• Frequently Asked Questions •
I’m here to personalize your wedding ceremony and make it an amazing experience you will never forget! I know the process may seem overwhelming and confusing at times, but allow me to answer some common questions to make this a little easier for you and your partner.
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Why should we hire you, Dean?
When it comes to hiring an officiant you get what you pay for. I have 22 years’ experience creating one-of-a-kind, personalized and creative ceremonies. 90% of all weddings performed by officiants these days are scripted. Your names are plugged into the blank line and 20 minutes later your wedding is ready. The average time I take to write your wedding is approximately two hours. It’s a one-of-a-kind creation.
Do we meet with you?
Of course!! Developing a relationship with my couples is my number one priority. We will meet as many times as necessary via Skype, phone, or Face-to-Face depending upon the distance. I want you to be comfortable with every choice as we plan your ceremony. I am your guide who will make suggestions, but it’s of utmost importance to me that you take ownership over your wedding. I want to do nothing more than what you desire.
Should we have a rehersal?
A rehearsal is not necessary if you have a small wedding party. However, if you have a processional that includes family members, bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearers, It would be wise to have a rehearsal.
We only want a simple little wedding with less than 10 guests, do you officiate those types of ceremonies?
I have performed weddings with two people on the beach and 300 guests at the Four Seasons. It doesn’t matter to me. I pour my heart and soul into every wedding I officiate.
We have creative ideas . . . Are you okay with that?
The wedding ceremony is yours!! The only rule I have is that I must sign your wedding license to make you legally married. I say . . . GO FOR IT!!
We've never done this. HELP!
No worries!! Many couples ask me to be their guide in helping them develop a meaningful wedding. In our planning meetings, I ask lots of questions, make suggestions, and help you put together a personalized, one-of-a-kind wedding. Additionally, I know many beautiful locations if you are looking that perfect “Spot.”
We prefer a Non-Religious Ceremony, are you comfortable with that?
I have performed as many religious ceremonies as I have non-religious. As I said, “I want what you want, nothing more, nothing less.” You will get the same effort from me regardless.
We have children from previous marriages / relationships and want them included. Can that be done?
Absolutely!! Children of the bride or groom can easily be included into the ceremony. There are several options for this, and we will do everything possible to make your family feel special if that’s your desire. This is not uncommon and always a touching moment in the ceremony.
What do we do with the Marriage License?
Once you have applied and received the license, your job is done. Bring the license to the wedding and I will gather the necessary, legal signatures. I usually mail the license to the county clerk within 24 hours after the wedding. Processing can take from anywhere from one to eight weeks depending on the county in which you are registered and the time of year.
How do we pay you?
There is a $100 non-refundable deposit to book your date. Then, depending on which package you choose final payment is due two weeks prior to your ceremony.
Is there a contract?
Yes. I take care of all the business of your wedding in a professional manner. The contract is very simple, but takes care of the important issues.
What about tipping?
Gratuities are an extra amount which says, “Job well done!” I graciously accept them but they are NOT expected or solicited.
“Dean far exceeded our expectations for our wedding day!! We wanted a meaningful ceremony; not boring too long. But Dean took the time to get to know my fiance and I, which made the wedding meaningful, fun, and memorable. Dean promised no canned scripts, but instead, a new creation personalized uniquely for us. You will not find a better wedding officiant in Southern California than Mr. Merrill. Thanks Dean!! You’re the best!!”- WENDI BUTLER