1. Introduction: What's your story?
Hello! I'm Rev. Brian Weis! For much of my life, I felt a keen interest in spirituality and a desire to aid others. Because I recognize the validity of all spiritual paths, and because I myself practice a non-mainstream tradition, I eventually sought interfaith ordination. I've been a trained and ordained interfaith minister since 2006, and I received Pagan/Heathen Clergy training in 2009 as well.
The most wonderful of a minister's responsibilities is, of course, uniting a couple in love. I approach this responsibility with equal parts devotion and humor -- devotion because the act is sacred, and humor because your special day should be filled with joy and mirth.
The main thing I do is personalize your ceremony by telling your Love Story -- as I work with the two of you, I suss out special details so that I can tell your guests your particular story, in your own words. Next, because I firmly believe that attending a wedding ceremony as a guest is equivalent to putting one's stamp of approval on the union, all my ceremonies include the Blessing of Friends. For this Blessing, I call upon everyone present to bless the relationship they are witnessing; for example, while you face your guests, I ask them: "Will you join this couple in times of celebration, and lift them up in their distress, not choosing one over the other?"
As an interfaith minister who also trains other interfaith ministers, I have a variety of resources and experiences to bring the proper tone and spirituality, or none at all, to your special day. I have worked with many different couples and you could say my specialty is mixed spiritualities and traditionally non-traditional. Even with my so-called non-traditional stance, I also love ceremonies that seek to celebrate cultural background through honest expressions of family, ethnic, and historic traditions.
Finally, you should know that I can support, and recommend, an Unplugged Wedding -- in which guests are asked to put their cell phones and cameras away so they focus on being present for you.
One of my beloved mentors used and recommended the Prepare/Enrich program for premarital counseling, so I also became a certified Prepare/Enrich facilitator. Even now, I request that my couples at least do the Prepare/Enrich inventory with me, even the ones who decline premarital counseling. The inventory is not a test; it is a tool to identify Relationship Strengths and Growth Areas, which can be a wonderful means of self-discovery for you! The main reason I suggest doing Prepare/Enrich is because it helps me to ensure I give you not only a beautiful ceremony, but also the tools for a long, successful marriage.
2. What's your experience as a wedding officiant? How many weddings have your officiated?
After 27 months of training and study, I was ordained by the School of Sacred Ministries in December 2006. That training was put into action right away as my own sister asked me to officiate her January 2007 wedding. Since then, I had tried to do at least a few weddings each year even while working full time as a technical writer. After my position with a local ecommerce company was eliminated in early 2015, I decided to explore other options and I founded Your Mythic Life as the base of operations for my ministry work.
Although I did return to being a full time technical writer by the end of that year, working through Your Mythic Life and my experience as Administrator for the School of Sacred Ministries gave me new visibility as a minister in Bucks and Montgomery Counties. I have had the privilege of working with many different couples:
- Agnostic Bride and Lapsed Catholic Groom;
- Pagan-Leaning Bride and culturally Christian Groom from a devout Methodist Family;
- Nominally Christian Bride and Muslim Groom;
- A couple privately practicing and exploring Wicca/Neo-Paganism;
- A Roman Catholic couple who wanted to get married outside the church;
- Heathen (Asatru) Bride and Secular Groom;
- A Spiritual but not Religious couple; and
- A Christian Groom and a Pagan Groom.
My last technical writing position was terminated in February 2019. And so, after nearly 28 years in corporate America, I decided it was time to focus more on my ministry. I am now a distance student pursuing a Master of Divinity in Interreligious Chaplaincy through United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities. While I am learning about chaplaincy, I am also teaching my classmates -- and a few of my instructors -- about interfaith work and ritual. Of course, I still take on weddings between assignments. Working with wonderful couples keeps me grounded!
3. How far in advance do couples need to secure your services?
While I have jumped in to do a wedding with no more than a week's notice, I must say that it's good to reach out at least two to three months in advance. This gives sufficient time for an initial consult, the Prepare/Enrich inventory, and a few ceremony planning meetings before the big day.
