Where do you perform your ceremonies?
I’m not tied to any particular venue. I perform ceremonies anywhere in Ohio, West Virginia or Pennsylvania, but most frequently in Akron, Canton, Cleveland, Medina, Kent and the surrounding areas in Summit, Stark, Cuyahoga, Medina and Portage counties, respectively. Most ceremonies I perform take place at party centers, country clubs, hotels, B&Bs, state parks, restaurants and wineries, or at the couple’s home or another private residence. (Here are some of my favorites!) On the more exotic side, I’ve performed ceremonies at museums and historical sites, campgrounds, dive bars, an airport hangar, home plate at Progressive Field, the base of a waterfall, the stage of a 1,000-seat concert venue, an old-timey covered bridge, a treehouse and multiple zoos. If you're still looking for a venue and none of my favorites suit your needs, get in touch with me for some recommendations.
How much do you charge?
My fee varies based upon the complexity of the ceremony and the distance of the ceremony venue from my home in Canton, Ohio. While my rates are competitive, I’m not the cheapest option by far. Cheap goods and services are cheap for a reason – because they are shamefully inferior. Be wary of anyone who will perform your ceremony for an astoundingly low price, as one gets what one pays for.
We have X people attending our wedding. How much do you charge for a wedding that large?
I don’t charge more money for more attendees. Some folks do, and I think it’s terribly lame. Whether it’s just two people (namely, the two of you) or 2,000 people, the amount of effort – and thus, my fee – remains the same.
What makes your wedding ceremonies different?
A church wedding is all wrong for couples who aren’t religious. I provide a secular alternative to church weddings. A justice of the peace offers the same alternative, but the resulting ceremony is dry, short and not custom-written to reflect your tastes, your beliefs and your unique story.
What does your typical ceremony consist of?
To understand it fully, you'll need to visit my page on ceremony theory.
We’re having our wedding in a church – can you still perform the ceremony?
Churches almost always require that ceremonies within their walls be performed by an ordained member of that church's religious order. That being said, I’m happy to perform a wedding ceremony anywhere, church or otherwise, if such arrangements can be made.
We wrote our own ceremony – will you simply recite it?
No. The words I speak during a wedding ceremony directly reflect on me personally, professionally and artistically. As such, I won’t simply read a ceremony someone else has written, even if it's a very good one.
Can we write our own vows?
Absolutely! If the combination of public speaking and public heart-wearing-on-your-sleeve doesn't spook you too badly, then I encourage you to write and recite your own wedding vows.
We don't want to say vows - can we just say "I do?"
I know that television and movie weddings are full of examples of this, but it's not actually a standalone thing. That affirmation is known as the “declaration of consent,” which typically occurs after the couple says their vows. Instead of asking couples to make this declaration, I instead ask them the “questions of intent” before they say their vows, to which they answer "I will.") Neither of these are your vows, nor are they substitutes for them – you must say actual vows, which you can say line-by-line in short, easy-to-repeat phrases. For those of you who suffer from glossophobia, “phobe” no mo! I promise to make that moment of your ceremony brief, easy and full of calm.
Can we read and/or make edits to the ceremony you’ve written for us?
No. The ceremony will have far less emotional impact if you already know what's going to be said. I ask that couples trust that I’ll compose the perfect ceremony for them - because of this, I don’t allow them to read it ahead of time.
Our wedding is going to have a unique theme – can you write it based on that theme?
Yes, but depending on the complexity of the theme, there may be an additional fee. For instance, if you’re looking for simple references to a favorite show, movie, theme, holiday, etc., there would be no extra charge. On the other hand, if you want a traditional Klingon wedding, that’s going to require some extra research and writing, and thus, an additional fee. And don't even get me started on Klingon verb conjugation. It's downright baffling.
Can you dress a certain way for our ceremony?
I wear a black or grey three-piece suit to every ceremony. If you’re looking for something a little more exotic (like a cassock and cincture, or a costume for a themed wedding), extra charges will apply.
How long do your ceremonies last?
Most ceremonies I perform (not counting the processional and recessional) are approximately 15-20 minutes long. To some this may sound too brief, but the truth is this: no one came to your wedding to hear me talk. They came to celebrate, break bread, drink some drinks and dance like a Muppet. I choose my words carefully for the greatest emotional impact in the shortest period of time, so we can move past the formalities and onto the actual celebration. Most couples (and most of their ceremony attendees) would prefer a short, purposeful ceremony – without the rambling commentary some officiants insist on engaging in – and one focused on the couple’s love and not a litany of religious directives for the newly married couple.
Do you bring your own sound equipment?
No. It will be your responsibility to provide sound equipment if you want me to use a microphone. I can only use a wireless lapel microphone (also known as a lavalier) or an over-the-ear microphone. Your DJ or sound person must be made aware of this in advance. I cannot use a traditional, handheld microphone, even on a microphone stand. They detract from the atmosphere of the ceremony and look terrible in your wedding photos. In most cases, I can project quite clearly without a microphone. Unless a microphone is absolutely necessary, I recommend against using one.
Do we have to attend pre-marriage counseling with you before the ceremony?
Absolutely not. I find pre-marriage counseling insulting, invasive and distasteful. I’m not a therapist, and can offer you no advice for a successful marriage other than to always love and respect each other. Similarly, I do not “screen” couples from some imaginary moral high ground to determine if they are “ready” to get married. You’re both adults and I trust you’ve made a reasonable, informed decision to marry each other. This paragraph constitutes the whole of my pre-marriage counseling.
