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I am a Chicago Wedding Officiant
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Your Wedding Ceremony
Elopement Ceremonies in Chicago
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(708) 490-8860

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Wedding Ceremonies

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About Thomas Witham
How My Ceremonies Are Different
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Wedding Venues Where I've Performed
Religious & Philosophical Expression
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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

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Religious And Philosophical Expression
Sikh Bride and Groom
Larry and Susan, members of the Sikh faith, light ceremonial candles during their ceremony in Chicago, Il.

The Inclusion of Spirit and Thought

"To thine own self be true." Shakespeare's advice on personal authenticity could have just as easily been written for couples contemplating the design of their wedding ceremonies. This is especially true when it comes to philosophical and religious content.

As you may be considering me for the performance of your wedding ceremony, my disposition on this very important topic may be of interest to you. Please accept the following:

The The Exchange of VowsReligious and philosophical expression in my ceremonies will always be optional. You may be devoutly religious or you may not be a participant in religion. I place no requirements on you; that's not my turf. I design, rehearse and perform beautiful wedding ceremonies. Sometimes religious and philosophical expression play a major part of those ceremonies, and just as many other times they don't. Only my couples decide if this aspect will be present in their ceremonies.

In the twenty years I have been officiating throughout Chicagoland, I have worked for every religious denomination under the sun. And I enjoyed working for all of them. I have been, and always will be, very supportive of each couple's desire to include, or withhold, this identity.

In designing your ceremony, you really can not and should not ignore the hopes of others- namely your parents or families. They too may have expectations of your ceremony, and you, or your spouse to be, may have very different views on this than they do. Maybe your families are of very different religions? Maybe the groom's side is devout Lutheran, and the bride's side are flaming atheists. Now what?

The answers involve accommodation and diplomacy. Yes, you can pull rank. After all you're the bride and groom, and frankly, it's your wedding isn't it? But if you throw your weight around like that with your wedding ceremony, and ignore your loved ones, you may find that it takes twenty years to undo the ill feelings you caused during your wedding ceremony. Do you really want that?

Together, we'll create a ceremony that treats everyone, excludes no one, and rewards all who've attended. To this end I will use my skills and experience in helping you resolve these issues by finding the right ceremonial expression. I've been doing it for decades. We'll design your ceremony so that it's true to you both, and respects the hopes of others.

Religion and philosophy are wonderful expressions of the human experience. If they are used, let them enhance your ceremony and not detract from it.

Be smart, be considerate, and find common ground. I'll help you find just the right wording and ceremony options for your wedding.

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