10 Questions with Lori Bradley

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and highly sought-after wedding officiants in Indiana, Lori Bradley of Memories to Last a Lifetime. Indianapolis based Lori is the founder and owner of Memories to Last a Lifetime.

Memories to Last a Lifetime

Officiant - Lori Bradley

10 Questions with Lori Bradley

1. Introduction: What's your story?

I have a medical education & history in almost all specialty fields which I only use now part time. I was my husband’s hospice nurse. God has blessed me with a special life and always puts the right people in my life at the right time. Having said that. . .

Did you ever truly listen to the lyrics of Pink’s Glitter in the Air? Every couple has a story. Some couples are childhood or college sweethearts, others found the right person after a difficult first marriage, or some just want to elope. That’s why I do what I do.

My gift to brides is a vintage handkerchief to catch their happy tears. I love it when both the bride & groom need it.

2. What's your experience as a wedding officiant? How many weddings have your officiated?

If I said maybe 300 in five years, I would not be sure. I don’t keep track other than for income/expense reason for taxes. I keep my calendars, planning worksheets, and even scripts but the number means little to me because they are all important. I love large weddings but I also like the small ones for different reasons. In five years, I’ve earned the Wedding Wire’s Couples Choice award the last consecutive four years. That tells my story.

3. How far in advance do couples need to secure your services?

I certainly understand couples pick their venue or their photographer first because all this is based on their budget or the type of service they want to have. But, oh my goodness. The service is the reason for that expensive celebration! The right Officiant’s calendar books up quickly as well. Some brides select me a year out, or others six months, but I’ve had several that were lucky to find me available for a service a month from their service.

4. How would you describe your officiant style?

Real. I’ve had DJs that didn’t bring the right sound system and wanted me to speak loudly. Nope. Can’t do it because that would change the tone of the service. Some couples want a light, funny service—I’ve seen those wedding videos. That’s not me. One of the first things I do once the couple is in front of me right before I do the Welcome, we whisper to shake off the nerves. A videographer started his film with my whisper, ‘isn’t she beautiful.’ I nearly cried when I saw it.

5. What are your fees for officiating a wedding?

My fee is based on the type of service, venue, location due to travel, etc. A service can be $200-$350 or an elopement ranges from $75-125. But what I do is months of conversations, whether it is the first consult then onto texts/phone calls/emails. While I am a certified planner, I prefer to make suggestions and just give them the service they’ve dreamed of, there’s not enough time in my life for dealing with all the other vendors and what ifs. My efforts focus on getting to know the couple, creative efforts with script development, answering questions, rehearsal, reminders, service, and license completion.

6. What do you wear when you officiate a wedding?

I’ve dressed in suits or dresses depending on the venue and always appropriately.

7. How many pre-wedding sessions will the couple need to have with you?

Inquiries may begin as texts or screening phone calls. Consultations can be limited to one phone call for couple to select me or it’s an I person meeting, or a video call. The key is comfortability for them as well as myself. We all want good connections.

8. Will you be able to create a personalized ceremony?

Always. Part of my consultation is asking questions so I know what’s important to include. My service script draft has options from Processional to Recessional. I create scripts for elopements as well. While there is a standard order, there are no rules so I do it right for them.

9. Are you available to travel if needed?

I serve Indiana and often travel to Ohio & Illinois for the right situation. My fee needs to better cover all my expenses. It doesn’t. I’ve seen other Officiants charge crazy large fees. I just cant. I think I’m doing this for all the right reasons.

10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

My deposit is nonrefundable but I am willing to work with my couples for date changes when possible. As a service, my deposit is to cover my effort prior to the service. It means I’ve put you on my calendar. If a couple cancels or changes their date, Ive lost that date that could have gone to someone else. The pandemic caused chaos for so many. I understand lost income or how some had expenses they couldn’t cover which may have caused them a bankruptcy or to close their business. But the other side to that is also couples’ dreams. I’ve heard horror stories on both sides of the issue. Many of us wedding professionals have had couples who changed their date two or three times. Key is for couples comfortable with easy clauses, reading thru my website, completion of the contract reservation form. I can’t agree to Terms if they aren’t spelled out.

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Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2020