Looking for an Officiant for your Simple Gulf Coast Beach Wedding or Vow Renewal?
If you’re looking for a church ordained minister, who is an actual church pastor, for your wedding officiant for your simple beach wedding ceremony or elopement or vow renewal, I may be able to help!
My name is Steve Durkac and I am the pastor of CrossHope Chapel Bible Church, a non-denominational church in West Mobile, Alabama and a long-time Gulf Coast beach wedding officiant who helps brides and grooms heading to the shores of Mississippi, Alabama, NW Florida to have a simple, meaningful, and legal wedding ceremony officiated by a vocational ordained church minister.
It has been my honor to have officiated over 4000 weddings and vow renewals in homes, at city parks, and at the beaches and areas of Biloxi • Gulf Shores • Pensacola Beach • Dauphin Island • Mobile • Point Clear • Fairhope • Fort Morgan • Gulfport • Hattiesburg • Orange Beach • Perdido Key • Navarre Beach • Fort Walton • Destin or our own West Mobile Chapel since 2003 when I was a hospital chaplain.
It’s not uncommon for me to receive a phone call from a bride or family member panicking because the officiant they booked hadn’t showed up. Thanks to online ordination, many photographers and wedding planners have become “ministers” not because of a church calling, but because of a desire to build another stream of income.
I don’t take a salary from my church, CrossHope Chapel in Mobile, Alabama so the officiating fees keep me involved in ministry. I have been in vocational pastoral church ministry for over 30-years and offer a laid-back, yet dignified meaningful wedding or vow renewal ceremony and who acknowledge my church’s Wedding Officiating Policy.
Some couples still seek me out to officiate their ceremony because of my 15-minutes of fame on ABC Good Morning America television show in 2010 when I officiated a world record attempt vow renewal for Lulu’s in Gulf Shores with close to 500 couples. I have also been featured on Fox News and Christian Television Network.
Read some of the many unsolicited Bridal Reviews. If I am unavailable to officiate your wedding, I will happily direct you to other church ordained ministerial friends who may be available, and you can still enjoy the planning helps available here or at my social media.
“Thank you so much for officiating our ceremony… Thanks to you we had a solemn, yet giggly and wonderful time. Your presence and demeanor made everything joyful and calm.” -RebeccaLynn and Larry [more reviews]
Over the many years that I have officiated simple weddings along the Gulf Coast, I have received hundreds of unsolicited testimonials from brides and groom and you can read a large sampling of those at my Bridal Review page.
Evangelical ceremony officiating as a beach wedding minister has become an active ministry for me, realizing that finding an actual clergyman for your wedding ceremony, as a destination bride or Gulf Coast resident, can be difficult, and with recent court trends, and the need to avoid the legal risks associated with using a wrong officiant, I recognize the need for assurance and trust as the basis for choosing a minister that is right for you (and responsible enough to show up! I actually get calls from panicking brides, because their minister was a no-show).
I officiate over 250 weddings annually along the Gulf Coast, including consultation and coordinating services that otherwise would have added additional cost to the budgets. After officiating so many weddings, both small and large, simple to extravagant, outdoor to indoor, with every possible kind of family dynamics you can imagine, I will be available to answer your planning questions, help with bridal party coordination, or even to take photos with your camera – no additional fees.
I will freely share my experience and destination planning tips with brides through my F.A.Q. menu and pages, including planning videos and beach tour videos. I believe that a casual, yet attentive, wedding can offer a more intimate ceremony with lasting memories and I want to make that planning process convenient and less stressful, for you!
Your Wedding Ceremony is a 20-page saddle stitch book that I use at my weddings and leaves with the newly weds to enjoy it as a keepsake and a tool to grow in love beyond the wedding.
“Great all around guy , very pleasant to deal with along with great communicat
A few years ago while standing on the beach with a wedding party, I was asked by a guest what denomination I was with. Just as I answered “Baptist” a friend of the wedding party who had previously attended one of my other weddings and the big Tropical Re-union Vow Renewal Ceremony of over 550 couples at Jimmy Buffet’s sister’s restaurant, said “He’s Parrot Head Baptist!”
If there really were such a thing as a “Parrot Head Baptist” I would probably be one, not because I like margaritas, but I do like cheeseburgers, watching for fins, and “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” is one of my favorite.
From time to time, I’m still accused of being a “Parrot Head Baptist”, but I think it just means that I’m not a stuffy-stressed-got-to-save-the-world kind of minister. Theologically, I consider myself conservative, but with my hospital chaplain background you’ll find that I am comfortable with couples who are religious or non-religious, Catholic or Pentecostal, country redneck or stuffy white-collar executives or even crazy Cajuns (yes, I have helped populate the LSU fan base).