The earlier you connect with me, the better your chances of getting on my schedule -- with my administrative duties for the School of Sacred Ministries, my technical responsibilities with my small professional theater, and my own graduate coursework, my short-term calendar can be difficult to negotiate!
4. How would you describe your officiant style?
I hope that my style comes across as holy and humorous. As I mentioned earlier, I approach the responsibility of being an officiant with equal parts devotion and humor -- devotion because the act is sacred, and humor because your special day should be filled with joy and mirth. Let's create a ceremony that ensures that your guests come to know the delight of your relationship!
5. What are your fees for officiating a wedding?
Everything starts with the Initial Consultation, for which there is no charge. This is a meeting, either in person or via Zoom, during which we all determine whether I am the best fit for your needs and how we can work together. This is also where I provide an overview of the options I can provide for your ceremony. This discussion helps all of us to get a sense of each other. This is so important to me, particularly in helping me understand your wants and needs when it comes to the big day.
If we choose to work together, I require a $100 deposit, which secures your spot on my calendar. Balance is due on your wedding day. The total fee depends on what we collaboratively decide to include in your ceremony.
Every wedding ceremony is personalized, and what I do for you includes but is not limited to:
* Unplugged Ceremony -- As I previously mentioned, I can support, and I recommend, an unplugged wedding. But I do add a twist: When the full wedding party is assembled, I make certain you and your partner turn to face everyone, and then I give your guests "one chance to get the photo you really want." After that, of course, I direct them to put their phones and cameras away again and rely on your hired photographer.
* The Love Story -- This is a personalization that I do for every wedding ceremony. Through our meetings and a directed questionnaire, I learn about your relationship so that I can tell your love story, in your own words, during the wedding ceremony. This is fun and deeply moving for all involved.
* Blessing of Friends -- This is where I call upon the guests to acknowledge their support for the couple.
* Symbolic Acts -- Handfasting and exchanging rings are examples of symbolic acts in a wedding ceremony, but they are far from the only options. I have included many different acts such as Unity candle, Presentation of gifts to parents/children/etc., Memorializing loved ones who have passed on, Jumping of the Broom, Honeymoon toast, Wine Ceremony, and Blending of Sands to name just a few!
6. What do you wear when you officiate a wedding?
My standard attire for a wedding these days is a suit and a simple stole. In the past, I have worn a basic alb. And for my more Pagan-leaning couples, I have something akin to Nordic garb.
7. How many pre-wedding sessions will the couple need to have with you?
This is largely up to the couple, and the allotted time. My ideal scenario includes a minimum of 3 to 5 meetings:
- Initial Consult
- Meeting to review Prepare/Enrich results
- 2 to 3 planning sessions.
And you can call, email, or text me as often as you feel the need!
8. Will you be able to create a personalized ceremony?
I live for co-creating a personalized ceremony. I'll bring plenty of ideas to the table, but I hope you will be inspired to share your own creativity as well.
9. Are you available to travel if needed?
I'm open to the discussion. One of my dreams is to officiate a wedding during San Diego Comic Con -- possibly in full cosplay!
10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?
Hey, things happen. And if 2020 has taught us anything, it is that sometimes huge things are way beyond our personal control. So, an agreement with me can be canceled as follows:
- If the Wedding is totally canceled (a “Cancellation”), The Minister shall keep the non-refundable deposit as well as any additional payments made or due under this Agreement as liquidated damages and not as a penalty;
- If the Wedding is postponed/rescheduled, and The Minister is available to provide the agreed upon services, all parties involved may amend this Agreement to the rescheduled date, but must first discuss any additional fees, including fees for rescheduling travel.
- If the Wedding is postponed/rescheduled, and The Minister is not available to provide the agreed upon services, it shall be considered a Cancellation. The Minister shall keep the non-refundable deposit and payments due under this Agreement as liquidated damages and not as a penalty.
- If the Couple wishes to end this contract for any other reason, it shall be considered a Cancellation, and The Minister shall keep the non-refundable retainer and any additional payments made or due under this Agreement as liquidated damages and not as a penalty.
Upon a Cancellation, The Minister has no further liability to perform services.