Kris Bruno, Wedding Officiant Honored for Excellence in 10th Annual WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardsⓇ
Wall, New Jersey – January 1, 2018 – Kris Bruno, Wedding Officiant, www.weddingofficiantnj.com today announced its recognition as a winner of the esteemed 2018 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardⓇ for Wedding Officiant.
WeddingWire Inc., the leading global online marketplace for the wedding and events industry, annually recognizes the top five percent of wedding professionals on WeddingWire who demonstrate excellence in quality, service, responsiveness and professionalism. The top local wedding professionals in more than 20 service categories from venues to florists are awarded the prestigious accolade.
Kris was recognized as a recipient solely based on reviews from newlyweds and their experiences working with her. Award-winning vendors are distinguished for the quality, quantity, consistency and timeliness of the reviews they have received from their past clients.
“This is the tenth year we’ve celebrated our top-rated vendors who have helped millions of couples celebrate one of the most important days of their lives,” said Timothy Chi, CEO, WeddingWire. “This group of dedicated and acclaimed wedding professionals, such as Kris Bruno, not only make wedding planning simpler for engaged couples, but also serve as a trusted partner in helping to make WeddingWire the go-to place for wedding planning. We congratulate all of this year’s winners on their achievement.”
Kris Bruno, Wedding Officiant is thrilled to be one of the top Wedding Officiants on WeddingWire.com.
For more information about Kris, please visit us at https://www.weddingwire.com/biz/reverend-kris-bruno-red-bank/3c958d04907456bc.html.
To learn more about the WeddingWire Couples’ Choice AwardsⓇ, please visit www.weddingwire.com/couples-choice-awards.
Your wedding day is all about you, right? Well yes and no. Yes, your wedding day should be focused on your love story, your commitment to one another and the first moments of your marriage. And yes, you are the centerpiece of the event, the reason for the celebration. But, don't forget you are also hosting your dearest friends and family and you should be considerate to their anticipated needs. Beyond blocking rooms at the local hotel, there are many ways to treat your guests thoughtfully.
At every wedding I have officiated I have noticed the ways couples have provided amenities for their guests. Happy guests make for an even happier event! Happy guests will always remember your graciousness and the fun they had on your wedding day.
Here is a list (and some pics!) of ten things you can do for your guests' comfort:
1. This one's easy - pre-ceremony refreshments, particularly for outdoor ceremonies. If your wedding is at a venue, ask them to provide bottled water or hot chocolate/coffee/tea (on cooler days). If your ceremony is at a park or other non-catered location, be sure have a refreshment table set up near the entrance to guest seats.
2. If the ceremony is outdoors and there is a chance of light rain or cool breezes, consider having umbrellas or small throw blankets available for your guests. These items can also serve as a wedding favor as well. Your guests will enjoy the ceremony should the weather not be ideal.
3. If there will be little ones at your wedding consider their needs too. One couple provided sippee cups so that the kids could dance and celebrate without their parents worrying about spills.
4. Flip flops are a welcome sight to guests attending a beach wedding ceremony or for those that regret wearing high heels after a few spins around the dance floor. A large container of various size flip flops at the entrance to the ceremony or near the dance floor are a thoughtful touch. Old Navy offers $1 flip flops one day each year and many of the dollar stores stock flip flops starting in April or May. Keep sand out of your guests shoes and keep your guests on the dance floor with this inexpensive amenity!
5. Offer your guests a choice of favors. Offering two or three options is a way to appeal to everyone. Some people might prefer small bottles of wine while others enjoy chocolate!
6. A ride home is a way to ensure that those guests that wish to enjoy cocktails may do so without worry. Companies like UBER and Lyft offer an option to provide rides for your wedding guests. Nothing tells your guests how much you love them than making sure they get home safely.
7. Wedding programs are a nice touch because they introduce your guests to the VIP members of your family and wedding party, provide details on how the ceremony will unfold and give you a chance to acknowledge your guests' attendance at your wedding and thank them for being there. Programs that are also fans serve two purposes at an outdoor ceremony on a warmer day. The program is also a place where you can bring your guests into the loop of why certain elements (music, readings, etc.) were chosen by you and your new spouse. It's a great way to make your guests feel more connected to you and your ceremony.
