Planning Updates Wedding Shows & Expos

Celebrate Love with Ceremonies by Jim Beidle at Rainbow Wedding Expo Seattle 2024


Discover the Magic of Personalized Ceremonies by Jim Beidle

You both are truly exceptional individuals, each with your own distinct qualities. The bond that you share is a beautiful testament to these unique attributes. Your story is so extraordinary, it’s worthy of being narrated by a legendary bard.

Discover the enchanting world of personalized ceremonies brought to life by Jim Beidle. Specializing in creating unique and tailored experiences, Ceremonies by Jim Beidle offers you the opportunity to craft a ceremony that truly reflects your love story and individuality.

I approach wedding ceremonies by centering on personalization, ensuring that each one is a unique celebration of love and commitment. Even “out-of-the-box” elopements benefit from a touch of creativity. Whether it’s an intimate gathering or a grand event, my expertise in tailoring ceremonies to the couple’s desires distinguishes me as a devoted and reliable officiant. 

Embark on a journey of unforgettable moments and heartfelt exchanges with Ceremonies by Jim Beidle, and transform your special day into a magical experience crafted just for you.

 Why Choose Ceremonies by Jim Beidle for Your Special Day?

Choosing Ceremonies by Jim Beidle for your special day ensures a memorable and personalized experience. As a wedding officiant in Western Washington, I specialize in creating unique and meaningful ceremonies that cater to all couples, including LGBTQ+ individuals.

With a focus on personalized ritual and inclusive practices, Ceremonies by Jim Beidle offers a tailored approach to each ceremony, ensuring your special day reflects your love story authentically. Whether you envision a traditional ceremony or something more unconventional, my professional training and years of expertise as a celebrant guarantees a memorable and heartfelt experience for you and your partner.

From my wealth of experience as a celebrant, I strive to bring a warm and welcoming presence to every wedding ceremony I perform. What I believe sets me apart as an officiant is my commitment to creating meaningful and inclusive ceremonies that make your special day unforgettable.

Join Me at the Rainbow Wedding Expo Seattle on February 25, 2024!

Join me at the Rainbow Wedding Expo Seattle on February 25, 2024! This event is a celebration of love and diversity, bringing together the LGBTQ+ community and allies to explore wedding planning options in a welcoming and inclusive environment.

Seattle LGBTQ+ Wedding Expo 2/25/2024

The Rainbow Wedding Network, a pioneer in promoting equality and inclusion in the wedding industry through work like Same Love Same Rights™ organizes the Rainbow Wedding Expo Seattle. Whether you’re looking for vendors, inspiration, or simply want to connect with like-minded individuals, this expo is the perfect place to start your wedding planning journey.

Don’t miss this opportunity to be part of a vibrant and supportive community as you plan your special day. Save the date and join us at the Rainbow Wedding Expo Seattle 2024!

Since their first event in 2003, their focus has always been on creating a safe and welcoming atmosphere for you and your beloved. Each event features roughly 30 LGBTQ+ affirming vendors from across the wedding industry. With an average of 350 attendees at each event, there is also a strong network of like-minded couples. They update the calendar throughout the year, so be sure to keep checking for updated information. You can also follow us on Facebook for event announcements as they happen! For more information and FREE tickets, go to and click on the Seattle expo button.

Meet Me, Jim Beidle, and Explore Your Dream Ceremony Options

It is my first ever wedding expo, and I am celebrating.

First, it is an opportunity to meet me, your dedicated wedding celebrant, for a quick conversation to explore your dream ceremony options. From intimate elopements to grand celebrations, I specialize in developing custom ceremony ideas that reflect your unique love story.

During the conversation, I will take the time to understand your vision, preferences, and values to suggest a ceremony that truly resonates with you as a couple. Whether you envision a traditional ceremony with a modern twist or something completely unconventional, I’m here to bring your dream ceremony to life.

