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

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(708) 490-8860

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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

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Letters of Appreciation
Bride at the Union League Club Thank you for the wonderful job you did with our wedding ceremony, it was a magical day that could not have been so without you. We are so appreciative of the advice you gave on how to make our day perfect, and the way that you handled all of the details made us able to relax and enjoy the ceremony.

We were most impressed by the portion of the ceremony you created for the lighting of the candles in memory of our fathers, you are one of a kind! There wasn't a dry eye in the house during our ceremony, especially during the lighting of the candles in memory of our fathers. Even one of the staff at the hall, who has been doing weddings for 17 years, said that he cried for the first time at our ceremony, he was so touched by your words.

- Shellie and Edward Puente

"Best ceremony ever;" - "If I marry, that’s exactly what I want;" - "Where did you find him?;" - "What a speaker;" - "What enthusiasm;" - "What dramatics."

These are just a few of the comments people gave, and they were ours also. Thank you for making our day very special. It was beautiful!

- Bill and Sonja Wall

I am writing to say thank you so very much for helping us create such a wonderful and unique wedding ceremony. We received many, many glowing compliments on how beautiful the ceremony was. We also received many compliments in regards to you. The photographer and videographer took me aside at the conclusion of the reception to remark on how amazing you are to work with and how easy it was for them to do the best job they could do, as well as what a pleasure you are to work with. Everyone was very impressed and you delivered everything you promised you would. Thank you for being professional and caring in dealing with our special needs and all the last minutes changes do to the inclement weather. Despite the rain complications, we feel that the ceremony turned out magnificently and we are anxiously awaiting the photographs and video to see everything for the audiences perspective.

Thomas you are consummate professional and I will and have
recommended you to all those interested in creating a memorable, tailored, loving and brilliant ceremony - regardless of faith. There is so much anxiety surrounding an occasion as important as a wedding ceremony and you calmed all those fears and instilled a strong sense of confidence in your abilities and furthermore you came through in ways that exceeded our expectations.
I hope in a few years from now (10 or so) when we choose to renew our vows that you will be available. Keep up the good work Thomas and thank you - from the bottom of our hearts for all your hard work and such an amazing finish!

- Mr. Scott and Mrs. Angela Riccio

Bride at Odyssey Country Club Just wanted to say thank you for a job well done. It is very relaxing to know we only had to show up at the ceremony and that you were in control of everything else. This allowed us to truly enjoy the ceremony as much as every guest had told us they did. Unique, romantic and beautiful are only a few of the words we heard. You certainly played a major role in making this happen. Thanks from the both of us.

- Brian & Cherise Roye

Steve and I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for the incredible ceremony you performed on our wedding day June 24th. We have not stopped getting compliments on the service. In fact, close friends of ours who attended, stated that they plan to renew their vows soon and plan to request you for their ceremony. I have never seen any wedding that ran more smoothly or was as meaningful and lovely. You were great, you made our day great and we can't thank you enough. Please feel free to use our thanks on your site and I hope the next nervous bride will relax and let you take care of her as well a you took care of me.

- Teresa and Steve Spencer

Thank you so much for the beautiful wedding ceremony that you performed for- us on Sept. 11th. We really appreciate all of the effort and re-arranging of your schedule that you did in order to perform for us. Everything was just perfect and we know that things would not have been so without you.
All of our guests were astounded by how unique and beautiful the ceremony was. The fact that you has us face our audience and you did not read your ceremony really added a special touch you don't usually see in a standard wedding ceremony. We even had guests who did not attend the ceremony compliment on how beautiful the other guests said the ceremony was. We sincerely enjoyed working with you, keep up the great work.

- Michael & Christine

Thank you doesn't even begin to cover what I want to convey to you about my wedding. Your calm demeanor and confidence reassured me from the moment you walked into Strongbow's. Everything was taken care of in a beautiful and elegant manner. All the guests were talking about how you drew them into the ceremony. I wish someone had videotaped the wedding because I would love to hear the beautiful words you used, now that my palms have quit sweating and my knees aren't knocking together. Thank you so much for helping to get us off to such a good start.