My ceremonies are always non-denominational, but never non-religious because I will always include a brief prayer of blessing upon the couple. If you do object to prayer I can give you some tips on finding a non-religious officiant. You can view a video at my Ceremony Overview page and hear me discuss the flow of my typical wedding ceremony.
As you may know, most pastors require you to be a member of their church or make 12 trips to their office to talk about your ex-spouses complaints, problems with your past, issues with communication, bla, bla, bla,…but I’m guessing you’re not looking to get married by the Pope or seeking sainthood status before your honeymoon.
You probably just want the dignity of an ordained Christian minister to add an authentic touch to the moment, while being meaningful and respectful to your day, with a dash of humor (I have done my share of stand-up comedy) to ease some stress without taking away from the solemn experience!
As a beach wedding officiant I have been featured on radio programs, magazines, and on several national television programs, including Fox News’ Hannity’s America, Christian Television Network’s Gulf Coast Up Close, and a special Valentine Day Event feature on ABC’s Good Morning America when I officiated a 450 couple vow renewal ceremony, hosted by Lucy Buffett, Jimmy Buffett’s sister, at Lulu’s Restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama. You can see a clip at my Vow Renewal page.
“Steve was so wonderful! He was very professional and even made us laugh. He was the perfect choice for our small wedding. Thank you!” -Jessica & Dennis [more reviews]
What you see here, is what you get. No pretending religiosity or uptight attitude. I have had photographers tell me they enjoy it when their brides have me officiating, because as a beach wedding officiant my ceremony flows smoothly and my experience makes it easy to deliver a simple yet meaningful wedding, while working with last minute adaptations.
I’ve officiated weddings with budgets that have ranged from $50 to $50,000. I’ve had them at restaurants, parking lots, churches, barns, bars, dance clubs, hotels, homes, Walmart’s, McDonalds, truck stops, interstate rest areas, city parks, the beach, a small island, and even on the U.S.S. Alabama battleship (I’ve turned down underwater scuba and deep sea fishing trip weddings).
I’m very comfortable officiating for various church backgrounds, too. I pastor a nondenominational church and served for several years as a Hospital Chaplain. I also have a diverse personal background, I grew-up Catholic, and become Protestant, after a miracle conversion experience (personal testimony) and have served in ministry as an ordained minister and pastor with Adventist churches, Southern Baptist, and today serve as pastor for a Nondenominational church connected with the Calvary Chapel movement.
It was while working as a hospital chaplain that I began to receive requests to officiate weddings for couples coming to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. I had to put up this web site to help curtail the phone calls that were interrupting my patient visits! While my talent and background as a Christian comedian should assure you of my ability to work last minute changes and adaptations, my background, education, and experience as a local church pastor and hospital chaplain assures you of my commitment to a professionalism you count-on.
“WOW! We were SO fortunate to have found you to officiate our Wedding. We Truly appreciate you… Our wedding was so beautiful to us and you made it so meaningful! Thank you so much!” – Jennie & Danny [more reviews]
I do not require a deposit, but instead, if you have a change of plans after you book me, all I ask is that you let me know it’s canceled so I can help another bride or spend time with my family, and avoid the travel to your booked location.
I offer, but do not require formal premarital counseling. Instead, I have some Marriage Care resources to help couples work through some things regarding their upcoming marriage. I do not require any specific church or faith affiliation, nor do I care to see skeletons from your closet or explore past relationship issues. I am happy to help you start right again, regardless of how many agains, with an evangelical clergyman who will be here for you in the future.
If you visit our Photography page you’ll be able to learn about some no-cost photography and affordable keepsake photography options if one of my children are available on your wedding date to help with that.
The fee for my services as a beach wedding officiant is for my time, getting in my schedule, and receiving assurance that I will certainly be there to make your wedding ceremony happen – legally and lovingly! The little extra bonus that you get for giving me the honor of officiating is planning assistance and future pastoral care availability.
I’m fine with last-minute plans. It’s fine if you won’t know the exact spot where you want to have your ceremony until you arrive and have a chance to look around. I will come to your location of choice, rather than asking you to come to my spot on the beach, I’ll go to where it is convenient for you – your home, your condo, hotel, beach house, public beach where there is parking.
Usually the best spot on the beach is just out back at the condo or hotel where you are staying. I will also tell you that I don’t mind if you want to wait until you get down to coast and drive up and down the boulevard and even let me know the day of where to meet you.
Everyone on the beach respects a wedding and if you are down at a busy time, you’ll hear a loud applause when the groom kisses the bride. If it is a rainy day, which is not that often and usually passes quickly, but if it is a rare bad rain day, there are a few public gazebos where I’ve done a few weddings, before.
After you surf around, read some bridal testimonials, see my officiating fees, view some videos, and feel comfortable with the prospect of me officiating your wedding, please see about Booking me to officiate. If I am unavailable, I will be happy to give you the name of another clergyman or officiant that is available or better suited for your situation. If you have any questions please contact me!