Second, you will meet with LGBTQ+ affirming vendors from across the wedding industry. Venues, caterers, DJs, caterers, planners, caterers…did I mention caterers? While there will not be a full-on buffet, there might be snacks. Someone from just about every aspect of wedding planning is present, and ready to talk with you.

Third, raffles and giveaways! I know they are planning some very cool experiences for attendees. Here’s my celebration.

(drumroll, fanfare).

I plan to give away an Elopement Package.

I will release details in a separate post, but…

This giveaway is worth at least $560!

Finally, borrowing from Rainbow Wedding Network’s description, you will have the chance to ask questions of seasoned wedding professionals, gather info & helpful planning tips, sample food & dessert delectables. Tour the magnificent Embassy Suites Seattle Downtown Pioneer Square, relax with a cocktail, connect with other local couples also in the planning stages, and join in the fun with fabulous raffles! To kick-start your wedding planning or find those last polishing touches, get your FREE tickets at

Planning Updates Wedding Packages

Where’s the Party?

Understanding the role of a wedding party in your wedding.

I don’t know when or where I first learned the term wedding party. It may have been when I was in a friend’s wedding while stationed in Korea. Anyway, it was long before I started celebrating weddings.

So it took me by surprise when most of my couples don’t know or understand the term. Most folks come to me thinking “wedding party – that’s the same as the reception, right?”

Well, that is the reception, the celebration after the ceremony. Not quite the same, though the Wedding Party is important to the reception, as we’ll see.

Who is the Wedding Party

The Wedding Party is the core group of the ceremony. Besides the couple, it includes parents and other VIPs, adult and youth attendants, the officiant, and anyone designated to help the officiant perform their duty during the ceremony. All of that makes it sound big and important, doesn’t it?

women wearing pink dresses and men wearing black suit jacket and pants raising hands with red heart balloons

It is important, though it doesn’t have to be big. And I’m going to break down the roles so you can decide who gets to play!

Important People

During the ceremony, there are important people in the first row. This is most often the parents and close family of the couple. It can also be anyone who’s help and mentorship are significant in your lives.

Many couples invite VIPs to walk down the aisle during the Processional. Sometimes Dad escorts Daughter, and sometimes all the parents walk. These days, this is a very individual decision. As you might imagine, other people in the row include grandparents, aunts, uncles, and siblings.


Traditionally, these are the bridesmaids and groomsmen. I’ll go over historical roles in a moment. Before I do, I’ll mention that children and some animals can be attendants, too. Basically, an attendant is anyone who comes up to the altar during the ceremony.

Historically, the noble or well-to-do couples had attendants in daily life, and these same folks served the roles in marriage. The groomsmen (Groom’s men) was an honor guard of retainers that ensured the security of the chapel. If you look at historically inspired weddings out of Europe, or are a fan of Historical Romance, this is probably a familiar image.

Stockbridge Farm Wedding, Sherbourne, UK, Louise Adby Photography

Similarly, the bridesmaids (Bride’s Maids) were the bride’s ladies-in-waiting. These personal attendants, among other things, ensured the honor of the bride by acting as chaperone.

These attendants stood with the bride and groom during the ceremony, representative of their honorable duty. But what about now?

Choose your attendants from close, responsible friends. You no longer need to pay attention to gender tags, of course. We may refer to them by traditional titles or they can be Bridesmen, Groomsperson, or simply, Attendant.

Beyond the ceremony, this posse of yours forms a core of volunteers for your wedding day. They act as hosts and coordinators during the event, while you are busy with your other wedding day obligations. They’re also a pool of witnesses for the legal paperwork of the wedding.

Two traditional roles are something you should seriously consider when creating a Wedding Party. These are the Best Man and Maid of Honor. These are your Primary Attendants, and have the most to do during the ceremony. And the weight of tradition makes them the leading attendants, acting in your stead. These two are charged with making you look your best in all things.