8. Your guests will most likely shed a tear or two of joy on your wedding day. Along with the ceremony there are the toasts, the first dances, the reunions with loved ones, etc. For these reasons, a container of packs of tissues or hankies at the entrance to your ceremony is a great idea!
9. Sometimes there is some down time for your guests between the end of the ceremony and the start of cocktail hour. One of the couples I know were kind enough to provide a cocktail and snacks for their guests at the hotel lounge while they waited for the party to begin. A sign at the ceremony exit let the guests know that the bride and groom were treating them to a round before the start of cocktail hour. Each guest was given a drink "koozie" which served as their "ticket" to have a drink on their hosts! What a thoughtful way of keeping your guests entertained for an hour while you go off to have photos taken. Another benefit is that you don't miss any of your cocktail hour since your photo shoot will be done!
10. Send your guests home with a snack. Even though your guests have eaten all evening, everyone enjoys a little late night snack! A candy bar, milkshake shot or donut wall is a sweet touch at the end of the night. A little treat from the bride and groom is a nice way to send your guests home smiling!
I'd like to thank the couples who I have married for these inspired ideas! I continue to be blown away by the creativity and kindness you have all shown towards your guests. I hope these ideas inspire those of you who are planning your weddings as well. Keep in mind, you don't have to do everything! There is already enough on your wedding to do lists. However, picking one or two ideas to take care of your guests is an easy way to leave a lasting impression! As always, I wish you all the best!!
The following story is its' own page on my website but it had been a while since I had read it. When I did, I wanted to share it as a blog post in honor of my grandparents. I hope you feel inspired by their love story.....
These are my grandparents, Howard "Shrummie" and Marjorie "Marge" Shrum. They were married to each other for seventy years. They grew up in a small
coal-mining town outside of Pittsburgh named Connellsville, Pennsylvania during the Great Depression. From the ages of 8 and 11 they were aware of each other and Marge, my Nana, would watch Shrummie, my Pop Pop play ball in the park. Something about him stood out to her heart yet they never dated during their school years.
At age 18 Pop Pop was drafted to serve our country in World War II in the Pacific in the Navy. During that time, and feeling lonely for home, he thought of Marge and decided to write to her. The problem was that Marge had moved to New Jersey with her family and Pop Pop did not have her new address. Pop Pop was always tenacious and never gave up on anything. He wrote to a friend back in Connellsville who he figured had Nana's new address. In that letter he asked his friend to write him back with the information so that he could begin corresponding to Marge. And so the friend did as requested and my Pop Pop began courting my Nana from the Pacific Ocean. My Pop's friend eventually gave Nana the letter Pop had sent him requesting Nana's new address. To this day she has that letter, written on rice paper, tucked in a drawer with other lovely momentos.
When Pop Pop returned from the war he immediately made his way to New Jersey and proposed to Nana in the rumble seat of his buddy's jalopy. She said yes and the rest is history.
In their seventy years of marriage on this earth they had four children. Two of their children passed away as infants, one on Christmas Day in my Nana's arms. My Pop Pop worked many jobs trying to make ends meet and take care of his family until he eventually landed at Metropolitan Life Insurance. He spent 35 years as a successful agent until his retirement. My Nana worked at home, managing the household and raising children. They survived the depression, the war, illnesses and the passing of many loved ones . They enjoyed traveling, being with family, the Pittsburgh Steelers' games and most of all each other's company.
This picture was taken during the last days of Pop Pop's life. He was home on hospice, exactly where he wanted to be with his sweetheart at his side. He passed away peacefully in her arms at the age of 90.
This is a real love story. Not as glamorous as in films or books, but more beautiful, truthful and inspirational than any love story I have ever heard. My grandparents stayed together, through everything and in the end all that mattered was their love.
I dedicate my work to Nana and Pop Pop. They taught me the greatest lessons of love and life in the quietest, most humble ways. I wish you all the same kind of love affair as Marge and Shrummie.
Be an anchor in the storm and give each other wings.
