I want you to know that I am an ordained Chaplain and I can legally perform weddings in Florida and I hold an earned graduate Theological degree from a Christian Bible college. I performed my first marriage when a buddy of mine asked me to perform his wedding, as he knew I graduated from Bible College. I told him I knew nothing about performing weddings and he replied that "I should find out how to legally perform a wedding ceremony for him and his bride to be". I found that I enjoyed the wedding "business" and a new chapter in my life was to be written. I even built my own wedding website for the Internet and a "business was born" for under $100.
I graduated from Bible College and looked for a position in a Christian school or a church. I was unsuccessful and felt maybe that was not in the "cards" so to speak or it was not my calling. If any of you have attended churches you will know about all the strife and in-fighting that goes on inside the church. I do not care what denomination you are as many of the same things go on everywhere.
I also attended Palm Beach State College for two years and I had a dual major. I took computer science and I was a business major and I have 74+ credit hours from the school. Building a website for the wedding business was very different from the training I took in computer school. I do all my own work to keep the costs of the business down and I do not charge a lot like some of the competition.
What is really funny is that the business curriculum in school required me to take speech to graduate from this college. I really considered speech to be a useless waste of money and time, just like music class, and I hated it at the time.
Even if you are the same denomination of a church you have different branches of that denomination that seem to be at war with each other over petty things and doctrines. Take for example the Baptists; you have the Southern Baptists, northern Baptists and the independent Baptists. They do not recognize each other's schools and it seems they fight over very unimportant things. I speak from experience as I attended one of their Bible colleges and I know their doctrines quite well. I hold a graduate degree from one of their schools, so I know a little about this.
The speech course I took in public state college has ended up being the most useful class out of all the many classes that I took in school. Public speaking is fundamental for being a wedding officiant and performing marriages, so the class that I hated the most has ended up being the class that I use the most. Performing weddings in front of a large group of people is actually very easy for me now. I used to be deathly afraid of public speaking at one time before I took the class in college on speech. So the speech course has served me very well over the many years I've been performing weddings.
I was very nervous the first you weddings that I performed and people would ask me questions on things of what they should do. So I bought some books on weddings and wedding etiquette and I read up on it. I had to perform some wedding rehearsals and people always looked to me as the expert, even when I was not and I had to learn very quickly. I did a lot of Internet research in those days and I found out a lot about marriage and weddings.
In Bible college one of the classes that I took was premarital counseling and it was almost 100% Bible-based. So I would like to think that I have a solid background in marriage and weddings. It seems like most the couples that are getting married now already have children and have had several marriages between the two of them. I am nonjudgmental and I've made many, many mistakes in my life. In high school I was very wild, smoked a lot of pot and was voted most likely to "go to hell". I am only half kidding about that if you only knew me in high school. So I'm not one to judge you with the past that I lead and lived.
I enjoy performing weddings and being part of somebody's special day it is almost always a happy occasion. I especially enjoy doing weddings for middle-class and working people as I always see them smile and with great happiness on their wedding day. Wealthy people who have never worked a day in their life sometimes seem to be quite miserable on their wedding day. I don't know why that is but it is often true and I've seen it too many times. I've performed weddings at some of the five star hotels in Palm Beach County and Palm Beach Island. I've been asked to perform weddings at the Breakers Hotel and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. These are both five star hotels in Palm Beach, Florida.
I have been performing weddings since 2002 and I have literally done hundreds of them. When I first started officiating at weddings it seems I was doing mostly formal weddings at country clubs and nice upscale hotels with beautiful decorated ballrooms. I was also doing beach weddings at this time but they were in the minority and well under 50% of the total weddings performed in the early part of the 21st century. Now it seems like 90% of the weddings I perform our budget beach weddings.
The public beach is a wonderful place to have a romantic marriage ceremony by the Atlantic Ocean with your feet in the sand by the seashore. My area of expertise is the Southeast Florida area and South Florida as I travel all the way north to Stuart, Jupiter, and West Palm Beach. I also travel all the way south to Hollywood, Ft. Lauderdale, Deerfield Beach, Boca Raton and Delray Beach. I can travel to any of these areas to perform a wedding.
I know of local wedding chapels that can be rented as well as public parks, gardens as well as public beaches to have wedding ceremonies at. I also know of some unusual settings for weddings such as the Jupiter lighthouse. I am always happy to give the brides and grooms ideas for their weddings and help them take a wedding venue for their upcoming nuptials. I do not want to be a professional wedding planner, but I do like giving suggestions and helping the bride and groom plan their upcoming wedding.