Best Man

This attendant stands for the groom. In olden days, he was the chief retainer. Similarly, it’s now a friend or relative your trust to watch your back. During the ceremony, this attendant stands by and serves as ring bearer if you haven’t made other arrangements. Afterward, they’re often a witness on the paperwork.

Maid/Matron of Honor

This person stands for the bride. Traditionally, the first lady-in-waiting of the peer, she was responsible for her mistress’s health, hygiene, and dress. In some ways, that still holds true as they’ll help you with the bits of the dress you can’t reach. (Wedding dresses are complicated.) During the ceremony, they arrange and tidy The Dress and take your bouquet. If you have a train, they’ll make sure it’s pointed in the right direction for the Recessional. They, too, are a witness on the wedding.

Non-Traditionally Speaking

Don’t get too wrapped up by my use of traditional language. I’ve worked with Best Women, Men of Honor, and other appropriate titles. If you or they are non-binary, or have other reason to ditch patriarchal language, it is no big deal to simply refer to them as Jewel and Martha’s First Attendants.

Other Adult Attendants

It’s normal to have several attendants on each side. I usually recommend that the number of attendants not exceed 20% of the expected audience for esthetic reasons. It looks and feels awkward to have the Wedding Party outnumber the audience. Another part of that has to do with “additional duties as assigned”.

Besides serving as backup witnesses, you can put these folks to work. They can help with all aspects of planning, loading in, and making your day. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, they help keep the reception going and ensure everyone has a great time celebrating your wedding.

Youth Attendants

You can involve minors in your wedding, and there are a number of ways to do that. It depends on their age, maturity, and willingness to be in front of an audience.

Older children, from around 10, can participate as attendants the way adults do. You and they need to realize that there is a lot of standing around before, during, and immediately after the ceremony so that plays into the decision. My longest ceremonies have averaged around 20 minutes or so, which is a long time for a pre-teen.

a cute flower girls walking together with the bride and groom
Photo by Taha Samet Arslan on

More typically, youths participate as ring bearers or flower children. My recommendation is to have them take their seats in the audience after performing their duties. That let’s them take part in the celebration without putting them under a spotlight for too long.

Cats and Dogs…

As I mention in my previous post, I’ve had couples bring their animals into the ceremony. In the rehearsal and ceremony there are actions you should take to ensure your animal friend’s success.

  • Always have a handler. Designate someone to be with the animal 100% of the time. Out of about two-dozen canine ring bearers only 1 behaved perfectly off-lead. That left more than a dozen that ventured into the audience or ran away. The remainder followed my advice.
  • Have a plan. We usually have the dog walked in with a ring pouch. After they deliver the rings, they’re taken behind the audience. This does two things:
    • Minimizes the input for the dog. This is terribly important for our sensitive friends.
    • Minimizes the distraction for the audience. If doggo stays out front, that’s where Auntie Lisa’s eyes will be. Let’s keep the focus appropriately on you.
  • Have a backup plan. If you decide Fido can handle the crowd, definitely have a backup plan. Give the rings to the officiant, or keep them in your pocket. Fido may prove you are right, and I’ll cheer with you. But if he takes off with the rings, we must stop everything to collect him.

I haven’t had horses, goats, or birds in any of my weddings yet. Those happened after the ceremony. I had a couple who wanted their cats to be ring bearers at a public park. Fortunately, they thought better of it once they arrived with the kitties in their bubble.

The Officiant and Their Helpers

I mention the helpers because that was part of the high-church tradition. Usually, they provided deacons and ushers to help with the congregation, and within the ceremony with various ritual elements.

Although I’ve yet to take part, some couples with diverse spiritual or ethnic backgrounds may hire two celebrants to come up with an appropriate and culturally sensitive ceremony. For example, I’m familiar Jewish wedding traditions, but I would want to involve a cantor or rabbi in designing those parts of the ceremony.

I put up one post about hiring a professional celebrant. As you can imagine, it’s a topic dear to me. I’ll likely put up another post in future. The key thing with hiring a professional is you get access to their training and experience. Cousin Tommy may have gotten himself ordained online, but how many weddings has he done?

