Vow Renewal Songs

Second Time Around

The Holders Formal Elopement type ceremony

From Our friends at I DO, Take Two

In general, music doesn’t play as big a part in a vow renewal wedding ceremony as at a big ceremony. But who needs to do things the way they’ve always been done? At Little Weddings Everywhere we’re into doing things uniquely, traditionally or minimally. We just love being around people who love each other!

Here’s a list of songs that are perfect for the two of you when you tie the knot the second time around.

Contact us for information about your Vow Renewal or Elopement Ceremony in the NW tip of Michigan’s Mitt. 

On Facebook @LittleWeddingsEverywhere

When A Wedding Team Truly Collaborates

Your wedding day will be awesome when your team truly collaborates. Check out this vimeo!

Maire & Tyler from LM Visuals on Vimeo.

Collaboration. What a wonderful experience. Is this what players feel when they’re on a football or baseball team? It’s truly infectious.

In January I was honored to officiate for the wonderful couple who are featured in this video.


Tyler and Maire had applied to win a contest where the services of 21 vendors (including me) were donated to the winning couple. $32,000 worth of wedding goodies and services.

From event planning, video, photography, decorations, venue, beer, wine, food, flowers to my part as the officiant.  After lots of Instagram and Facebook tagging and posting, stories gathered and shared, Maire and Tyler became our winners.  

Learn more about the entire wedding team at 2019 Northern Michigan Winter Wedding Giveaway.

Find out what can happen when a wedding team truly collaborates! It’s not only a good thing for the couple, but the team has such a good time, too. 

This wedding team pitched in to make sure the room was set in time for the reception. The main events were held in the same room. The temperature outside was the coldest of the year — -9! 

What a Trooper!

When you see Maire outside in the snow, it was THAT cold! What a trooper she was!

Learn more about the entire wedding team at 2019 Northern Michigan Winter Wedding Giveaway.

For more information about getting a great officiant, you’ll love filling out our form! (LOL) Contact us, you’ve come this far so go for it!

Stop Time on Your Wedding Day

Stop Time for Sandra & Wayne

Cutting the cake is one of many memories we don’t want you to forget

Talk to your friend whose wedding has come and gone. Ask him or her, “What do you remember from your wedding day?”

According to Reverend Clint Huff of the Wedding Ceremony Podcast a majority of brides will answer, “I don’t know. It was all kind of a blur.”

It’s true, many people will want both of your attention. Congratulations will continue all evening long. Glasses may get clanged in order to get you to stop eating, drinking or talking and kiss. Stories will be shared of a guest’s own wedding day. Then there’s the shared memories of being in school or at work or that swim in Lake Michigan together.

Your face will be sore from smiling for so long. 

While it sounds kinda fun now, in the end it may all be fuzzy in the retelling of your special day. Maybe most especially for a bride. She’s the one who’s been dreaming of this day for a long, long time. 

 So how can you stop time for each other on your wedding day so your memories of one of the most meaningful AND expensive days of your life is vivid and clear?

Helping Each Other Stop Time

During the reception …

What Rev. Hufft suggests is beautiful, here are his words almost verbatim. 

The laws of time and physics don’t work the same on your wedding day. You’ll be in the moment and while you’re in it, you’ll feel so rich and full that you feel like it will last forever. Then you blink your eyes and you’re waving good-bye to everyone.

 But soon, when the nervousness and excitement of all that attention wear off, your memories may all run together in one big haze. 

However — this doesn’t have to be the case. There’s one person who can really help the bride with the blur the whole event might become: the groom.

What can he do? During the reception four or five times the groom needs to pull his bride aside and go somewhere alone for a couple of minutes. If anyone tries to interrupt just ask politely to give you a few moments. Most people will totally understand.

Talk to each other about what you’re experiencing, what fragrances you’ve smelled, what you’ve seen, heard and touched. Then go back to the party.

Give Her Time to Note the Memory Making

Here’s how the Mr. has stopped time and given his bride opportunities to note specific memories of her wedding day. And the beauty is, she can do the same for her groom.

This won’t take much time to stop time for each other. Implement this plan and know you can help carve out memories that last a lifetime. You can keep special moments from disappearing in the haze. Even though there’s so many people to greet, so much love to absorb, you will remember the day, the hours that led to your welcoming the future that was waiting, peering its promise around the door at you.