There are many wonderful beaches here in South Florida to have your wedding at. The beach can make a wonderful venue on which to have your ceremony. There are many public beaches to choose from here in South Florida for your wedding. Beach weddings are extremely popular right now due to the fact that you do not have to pay to use them. Some of the beaches to require paid parking but that is usually quite reasonable. But compared to renting a hall for hundreds or thousands of dollars the beach can be the ticket you need for a romantic ceremony that does not bust the bank.
I have become somewhat of an expert on beach weddings as I've been up all the local beaches with the cities and the county. Depending upon what beach you use different rules can apply. Some beaches require a permit for a wedding, while other beaches do not require a permit for weddings. Depending upon if you have a large or a small wedding party on the beach, a permit, may or may not be necessary. For small groups of people a permit for a wedding on the beach can be a large expense and is not necessary. For large groups of people that are gathering for a wedding on the beach a permit can be a necessity and be very useful as it guarantees you a spot on the beach.
You cannot kick people off the public beach for your wedding. Once you get set up and you have a permit the local permit issuing authorities have assured me verbally that you have the right to use the beach for your function and wedding event. So local townsfolk do sometimes get involved with weddings on the beach as spectators. Parking can sometimes be an issue and it is often a good idea to have a limousine for the bridal party. Out-of-town bridal party guests can get lost and it is a good idea to have a driver who knows the area that can shuttle them around.
One of the problems with the beach wedding this you have to consider the weather as it can be hot as it usually is in South Florida and sometimes it rains. The wintertime is a very popular time for beach weddings for people from up north. People from the cold frigid north will come to visit sunny South Florida in the winter to escape the cold and enjoy their wedding vacation and honeymoon. So we are usually very busy in the winter. During the summer it seems like we are doing more inside formal weddings for local people. But the summer is not nearly as busy as winter for weddings and you have many snowbirds down here.
When I first started doing weddings and marrying people I was just performing my function as clergy or minister or officiant. I desperately wanted pictures of the brides and grooms that I performed weddings for so that I could remember who they were. Sometimes a number of year's later brides and grooms would call me and ask me to do a vowel renewal and I found myself unable to recall who they were as I had done so many weddings. So I purchased a Nikon camera that was a digital SLR and I started taking my own pictures for my website and of the brides and grooms for future reference.
When the brides and grooms would invite me to the reception dinner often times I would bring my Nikon camera and take pictures of the guests while the professional photographer that they hired would take pictures of the bridal party and the immediate family. This was how I became involved in wedding photography and I upgraded my Nikon camera equipment. I have probably taken a minimum of 40,000 pictures of weddings, landscapes, people and children.
I know for a fact that I've taken well over 25,000 pictures of just weddings that I've attended and I have built an extensive portfolio in a very short period of time. Compared to many professional photographers I have a great deal of experience in taking wedding pictures and wedding photography. Many of the brides and grooms have given me compliments on my being a wedding photographer. As a matter of fact the very first camera that I bought a Nikon D-40 was used as my beach wedding camera and I basically wore out the shutter as it is only rated for 50,000 images or pictures. I no longer use this camera due to the fact that it has had so much heavy usage that I can no longer depend upon it for professional use for wedding photography.
I have since upgraded my camera equipment with Nikon professional cameras and lenses. I know for a fact that you cannot have just one camera due to the fact that you must have redundant equipment in case of catastrophic equipment failure. When you are shooting a wedding can you tell the bride and the groom to stop in the middle of the ceremony due to the fact that your camera quits? No, you must have at least two cameras that can do the job in case one of them quits due to failure.
I really enjoy photography as a hobby as I go out to the beach and take pictures of the ocean and sunrises and sunsets. I also enjoy taking pictures of animals and people and especially children. But when I'm taking wedding pictures then know that I'm acting as a professional. You do not get a second chance to get wedding pictures, so you must be prepared. You need to have the right equipment and know-how to use it as well is be in the right spot as you are available to get those wedding pictures.
I had some friends that were serious about film photography back in the old days and you never knew what you had in the way of the pictures you have taken until you have developed your film. What is really nice about these digital cameras is that a few seconds after you've taken your pictures you can review them. You can make adjustments and retake another picture if the first one is not favorable. For example when you are taking group shots or rather grew pictures of say at least a dozen people I can guarantee you that at least one or two people in the group will blink. So it's always a good idea to take 4 or 5 pictures of the group so that you can pick the best one or two to give to the bride and groom.
The type of equipment that you would use for taking digital pictures for a wedding is quite different than what you would use for taking pictures of what say animals or landscapes. Different situations call for different equipment requirements and you must plan accordingly.
Canon and Nikon are the two major professional camera manufacturers and I settled on Nikon. The reason I picked Nikon equipment was due to the fact that I really like their lenses and their ground glass. The wedding customers are all familiar with the famous Nikon name and when they see the camera they have confidence that you have what it takes to get the job done right the first time.
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