Why is a deposit required to book a wedding? And why is it non-refundable?
First of all, it is to reserve and lock in your date and time. Without a deposit, another couple could request the same date and time and it alleviates such conflicts.
Secondly, once hired, I begin to work on your vows and customizing the wedding according to your wants and needs. Do you work for free? Neither do I.
Thirdly, if you have a change in plans, it prevents Swag Weddings from taking a loss through both bypassing other weddings that could have been booked and spending time preparing for a wedding that ends up not happening.
Basically it is sound business practice on my end AND a wise choice to lock in your event on your end.
When is the deposit due?
Even with one's contract received, as the contract stipulates, a deposit is required to ensure you have booked your wedding. Even if you may not hire an officiant until a couple of days before the wedding, it does not remove the contractual requirement.
The contract specifically states "A non-refundable deposit of 50% of the cost of the ceremony must be provided at the time of booking..."
Plainly stated: no deposit, no wedding.
Your deposit (and balance at the wedding) can be made by cash credit card or by PayPal. Swag Weddings does not accept checks!
Do you conduct same-sex weddings?
I do not.
Under the terms of my ministerial ordination, I may not conduct same-sex weddings or risk losing my ordination. Also, according to my personal religious beliefs and convictions (protected under Article 1 of the US Constitution), marriage is a sacred event between a man and a woman - and no other combination.
PLEASE NOTE: I provide themed or traditional wedding officiating and pre-marital counseling only; I do not provide same sex wedding officiating services. That is NOT a service offered and therefore Swag Weddings reserves the right to decline and/or refuse any requests to provide any other service(s) that are not offered or provided.
If you need or want a same-sex wedding, then Swag Weddings is not for you. There are other wedding officiants that will do them, so you do have other options. I will not impose my beliefs upon you - and therefore offer civic weddings. Nevertheless, I will not compromise my personal faith beliefs & principles under any circumstances.
For more on Swag Weddings' Statement of Belief on Marriage, Gender, & Sexuality, please click this link.
How long have you been a wedding officiant?
As a duly ordained minister, I have been conducting weddings by request since 1997. However, it has only been since 2014 that I decided to start this as a side-line venture d.b.a. Swag Weddings, and start doing them more regularly.
Do you do traditional weddings?
Of course! But I specialize in themed weddings.
Do you do civic (non-religious) weddings?
Yes. Just because someone may espouse no particular faith, that should be no reason they may not be married. Swag Weddings is here to unite you in marriage if you're in love.
Many Christian ministries (including Christians themselves overall) believe the only valid "Christian" wedding is in a church. The Bible makes no such stipulation. Biblically, marriages were mere legal contracts between families to wed their children to each other. There wasn't even any ceremony per se. Once the contract was drawn up and the dowry paid, the couple was already deemed betrothed, which was just as legally binding as being married.
The groom would prepare the home and then go and get his bride to bring her home. Sometimes there was a feast (modern wedding reception) to celebrate the union.
In terms of the history of the Church, as well as Western Civilization, state-licensure of marriages is very recent. For over 1,800 years, almost no marriages (if any) required state-licensure. A certificate of marriage or declaration of marriage or church approbation–or other such recognition–was all that was needed.
As for any religious ceremony requirements, the Bible is silent. The requirements for licenses and wedding ceremonies are legal requirements added by government and man-made tradition. While we must abide by government regulations, traditions can be discarded or changed. Therefore Swag Weddings does not believe there must be a religious ceremony.
Will you do (Catholic / Jewish / ...) weddings?
As stated above, certain "required" ceremonies are man-made requirements that are imposed by the traditions of your religious affiliation. Therefore, Swag Weddings will conduct a religious OR a civic wedding that may or may not be accepted by your religious organization. Nevertheless it is still a legal wedding. So that is ultimately a decision you must make on your own.
Will you do a prison wedding (wedding for someone incarcerated)?
I will. You should be aware that such arrangements have to be made with the prison warden in advance and my ordination title and name (Rev. Eugene J. Bolton) given to him as officiant, rather than using the Swag Wedddings name.
Couldn't we use ANY wedding officiant for a themed wedding?
You could, but I don't think the ceremony would be as good. Let me explain why you shouldn't get just any wedding officiant if you want a themed wedding:
The richness of the experience that helps to make it memorable for you is whether or not the ceremony is "real" or meaningful. To be so for a themed wedding, it takes an officiant that understands the theme and appreciates, if not participates in it.
I've seen Steampunk weddings where the officiant was just an ordinary officiant that neither dressed the part, nor adapted the language nor the ceremony to accommodate Steampunk, aethetics, ideas, or themes. And I've heard of one where a minister agreed to wear a "costume," but was not a participant in the culture.
The ceremony should include more than just the clothes. The atmosphere and even the language and vocabulary of the ceremony and the wording of the vows should be congruent with the theme.
As a wedding officiant, Swag Weddings can bring that authenticity to your very important day. I not only understand, but am a participant in Steampunk, Dieselpunk, Vintage, Gatsby, Cosplay, Swing and Electro Swing cultures. It makes sense to choose Swag Weddings as your special themed wedding officiant.
Keep in mind that I also do traditional weddings - civic or Christian!
Can we do our own vows?
Of course! However, discuss them with me in advance, so we can fit them in with the ceremony. Either way, time permitted, we will work together to come up with the vows that suit you and your event. I have several basic vows (religious and civic) to start from.
Do you require or do pre-marital counseling?
As a minister with degrees in psychology and counseling, I can and will
do pre-marital counseling. Some states (such as Tennessee) require a minimum of so many
hours pre-marital classes or counseling to receive a discount on the marriage
license. However, it is not a requirement. I do, however, strongly encourage
pre-marital counseling because marriage is one of the most difficult of all
human relationships and without some preparation or pre-marital counseling, the
likelihood of divorce is proven to be greater than among those who do receive
The State of Tennessee requires 4 hours for the discounted license. However, I personally believe that 4 hours is inadequate to address all issues and recommend 6-8 hours, at one hour per week.
Of course, there are separate fees for pre-marital counseling ($25 per 1 hour session), so I do not impose this as a requirement. I do, however, strongly encourage it to better your "odds" at marriage success.
Do you have a wedding chapel or other facility for use in weddings?
I do not. While I may suggest some public locations, the choice of the wedding venue/location is up to you.
What if I have other questions not answered here?
Email Swag Weddings for any questions.
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