For more information about Northern Michigan Wedding Officiants, we’d love to connect with you for a worry free and fun consultation. Share who you are, when you’re getting married and where:  Contact Us 

Little Weddings for You

Impressive wedding sites with the best local officiants who help you keep your day simple but awesome

Would you prefer to keep your wedding day simple? We have a number of great local sites, both indoor and outdoor who rent to

us for a fraction of the cost DURING MIDWEEK. Little Weddings Everywhere is a new branch of Northern Michigan Wedding Officiants. We provide location and officiant services. We’d be honored to officiate for your Little Wedding in beautiful Grand Traverse County and surrounding areas. Fill out our Inquiry Form today.


Spiritual Laws of Relationship

spiritual laws

Creating a Spiritual Relationship

spiritual lawsWhen I first came across Paul Ferrini it was through a congregant who specialized in couple’s counseling and women’s issues. She assured me Ferrini’s reference to spiritual laws did NOT mean religious / theological expectations.

There’s a distinction between the two.

I’m pretty sure I went through the differences between spiritual and religious when we met to plan your ceremony. I can’t expect you to have hung on every word I said, so here it is again:

There’s an unseen, non-judgmental, unconditionally loving energy that is the glue of the Universe. It is the essence of all that is, and it brings us together or repels us based on our ability to give it room to move. Spirit. Religion is dogma or theologies based on rules of conduct, ethical guidelines and often, sadly, judgment.

Back to the Book

At the time, this book was called The Seven Spiritual Laws of Relationship. I haven’t looked all the way through this new titled book, but Creating A Spiritual Relationship looks fundamentally the same at first glance.  In any event, here are the seven spiritual laws:

  1. Make a realistic commitment to one another.spiritual laws
  2. Develop a shared experience that nurtures your relationship.
  3. Give each other space to grow and express as individuals.
  4. Communicate by listening without judgment and telling the truth in a non-blaming way.
  5. Understand how you mirror each other.
  6. Stop blaming your partner and take responsibility for your thoughts, feelings and actions.
  7. Practice forgiveness together on an ongoing basis.

What’s remarkable about this book is it is NOT standard try hard, be faithful, never cheat kind of a book. Not that it’s pro-cheating, either. 

But he does talk about making a realistic assessment of yourself, so rather than living up to some religious or societal norm, you are living up to your own rules. 

You “just” have to make each other aware of those rules. When I read what follows in the book, I knew what he was trying to teach would be something very different, and probably, very helpful. 

Especially for the strong of heart.

“It doesn’t help you or anyone else to live a lie. So don’t pretend to be something you are not. Be truthful with yourself and your partner. If you make a mistake, say so. Commitments can always be renegotiated. It’s never too late to tell the truth. Sanity begins in a relationship only when both people learn to tell the truth…

“We need to keep our commitments when we can do so without betraying ourselves. When we can’t do this, we need to re-negotiate those commitments without betraying others. Our highest good is not necessarily at odds with the highest good of others. We can find a solution that honors everyone if we are willing to tell the truth about our needs and listen compassionately to the needs of others.” p. 37, The Seven Spiritual Laws, Paul Ferrini

400 Couples and Counting

Since 2005 I’ve done the wedding ceremony for approximately 400 couples. I know of maybe 10 who haven’t made it. My guess is there may be more. I don’t know. People move,, change email address and forget that they had the best officiant EVER officiate for them.

Hahahahaha. I kid. But in truth, I don’t know the status of a lot of the people I joined in marriage. Thank goodness for Facebook. I get to keep in touch with Allison and Pete, Amanda and Dan, Justin and Laura, Ken and Torre, Sarah and 

While many of you are happy and your relationship is strong, there are a number of you who aren’t. You’re barely hanging on what with kids and jobs and politics and family and on and on. 

The seven year itch seems to be fairly real. People have REALLY settled into 

There’s just no reason for you to suffer, put up with a faltering relationship and give up. Not when there’s so much help available, whether with books, marriage counseling, personal coaching, podcasts, masterminds, etc. all available. Even if you hit a rocky spot now and then but bounce back pretty well each time, 


If you feel some curiosity about the seven laws listed above, it could be a prompting from your spiritual Self. Your God. That energy that supports and guides you when you’re willing and able to listen. 

