General Questions

  • How long have you been in the wedding service business?

    • I’ve been servicing weddings since 1988 (30 years), first as a floral designer, then as an officiant and planner.
  • How do we meet with you?  We are not in your area.

    • Because I create a lot of destination weddings, most of our “meetings” will be via email.  Check out my website, my reviews on Yelp, Google, KCRA A-List, and Wedding Wire, check out my facebook pages, check out my pinterest boards – all to get to know me better.  We can also have a phone call or Skype, but most of my clients work well with me via email.
    • We use a client system, HoneyBook, to help us serve you better and to connect with other vendors who may work on your wedding. HoneyBook has a convenient feed/wall where we can communicate with each other.  It helps us both to not chase down emails and try to remember who said what; it keeps all of our communication in one place.  HoneyBook will notify you and us by email when one of us posts to the wall. Please respond on the HoneyBook wall.  You will also receive your Proposal, Contract, Invoice, and can make payments via HoneyBook.  Once we’ve looked over your questionnaire, we’ll send you a Proposal & Contract.Once you sign the contract and pay the fees through HoneyBook, I will get started on your wedding.  Please let me know if you need a payment schedule, as I can do that through HoneyBook.  I normally schedule two or three payments, with the first payment being a retainer to save the date. Final payment is due four weeks prior to the wedding.
  • What areas do you work in?

    • We are located in Shingle Springs, California, near Placerville, Coloma, Sacramento, and South Lake Tahoe.  Most of our weddings take place in these areas…however….we are happy to travel.  We are transparent with our costs priced out on our website, so that you know how much you will be paying.  Costs increase for time and travel, as our expenses increase with time and travel (gas, mileage and maintenance on our car, time, meals, lodging).  Many people looking for a secular officiant in California have us travel several hours each way to be sure that they have a non-religious ceremony. Recently, we have traveled to Nevada City, Lake Tahoe, and to Sardine Lake on the crest of the Sierra north of Truckee.  We have had inquiries for Mammoth Mountain (on the east side of the Sierra) and for Woodland (northwest of Sacramento). Whether we can assist you with your wedding further away depends on the circumstances.  We cannot do Friday weddings or Sunday afternoon weddings that are a great distance away, but happy to do those on Saturdays.  We can do Friday weddings in El Dorado County, Amador County, Placer County, Sacramento County, San Joaquin County, Yolo County, etc – the greater Sacramento area, generally (within 50 miles of Shingle Springs).
    • We will be planning destination pop-up weddings for this year in different areas of California – we will choose the dates, we provide you with flowers, a location (usually public), a photographer, and a swag bag – and you get a fun, adventurous wedding at a lower cost than the “typical” wedding.

Sierra & Sky Secular Wedding Officiant California Service Areas
Sierra & Sky Secular Wedding Officiant California Service Areas – Click to enlarge

Questions for the Officiant

  • Where do we get our marriage license?

    • Obtain your marriage license from any California County, no earlier than 30 days prior to the ceremony (verify with your county). Check your county’s website for more information.  You, the couple, are responsible to get the marriage license.  Usually, you go to the County Clerk/Recorder’s Office. Some counties require or request an appointment (El Dorado County recommends an appointment).  El Dorado County has two locations for you to get your license:  Placerville, and South Lake Tahoe. For El Dorado County, follow this link:  https://www.edcgov.us/CountyClerk/Marriage_License_Issuance.aspx
  • What do we need to bring with us to get the marriage license?

    • Always check with your county of issuance, before your appointment.  Most require photo identification. For El Dorado County, Marriage Licenses can be paid by Cash, Money Order or ATM ($2.50 fee) only – no credit cards!! For El Dorado County, follow this link:  https://www.edcgov.us/Government/CountyClerk/FAQ_Marriage.aspx
  • How does the marriage license get recorded?