- Sherrie and Steve Bouldin

Bride at Newberry Library You were the highlight of the ceremony, next to Jim and Vanessa. I can't tell you how many people have asked where I got you. I have recommended you to a number of people getting married next year. Thank you so much for making our day special.

Marieanne Lahaie (Vanessa's Mom)

We wanted to write and thank you for a stellar performance (I think that's the appropriate word!) at our wedding in May. Your advice was invaluable and we received lots of comments about how dramatic and different our ceremony was from others people had attended. As you anticipated, the guests really appreciated our facing them - we were told how brave we were! If you need any references in the future please do not hesitate to pass on our email address.

- Sara & Tom


How can we thank you enough! You truly made our wedding ceremony come alive. Your poise; and your passion about including the guests still has people talking. It was a truly magical moment. Thanks a million.

- Erika & Matt Nolan

This letter is to convey our heartfelt thanks for the truly unique wedding ceremony you performed for us on April 4th. We contracted you at a very stressful time during our wedding preparations and we appreciate your prompt return of phone calls and punctuality. Our family and friends (even the photographer) remarked that they have never seen a Reverend conduct a ceremony without reading a word! We really enjoyed the day and are so happy our "Brand X" officiant had canceled because it all worked out perfectly.

- Kimberly and Lynn

I wanted to thank you again for doing such a wonderful job officiating our wedding ceremony on July 12th. Now you told us that this would happen, but there's no reason not to compliment you just because you already know it's true: Our guests were raving about the ceremony the entire reception. And my parents and I were getting phone calls and emails in the week that followed saying how wonderful everything was, and that this was the best wedding they had ever been to. Matt and I really appreciate what great work you do!

- Kristen and Matt Bogun

Bride at Chandler's

Pete and I would like to thank you for all you contributed to our special day. Your ideas and creative structure left all our friends and family excited and we know they will remember the wedding forever. Even better, Pete and I felt like we could comfortably share our feelings and beliefs with everyone. You made our wedding VERY special! Many Thanks and all the best to you.

- Tonia and Pete

Kevin and I wanted to thank you so much for helping us have such a great wedding ceremony! Everyone had a wonderful time and we got nothing but compliments about how great you were and how great our ceremony was. And we already saw some pictures with the bubbles and they are beautiful! You made our day so special and the rehearsal made everyone so comfortable with their roles - it just turned out great. We know you probably hear it a lot, but we wanted to tell you again! Thank you so much for everything- it was perfect.

- Jina and Devin Heffernan

Stacy and I would like to say "Thank You" for "directing" our wedding this past weekend. We could not have asked for a more beautiful ceremony. I think that it's only fair for you to know, that while meeting with our guests (all 300 of them) about nine out of ten (if not more) commented about you and our ceremony. They all had a similar remark and mentioned how unique, and beautiful it was. Most of them, Stacy and I included, have never experienced a wedding like ours. Usually, wedding guests are thinking to themselves, "when is this going to end", but the guests at our wedding were thinking "I can't wait to see what's next." All of your hype is true and Stacey and I can not begin to thank you enough. From the bottom of our hearts- THANK YOU!

-Stacy and Howard Baylen

Thanks again for the amazing job you did yesterday. EVERYONE was asking us where we found you, they all said it was the best ceremony ever... If you ever need a referral of recommendation, we'd be happy to talk to anyone.

- Dustin and Liz Anderson

Thank you for helping us create a beautiful and memorable ceremony. Your wise suggestions and willingness to work with our ideas made our wedding absolutely perfect. We received so many compliments on the ceremony - that it was so emotional, personal and touching. Of course, we experienced this first hand. Thank you for helping us make our wedding the best day of our lives.

- Tonya Amann

Couple at Linconshire Marriott

We wanted to thank you for your wonderful efforts at our recent wedding ceremony. It was more than we imagined it would be, and our guests did not stop asking about you and commenting on the ceremony all evening. We look forward to recommending you to others!

- Christina and Mario Perez

On June 13th, you performed a wedding ceremony for me and my husband Roman. We would like to thank you for doing a wonderful job. Your experience and professionalism eliminated all of the stress and anxiety associated with wedding day jitters. Our family and friends continue to tell us to this day that it was the highlight of our wedding day. Roman's mother told us that she never wants to attend another boring, traditional ceremony again.

