My Final Words To You

Professional Services

I am a Chicago Wedding Officiant
How to Obtain Your Marriage License

Your Wedding Ceremony
Elopement Ceremonies in Chicago
Chicago Justice of the Peace

Pricing and Fees

Contact Me (by email)

(708) 490-8860

See My Weddings

See the Images of My
Wedding Ceremonies

All About My Services

About Thomas Witham
How My Ceremonies Are Different
The Couples I Work For
Wedding Venues Where I've Performed
Religious & Philosophical Expression
Your Greatest Advocate
Letters of Appreciation
For Those Previously Married

Designing Your Ceremony

Facing Your Guests (Modern Format)
Backs Turned (Traditional Format)
Examples of Wedding Vows
Effective Seating
Aisle Runner or Petals
Children in Wedding Ceremonies
The Escorting of a Bride
Taking Parental Vows
The Use of Music
Using a Pedestal
Using a Wedding Carriage
A New Role For Grandparents
Wedding Ceremony Readings
In Memoriam

Ceremonies in Special Places
Ceremonies in Theme
Taking Your Ceremony to Others
Staying in Character
What Name Should I Use?
What if it Rains?
Fibbing Your Start Time
Ceremonies in Candlelight
The Reception Line

The Order of Events

Primary Options:
Read this First
The Unity Candle
Champagne Sharing
The Sand Ceremony
The Blessing Tree
Tying the Knot
Tasting the Elements
Using a Photomontage
The Giving of Roses

Options In Finale:
Butterfly Release
Dove Release
Balloon Release
Tossing Petals
Bubbles in a Wedding Ceremony
Applause Walk

The Five Rules:
Rule One
Rule Two
Rule Three
Rule Four
Rule Five

Advice on Photography
Advice on Wedding Coordinators
Death by Venue
An Invitation To Journalists

Resources and Links

For Those Considering Plagiarism

Home Page

Site Map


I am a Chicago Wedding Officiant
Chicago Wedding Officiant Thomas at  Pazzo's at 311
Thomas Witham officiating in center aisle at Pazzo's at 311 in Chicago, Illinois.

An Insistence on Excellence

Of all your wedding day events none will be as important as the 30 minutes you entrust to the Chicago wedding officiant performing your ceremony. All of the time, effort and money you have invested in your wedding ceremony will culminate during that fraction of an hour. For there, in front of dozens or hundreds of your guests, you will both make your first statement as husband and wife. And cameras and video recorders will make your images, your words and most importantly- your wedding day decisions – permanent.

Chicago Bride and GroomA great wedding ceremony is designed to engage its audience. It follows then that the bridal party should face their guests, which is visually alluring and eminently photogenic. The wording of the ceremony should be spoken in modern, conversational English whose meaning is readily and easily understood. And the choreography of the ceremony should involve a variety of highly effective vignettes, such as candle lighting or wine sharing along with the presentation of roses. This imagery, along with the interaction of your family and friends, honors their relationship with you before the on looking audience. These unforgettable moments produce smiles and tears – evidence that your guests have reached the coveted high ground of an entertainment event. That’s why the ceremony must evoke emotion – for feelings are what move us.

With proper guidance and planning, your ceremony will say the right things about you, through the words and events of your choosing, and create indelible memories in the hearts and minds of your guests. This tailor-made approach in wedding ceremony design will produce opportunities for exceptional photography and video footage, and will place everyone in a jubilant mood for the reception that follows.

I will approach your wedding as an opportunity- to show everyone present what this day means to you. I bring to my couples dozens of unique options they can use in making their ceremony photogenic, entertaining, and most importantly- evocative.

Greatness in a wedding ceremony will never be achieved by simply performing a rerun of the common wedding ceremony for your guests. Your wedding ceremony must be so much more than this.

Everything I do as a Chicago wedding officiant is calculated for effect. Every word, every event, and every participant are collectively used in my ceremonies to deliver the praise and compliments of the audience.

The bride and groom are happiest when guests compliment them on their wedding. That's why meeting the needs of your audience is critical to the success of your ceremony. Your guests have a need and a right to see you, to hear you, and to be entertained by what you've invited them to, and for what they've given up their time for. Feelings are key to this for feelings make weddings just as feelings make movies and novels.

A wedding ceremony becomes entertaining and meaningful because it is moving the audience in some way. Ultimately, the events of my ceremonies are used to develop and direct those feelings toward the bride and groom. Experience has taught me as a Chicago wedding officiant that brides are emotionally invested in the success of their weddings - after all, they've dreamed of this day most of their lives. Grooms, on the other hand, don't want their wedding ceremony to diminish their masculinity, and for that reason, often fear an overly sentimental wedding. As a result, the ceremony must balance the concerns of the bride and groom with their guest's need to be aptly entertained. Accordingly, I construct my wedding ceremonies around the words and events of my couples' choosing, presenting them in a format that engages and impacts their guests while respecting each of their concerns.

REAL SIMPLE Magazine CoverMy ideas on wedding ceremony design have gotten traction. My weddings have been on CBS and Fox. I have been an invited guest on Chicago talk radio (WCKG). A front page article was written about my work in a regional paper (The Post-Tribune). Journalists from The Chicago Tribune and New York Times have asked my input for articles they were writing on wedding ceremonies, and I am listed in the back pages of REAL SIMPLE magazine's issue on weddings as a contributing expert.

It is my intention to instill within my couples the confidence and know-how to become the lead actor and actress that my wedding ceremonies require of them. For I intend to make your presence not just photogenic but magnificent before your assembled guests- letting them admire you and your poised performance for the entirety of that coveted half hour.

I don't have a casual interest in how your wedding ceremony turns out. Neither will I assume that you are "naturally" ready to give such a beautiful performance. This is why every aspect of your ceremony is explained first in detail, and only then rehearsed. And this is also why my couples excel in their performances- for they know fundamentally what their ceremony requires of them, and they are then exceedingly comfortable and confident in delivering it.

The take-away is this:

From my planning session, where you will confidently choose the look and feel of a wedding ceremony that's best for you... my rehearsal session, the most thorough in the industry, where you will gain that all important confidence which comes from expert knowledge and preparation.. the performance of your wedding ceremony, under my veteran directorship, guiding you gracefully through the beautiful events you will remember for a life time...

I want you to know that throughout all of this- you are in my good care, and that your wedding ceremony is going to be exceptional.


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