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


Rule 3: Poise Makes A Bride And Groom
Unity Candle Lighting
Richard and Natalie light their unity candle at a mansion in Dyer, In.

Performing Your Dream in Real Time

Even though I have 90% of the speaking role in your ceremony, you and your bridal party are going to do a lot more talking than I am, and you're going to do by the way you conduct yourselves.  Despite my beautiful presentation of your ceremony, your guests will be intently studying you, not me, and therein lies an immense opportunity for the both of you. 

The Giving of RosesBy conducting yourselves in a focused, calmed, at times lightly affectionate manner, and by taking your time when interacting with loved ones during your ceremony, your poised performance will bring rave reviews.

Don't worry, you may not know how to give such a performance right now but my thorough rehearsal session with you, typically between an hour, to an hour and a half in length, will have you well prepared and confident for a stellar performance.

"It's not what you say, it's how you say it," and "it's not what you do, it's how you do it," are well worn cliches aren't they? But never were they truer than in a wedding ceremony. I learned a long time ago that a couple who is lighthearted and confident, and whose wedding ceremony is in their backyard, will easily eclipse, in terms of audience enjoyment, a couple whose ceremony is at the Drake, lavishly embellished, but whose hearts are in their mouths with the look of a deer in the headlights on their faces.

You are not responsible for inherently knowing how to do this. It is your officiant's responsibility to instill it within you. My rehearsals are an hour and fifteen minutes in length. Half of that time is spent showing everyone their roles and how to perform them. The other half is spent in coaching them, encouraging them, yes, calming them, but most importantly instilling within them the confidence to become a lead actor and actress.

Richard and Natalie's wedding is featured on this page. What you don't see is the row of professional video cameras filming this or the photographers moving around them and their guests. Added to these are the hundred guests intently watching them. Richard and Natalie are in the zone, confident, elegant and poised and most of all, enjoying themselves as they join their lives in marriage.

I too am intently watching them. As they light their Unity Candle and present their roses, I feel just as proud as they do. For it's the dynamic of poise in a bride and groom that animates all, renders great photography, and incites within the guests the kinds of complements every couple dreams of hearing in their reception line.

Copyright Statement