“But we want Bill to do it because he knows us.” That’s been a common refrain, and it overlooks the relationship you will build with your celebrant. By the wedding day, they will know you too.

Knowing is Half the Battle

So, now you know about wedding parties. You know a bit of the history and tradition that bring us to today. I given you my thoughts and experience. May you find inspiration!

Want to talk more? Click the button.

Planning Updates Wedding Packages

What About Rehearsal?

When I was a kid, we had The Bugs Bunny Hour on television, and it always started with this theme.

Whenever I think about wedding rehearsals, I have that mental picture of Bugs, Daffy, and the whole Warner Brothers crew processing across the stage. And every show was flawless in my eight-year-old mind because the stars “rehearsed and ‘hearsed their parts” until “they knew every part by heart!”

What Are Physical Rehearsals For, Anyway?

The wedding rehearsal not just about the rehearsal dinner, though I’ll touch on that a bit later. Instead, think about all the Hollywood and Broadway productions you’ve seen. Actors flawlessly delivering lines and performing actions from a script they received a short time before. That happens because they practice dozens of times before we see it on the screen or stage.

The more complex your entry, ceremony, and exit, the more important rehearsing becomes to creatine as close to a flawless presentation as possible.

Wedding Rehearsals Lead to Flawless Weddings

In my opinion, wedding rehearsals play and important role whenever it is more than just the couple and celebrant standing before the guests. The more people on the dais – the stage – the more important it becomes.

Originally, western weddings began with a processional, the parade of attendants up the church’s center aisle. They end with the recessional, where everyone departs the sacred space. The attendants, parents, and other folk up in front of the audience make up the wedding party. I’ll nerd out on the wedding party in another post, but you get a bit of that here.

The number of attendants depended on the relative prominence of the couple. The male attendants were retainers or vassals of the groom, while the female attendants were the bride’s equivalent. Of course, for the small middle-class of those centuries, these roles were filled by brothers, sisters, and cousins of the couple.

To maintain decorum in the church setting, the society developed rules for these parts of the ceremony. And because not everyone served within the church, it became important to practice these actions. Hence, the rehearsal.

Processionals have evolved over time. In addition to society’s changes since the 14th Century, entering the space has taken on creative notes. We can see some of them from this scene out of Crazy Rich Asians.

There are problems with this scene, but it’s a beautiful example of creative procession.

How did they get such striking effects? Practice!

Who Rehearses What?

For your physical rehearsal gather everyone in the wedding party. This includes attendants, child attendants with their adults (ring bearer and flower children), parents, and any animals with their handlers. You’ll also want your planner or coordinator and the wedding celebrant. If anyone can’t make it, make sure they aren’t a principal person and catch them up on their task.

Someone will need to take charge of the rehearsal. They need to know what the procession, ceremony, and recession look like, and should not be part of the wedding party. They’re your producer/director. Your planner, coordinator, or professional celebrant should perform this role.

Here’s the practice I usually follow when leading a rehearsal.

  1. Focus. Gather everyone and get them to focus. Usually this is a couple of sentences follow by lining everyone up.
  2. Start in the Middle. I start by getting all the attendants and the couple in their places at the dais. Now everyone knows where their spot is. Parents and youth attendants can relax for this part, as we’ll practice actions in the ceremony.
  3. The Ceremony. We practice all the physical actions that happen during the ceremony, including the vows, the ring exchange, and the kiss. We also practice this during the virtual rehearsal. If a ringbearer is coming up at the beginning of the exchange, or other special actions, we practice that.
  4. The Recessional. We’ll practice the order of departure, which is usually the couple, the attendants, and the VIP rows. This warms up everyone for practicing the processional.
  5. The Processional. This is the most complicated bit of movement, since this is the point we bring everyone into the ceremony space. The folks will come in according to the processional choreography and move to their positions on the dais or in the audience.
  6. Do It All Again. This is the “‘hearsing and rehearsing” part I mentioned at the beginning. We usually run through the actions at least twice to get everyone comfortable in their roles.
  7. Wrap Up. I wrap up with questions and follow up with the group. I like to know everyone is comfortable with what we’re doing.