I encourage you to take a look at this book. Hook up with me again and we can set up some coaching/counseling sessions. Talk with someone who can give you a new perspective, be supportive AND objective. 

And do something fun. We take ourselves way too seriously. 

I know! I do it too. Here’s a little video of who helps me lighten up — my dog Reece. My animals are my dog-ma!

Be good to yourselves. Reach out, reach in, reach high. Much love to you,


Rev. Crystal
Contact Me



Can You Be Blinded By Love?

Rather Listen to this blog post? 


I was stunned. Blinded by love

A couple exchanging vows who later got divorcedFour months earlier I’d officiated for a really awesome, gentle and (here’s a somewhat old-fashioned word) lovely couple. They were all aglow on their wedding day, rosy-cheeked and grinning. They looked elegant and certain.

 A few days ago an email from the groom laid out that after 2 months of marriage these two got into one hell of an argument. Nastiness ensued. Immediately she pulled away, and reportedly, didn’t want to go for counseling. I don’t know how the request for help was presented (I only know one side of the story). But what happened next — he caught her with another man.

He filed for divorce. Their eight-year relationship crumbled.

The Dr. Phil in my head shouted, “You haven’t earned the RIGHT to get divorced yet!”

We’re Different

Maybe I’m making this up. BUT what engaged, in love, swamped-by-the-emotional-relief of finding the “right person” couples tell themselves may not be real. They’re in the throws of these emotions that convince them, “We’re different from everyone else who’s gotten married. We’ll be able to handle any problem that comes along. We love each other too much to have big obstacles get in our way.”

With the lovely couple, I’m pretty sure that’s what they’d told themselves, especially after eight years together.

What Could I Have Done?

Still, the stunned officiant in me wondered if there might have been something I could’ve done to prevent their demise from happening. Nipped something in the bud perhaps? Helped point out the red flags their good intentions avoided looking at?

After all, I look for fun-loving couples!

Fortunately life has taught me that there’s no making choices for anyone else but myself. Yes, it’s seductive to think we’re responsible for the way someone else feels. After all, didn’t Mom or Dad make us feel our grades made them happy or mad? Not cleaning our rooms meant nothing or caused lingering angry exchanges between us?

We Can’t Make Anyone Do Anything

We’ve learned that sometimes we can persuade someone one way or the other. But in the end, we really can’t make anyone do anything, anymore than someone else can hand that credit card over to purchase something we don’t really need.

We do that all on our own.

The only way I really know to circumvent disaster is to make myself STOP and get quiet. Be brave enough to know NOT NOW is not the same as NEVER.

Being Blinded

Being in the throws of engaged love usually is NOT quiet. It’s exciting. Blinding. Fun. Assuring. Take note of the word “blinding”. It often wants to consummate itself NOW. (Do I see any cyber nodding of heads and see dreamy smiles on faces????)

Since I use the old-fashioned word “lovely” I’m going to suggest another old-fashioned word or two: “premarital counseling.” It’s code for “prepared for the hard parts and more appreciative of the good parts of marriage.”

Pre-Marital Coaching

In my officiant business I have an extensive program for premarital coaching. And it’s not cheap because it’s an investment of time and thought, it’s meaningfully interactive and original. Every couple (except for an elopement) has access to at least one conversation-starting, issue identifying pre-marital prep topic of their choice. The option is included in their ceremony package.

It’s NOT required because if it were, I’d rarely get to officiate for anyone.

However, 95% of couples do not take me up on the offer even though it’s free. After years of gently warning couples they might want to make sure they aren’t making assumptions about each other’s beliefs, values and histories, coaching is mostly a no go.

Could I have helped my toppled lovely couple by requiring they get coaching before marriage? Then they wouldn’t have to confront the choices that led them into a short-lived marriage. I don’t know. But maybe I can help your marriage avoid heart-breaking bumpy roads (not that we can ever avoid ALL of those bumps – some are good for us!) ahead should you choose me for your wedding officiant.

For a look at the topics you can choose from, here’s the link to download the Directory.

Sand Ceremony

Directory of Premarital Coaching Topics

Check out the 10 top subjects that cause problems in relationships. Which suits you the most?

Check your inbox shortly. We'll see you there!

Being in Phoenix with a Map of Detroit

Truly I wish I could say this program isn’t necessary. I love believing love can overcome everything. But the truth is, we have a very eschewed definition of love. If you think you’re in Phoenix but you’re looking at a map of Detroit, you’re going to get lost.

