will want to hear the story about how Grandma stood stoically and emotionally absent during her wedding vows. Allow yourself to feel your emotions to their fullest potential, not just on your wedding day, but during most, if not all, of your days.  

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

November 1, 2010November 1, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

You are planning a small, casual wedding ceremony. If you plan it for when the weather is warm, or you live in a climate where it is warm year-round, you probably will have very little problem figuring out a beautiful, cost effective outdoor space in which to hold your wedding ceremony. But, what if you want to get married during cold weather months? Now, the location is where things get tricky. When the weather is warm, there are so many outdoor locations available to the public, but indoor locations are generally owned and operated by someone, which means you'll probably need to be a customer or get someone's permission, so what will be open to you? I have five suggestions for you to consider:

1. A nice spot in hotel, restaurant, or bar. Your chances will be better if you will be either staying in the hotel that evening(little honeymoon night?) or having a meal before or afterward. You may even get a little "VIP" treatment.

2. A train station. No permission likely needed, there are many very beautiful ones, and they are usually open to the public all the time.

3. A museum, library, or even an empty theater (movie or live,) but permission will very likely need to be sought and they may not be open for you when you want.

4. Your own residence or some else's residence.

5. Think creatively too!!! Where did you meet? Where was your first date? Where were you when you realized you were in love? What places already hold meaning for you? Don’t let the thought that people will think it is “weird” hold you back from doing something totally different. I recently read an article about a couple who got married in the shoe aisle at a TJ Maxx, because the bride felt like good things always had happened to her when she was at that store. Now, that’s a “Maxxinista!” 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

November 15, 2010November 15, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Not many couples consider a wedding date during the holiday season, but there really are some great advantages to having your wedding around the holidays. 

  1. Everything is already decorated. The church or ceremony site is already adorned with beautiful fabrics and poinsettias or garlands. The reception hall is already covered in lights, ribbons, and holiday cheer. What does that mean for you? YOU don’t have to worry about (or pay for) everything being decorated and looking as beautiful and festive as possible - that job has already been handled,and probably handled very well.
  2. Everybody is already in town. Your family and friends are likely in town already for the holidays at some point, so take advantage of that and have a better chance at getting them all to your wedding. The Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving or after Christmas is an especially great date to consider if this is an especially appealing advantage to you.
  3. Everybody else is NOT doing it. So, you may have a really nice pick of prime locations and vendors at discounted prices, even if you are doing this a little last minute, because this is not the busy “wedding season,” and options may still be available when they wouldn’t otherwise be during prime times.
  4. Everybody (for the most part) loves this time of year anyway. The holiday season, in general, makes people happy. If you, as a couple, already love the season, why not make it even better and add another happy occasion to celebrate during this great time of the year?

And then there are the other fun little advantages: Having a Santa at your reception, great photo ops with the bride on Santa’s lap, Mistletoe at the ceremony, romantic sleigh rides with your brand new spouse, cuddling up by a fire on your honeymoon (or escaping really crumby weather for your honeymoon)... you get the idea. Merry Wedding!

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

November 22, 2010November 22, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Perhaps I should be ashamed to admit it, but I love the movie, “The Wedding Singer.” One of my favorite scenes is the one in which the heroine, Julia, is debating her best friend on how the first kiss at her wedding ceremony should be. Julia concludes the best first kiss involves “not porno tongue, church tongue.” The best friend asks dubiously, “Church tongue? What is that?!?” Good question. 

As a wedding officiant, I’ve had a front row seat on a number of first kisses, and I am here to tell you that most couples instinctively know what “church tongue” involves, and if you are getting married sometime in the near future, chances are, you will too. Most couples share a very passionate, very heart-felt, yet family-friendly, first kiss at their wedding ceremonies. But, I do witness the occasional misstep when it comes to the first kiss. On one side of the spectrum, I am left to wonder whether the couple in front of me has EVER kissed before, because the kiss is so tame it’s like looking at a plate of white rice, canned potatoes, and boiled chicken. On the other side of the spectrum, I am left to watch a kissing spectacle that would make the owner of an adult book store blush. No kidding. The point is, it really is a good idea to be passionate during your first kiss, but still keep it classy. If you are concerned that your fiance will lack the “church tongue” instincts, have a conversation about it. Suggest and encourage practicing the moment, (and have fun doing it!) You want a lingering first kiss as husband and wife to be picture perfect, and a kiss that you will remember (for all the right reasons.)

