Will you help us craft our ceremony?

Of course. That's what I do with you. 

My vision is to revive the art of the personal wedding ceremony so I work closely with you as a couple.

Crafting a wedding ceremony can often be confusing. You have to ask yourself what elements of the ceremony reflect you as a couple well and what elements are just . . . meh.

The ceremony can become more challenging if you and your spouse come from different religious and cultural backgrounds. How will your ceremony allow for nuance and sensitivity in the appropriate places to honor family traditions without compromising the values you hold as a couple?

I'm here to help you navigate those places without losing the momentum of the arc of your story as a couple.

Even the grooms-to-be end up liking the process.

Because it involves your story as a couple.

What types of ceremonies do you officiate?

All types.

 

What makes your ceremony process unique?

I listen.

I am a keen observer of what makes couples tick. I live by the poem from Mary Oliver;

Instructions for Living a Life

Pay attention.

Be astonished.

Tell about it.

My mission is to pay attention to your story, become astonished at how the intersections in your story occurred, and then tell about the brilliance and beauty of your story to you and your guests during the ceremony. 

Everyone's story is compelling. Tears and laughter are part of all love stories and tears and laughter keep everyone engaged and on the edge of their seats.

 

How long is a ceremony?

It depends on what you want.

22-30 minutes is a sweet spot to aim for.

Shorter than 15 minutes is best left to courthouse ceremonies or for a couple who doesn't want their story included in the ceremony.

Ceremonies that go 40 minutes and beyond tend to be religiously focused ceremonies that require elements that have been ritualized in a particular faith tradition.

 

How long have you been doing this?

Since 1999.

I've officiated well over 300 ceremonies. 

My smallest ceremony was the couple and a photographer. My largest ceremony was over 500 guests and 5 wedding planners in Texas. Yes it is bigger in Texas.

I do quite a bit of public speaking at universities and high schools so I am comfortable with both intimate and large weddings.

 

What is your background?

I graduated with a B.A. in English literature from Dartmouth College and so I love story and work hard to uncover compelling ways to incorporate couples' stories into their ceremonies. I have seminary work from both Fuller Theological Seminary as well as Regent College in Vancouver, B.C. I also have a graduate certificate in leadership development from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology.

My passion is working with marginalized and traumatized youth in East Africa and the Middle East as well as with underserved populations locally in Monterey County.

I have co-founded a few non-profits and am currently a founding partner of

Spero Collaborative.

My wife is a marriage family psycho-therapist who specializes in couples therapy as well as anxiety and panic attacks among professionals and adolescents. 

We have four wildly fun children and a smooth faced pyrenean shepherd rescue dog named Indigo who was once abused by previous owners

but now she climbs trees.

 

Do you travel for ceremonies?

Yes.

Provided the compensation is worth my time away from home.

 

Will you fly to our wedding destination?

Yes.

Provided the compensation is worth my time away home.

 

How much?

$900 for a local ceremony in and near the Monterey Peninsula: from Big Sur to Pebble Beach, from Carmel Valley to Pacific Grove, from Capitola to Santa Cruz.

$1200 for a ceremony requiring 4 hours roundtrip driving from the Monterey Peninsula.

$2500 for a ceremony requiring 5 hours or more roundtrip driving from the Monterey Peninsula.

Ceremonies requiring flight can be discussed in person.

Rehearsals, in person meetings, Skype or Facetime meetings, emails, phone calls, etc. are all included.

PayPal, Venmo, Squarecash, and personal checks are all great methods of payment.

 

Can we hire you to write our ceremony without officiating?

Yes.

I am happy to spend some time with you in person or over Skype or Facetime to craft a ceremony to your liking. While much of the ceremony is about delivery it is the content of the ceremony that drives the delivery. 

How much is that?

$400.

 

Do you have a sliding scale for payment?

No.

What if we are in the non-profit world and don't make a lot of money will you consider officiating for us?

Try me.

 

Are you expensive?

Yes . . . and no.

How much will your cake cost?

If you've read this far you are likely able to afford a high-end boutique cake which can cost a thousand to a few thousand dollars.

And yet no matter how good the cake may be it is only memorable in the moment of consumption and the presentation for the photographer. On the other hand your ceremony sets the tone for the rest of your wedding celebration and if your ceremony is engaging and shines light on you as a couple it will be a deeply memorable experience for you and all of your guests for years to come.

My experience and my time and my delivery are worth the extra cost. It's as least as good as your cake.

I also limit myself to 25 weddings per year.

My time, like yours, is precious. I work in the NGO and non-profit humanitarian world (sperocollaborative.org) and officiating helps fuel my work in slums and refugee camps around the world and locally in Monterey County.  Those 25 ceremonies a year help fund a good portion of my work so I officiate for couples who can help make that happen. Sometimes couples even join me in my work in East Africa.

I love officiating ceremonies that end up helping former child mothers and child soldiers discover sustainable and hopeful forms of living through trauma interventions, education, mentoring, and jobs.

Think of your payment as a way to pay it forward to bring hope in hard places.

 

Do you have any book recommendations on marriage?

Yes.

There are so many but here are three excellent ones:

John Gottmann's books are excellent. Here's one to get you started.

Danielle & Astro Teller go after sacred cows of marriage and divorce here.

And writer and Methodist minister Walter Wangerin Jr. tackles honesty and hope in his own marriage here.

Those will get you going in a good direction.

 

One more thing.

Below is a TEDx talk I gave a couple of years ago about some of my work. It also gives you a better sense of what I'm all about.

Please feel free to email me with any questions you may have.

I'm truly looking forward to hearing from you.

-Brian Bajari

 

BBAJARI@GMAIL.COM