Marriage is the great teacher of the shallows and depths of love according to the map we’re following. The question is, who’s brave enough to explore their perceptions of awesomeness and darkness before their blind spots demand we open our love-struck eyes?

One of the best books I ever read on identifying some of those misalignments is Harville Hendrix’s “Keeping the Love You Find.” (There’s a link below to purchase the book and will give me an affiliate bonus). Oprah used to have Dr. Hendrix on her show and he was / is a fabulous teacher.

Love is Even More Awesome When …

Here’s to the very best for you, dear reader. You are fun-loving. Even so, love takes time to mature and grow. Your commitment to love will carry you through whatever life hands you, if you let it. The Universe, God, the Lord, (UGL) however you name that energy, is trying to get your attention. Watch what comes in your path. Listen. Ask. Get quiet. And most of all – be brave. 

The Universe has your back. And so do I.


Rev. Crystal 
Contact me for a quick chat or consultation. I’d love to find out how I can help you have the ceremony you want AND the marriage you believe in.



Here’s the link to Harville’s fabulous, lovely book. I am an Amazon Affiliate.

MFT’s Bring Matter from Mind

MFT’s  — My Favorite Things 

Thanks to Julie Andrews bright voice in The Sound of Music and Richard Rodgers · Lyricist(s) and Oscar Hammerstein II who wrote the song, My Favorite Things (MFT), we have a very happy little ditty to remind us of what we love in our life.

Even though it’s one of those songs that can get on an endless repeat, its lilting journey over and over doesn’t really bother me. Wouldn’t you rather listen to “MFT” than the jingle to that personal injury lawyer commercial?

Because I know that whatever I repeat in my mind comes to matter. So best to focus on my favorite things not upsets. So here’s three of MFT podcasts and apps because they may help you bring matter from your uplifted mind too.

Meditation Makes a Huge Impact on Matter

The first great gift to me was from my life coach.

Do you remember the movie, What the Bleep $#*&% Do We Know? I mentioned it in an earlier email because it remains an all time great production. In it, Dr. Joe Dispenza talked about how we really can decide how our day is going to unfold. He learned how to marshal the power of our mind to affect matter after healing his body from being severely smashed in a car accident.

Life Changing

Back to my life coach. At the end of a session she mentioned a few of her clients were having a lot of luck with a meditation app created by Dr. Joe. He created it in conjunction with is book, You Are the Placebo*.

The meditation app, is “app-ly” named  You Are the Placebo. This app contains without a doubt the most powerful meditation process I’ve ever experienced. It transports me from being down to being happy, content and confident again.  

Honestly — it really does!

Once you get over the odd drone tone to Dr. Joe’s meditation voice, the music behind his words amps up 1000% the power of The Morning, Evening and/or Changing Your Beliefs Meditations. I love the short Evening Meditation (which I usually listen to in the morning) although I wish it started a bit softer. It reminds me to take my attention off of identifying myself with the places, times, age, and status that ground me in what is. Freeing my mind from these ID’s virtually  opens my mind to possibilities which are game changers.

Where to Get the App

The app is $11, well worth the cost and is available iYou will find the App (I’m not an affiliate) at  Check Dr. Joe out on YouTube and sign up for his newsletter, and check out other products and classes he has online Try this video out to see if you like what he teaches before buying the app if you need to be convinced.


You can also get a CD from Hay House via Amazon here although I haven’t listened to it by going this route. See below for a link to Amazon. 

New Officiant Training a Flop or Not?

As many of you know, I’ve been working to improve my services and also offer new officiants some of the wisdom and knowledge (two different things!) I’ve garnered over the 28 years I’ve been leading wedding ceremonies. I believe I have a lot to offer AND times have changed. So I’ve learned a lot and definitely upped my own ceremony as a result. The Program is called Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program

All the Promises

When I first approached starting an online business I was excited by all the promises of being able to make sales while I was sleeping and how easy it would be to reach people all over the country. Like marriage, if you knew how hard it would actually be, maybe some of you wouldn’t have entered it. That’s the question I ask myself about building an online course.

This process has not been easy at all. Often it isn’t anywhere near as fun as leading a wedding ceremony and fun is something I want more of! I’m still tweaking and building and learning. Whether going online is the end game for the guidance I was sure came from God or not, at some point I’ll understand what it’s all been for.