Children and Animals

We love to involve everyone in the wedding. I’ve had about two dozen doggy ring bearers among my weddings, and it’s a lot like working with toddlers. They will always do the unexpected.

Let me say that again. Small children and animals will always do the unexpected.

That doesn’t mean we need to leave them out. That means we plan for it.

Up until 4 or 5 years of age, the children don’t necessarily understand what’s wanted of them. Beyond that age, the presence of an audience of people they barely know has it’s effect. Usually, they choose to opt out. (Sometimes loudly!)

Dogs may perform perfectly in rehearsal, but the presence of so many strangers on your big day will trigger behavior changes. These range from want to greet everyone through fear/aggression to shutting down. And you may not know what response you’re going to get from puppers.

Cats? Fuggedaboudit. Really, they are not going to participate and you run the risking of losing your valued Fluffkins.

So what’s the plan, if you want to include young children or a dog?

  • Always have a handler. For children, this should be an adult or older child they trust. One of the cutest flower children walks was a 14-month-old in wagon, walking with a 4-year-old and a 9-year-old.

    For your dog, it should be someone they’ll follow and obey. I advise avoiding the Rottweiler tied to the 8-year-old. The handler and doggo should practice extensively before the rehearsal and wedding – like weeks out. This way they have a comfortable trust relationship, and the handler can read the animal to know what’s going to happen.
  • Always have a backup plan. Despite the practice and rehearsal, children and animals may choose not to participate. That’s something to accept and even expect.

    Plan ahead for this by having an alternative to their role. Have the ring already up a the altar. Be ready to skip the small one’s participation if they find it overwhelming. Neither of these should prevent the ceremony or the rest of the day going forward.

    And set a cut-off time around 15 minutes before the procession. If they aren’t ready to go, then bypass that part and move forward with your plans.

Let me wrap up this section by pointing out how, among more than 20 doggy ring bearers, only one did exactly what was expected. Of all the other dogs, those let off-lead did what I expected and ran off, or ran into the audience. I remember stopping a ceremony for at least 10 minutes while the groom and the handler tried to corral a run-away pup. It took another 5 minutes or so to get everyone to settle back into the ceremony. Certainly a memorable wedding!

A Virtual Rehearsal?

I always plan for a virtual rehears with the couple a few days before the ceremony. This happens regardless of wedding size, whether it’s an elopement or has over a dozen attendants. I find it helps settle the couple’s nerves about their ceremony, and smooths any snags before the big day.

Inevitably, this happens 3 or 4 days before the ceremony, so it’s always before the physical rehearsal. If we come up with changes during the virtual rehearsal, I bring the updated draft to the physical rehearsal for practice.

During the virtual rehearsal, we practice the physical parts of the ceremony. We’ll walk through the first lines of the vows and ring exchange, and practice any physical movement. We talk through the entire ceremony flow, and look for changes and errors as we go. This gives the three of us ample opportunity to check everything together.

What we don’t practice are:

  • The full vows and the ring exchange. I like to keep everything with emotional impact for the actual event. We’ll only do the first line or so.
  • Your story. Again, this is about emotional impact. This feature of weddings tells how your lives have worked out. You get to hear your story for the first time during the wedding. Those photos are priceless!
  • Your personal promises. If you’re making personal promises, keep these secret until the ceremony. We’ll talk through how I hand those off to each of you.
  • Unity Rituals involving physical movement. For example, it’s hard to practice the handfasting knot if we aren’t all in the same space.

The Rehearsal Dinner

It seems the rehearsal dinner has become more of a focus than the rehearsal. I kind of get that. I love to party and hang out with my friends. But the rehearsal dinner actually has a purpose related to your wedding party.