- Attorney Irena Melnik

Bleu and I can't thank you enough for the beautiful, fun and entertaining service you gave at our wedding. We wanted something special, laid-back, and unique and you over-delivered in every way. We are so grateful we will never be bored watching our wedding video! If you ever have a bride who wants a reference, please give them our name and number. Everyone who attended our wedding now wants to either get married or renew their vows so that you can officiate their weddings. Thank you again for your amazing gift!

- Noell and Bleu Vaughn

Thank you SO much for marrying us this past Saturday- I just got off the phone with one of the friends who participated and she said that she'd never been to a more unique and wonderful ceremony- everyone felt like they were a part of things, actually assisting in marrying us, rather than just observing.

- Melissa and Matt Boresi

I just wanted to take a moment and tell you how thankful I am that you were our minister. Adam and I just got back from our honeymoon,and had a whole week to recap and relive the wedding!

Our wedding was everything we had hoped for, and that is due in large part to you. As you know, the ceremony was the most important part to Adam and me, and because of you, it was everything we had hoped for. I can not tell you how many people came up to me and told me that it was THE BEST ceremony they had ever been to. Not only a "beautiful" ceremony (which a lot of people just say), but THE BEST!!!!
You touched on all the things that were important to us and our families, and yet made it unique and touching, and even funny at times. Thank you for listening to what Adam and I wanted, and for adding your style and directing an amazing ceremony. It is truly a day I will never forget.

- Adam and Sheetal Gold

Flowergirl at Chapel on the Greens

Freddy and I would like to thank you again for the wonderful ceremony you performed for us and our guests. I lost count after about 10 people telling us "this is the best ceremony we have ever been to." I am not the greatest with words, but thank you from the very bottom of our hearts!!! I know our rehearsal and wedding day were both very hectic with our 35 person bridal party, but your patience and humor put everyone at ease (including myself).

- Dawn De Anda Medina

I cannot thank you enough for the spectacular job you did for us. Thank you so much for your professionalism and humor- You really made our wedding special!

- Jamie and Mindy Rouse

Liz and I would both like to thank you again for helping our special day be even better. Our enormous gratitude toward you can hardly be expressed in words, but we wanted to try to let you know how wonderful we thought you were. Your unique ceremony was exactly what we had hoped for. You managed to incorporate all the elements of what we felt our wedding should have, but still kept the atmosphere light-hearted enough to help us maintain our composure. Liz and I both commented afterward that throughout the entire ceremony neither of us felt nervous. We both felt as we would, if it was just the two of us in an empty room together. I truly believe that your detailed preparation the night before had a big role in eliminating any nerves we were feeling leading up to the wedding.

Since we have returned to our everyday lives, we have heard nothing but good comments about the ceremony from our friends and relatives that were in attendance. I have had people come up and say that ours was the first wedding that they ever cried at, which show just how engaging you ceremonies can be. One person even told me that they could not believe how quickly it went, because they enjoyed it so much. I don't think I have ever been to a wedding where I can say that I felt the ceremony was too short!

In closing, I am sure you have heard many of these comments over the years, but Liz and I wanted to express them to you once more. We both feel blessed to have had you perform our wedding. Thanks again.

- Keith and Elizabeth Norberg

Brent and I want to thank you for the beautiful ceremony you performed. Of course, everyone was talking about you and wondering where we found you. The ceremony really was the highlight of the day and more romantic and fun than I ever dreamed. Thank you for being part of our special day.

- Catherine and Brent

Couple at the Aon Center

Nathan and I want to thank you for such an amazing ceremony. We are still getting compliments on our ceremony to this day. Our day was so special and we are so grateful and appreciative for the wonderful ceremony that you officiated for us. We could not have been any happier with the way the day went. Thank you also for making a copy of our ceremony for us.

- Nathan and Teresa Hart

Thank you for performing the most important part of our wedding day. We appreciate all of your advice in planning our wedding and your expertise in creating such a beautiful and meaningful ceremony. I know our grandparents were particularly touched by the memoriam portion of the ceremony, so thank you for recommending that we include it. We received many, many compliments on the beautiful ceremony you gave us and we absolutely loved it too. Thank you for giving us a beautiful beginning to the rest of our life together.