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

November 29, 2010November 29, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage. Yeah, sometimes it doesn’t necessarily happen in that order, does it? No matter. Love, marriage, and babies are fantastic blessings, no matter what order they come in. So, let’s say the baby carriage part came before the marriage part for you, and you want your child or children to be a part of the wedding ceremony. Or, you or your fiance, or both, have children from a previous relationship, and you would like to incorporate them into the ceremony. How can you do that, beyond just having them be the flower girl or ring-bearer, (or in the bridal party if they are a bit older?) My next few blog posts will deal with exactly this issue and offer some ideas for making your wedding ceremony an immediate family affair as well.

The first suggestion is to present the child(ren) a gift during the wedding ceremony, just like you, the bride and groom, will probably be presenting rings to each other. For girls, a necklace, bracelet, or other piece of jewelry is a nice idea, but the gift could be anything. For boys, an ID bracelet or a watch is a nice idea, although, again, it could be anything. If the child(ren) are outgoing and up for the task, you may even consider letting them say their own vows to you both during the ceremony, and likewise, you can say vows to the child(ren) after your vows to each other. The following is how it would sound in your ceremony if you were to just present a gift to the child(ren): 

Today as BRIDE and GROOM have sealed their commitment to each other with the exchange of rings, they also make a commitment to CHILD. They recognize the significant role that CHILD plays in this union celebrated today, and would like to extend their vows of devotion to her by giving her a gift that will serve to remind her that they are and will always be together and one, united family. (BRIDE and GROOM will present their gift to CHILD.)

Sister Sledge sings it best: “We are Family!”

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

December 6, 2010December 6, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

Another great way to incorporate your children into your wedding ceremony is to make them a part of the unity candle ceremony or sand ceremony. (I’ll go ahead and state the obvious here. Unity candles involve fire. Fire and children are generally not good partnerships. So, if you have little kids, the sand ceremony is probably a safer bet. Plus, they would get to pick out their  own color of sand, which they will enjoy. Older kids, however, would likely be just fine with the candles.) Here’s how it might sound in your ceremony: Today as BRIDE and GROOM have sealed their commitment to each other with the exchange of rings, they too make a commitment to their children. We recognize the significant role that CHILDREN have in this union celebrated today. They will now join BRIDE and GROOM in this commitment to each other by contributing a part of each individual person into one blended family. Today, this relationship is symbolized through the pouring of these 4 individual vessels of sand, each representing a member of the family in all that they were, all that that are, and all that they will ever be. As each individual’s sand is poured into the family’s one united common vessel, the individual vessels of sand will no longer exist, but will be joined together as one.  Just as these grains of sand can never be separated and poured again into the individual containers, so will become the bond with your family. Please pour the sand into this common vessel to symbolize the blending of your lives.

Funnels are a big help too for the kids. :) And remember:

When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.”  ~Joyce Brothers

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

December 13, 2010December 13, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

A third way to incorporate your children into your ceremony is to mention them in the vows themselves, or have separate vows to them in addition to your marriage vows to your future spouse. Also, depending on the personality of your child(ren), they may want to write some vows to share with you. (Always an opportunity for an “AWWWWWW!” moment.) Here’s how it might sound if you include vows to children after you say your marriage vows (This version, as written, would be great for a step-father/step-mother situation, but you can edit as needed.): 

While I promise to be a good and faithful wife/husband to you, I promise to be a patient, caring and loving father/mother to (children’s names.)  I promise to care for them and provide for them as my own.  I promise to be their strength and their emotional support. 

 Kids, you know I love you like crazy and would do anything for you.  I love you with all my heart and I take you as my family.

Disclaimer - Tissues should be made available to all guests. There is at least a 90% chance they are going to need them.

“Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family.  Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.”  ~Jane Howard

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

December 19, 2010December 19, 2010  0 comments  Uncategorized

It’s always a bit of a challenge: what to get your “significant other” for a gift. There may be a special amount of pressure when it’s your fiance, or your first Christmas together as husband and wife, etc. How do you pick out the perfect gift? Well, it’s important to remember what gift-giving is really about, or, at least, what it should be about. Are you trying to get the right gift to make sure your fiance doesn’t get mad at you, throw something at you, call off the wedding? Probably not the right reasons. Gift-giving, to me, should try to show your appreciation for someone. It should try to show them that you care about them. It should try to say, “Hey, you really mean something to me. You’re an important part of my live, so I got you this to show you that.” 

