1. Introduction: What's your story?
Hello, I'm Vickie Michels, the owner of Loving Vows which I started in 2005. I started officiating weddings due to my love for bringing people together. I am a true romantic at heart, I believe that a wedding ceremony needs to express the love of the couple and share that love with their family, friends, and witnesses. I enjoy helping every couple create a wonderful and memorable day, this is the day they join in the bonds of matrimony. Love is for eternity; I know this is true due to my loss. I took a break of seven years due to the death of someone I loved dearly. His death although tragic has reaffirmed in my heart and soul that marriage creates a bond that lasts forever. Once my heart mended, I decided to start officiating ceremonies again. Yes, I still love helping each couple achieve their dream ceremony.
2. What's your experience as a wedding officiant? How many weddings have your officiated?
I have officiated over three hundred ceremonies in my time as an Officiant. I think most of the ceremonies I officiate are on the beaches of Oregon. Most are during the warm summer months, but I have stood in the blasting rain on the beach with a couple to fulfill the vision they had for their wedding. They loved the rain and the beach, so making their ceremony happen as they wanted was important to me.
One wedding stands out above all others, the story isn’t mine to tell but I can say that the bride wrote a review which I posted on the Home page of my website, www.lovingvows.com. The couple had a dream to have their officiant would start their wedding with a nod to “The Princess Bride” and mention “The Dark Crystal”. I was very happy to make their dream ceremony come true. Weddings are a combination of part dream, part reality, and the belief in love.
3. How far in advance do couples need to secure your services?
Although I would love to have some time to get to know and write a couple’s ceremony. I am happy to officiate a short-notice, same-day ceremony. I have plenty of pre-written ceremonies that couples can choose from for couples that want or need to have their wedding officiated on short notice. A ceremony doesn’t need to be devoid of personalization just because the couple contacts me just hours before they are holding their ceremony. Couples can include vows they have personally written, they can add a reading or a unity ceremony. I am a very flexible person, I think a wedding (elopement, vow renewal) ceremony is meant to be fluid.
4. How would you describe your officiant style?
My officiating style is professional, yet calming for most couples. I conduct myself in a manner that is expected of a person holding my position. However, by no means does that mean I can not create a relaxed and dare I say fun experience. Weddings should not be stressful, with the right person conducting and officiating the ceremony; the wedding day can be truly an enjoyable and relatively stress-free experience. I try to pitch in when possible to reduce the stress on the couple.
Officiating weddings is not about just showing up with a script and then reading it in front of the couple. It is about creating an experience that is full of smiles, laughter, and joy. Reaffirming to the couple that they have nothing to worry about, that the ceremony will be beautiful, and that the memories will be wonderful. I take great pride in my ability to create a mood of calm, a ceremony that touches the heart, and the experience to know how to accomplish it all, with grace.
5. What are your fees for officiating a wedding?
My fees are as follows:
All of my meetings are complimentary, no matter if it is the first or the 5th time we have met. I enjoy meeting couples in person when possible, however, I am perfectly at ease with virtual meetings or corresponding via email and text.
Rehearsals conducted on the ceremony day have a fee of $50.00
Rehearsals conducted a day or more prior to the ceremony have a fee of $150.00
The Reservation Fee is $200, this is applied toward the total amount of the ceremony. The remaining amount of the fee is due 1 month prior to the elopement, vow renewal, or wedding ceremony.
The ceremony packages are all-inclusive, including reading/poems, unity celebrations, ceremony script changes/rewrites, add your personal vows, it is your wedding, elopement, or vow renewal; it should be all about your love and your journey.
The Elopement or Vow Renewal ceremony package options for 2023; all have a Guest limit of 10 guests and have a thoughtful caring and romantic ceremony written, Option 1 is $300. This ceremony is to be held locally at a place of the couple's choosing.
Option 2 - has the about mentioned plus a single Rose or Carnation each as the first wedding gift or is for the vow renewal for the love they share, this option is $350. Does not have a location limitation.
Option 3 - replaces the two single flowers for a bouquet and a boutonniere for the couple, this option is $450.
The 2023 Wedding or Vow Renewals Ceremony options have no guest limit or location limits.
Option A - is simple and sweet with a warm, sweetly romantic, and caring ceremony written. For $400.
Option B - has the previously mentioned ceremony plus, a bouquet and a boutonniere for the couple, this option is $450.
6. What do you wear when you officiate a wedding?
I have a small variety of attire, a simple black suit, a black dress with a matching long jacket, and my black robe which can be worn with or without the white wedding stole.
However, if you would prefer a more informal or relaxed look, then I can wear a long cardigan sweater with a simple pastel-colored blouse with black or grey slacks.
I believe that you as the couple should decide on my attire for your ceremony.
7. How many pre-wedding sessions will the couple need to have with you?
Since quite a few of the couples I have worked with in the past came from other states or countries, I do not make a meeting in person or virtually a requirement. I do, however, stay in contact with the couple by whatever means are comfortable for them. I will work with a couple in the way that is best for them; for example, I have conducted a virtual meeting at 2 am PST; due to the couple being in another country. It was convenient for them at that time so I made it a priority to meet with them. Flexibility and truly enjoying the ability to create wonderful memories for couples are what drive me.
8. Will you be able to create a personalized ceremony?
Yes, of course! Weddings are not cookie-cutter occasions. A ceremony (vow renewal, wedding, elopement) is personal, it is about a particular couple’s love, and it’s unique. No, two people love exactly the same, their stories are all unique, just like the people. Even, my example ceremonies are meant to be changed and altered as the couple desires.
I have tons of ideas, suggestions, and examples for couples to express their likes, dislikes, and their absolute loves. I have created several ceremonies with movie references in them or were theme ceremonies. All of the unique creative ideas, stories, and events in a couple’s life are what make it special.
9. Are you available to travel if needed?
I will drive anywhere in the state of Oregon to fulfill your ceremony dream. Want to get married on the top of the Astoria Column, at the Lewis and Clark Memorial, Hoyt Arboretum, Fort Stevens State Park in front of the Peter Iredale, Passages of the Deep Aquarium at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor, Vista House, Silver Falls State Park, Willamette Heritage Center at The Mill. These are but a handful of places in the boundless beauty of Oregon, of which a couple may choose to wed. What is your dream wedding location? I’ll see you there!
10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
If you cancel your ceremony prior to one month of the set ceremony date then only the reservation fee for the (wedding, elopement, or vow renewal) ceremony will be non-refundable. Therefore, If you cancel your ceremony within four weeks before your set ceremony date then the full amount is due to me. Unless the cancellation is due to a new pandemic. Then, I will refund your fees. However, if you just need to reschedule the date of your wedding/elopement/vow renewal. Then I am happy to do my best to accommodate your request. On the off chance I cannot accommodate the change in your ceremony date, then I will refund all the fees you have paid except the reservation fee.