Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: What about COVID?

A: We have a dedicated page to that, click here. CDC guidance changes frequently, we do our best to keep this page up to date, but call if you have any questions.

Q: Are you legally able to marry us?

A: Yes, we are 100% legal. None of our team are ordained online. Please note that while New York State does not license officiants to marry couples, a proper credential is essential to perform ceremonies. New York City does require officiants to Register with them. However, that registration states right on the face of the issued document that it is only valid for ceremonies that take place physically in New York City. If you are planning a NYC wedding, know that we are all registered with the Office of the City Clerk and are happy to share our ordinations and registrations with you.

Q: “Do you have a Rabbi?”

A: Yes!

Q: “Our venue requires a Certificate of Insurance. Can you provide that?”

A: Yes!

Q: “How soon before the wedding should we be looking for an officiant?”

A: This really depends on your comfort levels. Many couples book a year and a half to two years in advance, especially if they know their date is a popular one. With an originally written ceremony, many couples like to have plenty of time to go over the draft and fine-tune what will be said. On the other hand, with the world as it is now and with plans changing, shorter notice has also become popular too. Every relationship is different. The golden rule these days is, “Whatever Works!”. But with any vendor you have your heart set on, it is always better to book early.

Q: “Why do we need a professional officiant?”

A: Because we know how to marry people! We have creative writing ability, a knowledge of options, traditions and structure, as well as a talent for public speaking. People think that it will be more personal if a friend or family member marries them…And while they do love you, they have no reference points for the task at hand. The majority of our last minute requests are from couples who enlisted a friend or family member only to realize they were in over their head and have backed out at the last minute. Another big consideration is that in New York State, legislation allowing online-ordained officiants to perform ceremonies (that cannot later be deemed invalid) has failed to pass our state legislature. We understand that many couples don’t like the idea of getting legally married at Town Hall to then have just a symbolic ceremony for family and friends at the venue. So, we offer options for those who have their hearts set on giving someone something special to do that’s more than just a reading.

Q: If we hire a professional who was ordained online (ie: through ULC or other organizations). Do they still need a NYS single-event permit?

A: Yes they do! See below:

Please note that in Legislation A 6300–A 4, which was signed into law December 28, 2023, it says: “A person who shall solemnize a marriage in violation of this shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars for each offense, and in addition thereto, his or her right to solemnize a marriage shall be suspended for ninety days.”

Q: “Do you require premarital counseling?”

A: No. Every relationship is as unique as the couple themselves and far be it from me to ever try to tell you what will work for you. That being said, two of our Church of Ancient Ways Ministers are also Licensed Clinical Social Workers, and one is a trained spiritual counselor and guide. If you are seeking relationship counseling, we can provide it.

Q: “How long do your ceremonies usually take to perform?”

A: It is up to you but we usually try to run no more than 20 minutes. Any longer than that and we run the risk of sounding like “blah, blah, blah, blah….”

Q: “What kinds of ceremonies do you perform?”

A: All kinds! Civil, Religious, Interfaith and Multi-Cultural Weddings, Commitment Ceremonies, Baby Blessings, Vow Renewals, we can even create new original writings for unique occasions! Twenty years ago, there really wasn’t a name for the kind of writing we were doing, so we started to call them “Couple Centered Ceremonies”, because we keep all the traditional aspects that you are connected to, and toss out the things that make you cringe. We are well versed in religious aspects, are culturally considerate, and have the writing skills to turn your thoughts and feelings into those personal sections that will make everyone present feel closer to you and to one another; sharing a side of you and your relationship that they wouldn’t see on any other day.

Q: “We just want a simple ceremony, do we have to meet with you for that?”

A: Not at all. You don’t have to do – or not do – anything with us. If you see your personal vows to each other as the center of your ceremony, if you are traditional and want the words you have always heard as the ones that make you married, or if you want a short and sweet civil ceremony… These are all great reasons to keep it simple. We even have an Unscripted level of service that may be perfect for your needs.

Q: “If we book with you, will YOU be the one to perform our ceremony?”

A: Yes. I have been getting this question often lately and while there are officiants who overbook and then farm out the overspill, we do not do that. If you book me you get me. If I am unavailable and you are working with one of my associates they will be the one to marry you…

With myself and all Church of Ancient Ways Officiants we Guarantee the person you hire is the one to show up on your day. Unless you choose to take a reduction in fee by not booking one particular officiant, but rather “a qualified COAW officiant”. The exception to this is COVID. If your officiant has been exposed to COVID right before your wedding. If this happens, we will replace them immediately with a team member not from their household who has everything that you have been promised in print to beautifully deliver your ceremony to you and your guests.