There are three things you can put into your gift: effort, thought, and money. Put none of these three things into your gift, and, well, you’ve probably got a stinky gift. Expensive gifts are nice of course, but if you didn’t put any thought or effort into the purchase, it’s pretty meaningless. If you put in effort without thought, (like you spent a year learning how to make cheese, and you present a beautiful basket of homemade cheeses, only be be reminded, again, that your fiance is lactose intolerant.) Gosh, at least you tried, but really, not a great gift either. So, probably the most important piece to the gift-giving puzzle is thought, and if the other two elements can come into play, all the better.  Think about all that makes your fiance who they are, and go from there. If you think and think about your fiance, and all of their likes, dislikes, dreams, and desires, and you still can’t come up with an idea, just ask what your fiance would like for a gift. And then, when they tell you something, make sure you get that. That often works too. :) Happy Holidays to all! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

January 4, 2011January 4, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

It’s probably one of the biggest pieces of good news you’re going to share in the course of your lifetime - “We’re engaged!” The 21st century has brought us so many different ways to share our good news: Texting, tweeting, Facebook, email, you name the technology, and there’s a way to share news on it. I’m going to speak on behalf of all your closest and most cherished loved ones. Please, please, do them the honor of telling them your fantastic news in person, or at the very least, pick up the phone so they can hear the excitement in your voice, and you will be able to hear the sheer happiness in theirs. It’s totally fine for your school chum from 2nd grade, the one you haven’t actually seen or spoken to in 20 years, to hear about your pending nuptials on Facebook, but it is generally just not okay for your Mom or your best friend to find out that way. They should be able to hug you upon hearing the news, not typing, “OMG!!!!!!!!!!! I’m so happy 4 U!!!!!!!!” So, when the big moment has just past, he was on one knee, and you’ve just said, “Yes, yes, YES!” please resist the urge to press that Twitter app icon on your Droid. Instead, consider taking the time to let everybody know who is really important in your life, by phone or in person, first. Then, go ahead and update that relationship status. I know you’re dying to.  

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.

January 10, 2011January 10, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

I graduated from college as an English major, so literature and the power of words is something that is near and dear to me. Choosing readings for special people to recite at your wedding ceremony nearly always works out nicely. Not every wedding ceremony is going to include readings of course, but if yours will, or you are considering including them, keep in mind that you may have numerous options. If you are having your ceremony in a church or house of worship, your options may be limited to biblical readings or religious readings, but if you are interested in including something besides those choices, don’t be afraid to ask the officiant about that possibility. The absolute worst thing they can say is “no,” right? But, if you have hired an independent officiant, like a justice of the peace, wedding minister, or celebrant to perform your ceremony, they will probably not only be okay with it, they may even encourage you to get creative if you are going to include readings.  My next few posts are going to include ideas for choosing readings not found in religious texts. Here, I’d first like to encourage you to think about asking the people you have chosen to do readings to choose the readings themselves or even write something original for you, particularly if they are writers or poets. If you trust them enough to speak at your ceremony, trust that they just might choose something totally perfect and better than you could have even imagined.

What!?! Give up control of one detail of your wedding!?! 

Yes. You really can do it. I promise it will be okay. But, of course if you still plan to make the choices, the next few weeks of posts will hopefully help you choose something totally perfect too. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way.  

February 13, 2011February 13, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

Poetic Readings for Your Ceremony

When most people think of readings during wedding ceremonies, they are probably going to think about biblical or religious readings first, as that is probably what most people have seen done in the past. But, as more and more ceremonies are being conducted by more open-minded officiants, your choices may be limited to only your imagination. “Oh great,” you may be thinking. “More decisions for me to make.” Let me help. One of your other options for readings is poetry. Poetry, however, can be difficult for the average person to read without stumbling or snickering, especially if it’s from the romantic period, so here are some nice suggestions that are, in my opinion, “easy on the cheese.” 

“To Be One With Each Other” by George Eliot

What greater thing is there for two human souls

than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen

each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,

to share with each other in all gladness,

to be one with each other in the

silent unspoken memories?

Apache Wedding Poem

Now we will feel no rain, for each of us will be shelter to the other.
Now we will feel no cold, for each of us will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no loneliness.
We are two bodies but there is one life before us, and one home.
When evening falls I will look up and there you'll be.
I'll take your hand and you'll take mine and we'll turn together to look
at the road we travelled to reach this -- the hour of our happiness.
It stretches behind us as the future lies ahead, a long and winding road
whose every turning means discovery, old hopes, new laughter, and shared tears.
The adventure has just begun.

The Bargain
Sir Philip Sidney (1554 - 1586)

My true-love hath my heart and I have his,
By just exchange one for the other given;
I hold his dear and mine he cannot miss;
There never was a better bargain driven.
My true-love hath my heart and I have his,

His heart in me keeps him and me in one;
My heart in him his thoughts and senses guides;
He loves my heart for once it was his own,
I cherish his because in me it bides.
My true-love hath my heart and I have his.

