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    Considering Getting Married?

    reverendWhen the two of you have been together for a while, and it seems like the time is right, how do you reach a clear, solid decision on how and when to get married?

    Start by having a simple conversation, asking the questions you each have, and listening carefully to your partner’s answers. Any answer can lead to a bigger discussion, too. It is all helpful!


    • Are you ready for us to get married, because I feel I am?

    • What are the pros? What are the cons?

    • Should we have a big wedding, a small one, or just a private elopement?

    • What financial impact will this have on us?

    • What will be different for us as a married couple, as opposed to how we are now?

    As you allow your questions and answers to lead into a conversation, more ideas and thoughts will arise. The conversation will expand this way. You might start to take notes, if that’s your style, which can become the basis of a wedding plan.

    Decide if you need any kind of outside professional help, before you get into the specifics of the actual wedding. I’m thinking of a therapist, a clergy person or spiritual guide, or a trusted person or couple who can help you look at areas you might not have considered.

    If you have decided upon a big wedding, think about hiring a wedding or event planner. Unless your actual job has been event planning, putting together a big wedding will take a huge toll on you without this! Even putting together a smaller, less-complex wedding can be a huge overwhelming effort, possibly for months on end especially if you’re the worrier A-type, who has to make sure even the tiniest detail has to be perfect. You can really make yourself crazy this way, and who wants to start their marriage feeling crazed! (There’s time enough for that after you’re married!)


    Elizabeth River (top right) with officiant and San Francisco Bay Times columnist Howard Steiermann (top left) at a co-facilitated wedding conducted in 2014.

    Here is where I recommend you pause, as a couple, and take some time off from your jobs and your everyday life and go away for a little retreat. Spend the weekend giving yourselves time for quiet talks and even solitude, to assimilate your ideas so far, and just to allow some space for meditation, making art, walking, and being in nature. In short, this should be some contemplative spiritual time, because once you start to put your wedding together, it is as though you’re on a fast train with no stops. You won’t have time for this kind of quiet reflection at all until the big day.

    It also goes without saying that when you, or your wedding coordinator, is putting together all of the people who will be part of your wedding, do not leave finding your officiant until the last minute! This is someone who is going to create and facilitate the ceremony, the centerpiece of the wedding, reflecting who you are as well as your vows and promises to one another. Many officiants such as myself get booked up well in advance, so ample advance planning is essential.

    Rev. Elizabeth River is an ordained interfaith minister and wedding officiant in the North Bay. Please visit or look for Marin Coast Weddings on Facebook