If you ever wondered what goes into officiating your wedding this article if for you! Your wedding ceremony is usually about 30 minutes long but what makes that 30 minutes the most memorable 30 minutes of your life? The time the officiant spends preparing! The truth is I can only speak for myself and let you know that I invest many hours and days of time working with each couple I have the honor of marrying. When I initially receive an inquiry, I first check my calendar, review the website of the venue and set up an information sheet with all of the details provided in the inquiry. Once I do that, I reach out to a couple via their preferred method of communication, perhaps it's a phone call or maybe an email. Once I have connected with a couple, an important initial call is set up so that I can answer preliminary questions and set up an in-person consultation. The initial contact, research, emails and call can take an hour or two over the period of a few days.
Once the consultation is scheduled, I allow plenty of time to meet with the couple. I want us all to get to know one another without feeling rushed. Therefore, I spend as much time necessary to ensure each couple has the chance to share their story, ask me questions and discuss their ceremony wishes. I love to meet over a cup of coffee or tea (my treat!) so that we can relax and enjoy the consultation. I travel to the consultation location, spend at least an hour or two with each couple and then head back to my office to send follow-up information. Once the date is booked the joy of creating the personalized ceremony begins!
In creating a ceremony, I write an initial draft and consider all the details that the couple expressed as being important. I proofread and edit and then I pause. I like to let a draft sit for a bit so that I can go back to it with fresh eyes and make any further revisions that I feel are important. This process takes a number of hours over a few days until I think it's ready to send to the couple.
Once sent, I happily await feedback and make any changes requested until the ceremony feels exactly right to the couple. Sometimes this involves researching additional reading options, adding an element not previously considered or assisting with vow writing. This part of the process is very important because it leads to the final version for the wedding day. For that reason, I am always available to each couple to assist in edits, additions, moral support, suggested revisions, etc... My goal is to make sure the final draft reflects the ceremony each couple is dreaming of. This process takes as much or as little time as each couple needs but minimally several hours over the period of time leading to the wedding day.
As the day of the wedding approaches, I email each couple with reminders regarding licensing and items to have at the venue for the ceremony. I will touch base via phone, email or in person to discuss the rehearsal, the processional, last minute details, etc... Every couple I work with knows they can reach out to me at any time and I am happy to answer their questions.
On the day of the ceremony I arrive at least one hour ahead of ceremony start time. I check in with the venue, the other ceremony vendors and of course, the bride and groom! I oversee the signing of the license, complete the officiant section and provide a copy to the couple. I make sure the ceremony site is set and ready and that the wedding party is organized and assembled.
Finally the big moment arrives! The processional music starts and the ceremony begins! For the next 30 minutes of your life, time will stand still as I officiate your ceremony elements, and you share your vows and I do's. Rings are exchanged and you are pronounced married, share a kiss and head to the celebration!
After the wedding day, I file the signed license at the appropriate municipality. I continue to remain available to each couple for questions they may have about their marriage certificate or anything else. From the wedding day to the license filing I spend several hours in total depending on the location of the ceremony.
The bottom line is that I will spend as much time necessary to create ceremonies that resonate with each couple. I provide this information so that you can be equipped with knowledge when you are in the process of selecting an officiant. Keep in mind that your wedding ceremony is one of the most beautiful, meaningful, memorable and profound moments of your life; you will want an officiant who understands that. As an officiant, I find joy in investing the time each couple deserves to have the wedding ceremony they wish for.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me if I can be of assistance. Thank you and I wish you happy wedding planning!!
Once in awhile I meet with an engaged couple and one or both of them tell me that they have never attended a wedding. Although this is the exception, it got me thinking about how much (or little) any engaged couple knows about the elements in a wedding ceremony. Even if a couple has attended a wedding or two, how much knowledge was retained about how it all went down? Afterall, the ceremony is followed by an evening of cocktails, dinner and dancing.
So now it's your turn to tie the knot and plan your wedding ceremony. It can be overwhelming knowing where to start if you have no or limited knowledge about the framework of a wedding ceremony. Here is where an experienced officiant can help!