Touched by an Angel by Maya Angelou

We, unaccustomed to courage
exiles from delight
live coiled in shells of loneliness
until love leaves its high holy temple
and comes into our sight
to liberate us into life.

Love arrives
and in its train come ecstasies
old memories of pleasure
ancient histories of pain.
Yet if we are bold,
love strikes away the chains of fear
from our souls

We are weaned from our timidity
In the flush of love's light
we dare be brave
And suddenly we see
that love costs all we are
and will ever be.
Yet it is only love
which sets us free

Now remember, I said “easy on the cheese,” not completely lactose-free. If you aren’t drawn to any of these choices, a quick google search for “wedding poems” should help too. Happy poem hunting! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

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March 10, 2011March 10, 2011  1 comments  Uncategorized
Choosing a reading for your wedding can be a little daunting. There are a lot of options out there, but what I hope to do here is narrow the field down for you a bit and present some of the nicest ones I have seen, and in my experience work well and are not terribly difficult for your readers to master quickly. (Even if they have had, um, a couple “pre-festivity beverages.” You know it happens. I definitely know it happens.) In the previous blog entry I offered poetry suggestions. Below are some literary options. 

1. Far and away, if you are looking for a biblical option, the most popular is : 

1 Corinthians 13

1If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.

 4Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

 8Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

 13And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. 

Why? Well, because it’s a really nice passage and offers timeless sentiments on the realities of love.

2. Another nice choice is:

Abundance and Delight

Treat yourselves and each other with respect, and remind yourselves often of what brought you together. Give the highest priority to the tenderness, gentleness, and kindness that your connection deserves. When frustration, difficulties, and fear assail your relationship, as they threaten all relationships at one time or another, remember to focus on what is right between you, not only the part which seems wrong. In this way, you can ride out the storms when clouds hide the face of the sun in your lives - remembering that even if you lose sight of it for a moment, the sun is still there. And if each of you takes responsibility for the quality of your life together, it will be marked by abundance and delight.

Again, some really nice sentiments here, but overall, a short reading, and to the point.

3. This one is a nice reminder of the idea that while you are uniting on your wedding day, you should still work to retain your own self-identity as well.

The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran: “You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days. Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God. But let there be spaces in your togetherness. And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf. Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone, Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music. Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping. For only the hand of life can contain your hearts. And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.

4. Finally, one of my absolute favorite readings is the following. I even have adapted it a little for use in one of the most popular ceremonies I deliver for couples. I wish I had written it myself. 

“Union” by Robert Fulghum

You have known each other from the first glance of acquaintance to this point of commitment. At some point, you decided to marry. From that moment of yes to this moment of yes, indeed, you have been making promises and agreements in an informal way. All those conversations that were held riding in a car or over a meal or during long walks - all those sentences that began with “When we’re married” and continued with “I will and you will and we will”- those late night talks that included “someday” and “somehow” and “maybe”- and all those promises that are unspoken matters of the heart. All these common things, and more, are the real process of a wedding. The symbolic vows that you are about to make are a way of saying to one another, “ You know all those things we’ve promised and hoped and dreamed- well, I meant it all, every word.” Look at one another and remember this moment in time. Before this moment you have been many things to one another- acquaintance, friend, companion, lover, dancing partner, and even teacher, for you have learned much from one another in these last few years. Now you shall say a few words that take you across a threshold of life, and things will never quite be the same between you. For after these vows, you shall say to the world, this- is my husband, this- is my wife.

Again, if you aren’t drawn to any of these choices, a quick google search for “wedding readings” should help too. Happy hunting! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

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April 3, 2011April 3, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized

When choosing readings for your ceremony, keep in mind that readings can come from anywhere you like, you don’t have to limit yourself to poems or literature. What about song lyrics? It’s a way to incorporate a favorite or meaningful song without actually having to play the whole song or figure out how to work it in. Plus, many people won’t even recognize it as song lyrics, or if they do recognize the words, they will probably think, “I know these words, but I don’t quite know why...” It will give a nice little element of the unexpected in your ceremony. Here are some suggestions for song lyrics that may make good readings. 

The Wedding Song sung by Bob Dylan

I love you more than ever, more than time and more than love,

I love you more than money and more than the stars above,

Love you more than madness, more than waves upon the sea,

Love you more than life itself, you mean that much to me.

Ever since you walked right in, the circle's been complete,

I've said goodbye to haunted rooms and faces in the street,

To the courtyard of the jester which is hidden from the sun,

I love you more than ever and I haven't yet begun.

From this Moment On sung by Shania Twain

I'd give anything, and everything. And I will always care. 

Through weakness and strength, happiness and sorrow. 

