Beach Weddings & Vow Renewals
I have officiated 5000+ beach weddings and vow renewals along Gulf Coast Alabama, Mississippi, Northwest Florida, and in 2010 was featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News, and the Christian Television Network.
In that year I officiated a Valentines Day mass wedding vow renewal at Lulu’s at Homeport restaurant in Gulf Shores, Alabama. We were attempting to break a world record and we would have if the Ohio University Alumni Association didn’t try the same thing on the same day.
We ended up with close to 600 couples, but little did we know that on that same day, Valentine Day 2010, on the Ohio University campus 1200 alumni couples successfully won the prize as the largest mass vow renewal ceremony.
Simple and Intimate…
Since 2003 I have been traveling to the nearby beaches of Alabama’s Dauphin Island, Fairhope, Fort Morgan, Gulf Shores, Mobile, Orange Beach, Point Clear, Mississippi’s Biloxi, Gulfport, Bay St. Louis, Pass Christian, Hattiesburg, NW Florida’s Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Pensacola Beach, Perdido Key, and Navarre Beach.
You can have a simple ceremony without a great expense, that will be meaningful and dignified without being over the top with unnecessary costs.
I do not take a salary from my small church pastorate so when you pay me an officiating fee to officiate your wedding or vow renewal or Covenant Marriage Ceremony you help keep me active in ministry.
My officiating fees are $150 Monday – Thursday and $200 Friday – Sunday, and if you hand me your camera or smartphone, I am more than happy to take some photos for you at no additional cost.
I am happy to give a referral to a professional full-time photographer. I am also happy to take photos with your own camera or smartphone, at no additional cost. Or if you have a friend bringing their camera I am more than happy to take photos of your whole group with everyone in it the picture before I leave the beach. Just let me know if I can help.
Fun and Relaxed…
Officiating is fun for me, and my ceremonies are always relaxed, yet dignified and meaningful. We will laugh, but you may also cry, because I’ve learned a thing or two about having the right flow in the ceremony that begins with a spiritual note than moves into a romantic focus.
There was a time when I actually worked as a Christian Comedian, so you will find some interjected humor, but not a comedy show because the ceremony is about you, your spouse, and your marriage.
It was while working as a hospital chaplain that I began to receive requests to be a wedding officiant for couples coming to the beaches of Gulf Shores, Alabama. And, it was also as a hospital chaplain that I became a Certified Laughter Leader providing therapeutic programs for patients and caregivers.
So while you can be assured that I am responsible enough to show up for your wedding and though I bring a life-long vocational ministry background with me, I can also assure you that we are going to enjoy a few laughs and a relaxed time.
Meaningful and Memorable…
Over the many years that I have been officiating weddings, I have presided over large ones with $50,000+ budgets, 300 quests, one at a historic hotel that charged $10,000 an hour for their banquet room.
I have officiated for couples who stood in the parking lot of Walmart, McDonalds, gas stations, and even several on the USS Alabama battleship. I can tell you that simple is better, and more meaningful to the couple, their family, and to the marriage.
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. Before inquiring about my availability, you can review my church’s Wedding Officiating Policy.
If you book me to officiate your ceremony, you’ll have my experience of over 5000 weddings, both small and large, simple to extravagant, outdoor to indoor, with every possible kind of family dynamics you can imagine, familiarity of Gulf Coast beach spots of Mississippi, Alabama, NW Florida, and I will be available to answer your planning questions, help with any coordination, or even to take photos with your camera – no additional fees.
Changes for Alabama Weddings
A marriage ceremony and an ordained minister is no longer required for an Alabama marriage. The new Alabama laws have made getting married more like other Western countries in that there are now two distinct aspects that are not dependent on the other, as were the old law. Here is a brief look at those…
1) CIVIL/RECORDED – an affidavit form that must be recorded at the county courthouse. This is the only state requirement for a marriage to be recognized and legal in Alabama. The couple sign an affidavit form before an Alabama Notary testifying that deem themselves married.
2) FAMILY/RELIGIOUS – a ceremony performed with or without an ordained minister, conducted for the family and/or religious reasons. The ceremony is no longer an Alabama State requirement for a bride and groom to be considered legally married.
In the past, an Alabama Marriage License was purchased to present to an ordained minister, a judge, or certain government figures to officiate a ceremony and sign the license, which was then returned to courthouse to be recorded.
Marriage laws in Mississippi and Florida have not changed and continue in this way. You can read more about the Alabama laws and my further explanation at the What Changed for Getting Married in Alabama? post.
Covenant Marriage Ceremony
Many couples still call upon me to officiate in Alabama because they simply want a Christian wedding presided by a vocational Christian pastor. Under the new law, this ceremony is all “in the eyes of God” rather than in the eyes of the state.
The ceremony, as separated from the requirements of the State of Alabama, is known as a Covenant Marriage Ceremony because it is a covenant made before God, family, or friends and not before the Civil authorities. It is a “church” ceremony not a “civil” ceremony, it is a ceremony of religious marriage commitment not a ceremony of government marriage recognition.
In the past, this type of ceremony was considered illegal because it purported the legal issuance of a state marriage license and thereby a fraudulent public presentation. Now, the new marriage laws allows for a Covenant Marriage Ceremony. You can learn more about this at the Covenant Marriage Ceremony post.
Friends or Family Officiants
The new marriage laws have completely removed the ceremony from the Alabama State requirement and that means that having a friend or family member officiate a wedding ceremony is possible without trying to get someone ordained online or seeking a minister’s consent to allow another to participate.
If you have a friend or family member that you wish to have officiate your Alabama wedding, I am happy to them do that consulting and/or resources, like my Covenant Marriage Ceremony Book.
My book contains my complete ceremony script, the wording of the famous Grandma Story and a 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 post-wedding devotional of insights on what biblical love looks in actual marriage relationship. Please visit the DIY Guides page for resources.