A wedding ceremony begins with the processional. Once the officiant takes their place after the guests have been seated, the parents, grandparents or other VIP guests enter down the aisle to processional music. Sometimes the groom (or same sex partner) enters with his/her parents. The groom and groomsmen can also walk down the aisle, enter from the side or escort the bridesmaids and then the bridesmaids (if not escorted by groomsmen), flowergirls and ring bearers proceed. Usually there is a change in music, the guests rise and the bride (or same sex partner) and his/her escort walk down the aisle. In same sex weddings, sometimes each partner comes down the aisle with an escort immediately following the rest of the bridal party. Although these are all pretty traditional options, there is no "right" way. This is your day after all and you and your future spouse can make up the rules!
Once everyone is in place the ceremony officially begins. Oftentimes the couple will want the officiant to first ask the escort(s) or parent(s) for their blessing. This is an old tradition that originally intended for the "bride" to be given away to the "groom". Nowadays there are ways of approaching this that are modern and can include all the parents or special loved ones. Of course, this doesn't have to be part of your ceremony if it does not feel right to you.
As the ceremony begins, your guests are welcomed and thanked and the option of acknowledging loved ones as being present in spirit can be included. As the ceremony continues the officiant will usually share a few words about you and your love and perhaps some wisdom about the meaning of marriage.
If a prayer or blessing is important to you, of course it should be included in your ceremony. You can discuss with your officiant how much or how little reference to spirituality or religion you would like. Many times, a couple getting married are from two different religious backgrounds, or perhaps religion was not a part of their lives. It's good to be open about what feels right to you when you meet with your officiant. Your wedding day is about you!
Vows are a big part of the wedding ceremony. You may choose to write your own or you may choose to have your officiant provide them. The vows can be read or memorized (although this can be a challenge on your wedding day!) or your officiant can prompt you to repeat after him/her. Vows are the promises of commitment you are making to one another and therefore should be meaningful and thoughtful.
The declaration of intention is the moment when you say "I do!" Your officiant will ask each of you if you take one another to be wed and you will each respond I do or I will. This is the part of the wedding ceremony (along with the marriage license) that makes the marriage legally binding. The declaration of intention is essential!
You may wish to have a unity moment during the ceremony. The unity moment is a symbolic, visual way to represent your union. This moment can be classic and traditional (like a unity candle lighting) or unique and unexpected. An experienced officiant will help you design the perfect unity moment. I have lots of ideas to share and I have been given lots of unity moment ideas from couples as well. Sometimes cultural traditions are recognized during the unity moment. The unity moment is a way you can put your signature on your wedding ceremony.
Sometimes a couple decides to invite someone up to do a reading in honor of their wedding day. The reading can be spiritual, biblical or something from literature, poetry or music. Usually one or two readings is perfect. The reader may be someone you wanted to include in a special way in your wedding day, maybe it's a parent, a member of your bridal party or a dear friend. Your officiant can give you options or you may select your own readings. The most important thing, if you choose to have readings, is that they resonate with you!
Once vows and I do's have happened, wedding rings are exchanged. Traditionally the best man holds the rings, although sometimes the ring bearer has them. I find that most couples give the ring bearer symbolic rings to carry down the aisle and have an adult hold on to the actual bling! Another variation is to have the best man (or woman) hold one ring and have the maid/matron/man of honor hold the other. The officiant will ask for the rings and give them to each of you to place on the other's finger as you say a few words. Like the vows, those words can be your own, memorized or prompted by the officiant.
After the ring exchange, the officiant may say a few closing words, you are pronounced married and you get to share your first married kiss - yay!! You may ask your officiant to introduce you as Mr. and Mrs. before the music begins again and your recessional begins.
During the recessional the married couple walk back up the aisle, followed by the wedding party, parents and officiant. Of course everyone can't wait to say congratulations to the newlyweds and then the party begins!!
My best advice for creating your wedding ceremony are these three things:
1. Select an officiant that you have good chemistry with. You want someone knowledgeable, experienced, responsive and with good reviews. Ask for references, meet with possible choices and then go with your gut. Your officiant should feel right, it will make all the difference in the sincerity of your ceremony and the feelings that are shared and evoked.