Q: “We are… a. Second Marriage Catholics, and/or…

b. Of Different Religions
c. More Spiritual than Religious
d. Looking for a Justice of the Peace style Civil Ceremony
e. Planning to include Multi-Cultural aspects
f. Planning to Include Our Children
g. Wondering if you knew any Klingon
…. Is this a problem?”

A: On the contrary, it is a blessing to know who you are and what is important to you. Everything that is important to you is important to us if we are to help you create a ceremony that celebrates your life and your love. We can even learn a few sentences of another language…but if it’s more than that, we recommend choosing someone fluent for the job.

Q: “We have always imagined ourselves being married by a man. Is this wrong?”

A: Not at all. You should have what you want for yourselves!

Q: “We think we want to write our own vows but aren’t sure, is that ok?”

A: Of course it is! I always say that “Life rolls in real time”. Write them anyway and if you speak them publicly or privately it will always be your choice.

Q: “How closely do you schedule your ceremonies?”

A: For our top two levels of service, we don’t schedule closer than 3 hours in between events, unless of course they are in the same town or at the same venue. Included in your time on our calendar is a buffer for “just in case”. Know that you will never lose any part of your day because we are late and we will never schedule so closely that you feel rushed in any way.

Q: “What happens if you get sick?”

A: We are very fortunate to have a wonderful team of truly gifted professionals. Should any of us have a fever or be unable to perform, we are replaced immediately with a team member who has everything you have been promised, in print, ready to knock it out of the park for you.

Q: “Do you have any restrictions on photography or video?”

A: Absolutely not, when it comes to working with other professional vendors. We want your photographer to get you the best shots possible. These pictures are how your great-great-grandchildren will know and remember you. Your vendors should all be working together to help give you the best of what we each have to offer. – With that said, many are choosing to have an unplugged ceremony where guests are asked to put their phones and camera away till after cocktail hour. If this is you… We can help!

Q: “What do your typical services include?”

A: Our services are all tailored to fit your needs and usually include:

A meeting that feels like a wonderful conversation and yields your first draft, ready for you to approve or edit.

Or, if you take the “Skip the Meeting Discount”, it’s a ceremony assembled or chosen from our sample ceremonies section.

All the email and phone support you need.

On the day of the wedding we get to the location 45 minutes to an hour before start time. Seeing us there early helps the day have a relaxed feeling. We also like to be available so that everyone who has a moving part is comfortable, and to coordinate with the other vendors and such.

We all carry our own PA system and even electricity if necessary. Yes, many halls have their own, but if not, we have you covered and ours is free! This is because hearing is important, and yelling is bad.

You get to keep the final printed ceremony book that is read from with a keepsake Certificate of Marriage.

We sign and process the real Marriage License, which is always returned using certified mail, with a copy and a tracking number provided to you.

Q: “Do you charge extra to add candle lighting, a rose element, or other ceremony elements?”

A: Never! We don’t micromanage fees and ceremony content. We’re with you for the same amount of time on the calendar no matter what you include or how big your bridal party is.

Q: “How much contact will we have with you before the wedding?”

A: As much or as little as you want. Some couples edit and finish everything themselves, then send it all back. Others want to talk about the options for every decision they make. Either way is great, however you can expect a check in call every now and then. All calls and emails are answered within 24 hours, quicker midweek when we are in the office and a little slower on the weekends when we are marrying.

Q: “What about the rehearsal?”

A: With a ceremony taking place at a catering hall, the rehearsal is run by the maitre-d. It’s usually sometime in the hour before the ceremony starts on the wedding day. That way you have everyone, including us, there already in the real space with the real dress to practice fluffing and so on. Sometimes couples go on a different night, but most don’t choose to add the cost of that time to our service. Usually, they get more information from the maitre-d who will also answer any questions you have about the whole event. Most rehearsal dinners don’t include a physical run through. However, your draft will have staging instructions and a diagram of where people stand based on when you walk.

Q: “We have our Marriage License. Can we come over and get married now?”

A: Believe it or not the answer is usually “Yes!”. As long as the 24 hour grace period from issuance that it takes to become valid has passed, you are all set! We have locations in East Northport, Plainview & Glen Cove, so give me a call and we’ll get you married!

Q: “What do you wear?”

A: We normally dress nice enough to be at a wedding, but we carry judicial robes as well. So, if you want a more formal feel or just don’t like the color outfit one of us wears that day, we go with the robe. In short, whatever you want us to wear… wait…. Theme Wedding you say???? YES! We’re in and we would love to chat about attire!

Q: “What do you need to know from us to check your availability?”

A: Date, ceremony start time, and Location. Any thoughts you already have about what you want (style, theme, religious/non religious) are welcome too. Please feel free to call any time!