Now for the upside. I knew I needed a teacher to help me overcome inner and outer obstacles. I found an online My favorite things podcastinstructor who hands down made a huge difference in my journey.  She taught me how to market when I was floundering hopelessly in “why isn’t this working?” Michelle L Evans worked as head of Marketing for Microsoft for 13 years before starting her own business. From the beginning, her emails, her podcast “The Marketing Funnel Show” and the course, “Build Your Funnel Bootcamp” I finally invested in, she’s hands down the best because she’s the most hands on online teacher and coach I’ve ever met. 

Other courses I’ve taken meant I had to compete with tons of other students for attention and advice. Michelle somehow manages to communicate with all of us, from Voxing to private Facebook group responses to emails. Plus her information and wisdom is amazing. She helped me find my own voice, understand the people I want to help, and challenge my fears.

If you’re an entrepreneur or thinking of starting an online business yourself, PLEASE do yourself a favor. Check her out wherever you find your podcasts and visit her website Michelle L. Evans.

Great High Quality Photos

Last but not least and I’ll make this one quick – If you create documents that need great free photos, try The photos are high quality, and have absolutely no hidden licenses or royalties and they don’t even insist that the photographers be acknowledged. But the photos are top notch so give them a try. You might never need to graduate to Getty or Stock photos!

Now that we’re headed to 2019 together, I hope you’ll check out these favorite things. I’d love to hear what yours are. So tell me!! Leave your comment below and others can see what other great stuff fellow couples have found.

May my favorite things  help you bring the dreams in your mind into what matters throughout your day to day life.

Rev Crystal 2018


Rev Crystal

Looking for an Officiant? Rev Crystal’s one of the most personable, competent AND fun in the Northwestern Michigan area (lower peninsula only). Contact her for a quick chat or no obligation information-gathering conversation. Contact Us.

Or want to learn how to do what Rev. Crystal does? Visit her officiant training website at I DO, Wedding Officiant Training

Here’s the link to Dr. Joe’s meditation CD.


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To Begin With Mary Oliver

Mary Oliver

Poet Mary Oliver






To Begin With, The Sweet Grass by Mary Oliver

Evidence, 2009



Will the hungry ox stand in the field and not eat

of the sweet grass?

Will the owl bite off its own wings?

Will the lark forget to lift its body in the air or

forget to sing?

Will the rivers run upstream?


Behold, I say—behold

the reliability and the finery and the teachings

            of this gritty earth gift.



Eat bread and understand comfort.

Drink water, and understand delight.

Visit the garden where the scarlet trumpets

            are opening their bodies for the hummingbirds

who are drinking the sweetness, who are

            thrilling gluttonous.


For one thing leads to another.

Soon you will notice how stones shine underfoot.

Eventually tides will be the only calendar you believe in.


And someone’s face, whom you love, will be as a star

both intimate and ultimate,

and you will be both heart-shaken and respectful.

And you will hear the air itself, like a beloved, whisper:

oh, let me, for a while longer, enter the two

beautiful bodies of your lungs



The witchery of living

is my whole conversation

with you my darlings.

All I can tell you is what I know.


Look, and look again.

This world is not just a little thrill for the eyes.


It’s more than bones.

It’s more than the delicate wrist with its personal pulse.

It’s more than the beating of the single heart.

It’s praising.

It’s giving until the giving feels like receiving.

You have a life—just imagine that!

You have this day, and maybe another, and maybe still another.



Someday I am going to ask my friend Paulus,

the dancer, the potter,

to make mem a begging bowl

which I believe

my soul needs.


And if I come to you,

to the door of your comfortable house

with unwashed clothes and unclean fingernails,

will you put something into it?


I would like to take this chance.

I would like to give you this chance.



We do one thing or another; we stay the same, or we


Congratulations, if

            you have changed.



Let me ask you this.

Do you also think that beauty exists for some

            fabulous reason?


And, if you have not been enchanted by this adventure—

            your life –

what would do for you?



What I loved in the beginning, I think, was mostly myself.

Never mind that I had to, since somebody had to.

That was many years ago.

Since then I have gone out from my confinements,

            though with difficulty.


I mean the ones that thought to rule my heart.

I cast them out, I put them on the mush pile.

They will be nourishment somehow (everything is nourishment

            somehow or another).