    • After the wedding (don’t forget to bring your marriage license to the wedding!!!), once your witness(es) have signed (it’s mandatory to have one witness for a public license; optional to have two witnesses), we will complete the license and mail it back, certified mail, to the county that issued it.  Check with your county as to how long it will be before you can order an official recorded document. For El Dorado County, to obtain your recorded “legal” Marriage Certificate, you need to send a notarized application along with $15.00 for each copy you purchase. Please visit El Dorado County’s  Forms section to download an application. Please enclose a self addressed envelope for return.  For more information for El Dorado County, please follow this link:  https://www.edcgov.us/Government/CountyClerk/FAQ_Marriage.aspx
  • We don’t have much money for a wedding. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Have a simple License Signing, and follow it with a lovely meal.  Our officiant fee for License Signing is only $160 (plus $25 if you need a witness provided). If you’d like an actual ceremony, and can spend about $500, choose our Elope! Package (starting at $250), have a great meal to celebrate at one of our delicious restaurants, and stay at one of our wonderful B&Bs or historic hotels in El Dorado County.  We’ll give you suggestions for meals, lodging, and activities. I’m happy to take some non-pro photos with your cell phone and mine (most photos on this site are from my cell phone!).  It sure beats Vegas or a tired 1980s-style wedding chapel!
  • What does the Officiant fee include?  How does this work?

    • If you are interested in our services, please go to the Contact page and fill it out.  Once you do, I’ll send you a Questionnaire, which will help me to understand your vision for your wedding.  We use a client system, HoneyBook, to help us serve you better and to connect with other vendors who may work on your wedding. HoneyBook has a convenient feed/wall where we can communicate with each other.  It helps us both to not chase down emails and try to remember who said what; it keeps all of our communication in one place.  HoneyBook will notify you and us by email when one of us posts to the wall. Please respond on the HoneyBook wall.  You will also receive your Proposal, Contract, Invoice, and can make payments via HoneyBook.  Once we’ve looked over your questionnaire, we’ll send you a Proposal & Contract.Once you sign the contract and pay the fee in full through HoneyBook, I will send you  a ceremony template.  There are some mandated sections of the ceremony that are required by law; but you can choose the wording.  You are welcome to choose from any of the wording choices I provide, or provide your own wording or vows. You’ll send your choices back to me, I’ll review for flow, and I’ll create a keepsake ceremony booklet that I’ll leave with you after the ceremony.
    • I’ll check in with you the week before the wedding to confirm time, place, and directions.  I’ll arrive a minimum of a half hour before the ceremony; I’ll meet with you both, check your identification, get the marriage license from you, find out who your witness(es) are, make sure about who will have the rings.  We’ll do a quick review of what to do during the ceremony.  After the ceremony, your witness(es) will sign the license, and I’ll leave.  I’ll then make sure the license gets back to the county of issue.
    •  The Officiant fees are based on the time required by the Officiant.  This is not just the time for the ceremony, it also includes preparation work in our ceremony template, unlimited emails with you, editing the ceremony for grammar and flow and legality, creating a keepsake booklet for you, drive time, time at the ceremony, and post office time.  For a simple elopement, it takes a minimum of ten hours work. So you can see, our professional fee per hour is quite reasonable.  Prices increase with further drive time and expense (mileage rates, meals – remember, a three hour drive one-way becomes an eight hour day, and if you have an evening wedding we will need lodging) and an increased number of guests (more complexity and more work for the officiant).
    • Any permits required for your ceremony location are your expense.
  • Will you officiate a LGBT wedding?

    • Absolutely, we will be honored to officiate your LGBT wedding! Same sex marriage is legal in California, and we are overjoyed at that!
  • We’re trying to decide whether to elope or not…can you help us decide?

    • Well, it’s of course a personal decision.  However, don’t feel pressured into a traditional wedding that you can’t afford.  Weddings don’t have to be a big expensive party that cost $28,000. Modern elopements don’t necessarily mean that it’s the two of you running away to get married – although that’s romantic too.  Our elopement package includes up to ten guests, so that your parents and BFFs can attend, too.  Then, enjoy your day with a great meal, and some fun.  Eloping in this way reduces stress, financial worry, there is no big reception, and no hassle.