- Hayley and Michael

Thank you so much for the wonderful ceremony. It was everything we were hoping it would be. We heard lots of great comments from our guests. They really liked how you focused the ceremony on us. Thanks also for giving us the flexibility to incorporate those aspects important to us, especially the 'crane ceremony.' Many of our friends were jealous that they had traditional ceremonies and liked the presentation of our wedding so much better. Thank you again.

- Kristin and Craig Stevens

Scott and I wanted to thank you for an absolutely fabulous ceremony on the 18th. We had an unbelievable amount of people saying how great it was being able to see everybody instead of looking at our backs and that they could actually hear what we were saying. We also had a lot of people comment on what a great job you did. They loved what you said and how you made them feel like they were part of the ceremony and that you knew just the right places to add humor. Also, all the women commented on how incredible your voice is.

I know your website and you yourself said we would get a lot of comments, but we didn't realized it would be to this extent. Even my 28 year old, male coworker commented on how great it was. Now THAT is one heck of a compliment. If anybody ever wants to talk to a reference, please feel free to give them our names and number.

Thank you many times over, and over, and over for a fabulous ceremony.

- Lisa and Scott Sepelis

Bride at Illinois Beach Resort

We were married in August at Buckingham Fountain. We wanted to thank you Tom for the fantastic job that you did for us in Chicago. It was way more than we would've expected. We found you by searching on the Internet. We were going to plan a small ceremony but were still trying to find the perfect person for the job. After numerous phone calls, I always kept coming back to the first person that I had spoken with, which was You! From the very first conversation I had with you, I know you were the one to perform our ceremony. Our guests could not stop talking about the wonderful ceremony that you performed. We liked how you were very interactive with everyone present. Last but not least, the pictures were fantastic. You really do an awesome job! Again, thank you for everything you did for us and I would 100% recommend you services to everyone.

- Vanessa Albertson

We cannot thank you enough for your lovely ceremony at our wedding in June. I have received countless praises about the ceremony. Many people said it was one of the most touching, memorable, and enjoyable ceremonies that they have ever attended. I would love to send you pictures when I receive them from the photographer. Again, thank you for a perfect wedding.

- Chad and Myla Lindstrom

Thank you so much for officiating our wedding in September. It was unbelievable! You did such a beautiful job and everyone complimented on it and everyone loved you. It all went so perfect with the setting and I will forever have it playing over and over again in my mind! Thank you so much on a job well done!

- Robyn and Paul Schwartz

Thank you so much for making our wedding ceremony so personalized and special. Keith and I were very pleased with the professional service you provided us. We are still receiving compliments from our guests on what a great ceremony we had. Our ceremony definitely portrayed our personalities and that is what made it so unique and unforgettable. Thank you!

- Kelly and Doug

I wanted to say (now that everything has calmed down a bit), thank you so much for making our wedding such a beautiful one. People are still talking about our ceremony and how amazing it was and how great you were. We loved how you put a little humor in it and how you just made everyone feel so at ease, especially Tim and myself. You were so right about everything, we got some amazing photos, and the guests had a great time. I am so happy we found you because I don't think anyone could have made it as wonderful as you did, it was perfect!

- Amy and Tim Oztunguc.


Thank you so much for performing such a wonderful wedding ceremony! Everyone was completely blown away and said it was the best ceremony they had ever been to. We owe it all to you and greatly appreciate it.

- Tracy and Jason Witt

Hi! It's Megan and Shane Robinson here. Just wanted to drop a line to tell you how very impressed we and our guests were with our Day of Dreams wedding ceremony (in May). It just felt so right! No need to be nervous or anxious, everything was taken care of and with such professionalism and grace. We can't wait to see the photographer's pictures to see just how amazing everything looked from the other side. I had my doubts about facing the crowd during the ceremony. I was afraid seeing tears in their eyes might cause waterfalls in mine. But I had the opportunity to look almost each and every one of our guests in the eyes, which just made the whole day that much more meaningful. You couldn't wipe the smile from my face the whole evening! I wouldn't hesitate for one minute to recommend your services to any brides and grooms-to-be.

- Megan and Shane Robinson.

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