Where can I read reviews of your services?
Please visit my reviews page, The Knot, WeddingWire, or my Google Business profile.
What if you had an emergency and couldn't officiate? Is there a Plan B?
In the extremely unlikely event of a catastrophic emergency on my end, I work closely with three duly licensed associate officiants, one of which I'll send in my stead. They all have direct access to my calendar and all of my ceremony files and resources. And if Plans B-D were to somehow fail, I even have a “Plan E.”
Will you shave your beard for our ceremony?
No. If you require that much control over your wedding day, I’m absolutely not the right person to perform your ceremony.
Do you perform same-sex ceremonies or ceremonies for transgender, nonbinary or otherwise genderfluid people?
Hell yes I do! Neither one's gender identity nor their sexual orientation make their love any less lovely or worthy of celebration. Read all about my views on LGBTQ+ ceremonies.
We wish to renew our vows – can you officiate the ceremony?
I will happily celebrate a vow-renewal ceremony. The same process and fee structure is applied as for a wedding ceremony.
Should we tip you?
I cheerfully accept gratuity for a job well done.
Should we invite you to our rehearsal dinner or wedding reception?
While I appreciate the invite and carefully consider each one, I often have to decline because of my schedule. However, I try to stay for a little while after each ceremony (usually while you get photos taken and your guests enjoy cocktail hour) to meet your friends and family, wish you both well, and bask in your freshly married glow.
How do we get our marriage license? Do you furnish it?
It is the responsibility of the local court authority to provide a couple with a marriage license. Fees and procedures vary from county to county. Check with your county courthouse for information and bring the entire marriage license packet with you to the ceremony.
Should we get you a boutonnière?
I absolutely love flowers, but having one that close to my face has the potential to turn me into a veritable sneezing machine. You don't want that at your wedding, trust me.
Are you sure that's how you spell boutonnière?
Well hell, I don't know. Probably? Now it looks weird though.
I spoke to someone who will do my ceremony for a fraction of what you charge. Why pay the extra money?
You'll spend thousands of dollars (even for modest weddings) on details that most attendees – and sometimes even you two – will forget. Most of your attendees won’t remember what the flowers looked like, if the groom wore a vest or a cummerbund, or what was printed on the program. What they will remember is if the ceremony went smoothly, and if the person officiating was calm, well-spoken and connected with the couple. They’ll remember even more vividly if the officiant rambled, pronounced your names wrong, or said something grating or offensive that clearly didn’t fit into your worldview. When it comes to wedding officiants, you get what you pay for.
What are you exactly, anyway? A priest? A minister? A justice of the peace?
I am ordained by the Universal Life Church and licensed to solemnize marriages in Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. That’s all. I am not a priest, minister, rabbi or anything of the sort. Nor am I a justice of the peace, as I’m not a judge. I’m just a guy who can legally marry people.
So what do we call you, then?
Some ordained individuals like to be called reverend (or occasionally father or brother.) I disdain any such title. The title of “reverend” implies the bearer of said title should be revered. This, to me, implies moral authority. As I do not claim such authority, I gently but firmly insist that you call me “Tim” or “Dude.” ("You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or, uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.")
What's your full-time job?
This is, baby! I said farewell to my day job in 2012, and have officiated weddings full-time since then. Devoting all of my professional time and energy to my job has allowed me to reach out to couples and perform their ceremonies with the greatest of flexibility, while allowing me to devote all of my creative energy into crafting kickass wedding ceremonies. I've never looked back!
How many ceremonies have you performed? How often do you perform ceremonies?
As of 2023, I have performed over 600 ceremonies. I perform roughly 80-100 ceremonies each year, mostly between May and October.
What are your officiating records?
Most ceremonies in a day: 4 (twice)
Most ceremonies in a weekend: 7
Most ceremonies in a month: 16
Most ceremonies in a year: 99
We need to get married, like, right-the-hell-now! How quickly can you perform our ceremony?
If you're flexible with the time and location, I can perform most ceremonies the same day. Holla at me.
What are some of the best anagrams of your name?
Hoagie Me Trust, Atheist Morgue, Age The Tourism, Goatee This Rum and Meager Hot Suit. (Gotta love all five vowels and those Wheel of Fortune consonants!)
How many tattoos do you have?
Tons! But only two of them are visible when I'm suited up – a butterfly on my left hand and a bee on my right.
What is the air-speed velocity of an unladen swallow?
Which do you mean? An African or European swallow?
You’re a very silly person.
That’s not a question.
Do you live in a great house?
Contrary to popular belief, my house is merely adequate.
How would you categorize your ethical and moral perspective of people, creatures and societies?
You call yourself a heathen a lot – what's with that? What variety of heathen are you exactly?
The best English literature teacher I ever had, Bob Herceg, used to hurl playful invective at his students daily. His jocular abuse was rife with super literate insults, but he especially enjoyed calling us miscreants and heathens. Both became part of my daily lexicon - and terms of endearment. I am an atheist and a secular humanist. My worldview developed as a result of reading the works of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins in my late 20s, Bertrand Russell and Robert Wright in my 30s, and Carl Sagan and Neil DeGrasse Tyson in my 40s. However, I am of the opinion that what we believe is far less important than how those beliefs make us behave. I openly welcome viewpoints other than my own and I enjoy learning about how our beliefs motivate us.
How much wood would a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?
You know damn well that he would chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could... if a woodchuck could chuck wood.