Questions about Planning/Concierge Services

  • I’ve heard of hotel concierges.  What is a Wedding Concierge?

    • The essence of the concierge is to provide service. A wedding concierge ensures that wedding couples and their guests have everything they need during their stay. A wedding concierge is available to couples and their guests prior to the wedding via email and telephone, and on-site at the rehearsal and/or wedding. The concierge is a local insider and is knowledgeable about the area’s historical and cultural sites, and can recommend wedding vendors, and activities and tours.  Your requests might include:
      • Local research for the wedding – doing a venue search, a caterer search, rentals search, and finding other vendors that fit the wedding couple’s needs and vision
      • Providing local event research to assist clients in choosing a wedding date
      • Staging and styling rentals
      • Attending the wedding rehearsal and/or reception and providing a concierge table, computer (if power is available), and handouts and maps for your guests, along with insider advice, directions, and pleasant conversation about the area
      • Elopements – weddings where the couple marries with little more than an officiant and a photographer, possibly with a few friends or family, often in a beautiful setting, followed by an intimate meal
      • Restaurant recommendations
      • Theater, sporting, or concert tickets advice
      • Sightseeing tours, sporting guides, and shopping excursion advice
      • Activities advice
      • Giving directions and maps to local attractions
      • Recommendations for hiring a car/limo for sightseeing or to get to the airport
      • Lodging recommendations
      • Local assistance in research and assistance during stay for needed items or services
      • Recommendations for spa, wellness, sports clubs, personal trainers
      • As requested, mailing your guests brochures, event schedules, and information about the area so they can plan a destination wedding weekend vacation
  • Do you accept commissions (kickbacks) from the vendors you work with?

    • No, never.  When we work as your Wedding Concierge, we are working for YOU at an hourly rate, and we are sourcing and recommending vendors that we believe to be the best fit for you.  We also do not believe in the “pay to play” model that some venues use, taking commissions or payments from vendors to be on their “preferred list” (beware of preferred lists – sometimes, they are truly just vendors that the venue respects – but sometimes, the vendors pay to be on the list).  When we create an all-inclusive wedding for you, or you purchase one of our packages, we are not taking a percentage of those vendors’ pay; rather, we are bundling everything, giving you something simpler than a traditional wedding, to keep your price in a reasonable range, and to reduce your stress in planning the wedding and paying only one vendor – us.  Our fee is built into the package.  Even with the bundled package, you will be signing contracts with each individual vendor, and we will pay them on your behalf as part of our package.

Questions about Wedding Flowers

  • I see you offer pick-up instead of delivery…tell me more?

    • I have created custom wedding flowers for 30 years.  I now offer lovely flowers for smaller weddings through my packages.  Generally, you might be purchasing ten centerpieces.  This is something that you can easily pick up and save yourself a delivery and set up fee.  You do NOT want to put any flowers in a trunk in the hot summer or in freezing winter temperatures; both will wilt your flowers.  The best pick-up vehicle if you are picking up centerpieces is an SUV; but if your seats fold down in the back, your sedan works too.  You just want to make sure that there is climate control (air conditioning or mild warmth (for winter).  You can always request a delivery and set-up (with a charge according to time and distance).  I no longer offer custom ceremony pieces for arches or large ceremony markers, head crowns, etc; if you want custom work that I don’t offer, I’m happy to act as a concierge for you and source custom flowers from excellent floral designers.
  • But I want _____ colors and a ______style for my wedding flowers!  But you don’t do custom flowers?

    • I don’t do big, lush, full full service custom design anymore.  BUT…I will create floral designs in your colors and your theme.  So – yes, I can help you if you are looking for personal flowers for the bridal party, aisle petals and aisle vases, and low centerpieces.  You choose your colors, and you choose your theme (garden, woodland, wildflower, rustic, a season, elegant, etc).  My packages are generally in a great price range, and I’m happy to quote you for bulk flowers if you’d like to do the centerpieces while I do the personal flowers.  The minimum for any floral purchase is $250.


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