Hello, my name is Steve Durkac and I am the pastor of CrossHope Chapel, a non-denominational church in west Mobile, Alabama. I have officiated over 4000 beach weddings and vow renewals along Gulf Coast Mississippi, Alabama, Northwest Florida, and have been featured on ABC Good Morning America, Fox News, and the Christian Television Network.
As a beach wedding and vow renewal officiant, I offer bride and groom’s, heading to the Gulf Coast for a simple beach wedding or vow renewal, a memorable ceremony with the dignity of an actual church ordained vocational Christian pastor of like-beliefs presiding for the lasting meaning of a marriage ceremony in the eyes of God.
I do not take a salary from my small church 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 fee is only $100 along the Mississippi and Alabama coast and $150 along the NW Florida coast. Tipping beyond that is not required.
Fun and Meaningful…
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.
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. You can also view some photos at the Photo Gallery page.
If you book me to officiate your ceremony, you’ll have my experience of over 4000 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.
I use a 2-step email process for booking your wedding or vow renewal officiating into my schedule and calendar that consists of first submitting my Availability Form. If I am available I will ask you to submit my Confirmation Form.
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.
I may have officiated over 4000 weddings, but I have also photographed over 1000 weddings. If you visit the Photography page you’ll be able to learn about some no-cost photography and low-cost keepsake photography options.
I am happy to give a referral to a professional full-time photographer. I am happy to take photos with your own camera or smartphone, at no additional cost. I can even take a few photos on my own smartphone and immediately email them to you, at no cost.
I have a professional Nikon D5000 camera with customized lens and for an additional fee I am happy to bring it and take some photos.
Sometimes I am able to bring my daughter with me to take photos and for a fee if you are only looking for some keepsake high resolution digital photos of your ceremony, poses, candid shots, and afterwards we will send those to you on a USB jump drive, no watermarks or logo imprints, no copyright restrictions. Please visit my Photography page to learn more.
Ceremony at Chapel…
The traditional marriage license has been replaced in Alabama by an affidavit document system, which means a couple will need to receive paperwork from any Alabama county courthouse, then get a Notary of Public to verify signatures, and finally return that paperwork to the courthouse register themselves as legally married.
A marriage ceremony will is no longer a requirement in order for a marriage to be recognized as legally binding. However, I will be offering a Covenant Marriage Ceremony, registered with CrossHope Chapel church, so a bride and groom can still have an important benchmark and basis of commitment through an exchange of vows in the eyes of God.
My Grandma once told me, “We all learn to love. Love is what brings us together, but fighting, and learning how to fight fair is what keeps us together.” There is a lot of truth to that, but it is a truth that is often not understood until we are far down the road of aging.
Success in marriage has more to do with properly managing the balance of conflict and romance. Both have a lot of variables that differ from couple to couple. So in my ministry to help coach couples through rough patches to satisfying relationships, I use a few educational tools through discussion in person at our Chapel or by phone or by Skype.
Please visit my Premarital Counseling page to learn more about my approach to helping couples and individuals prepare for their marriage or regain the relationship they once had in their marriage.
I am a big advocate of do-it-yourself simple weddings, especially the second or third time around. I believe in the value and importance of the wedding ceremony, and believe that it can be simple, yet dignified and meaningful, even with a dash of humor or a touch of personalized features.
A simple wedding is an ideal way to embrace a spiritual marriage – not necessarily religious, but living each day as soul-mates! I embrace the gift of marriage as given by our Creator for the spiritual, emotional, and eternal well-being between a man and women, and I want to help brides who want to put more into their marriage than into their wedding budget.
Marriage is not always easy, but neither is earning a pay check, choosing run a marathon, budgeting for a vacation, completing a degree, giving birth to a child, or any number of things that are worth the growth to gain the reward!
I was once in a conversation with a groom and one of his guest, when the guest shared some awesome wisdom with the groom. The guest described marriage as “3 steps forward 2 steps back and sometimes 3 steps back 2 steps forward.” He then looked toward the groom and added “The key is not to bailout when you’re 3 steps back because the longer you stay in it, the further forward you get.”
You can read my Bio and my Personal Testimony at my church’s website. 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.