Want vs Necessity

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Last week I helped a couple who wanted to quickly get married.  The husband in this case was a veteran and he and his now-wife have two small children.  She decided to join the Air Force and was leaving in a matter of days.  Among all the other tasks to be done before she left was to get married.  They called looking for the easiest and quickest way to make this happen.  My suggestion?  Meet me at the town office.

They arrived a few minutes early, filed their marriage intentions form, and we went into a conference room near the back of the building.  The ceremony was performed in under one minute, the license was filled out and immediately filed.  They waited a few minutes for the clerk to give them their certified copy and the deal was done.  Total time from their arrival at the town office to their departure with their marriage license in-hand?  About 30 minutes.

Marriages usually happen out of want, but from time to time they happen out of want AND necessity.  When the latter is the case, Affirmations can always be counted on to make things uncomplicated.

For those who are planning a more elaborate event, be sure to get your officiant booked soon.  February is the month in which officiant’s summer weekends are filled up quickly.

Happy planning!

Maine Wedding Ceremony Officiant: 2013 In Review

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Maine Wedding Ceremony Officiant 2013 in Review: I closed the year having performed 30 wedding ceremonies and 1 commitment ceremony. Same sex marriages accounted for about one third of the total.

I think if you asked any Maine wedding ceremony officiant, they would tell you that 2013 was a busy year.  For me, some ceremonies were very quick and low key, others were large and formal.  Most fell somewhere in between.  But they were all done flawlessly and I truly enjoyed each and every one of them.

On Christmas Eve I married the last couple of the year.  Well, that is unless someone calls with a last minute request for a New Year’s Eve wedding ceremony, which does happen.  Anyhow, after a decade together, Carol and Linda decided it was time to tie the knot.  Several hurdles threw themselves in the way of carrying out their wedding plans.  Amongst other challenges, Linda’s son missed his flight, but caught another one in time.  Mother nature threw an ice storm upon us and Linda and Carol lost power, but it came back on just in time.  Both work for an electric utility company, and getting out of work in the midst of massive power outages isn’t the easiest stunt to pull off, either.  But everything came together and with some flexibility on everyone’s part, the ceremony happened.  I came home that evening feeling that all was right in the world, despite the large number of CMP customers who were still without power.

Reflecting upon the year, it sure was an interesting one.  With the same sex marriage law passing and taking effect late in 2012, 2013 was the year for Maine couples who had been together for many years to finally marry.  This was absolutely, without question, my favorite part of 2013.  I met a number of couples who amazed me with their dedication to one another.  It was such an honor to make their relationships officially legitimate.  So, the first of firsts for 2013 was that I performed my first legal same sex ceremony in 2013.  Of course, there had been many commitment ceremonies done before.

I also performed my first marriage ever, sitting down.  Tracy and April opted for a casual ceremony at their kitchen table over a cup of coffee.  Now that I think about it, I think Tracy was actually standing up.  But April and I were sitting.  Later on in the year, I married a couple at a  little cafe in Gardiner where again, everyone was sitting – and again, over coffee.

Another first?  The first ceremony performed in under 15 seconds.  After the first, two more followed this year.

Of course, not everyone chooses a quick or casual ceremony.  For those who opt for a more formal event, in 2014 a wedding vendor folder for brides in the planning stages will be distributed at Patricia Buck Bridal and The Senator Inn & Spa.  Affirmations will be the only Maine marriage officiant featured in the folder, so be sure to look for the ad!

This website, more than a year old at this point is continuing to evolve.  I’m hoping to add a calendar/availability feature to it in 2014.  I’m also hoping to master SEO (search engine optimization for those of you who are lucky enough to have never dealt with it).  A Facebook page was recently established and I’ve not yet put much effort into marketing it…Another item for the bucket list.

Without a doubt, this past year goes in the books as a great year.  Here’s hoping for an even better 2014.  Cheers!

11/7/12 – Yes On #1 – What it Means

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Like many of my fellow Mainers, I am very pleased with the results of last night’s election as they pertain to Question #1.

The wording on the ballot asked voters if they wanted to allow the State of Maine to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. 54% of voters were in support, making Maine the first state in history to approve same sex marriage by popular vote.

What this changes for me: Honestly, not a whole lot. I have been performing commitment ceremonies for same sex couples for over a dozen years. The process of meeting with couples, writing the script and performing the ceremony won’t change. What will change is that there will be marriage certificates needing notarization, witnessing, and delivery to the issuing town office. So, the process changes from a commitment ceremony to a legal marriage which includes a bit of extra paperwork and responsibility. Simply put, very soon I will be offering the exact same service to same sex couples as I offer to opposite sex couples. I like that!

Of course, there will always be a place for commitment ceremonies for same and opposite sex couples who choose not to enter into a legal marriage. However, I suspect the demand for those will decrease.

What this changes for you: If you are part of a same sex couple, you will now be able to marry legally in Maine, just as any other couple has the right to do.  It changes nothing for opposite sex couples.

When these changes will take place: December 29, 2012.  On this date, town offices in Maine can begin issuing Maine marriage licenses to same sex couples.  The 29th happens to fall on a Saturday when town offices are typically closed, but please visit my blog titled “Maine sets a date” for exceptions.  See the FAQ’s page for information about obtaining a marriage license in Maine.

In celebration of such a significant event, I will be offering my services at no charge to the first same sex couple who books their wedding. ***Update 12/7/12:  The first couple has booked their wedding!  Melissa and Kristin are traveling from Fort Worth, TX to marry on the coast of Maine in Rockport on July 27th of 2013.***

11/6/12 – Election Day

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I cannot think of a better topic for the very first blog on this very new (and still under construction) website than one which is so near and dear to my heart.  When election time comes around, I proudly remember my grandfather, Roger H. Gagne, a soldier in the United States Army who was taken as a Prisoner of War during WWII.  This brave young man endured horrendous conditions and experienced unspeakable acts of cruelty at the hands of his captors.  Finally freed after three and a half years he was sent home, here to the United States of America.

In honor of my grandfather and so many others like him, I vote.

People, please…Take a little time to do your research before you enter the voting booth today. Know both sides of the issues.  Pay close attention to the way questions are worded.  Don’t just draw a line next to a name because you recognize it, know someone who knows the candidate, because there’s an R or D beside it or because they introduced themselves and shook your hand on your way into the building. Like politics or not, our service members gave life and limb for us to have this right. The best way to honor those sacrifices is to be there, cast an educated vote, and rock that cool little sticker they give you with American pride!

Now, it is fitting that I should also address the issue of same sex marriage.  As Americans, we are fortunate to have the freedom to vote any way we choose.

I have been performing same sex commitment ceremonies just as long as I have been performing legal marriages.  Would I like to be able to give each and every couple the same piece of paper when the ceremony is over?  You betcha.

My grandfather didn’t fight for the rights and freedoms of some American citizens.  He fought for the rights of all American citizens.

Do it for our service members, do it for the future generations, do it for yourself, do it for your country.  Get educated and vote.