If you’ve followed advice, and put your wedding party to work with designing and planning your wedding day, this is your thank you to them. The formal bit of this tradition is to recognize what the members of the party have done, and honor them with a gift. It’s a distinct payoff for all the work and love they’ve shown as part of your ceremony.

I’ll do future posts on the rehearsal dinner and wedding party, and link back here. The main point is

The Rehearsal Dinner is Not the Rehearsal.

It’s a distinct event. You may invite your planner or officiant, but the dinner really is a celebration of your inner circle.


How Much Does a Professional Wedding Officiant Cost?

And where does Ceremonies by Jim Beidle fit in?

At a recent Wedding Professionals conference, IAPWO, the International Association of Professional Wedding Officiants posed the above question. They collected the answers in this video:

Notice these thirty-six professionals come from all over the US and Canada. As you might expect, their prices for custom ceremonies are across the spectrum, and depend on their location and experience, and the experience they provide. The average is somewhere around $950 across two countries.

What does that mean?

What are you actually getting from your IAPWO Professional Officiant?

  • You’re getting a trained, experienced celebrant who knows how to create the best experience for your ceremony.
  • A dedicated professional who follows a Code of Ethics, not because they have to, but because they want to.
  • An officiant that understands the laws and regulations around marriage in your location. Important when you realize there’s a legal impact to being married.
  • Someone who will spend time getting to know you, and treat your ceremony with the dignity it deserves.
  • A person who write the ceremony specifically about the two of you, and your promise to spend your lives together.

Until you stack that price against the venue, the florist, or the photographer, $950 seems like a lot. When you realize that a professional officiant will work with you to make your ceremony more than a “read the script” experience, will be on time and focused on you on your wedding day, well…priceless.

Where does Ceremonies by Jim Beidle fit in?

If you head over to the Affordable Packages page, you’ll find that I start at $732 for a full wedding, plus travel. You’re getting a trained, experienced professional celebrant who will help you plan your ceremony and write your story. Now’s your chance to book for 2024. Click the button!


Traveling Feats

cars ahead on road
Photo by Taras Makarenko on

I’ve finally had the time to update the website a bit. You’ll find a new page that talks about travel. I’ve also changed the prices, reflecting the work that goes into creating your wedding ceremony. A little touch up on the Discovery Call page.

As I carve out more time, you’ll see the changes as this business of celebrating your life’s thresholds changes. I’m interested in hearing about your ideas for ceremonies and celebrations!


Introducing the All-New Ceremonies by Jim Beidle: Celebrate Every Step of Life’s Journey with Me!

It’s June 2023, and it has been forever since I posted to the blog! The good news for me is that you have kept me busy with weddings. Now, to tell you about some updates.

As we get further from the pandemic, the COVID-19 page and related content will retire soon. Here are some changes.

New Services, New Name

Over the past six months, I have been working toward the coveted Master Celebrant certification. The schooling I’ve undergone allows me to modernize my services and practices, giving you a truly premium ceremony. Beyond elopement and weddings, I’ll offer ceremonies for every life event.

Since it’s more than weddings, there’s a new name! Debuting on July 1, 2023, Weddings with Reverend Jim Beidle becomes

Ceremonies by Jim Beidle

From birth through the end of our lives, every event deserves to be celebrated. Beginning in July, you’ll start seeing a range of rituals marking those special dates on your calendar.

Packages and Prices

Beginning July 1, 2023, the Affordable Packages page reflects those changes. You’ll also find a more detailed explanation about how I calculate travel. That should make your decisions a little easier. I’m currently working on adding video descriptions for each package. Those drip out as they’re available.

Updated Contact Pages

Along with the Affordable Packages page, I’ll update the Book Your Discovery page to make learning about Ceremonies by Jim Beidle even easier. Taking the idea further, each category of ritual will have its own discovery page. By incorporating a video, we can cover the basics and concentrate on your singular jubilee.