2. Create a wedding ceremony that is meaningful to you. The party is wonderful but it is your ceremony that sets the tone for the rest of the celebration. The wedding day is about getting married after all, so invest some time in making sure your ceremony is memorable. Remember, you have all the creative license in the world to dream up the ceremony you are wishing for and the right officiant will make that dream come true. It's more than okay to color outside the lines, think outside the box or keep close to tradition. Your wedding ceremony is the reflection of who you are as a couple and the only right way to do it is to be you!
3. Breathe, relax, enjoy, take in every moment, be present. This is a once in a lifetime, best day ever experience and you don't want to miss a thing.
I wish you every happiness and all the best as you plan your wedding ceremony. I am happy to meet with you for a consultation and help in anyway possible. May you all enjoy decades of health and joy as you journey through life together!
"Congratulations!! You are engaged and enjoying the moment, as you should. Eventually as you float back down to earth the realization that wedding planning must begin starts to sink in. It's really important (and sometimes very challenging) to not let the "to do's" get in the way of the "I do's"! Remember the whole purpose of the wedding is to begin your marriage. The wedding is fun, but the marriage is forever.
Luckily there are a lot of great resources available to newly engaged couples that provide timelines for wedding planning. The average amount of time people spent planning their wedding is about 14.5 months according to The Knot. This is only an average and I have booked ceremonies anywhere from 2 years out to two weeks out! The sooner you book your wedding vendors, the better your chances of getting your first choice options.
If you are having your wedding at a place of worship, once booked, your officiant is usually a part of the package. However, many couples are choosing to have their ceremonies at their reception venue. Once you have selected the venue, it's not too soon to book your other major vendors. Photography, music, flowers and the officiant should be your next priority. Keep in mind that certain times of year are more popular then others. It's important, especially if you want to book your first choices, that you reach out to possible vendors as soon as you set your date.
Booking an officiant is a process. You should reach out to 2 or 3 that you are considering and learn about how they work with couples. Schedule consultations in person so that you can meet your potential officiant. Having good chemistry with the person you invite to marry you is important and adds to the sincerity of your ceremony.
Twelve months before your wedding day you should start researching officiants. Sites like Wedding Wire and The Knot provide profiles and reviews on officiants in your area. Usually you can find the link to an officiant's website through these sites. Make a list of those that give you a good first impression, dig a little deeper by reading the reviews and then create a short list of possibilities. Start with an email or phone call to see about scheduling a consultation. A good indicator of the type of service you will receive is the response time your officiant candidate takes to get in touch with you. It's the most important day of your life, you want your officiant (and all of your vendors) to be available to you for questions, etc.
Once you have scheduled a consultation or two, meet the officiants! Go armed with thoughts and questions. Ask about experience, how the officiant operates, marriage license, how the officiant handles rehearsal and wedding day, etc., etc., etc. Once you have attended the consultations, make your decision and book the officiant. In order to hire the best officiant for you, the best time frame to make your decision is 6-12 months out. Of course, don't be surprised if an officiant happens to have a date available with short notice! The main thing is that you read the reviews of your final choice so that you feel confident about your selection.
I am always available to answer your questions about wedding ceremonies and officiant searches. I love being a resource to newly engaged couples and welcome your inquiries!
My best advice is to keep in mind that all the little details are beautiful but the marriage is the main event and love is the main ingredient!!
As you know, I love wedding ceremonies!! I feel compelled to give some advice to couples who are planning their ceremonies. Many couples request a "short and simple" ceremony. I get it - you don't want it to drag on, you don't want your guests to be bored and you DO want to move along to the cocktail hour! Most venues allow 30 minutes for a ceremony and after years of experience officiating, I know this is the perfect amount of time for a memorable ceremony.
Short and simple. I believe many couples have sat through "typical" ceremonies with "expected" itineraries. This is fine, it gets the job done. I believe that is why couples want a quick ceremony - they don't want to belabor the "been there, done that" experience for themselves or their guests.
But I must say, please don't cheat yourselves from having the moment of a lifetime! In 30 minutes you can have a unique, meaningful, unforgettable, entertaining, lovely, funny, romantic ceremony that truly reflects your love story!!
