Vendor Profile; Celia Milton; NJ Wedding Officiant
Finding the perfect person to marry you is such an important decision – after all, they will have a huge influence on setting the tone of the ceremony and beyond! You’ll want to make sure that you find someone who is willing to perform the kind of ceremony you are envisioning to make it your DREAM WEDDING. Meet our friend and wedding officiant, Celia Milton.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
I knew that there were couples who didn’t want to be married in either a religious building or the basement of a courthouse, and there was really no great alternative for them. They wanted something inspiring, fun, and meaningful, but traditional officiants just didn’t seem like a good fit. That’s where I come in!
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
I get to meet really interesting couples with love stories that are often unique, always heartwarming, sometimes, actually heartbreaking. I have the privilege of getting to know their stories and tell them to a group of people who all care for that couple deeply, but may not know them as well as they think. And I get to wear black. Everyone looks great in black.
How has the wedding industry changed since you started?
Couples have so much more information at their disposal because of the internet has made many wedding resources available to them. It’s a mixed blessing really; there are infinitely is so many more choices, so many more ideas that planning can be as confusing as it is exciting. You want a mason jar centerpiece? In five minutes you can find a hundred of them. While it’s great to have the access, I think it can become overwhelming.
What makes you different from other officiants?
Rather than taking a traditional ceremony and adding the couple’s names, I write a story about them; their meeting, their love story, their proposal. We can include their friends, their families, their music, even their dogs. It’s really a celebration of two people and two families coming together, rather than a reenactment of a historical ritual.
What are some important questions couples should ask a when hiring an officiant?
How long have you been doing this work and what is your training? Why do you love doing this work? Can we include things that we love (readings, people, pets)? How much is your fee and does it include travel, overtime, consultations? Why should I hire you? Is it going to be fun?
What was the most out of the ordinary or unique requests you’ve received from a couple?
Hmmmm….one of my recent couples wanted to whisper their vows to each other; literally no one heard them except each other. It was unusual, but it was very touching.
you have any tips for couples planning their ceremony?
Think about what is the most important to you and what make you such a unique couple. Pick a great officiant and let them know those things. Work with them, enjoy the process and relax! (But ask to see a final script so you know exactly what will be said. )
Any advice on a person having trouble writing their vows or expressing them in writing?
Your vows are not meant to be great literature. They are words from your heart; promises you make to your partner with the idea that those promises will enhance and nurture your relationship. A public acknowledgment of what you love about each other.
Here is a trick I use with my couples; take a deck of cards. Split them in half. Take your 26 cards (throw the joker out, lol!) and write one thing on each card that you love about your partner and how you’ll support that. You then have a great start to writing your vows!
Your favorite place you’ve ever done a wedding and why.
You know, that is a hard question; I did a wedding on first base at Yankee Stadium; I’ve done weddings with four people in their sweatsuits in their backyard. It’s not the place really, it’s the couple. (That being said, I did get to marry the first gay couple at the Empire State Building, thanks to Colin Cowie. It was beyond cool.)
Name three inspirations: 1 person, 1 place, 1 thing.
Anne Lamott/David Rakoff (who make me want to be a better writer) ….the Jersey Shore, (the place, not the show….for the sense of limitless possibility that horizon presents) and colored Sharpies.
What’s your current obsession right now?
Poodles. Champagne. Punctuation. (I am a total grammar freak.) Any “Sur le Jardin” perfume by Hermes.
When you aren’t doing this, what are you doing?
Hmmm….when am I not doing this, in one way or another, I’m still doing this. (Ideas come from all kinds of places when you’re not necessarily in ‘wedding mode’!) When I’m not doing this I’m either cooking or blowing glass. Or drinking champagne with my poodle, Sofie. It’s good to keep the poodle and the torch as far apart as possible.
After spending a decade in the fashion biz and another owning an upscale catering business, Celia returned to Union Theological Seminary in New York, and then Celebrant Foundation. She works with couples in NJ and NY, collaborating to create wedding ceremonies that are funny, moving, and personal, incorporating her couples’ favorite readings, music, friends….and even their dogs. She is an expert at creating new and unusual rituals that speak to her clients’ individual stories. And if you need the perfect chocolate mousse recipe, she’s got you covered!
In the six years that she has been marrying couples, she’s been featured by TLC’s “Four Weddings”, Fox 5′s “Good Day Street Talk”, Colin Cowie’s “Wings of Love”, ”Contemporary Bride”, “NJ Bride”,and “201 Magazine” and “Four Aces.com”. She is regularly quoted by industry websites and blogs.
She has won “Wedding Wire Brides’ Choice in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012″, “Best of the Knot 2011, 2012″ and been profiled on Sage Wedding Pros, Natalie Bradley’s “Bride Attraction”, Small Business Opportunities.com and So You’re EnGAYged.com.
You can follow Celia at www.facebook.com/celiamilton, www.twitter.com/njwedofficiant, and at