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


Fundamental Differences
  Traditional   Day of Dreams  
  Traditional Wedding Ceremony   Day of Dreams Wedding Ceremony  
  In a traditional wedding ceremony, the bride and groom are joined in marriage by a minister.

  In my wedding ceremony, the couples' love for each other joins them. They will dramatically and proactively show this through various photogenic options.
  Traditional ceremonies are verbally driven.

  My ceremonies are visually driven.

  In a traditional wedding ceremony, the minister has the dominant role of a magistrate.

  In my wedding ceremony, the bride and groom have the dominant roles, while I, more in the role of a director, gently lead them through their performance.

  A traditional wedding ceremony is composed of two distinct groups:

1) The couple being married along with their minister.

2) An audience who is watching them.

  In my ceremonies the bride and groom face their guests. There is no division. Furthermore, the couple will interact with their guests by the inclusion of Readers, The Giving of Roses, and in their Recessional Walk with their guests. All attending will have an opportunity to contribute and participate in the ceremony.

  Traditional weddings often focus on rigidly recreating a centuries old ritual.

  My ceremonies show greater depth, such as taking parental vows to children, the honoring of loved ones deceased in memoriam, and in honoring the religious or cultural identities of the bride and groom to name just a few. Most of this website's 70 pages are used to explain options available to a bride and groom.


In a traditional wedding ceremony, the groom enters from the side of the stage or alter area. The bride makes a grand entrance coming down center aisle.

  In my ceremonies, the groom enters with me coming down center aisle, for a groom is just as important as a bride.

  In a traditional wedding ceremony groomsmen and bridesmaids often enter independent of each other- the groomsmen entering with the groom, the bridesmaids entering individually.

  In my ceremonies each groomsman escorts his bridesmaid directly to her position. He then stands before the groom and congratulates him in front of the on looking audience. This action connects each groomsman to the groom, and creates a wonderful photo-op for each groomsman with the groom.

  In a traditional wedding ceremony, especially in a church, a bride and groom can be separated from their guests by as much as 25 to 30 feet.

  In my ceremonies, a bride and groom are never more than 6 to 8 feet from their front row VIPs, for excessive distance removes the connectedness a bride and groom should have with their families and guests.


In a traditional wedding ceremony, guests are often frustrated by the bride and groom having their backs to them. This is especially true when the bride and groom and their minister have a private moment resulting in laughter or emotion among them, that the guests cannot see, hear or understand.



In my ceremonies the bride and groom face their guests, their voices projecting forward into them. I speak from the center aisle. This ensures that every word and every act of the ceremony is seen and heard by all attending.


  Many wedding officiants, at least those working for the general public, often relegate their rehearsal obligations to a "stand-in", typically a coordinator at the venue whom they pay a small fee for performing the rehearsal. This enables the minister to be some place else, ideally performing a wedding ceremony for another paying couple.   Only I perform my rehearsals. I never have and never will send a stand-in to rehearse for me. My rehearsal sessions average 75 minutes in length, which is two and half times as long as the actual ceremony. In my wedding ceremony you're going to give a performance, and the knowledge and confidence to do it will come from the thoroughness of my rehearsal.  
Copyright Statement
Note: The ceremony shown at the upper left of this page was performed in the United Kingdom and is not one of my wedding ceremonies. The copyright holder of this image is unknown.