For better for worse, I will love you 

With every beat of my heart.

From this moment life has begun 

From this moment you are the one 

Right beside you is where I belong 

From this moment on 

From this moment I have been blessed 

I live only for your happiness 

And for your love I'd give my last breath 

From this moment on 

For a dash of humor, and you have a reader who can pull it off with sweetness, go with something like this:

I Wanna Grow Old With You - Adam Sandler

I wanna make you smile,
Whenever you're sad.
Carry you around when your arthritis is bad.
All I wanna do,
Is grow old with you

I'll get you medicine,
When your tummy aches.
Build you a fire if the furnace breaks.
It would be so nice,
Growin' old with you

I'll miss you, kiss you
Give you my coat when you are cold.
Need you, feed you.
I'll even let you hold the remote control
So let me do the dishes in our kitchen sink
Put you to bed when you've had too much to drink
Oh I could be the man,
Who grows old with you

I wanna grow old with you.

If you REALLY want comedy, have the recitation of a really unexpected song lyric, (“Baby Got Back?” “Love Shack?” “Eye of the Tiger?”) if you have someone who can read it with complete seriousness and a straight face. Nobody will forget it! Ever. :)

Good luck! 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”


It's your day. I'll help you keep it that way. 

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November 15, 2011November 15, 2011  0 comments  Uncategorized
If you come from the kind of family in which every decision you make is greeted with warm smiles, 100% support, and even thunderous applause, please know that not only are you very, very lucky, you are very much in the minority. For most couples planning their wedding, even when they are having a relatively intimate affair, they often find, and are often surprised, that EVERYONE in their family has an opinion on what they should do. They not only have an opinion, they have no problem sharing it. Loudly. And sometimes rudely. Isn’t this supposed to be YOUR day? If you are in the heat of wedding decision-making, you may be finding yourselves in this predicament. In my next few entries, I will offer some thoughts on how to cope with family drama pots, (and the weddings that stir them.)
Pot #1 - Your parents or loved ones are or are helping you foot the bill for the wedding, and therefore, believe they have a say or authority over most, or even all, of the decisions you make for your wedding.
Whew, this is a tough one, so I will deal with it first. If the guidance you are being given is tolerable, and you can live with some of the things they would like to see that day, then your ability to compromise is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of grace and strength. However, if guidance is verging into dictatorship, you must say something, but doing so in a loving, mature way will likely garner the best response: “Mom, please know that John and I are so grateful for the fact that you and Dad are helping us make this wedding possible, but it is really important to us that we celebrate the beginning of our marriage in a way that reflects who we are and what we love. Making this choice fulfills that for us better than that choice. Thank you for understanding that.” In the situation where that is not enough, and your loved ones instead choose to continue to push the fact that it’s their money, so it’s their way, then you may have to make the difficult decision to kindly decline their financial assistance. You may have to scale back, significantly even, so that you can fit your budget, but that is okay. If doing it your way is important enough to you, you will be able to also figure out how to do it your way with the resources you have.
Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev”
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March 27, 2012March 27, 2012  20 comments  Uncategorized

Stirring the Family Drama Pot #2 - You’d really rather have a “kiddo-free” wedding, but that is freaking your sister, mother of three beautiful, but rambunctious, children, out. (She cannot BELIEVE you’re considering not having nephews at your wedding!) 

First of all, you are not a bad person for feeling like to don’t want kids at your wedding. For some weddings, depending the atmosphere that you want to create, it just doesn’t work. (Plus, you’re probably not super excited about the idea of paying for $40 reception-hall kids’ plate chicken fingers.) So, one way to respond to your guests concerns, once they figure out you have not invited their sweet-peas to your big day, is to say this: “You deserve a break and a night away from the kids! Use my wedding as a good excuse for it - I want you to be able to eat without having to worry about cutting someone else’s meat! I want you to be able to drink a couple of glasses of wine without worrying about how much high-fructose corn syrup is in the kiddie cocktails! Please, do yourself the favor of getting a sitter so you can slow dance with your husband without a 5 year old hanging on your butt, wondering if he can play Angry Birds on your phone.” If you have a lot of unhappy parents wondering what the heck they are going to do with their angels, consider organizing having one home where they can drop the kids off at with one or two hired babysitters - the parents can all pitch in to pay the sitters for the evening, OR if you are really feeling generous, work it into your wedding budget. Hopefully they’ll realize the kids WILL have more fun that way, and once the moms realize they can actually dust off and use the cute clutch that’s been hiding under the diaper bags, they will too. 

Sincerely, Rev. Anne Styx, Chicagoland's "The Rev For Whatev"

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