And I have become the child of the clouds, and of hope.

I have become the friend of the enemy, whoever that is.

I have become older and, cherishing what I have learned,

I have become younger.


And what do I risk to tell you this, which is all I know?

Love yourself. Then forget it. Then, love the world.


Enjoy! To connect with me, please fill out our Contact Form or to return to the Home Page, click here.

You’re Nervous Standing in Front?

Meditating so you're not nervous standing in front of people

Nervous standing in front of peopleHow many of us do you believe DON’T get nervous standing in front of people? Professional speakers? Teachers? 

Can you repeat after me: “I shall not place anyone on a pedestal.”

Being in the public eye

Many couples tell me they’re really nervous about their wedding because they intensely dislike being in the public eye.

So okay. I get that. I’m so used standing in front of people to make a presentation that I AM used to it. But the “IT” is being nervous. It’s not that it doesn’t happen, but I’ve learned to manage the nervousness. 

I appreciate you reminding me of that fact so I don’t get you to do some crazy dance in front of everyone at your ceremony.

Kidding — really — well, it could be fun… but no. I won’t ask.

Flashbacks of other times

Yep, that’s how my mind works, flitting from one thing to the other. And when you’re nervous, that’s what your mind is doing too. Your overactive brain is jumping between thoughts of  looking gorgeous, all the decisions that had to be made to get you to this point, probably a flashback or two to when you first met the person you’re about to marry, and wondering if everyone is going to like your wedding gown or how you look in your tux. 

Flitting is fodder for nervousness. So here’s an early key:  focus. Learn to meditate sooner than later?

If you’re having a very small, intimate ceremony, you might not be QUITE as nervous. In my experience, the number of people in attendance doesn’t matter. Large and fancy, small and simple — either way, people get nervous.

The Nervous Elephant in the Room

Least I forget the elephant in the room, you’d be abnormal if the obvious — “am I making the right decision by marrying this person?” wasn’t also flitting across your mind. Let’s talk about that more below. And I wrote this about making decisions and questioning them. Make the Choice.

Two Things to Ease Being Nervous Standing in Front of People

I ask my couples to do two things when we begin their ceremony to help them handle being nervous standing in front of people:

  1. Face me for the beginning of their marriage ritual
  2. Act like you know each other so hold hands, stand arm in arm, etc.

Facing me helps them put their focus on me and move forward with the event. This begins to take their attention off of the people staring at their backs and release some of the mind flitting that’s taking place about things that are immediately beyond their control.

Result:  Nervousness gets distracted

Holding hands or touching somehow lets my couple lean on each other and in fact, it’s a memory they’ll always have. Those supportive touches during their ceremony can go a long way!

Result:  Nervousness is shared and distracted.

A great idea gone bad

I remember one wedding I’d just read something by another Officiant who asked her couples to turn around and face all their friends when the ceremony started. The point was for them to see how many folks were there to support them. It sounded like a great idea, an act that would show the couple how safe they were surrounded by friends.

But that was not what happened when I tried it on Jill and Jack. They got super-strained looks on their faces. Their bodies noticeably stiffened. 

I should have asked their permission before I asked them to do that, but it was an impromptu moment which fell flat. 

Needless to say, I don’t ask couples to do that anymore unless they’re prepared ahead of time and okay it. 

Acceptance is still the key

Now that you REALLY trust my judgment let’s just say for the record, that the best way to overcome nervousness is to accept that you’re going to get nervous. Acceptance is the key to working through almost anything. Why does it work? Because it changes the energy from being totally grounded in fear to being more in control of the fear. 

Then doing little things like facing your officiant and touching each other are small acts of kindness to each other that offset the discomfort of being nervous standing in front of people. 

And here’s a few more tips rolled into one about being nervous standing in front of friends, family and the occasional stranger: being jittery is not the end of the world. You can handle it, trust yourself. The feeling will go away, eventually. Keep your knees bent, and take deep breaths. Remember to take deep inhales and exhales. Practice now reminding yourself to touch, breath, bend, focus. That’s it! See, you can do this!!

The Elephant is Still Here

What about questioning your decision to marry this person you’ll be meeting down the aisle. How could you not wonder about that? You don’t have to dwell on it. You don’t have to shove it away. You don’t have to let that question incapacitate you.  But you DO HAVE TO GET A HANDLE ON YOUR ANSWER. 