As an officiant, my passion and service to you involves getting to know you. I want to find out how you met, why you love each other, the quirkiness that makes you "YOU" and then work to create a ceremony that uniquely reflects your special qualities and love story. There are sooooo many ways to achieve this! Readings, vows, music, unity moments, décor, guest involvement, etc, etc, etc. So 30 minutes, yes - but cookie cutter? NO WAY!!
I have had the joy of working with many couples who get this and we find each other!! Of all the ceremonies I have officiated, no two have been the same. Rather than give you a sample ceremony and "tweak" it; we start from scratch and build your ceremony - each one a snowflake! Because of the appreciation my couples have had for embracing the ceremony, I have been blessed to stand there with them and experience the magical, romantic moments unfold. Because of this, I remember each ceremony's uniqueness as each ceremony has been unforgettable!! I thank the couples I have already married and the couples I am currently working with for stepping outside of the box and for treating the ceremony with the reverence it (and YOU!) deserve!
As always, Be an Anchor in the Storm and Give Each Other Wings, Kris
I believe even the shortest, sweetest, simplest ceremony should be personalized and memorable. Including a reading that resonates with both of you is one way to do that and a very special touch. Your officiant may read it or you may honor a loved one by inviting them to participate in your ceremony in a meaningful way.
There are an infinite number of possibilities! Most of you have heard the more traditional readings like "Love is patient, love is kind...." and there is a reason you recognize it - it is beautiful and classic. So if your wedding vibe is lovely, classic, traditional elegance, this is a good selection! I love helping couples find readings slightly off the beaten path. Once I meet you, hear your love story and learn more about your wedding day details, I am able to suggest readings that will weave into the ceremony beautifully and reflect your love. If you already have a reading in mind, that's great! Perhaps you want song lyrics from "your song", poetry, an excerpt from a book or an excerpt from one of your love letters to be included in the ceremony. What a wonderful way to express the feelings you are feeling in the moments you are beginning marriage! I believe a reading enhances the wedding ceremony.
So, you have chosen a reading and now need to figure out who will recite it. Of course, your officiant can read it during the ceremony. I recite lovely wedding readings on many occasions! I am happy to do so. I also LOVE when a couple chooses a loved one to recite the reading too! Perhaps you have a beloved grandparent, aunt, friend, godparent, cousin, etc. that you wanted to honor during your wedding day but couldn't quite figure out how. Inviting them to do a reading is a way to include them in your special day! Some couples select two readings to accommodate one reader from each of their families. When inviting someone to read at your wedding, make sure they aren't going to feel anxious about standing in front of your guests to recite. Most people are very happy to do the reading, but always consider their feelings about it - especially if they are prone to stage fright! I love when a couple chooses a reader because it adds a layer and depth to the ceremony, breaking it up a bit and giving it texture. Also, the reader elicits happy, happy emotion due to their relationship to you!
Remember to be creative, use your officiant as a resource and select a reading that gives you goosebumps! Your ceremony is YOUR ceremony and it should fit you well and honor your love!!
I am enjoying my blog and sharing with all of you. In the near future my blog will include details of ceremonies I have officiated so that you may be inspired. Stay tuned....
Many a wedding guest has seen the bride cry tears of joy during her wedding ceremony. And as an officiant, I admit I hold a few back myself. There is nothing more beautiful than being caught up in moments of love and expressions of life-long commitment. I look out towards the guests and see family and friends dabbing their eyes and wiping away tears as well.
The groom, on the other hand, isn't usually expecting tears to come. Until the moment the ceremony begins, most grooms have followed the bride's lead during planning as they haven't dreamt of every detail since age five! Although they may have participated in a DIY wedding project or learned the difference between lace and tulle during the months leading to the ceremony; the grooms aren't always prepared for the emotion that hits them as they see their bride begin to walk down the aisle.
And when the processional music begins and the groom and bride lock eyes, I always look towards the groom. In his face you see everything. Suddenly, the bride's composure and confidence approaching her husband to be stands in stark contrast to his unexpected display of emotion. That's when the groom springs a tear or two. It's my favorite moment officiating.
I never forget what an honor it is to be invited to officiate a wedding ceremony. I get to guide and witness the first lovely moments of a marriage. I have a front row seat to the tears of joy!