Hello, and congratulations on your engagement!
My name is Ralph Griggs, and I am a life-long minister. (Note: I am not Internet ordained. See further down under Are You a Real Minister? for more info) One of the most enjoyable parts of what I do is helping couples with their wedding ceremonies – and I’ve now assisted hundreds of couples in Nashville and throughout middle Tennessee. (You can see some of the nice comments from couples here).
Many couples are looking for a caring minister or officiate for their wedding. They may be new to town and don’t know anyone, or don’t have a home church at present – or if they do, their minister is not available for their wedding. Or they just aren’t church-going people right now.
They want more than a city official who may offer a vanilla matter-of-fact ceremony, and they want to know that they have a real minister.
This is an exciting time for you with many details to decide! Choosing your ceremony officiate is one of the more important ones. (Watch my video on choosing your officiant)
Here is what I do for you:
- Help you have exactly the kind of ceremony you want. You get a Ceremony Planning Guide that allows you to personalize your ceremony. (Listen to a wedding sound bite here of the popular Hands Ceremony). More about the Ceremony Planner
- Provide for you an online At-Home Marriage Preparation Guide. If you choose to use it (though not required), you can save $60 on your marriage license. There is no charge for the prep guide if I am officiating your ceremony. More about the Marriage Prep Guide
Here are some common questions:
- Are you a real minister? Yes. Ministry is all I’ve ever done. I’m not someone who was doing something else, decided I’d start doing weddings and somehow got some ordination papers. I completed a Masters of Theology degree & did Doctor of Ministry work at an accredited seminary and have over 30 years of ministry experience. Read more about me.
- How do we schedule our wedding with you and what is the honorarium? First thing is to check your wedding date. You can either call or email. If the date and time are open, you hold it with a $25 deposit. You will get the Ceremony Planner in an email as a WORD document, which you can edit as much as you want. If you wish, we meet at my home to go over your ceremony preferences. You can start the online marriage preparation course whenever you are ready. Complete info about wedding fee and scheduling
- How do I get a Tennessee marriage license? The short answer: You can get the license anywhere in the state at a county clerk’s office that issues marriage licenses; you must wait until you are within 30 days of your wedding date; there are no blood tests or waiting period; and you must show up with a government-issued document with our Social Security number on it. Complete information
- How do I change my name after the wedding? You’ve got to have a certified copy of your marriage license to change your name on your driver’s license and at Social Security. Counties vary some on how you get the certified copy. Ask the clerk where you get your license. Name change guides sell for around twenty dollars online but I’ve put one together you have can for free: Tennessee Bride’s Name Change Guide
- Do we need a PA system? Most places, I can project enough to be heard by everyone. You do want people to be able to hear. If there are noise issues, use the sound system at your wedding venue. It was designed for that location, blends into the decor, and is wedding-tested. Of course, I will use a mic if needed, but reasons you might not want to use a mic include: Any PA system can get feedback, squeal & crack…maybe even pick up a CB operator nearby! Sometimes I need to whisper something to the couple – difficult when wearing a mic. Finally, you might not want ported-in speakers in your wedding photos.
Hope you find this site helpful and best wishes for having a Ceremony to Remember!
Nashville nondenominational wedding minister / officiant
Ralph Griggs, MTh.
Helping couples have a ceremony to remember!