If you question whether this person is right for you, you need to stop.

It doesn’t matter how much money you’ve shelled out.

If you’re NOT SURE, if your feelings of nervousness are way out of proportion, then you may indeed be getting signals from your Inner Self that you may be marrying the wrong person.

In that case,  do not take one more step forward. You’re going to spend a lot more money disentangling yourself through divorces, therapy and paying someone to help you move, not to mention buying all those mind altering substances you might be inclined to take comfort in. 

You Can Handle It

But the truth is, whatever happens, whether this nervousness about your decision, allowing yourself to ask that question is not only normal, but it can also point to this response to ANY NERVOUSNESS. Which is YOU CAN HANDLE WHATEVER HAPPENS, including being insanely happy. 

You’re bound to grow in love. Love also takes a dip down and around and even disappears sometimes. But you can handle these ebbs and flows. Maybe you need to talk it through with someone. Maybe you need to take an extra few hours to settle yourself. Maybe you need to let everyone party and come back to your yes or no with a small, inexpensive ceremony in a month or two. 

Trust Yourself

Trust yourself. Trust the heart of Love that brought you together because it’s Love’s nature to point you to the source of Love within yourself.  Knowing Love is within you means it can never be taken from you by death, disaster, illness, betrayal. Or being nervous standing in front of people (the latter which seems like a small thing when propped up against those biggies like death and disaster).

Last but not least: if you want to get the energy of nervousness out and away, just send me an email and we’ll figure out how to proceed from there. Or pop into my Facebook page, Michigan Wedding Officiants and see what support info is there for you. There’s lots.

Being nervous is small when compared to the underlying Love that’s within you. 


Rev Crystal


What to Look for When You’re Exploring Venues

exploring venues
Exploring Venues in Northern Michigan

Lawn weddings at Jolly Pumpkin on Old Mission Peninsula

Exploring Venues

After “Yes, I’ll marry you,” is spoken, a list of to do’s begins to pile up in your head. One of the first is choosing a site to hold your ceremony, and often, hold your reception afterwards. You are on your way to exploring venues. 

From vineyards to barns, beaches to forests, art galleries to VFW halls, the area I live in is abundant with beautiful venues and wedding sites. Being an Officiant in Northern Michigan means I’m always surrounded by great beauty. 

A First Time Site

Every year I get to go to another location I’ve never been to before. Like last year I led a wedding at Flower Basket Farm in Omena. What a fun site! This year I went deep into a woods that was part of a new vineyard in Leelanau Peninsula. My couple had set up the first wedding site within that woods that if I hadn’t had a Subaru, I’m not sure I would have made it up hills and through the ruts in the road. 

It was great fun! But it did have some challenges not every set of family or friends may appreciate.

I will say this couple in particular had a fairly young group of people at their wedding. The elders among us (me included) loved this couple enough to travel far up the Leelanau Peninsula and down country roads, in and out.

What to Keep in Mind When Exploring Venues

But it doesn’t hurt to keep a few things in mind if you’re a  newly engaged couple out exploring venues. If you look with open eyes, you’ll set things up in advance so it’s a fun and wonderful experience for young and old alike.

  • Consider the ease with which people can get from their car to the ceremony site.
    • If the site is hilly, encourage people to come casual. Make it fun to “ditch the heels”.
    • For sandy areas, make being barefoot the requested dress, or encourage flip flops, wedges and flats.
    • Without a hard surface to walk on, suggest women not come able to aerate the soil by poking holes in the ground with their high heels. 
  • How out of the way is the venue?
    • Make sure everyone has detailed directions and when possible, a link to Google Maps. 
    • Signs to your wedding site can be fun, creative and helpful. Appoint someone trustworthy to put them out the night before and take them up the night of the wedding or early the next day. Check the local sign restriction ordinances
  • What will the heat and wind factor be like at the time of your wedding?
    • Early weddings may be cooler. Warm guests in advance it may be chilly, even mid-summer in northern states 
    • Mid-day weddings can get hot. If you have a program consider printing it on hand fan. If not, make jugs of ice water available. (try to stay away from bottled water).
    • Wind can affect interference with the microphone. The closer your site is to the water or the higher up, wind can create a problem.
  • The season you choose your site affects how many people will be there when your wedding is in real time. 
    • If you visit your site in the winter, ask locals how many people are at your site during the season you’re getting married in
    • On the beach consider wave-runners, boats and swimmers who may be in the area and not aware of your wedding. Consider putting signs out that a wedding is in progress and quiet is appreciated.

