Wedding Disaster!

Here is an actual email that I received from a tearful bride. The only changes I've make to it are to protect her privacy.


Hi Pastor Bill,

Thank you for checking in.  I did receive the copy of the ceremony you sent me after we spoke on the phone last week.  As it turns out, we do need a minister for June 30th.  This Saturday.  The minister who was supposed to perform the ceremony this Saturday bailed out on us last minute.  We were really counting on him because he was only charging us $150.  This is what we had set aside for it.  Our budget is really small and we are only having a reception because my Fiance's father worked with the guy who gave us the use of the party room  for free.  And my dress was made by my father.  And everything has been done on a very, very small budget.  We don't have money.  We really need a minister for this Saturday we have invited 20 people to celebrate our wedding, and we really wanted to get married on this date because it has such a special meaning to us.  I know when we spoke on the phone you said that you charge $xxx, but I was wondering if it could be possible that you could do us a huge favor and lower the price a bit.  Or if we could do some sort of payment plan with you.  And you could perform the ceremony for us on Saturday.  It is in Glendale Queens at 6PM.  I'm begging you from the bottom of my heart.  I am on the verge of tears right now, I can't believe that the other minister flaked out on us this way.  And this late into it.

Please let me know if you are still available for that date and if you are willing to work with us.  my phone number is 646 330 xxxx.


Sheella M



By the time I received this email, another bride had already booked me for this day, and I was unable to help. I don't know how the story ended.

My reason for sharing this is to encourage you to keep everything in perspective and not to have unrealistic expectations. If someone is giving you a price that is "too good to be true", well, then you can figure there is a reason. For instance, why would someone charge less than half of what most others are charging for the same service?

Some people wonder how a "twenty minute ceremony" could cost so much. It's that you're not just paying for the ceremony, but preparation time, travel time - and perhaps most importantly, the intangible people and speaking skills that any good officiant brings to the task - to say nothing of punctuality and dependability, etc.

On the web once I saw one bride commenting to another about wedding officiants that "They read from a book. Any monkey could do it." Really, it's not that easy. Sometimes just finding the venue is difficult. Sometimes the traffic is impossible and you have to make a new plan. Sometimes people in the wedding party are at odds over ceremony decisions. Sometimes the sound system fails. Sometimes the bride has had a little too much to drink. Sometimes someone in the bridal party faints or knocks over a lit candle. These are situations that most monkeys just can't handle well - but which, on the other hand, I have managed to handle. 

It's a big expensive day, and I agree with you if you think it's way out of whack. I don't know how to avoid the problem in the NY metro area either. All I know is that scrimping on the wedding officiant can lead to some serious nail biting. In the end, it's the day you're getting married. By definition one of the most important days of your life. The expense is somewhat unavoidable - but hopefully the joy of celebrating with family and friends will make it all worthwhile in the end!

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Pastor Bill serves families in the Greater New York area including Long Island (Nassau County and Suffolk County), Queens, Brooklyn, New York City (Manhattan), and Westchester County. If you’re thinking of using a Judge for your wedding, or a Justice of the Peace – or if you’re thinking of going to city hall for your wedding – or perhaps you’re working on a last minute wedding plan – in any case, Pastor Bill would love to speak with you. Pastor Bill is also available for families that have suffered the loss of a loved one and are planning a funeral.

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