The Benefit of Having A Coordinator

These are a few of the situations I’ve noticed the most during the 28 years I’ve been traveling across northern Michigan. I’m sure there’s more. One thing that might be really helpful is to have a wedding coordinator from the area help advise you about these types of issues. Don’t hesitate to ask the venue coordinator for advice.

Any area that you choose can be made into an adventure. Preparing your guests in advance by making it fun, and being clear as possible will set this up for you to have the best time at your wedding. 

If you’re in the Traverse City area, here’s a little guide I put together that lists some local venues and beaches to hold your wedding at.Sites and Venues

Your Happily Ever After

Enjoy yourself, your day, your love. Make sure you take your guests needs and abilities into considerations as much as you choose your wedding site for how it makes you feel. When you go exploring wedding venues, you’re looking for the backdrop to your happily ever after. 

Above all else, make sure your wedding site feels right to you. 

I wish you well today and especially on the day you’ll be starting on your way to forever together.  

Rev. Crystal

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What’s the Difference Between Officiants?

Difference between Officiants
Difference between Officiants

Leigh and James

What’s the Difference Between Officiants?

If you’re answering the question, “What’s the difference between officiants?” it starts with the range of beliefs and values that varies from officiant to officiant. Each of us do what we do for our own reasons.

There’s those who were asked to lead a friend or family member’s wedding and said, however reluctantly or excitedly, “Yes!” (If that’s up your alley, see my program for new officiants).

How Some of Us Came to the Profession

Some of us came into marrying people because of church affiliation and it was part of our job. Others are looking to create additional income because the field of marrying people is wide open to anyone thanks to the Universal Life Church’s court action for religious freedom. Other officiants have a love of being part of a couple’s special day, and still other’s are true hams who love being in front of people.

To be clear, I can be ham, but I set out to use humor appropriately.  I always ask my couple if it’s okay if I loosen things up / use humor. I’ve done a few weddings where it was clear from the beginning that the bits of wit I threw in were falling flat, so I stopped being funny and stuck with the plan (even with the couple’s permission to be funny.)

I can’t negate that I am an Officiant to make a living for myself which can be cause for some disapproval. This is due to the stigma that still accompanies some beliefs that being an Officiant is a religious profession and you should do it for free. Or super cheap.

Officiating for me is done in love in exchange for creating and wonderful and meaningful experience for my couple as they promise to love each other for as long as they both shall live. If I had a congregation who generously supported me lower fees might be an option.

But I don’t have a congregation so I get to offer my brand of officiating and the right people come to me.

In any profession there’s always going to be people who want to and probably need to, make a quick buck. Just like there’s always going to be couples who don’t want to do anything other than exchange vows. Others not only want to create an event, but they see the value of being part of a CEREMONIAL event which is more than a simple exchange of traditional wedding vows.

Defining A Wedding Ceremony’s Purpose

Here’s what I think a wedding ceremony is all about:

  1. Engages an invisible power that moves through a couple’s commitment
  2. Taps into the desires that brings two people together in the first place
  3. Leads them to their willingness to promise a forever bond to one another.
  4. Sets the stage for two people to publicly profess their love for one another
  5. Orders the step-by-step course of action that results in validating a legal contract between two consenting adults

Officiant Role Defined According to Rev Crystal Yarlott

This is how I define my role as an Officiant:

An Officiant can think on her or his feet and improvise, go with the flow and know when to stick with the plan and when not to. An Officiant’s responsibility it to keep the ceremony moving towards that momentous kiss and pronouncement that seals their commitment and continually hold sacred space for the importance of the couple’s love, all while staying in the background.

Magic Moments

I love what I do as an Officiant. There’s been so many magic moments in the ceremonial experiences I get to participate in with my couples that I’m continually grateful for the opportunity AND the authority to participate in two people committing to one another.

Honored by My Couple’s Trust

When I’m hired, I am honored by their trust in me to convey what’s meaningful to them, to have fun and set the romantic, celebratory tone for the day.

Loving what you do because you are focused on people’s love for each other is fabulous.

What could be better than that in life?

Here’s to your happiness,

Rev. Crystal



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