Whether you’re looking to get married in a traditional venue or not-so traditional venue, the most important thing to remember is you’ll also need someone to marry you if the venue does not provide an officiant or celebrant.
Rev. Kirsten Blom-Westbrook of Services of Distinction, a non-denominational and civil ordained minister, has served as a celebrant since 1997, performing at baptisms, memorials, funerals and weddings.
“I realized that life isn’t always about the happiest moments and not everyone has a church to rely on for officiant-type services. I now regularly am present at the most memorable times in couples’ lives. I am honored when a young couple calls me a few years later to bless their first home, then baptize their children and then years later, renew their vows. Finally, I am most honored when I am called up on to offer words of comfort at a family memorial or funeral when their loved ones pass away.”
Blom-Westbrook said she works primarily within the Greater Chesapeake region but is also authorized to solemnize wedding ceremonies in all 50 states and has celebrated weddings in Mexico and several Caribbean nations as well. She said she gives the couple the control over what they want out of the ceremony.
“The ceremony itself is the most important part of the wedding day,” she said. “The ceremony is not just the gateway to the reception; it’s the reason for the celebration. Nothing is worse than having 100 people enthused with the grandest, happiest expectations of a poignant moment only to be rewarded with the same old ceremony that’s been recited by rote over and over again.”
She says it’s important to book an officiant early as she is already seeing bookings for 2013, though she said she’s happy to work with couples to create their wedding ceremony on short notice when needed.
Also a supporter of marriage equality, Blom-Westbrook also performs same-sex unions.
“I am and have always been a supporter of same-sex marriage across the land. It just makes sense to me and I have a hard time understanding why it doesn’t to everyone else,” she said. “In D.C., a same-sex ‘union’ is considered a marriage and as such, is afforded every benefit as a heterosexual marriage. Hopefully, Maryland will come to its senses in the next legislative session and offer the same for Maryland citizens.”
It’s all about the cost …
Blom-Westbrook said her rates begin at $250 for a simple, small ceremony with less than 20 guests, but the average cost is $400 for a full-service wedding. Fees depend on what you’re looking for but Services of Distinction has a helpful FAQ on fees located here on its website.
Blom-Westbrook said in order to confirm a ceremony date, couples must provide a 50% deposit of the fees at the time of book with the remaining balance due two weeks prior to the ceremony date.
What makes Services of Distinction special …
Blom-Westbrook said she works hard to make a couples wedding celebration as memorable and meaningful as possible
“I have been happily invited to take part in nearly 1,000 weddings over the past 14 years,” she said. “I am always honored when a couple chooses to put their confidence in me to help them make their day as special as they dream it can be. This is a very special day in their lives, and I will help make it as personal and customized or as conventional and traditional as they would like it to be.”
The details …
Company: Services of Distinction
Type of wedding vendor: Ceremony officiant/celebrant
Owners: Rev. Kirsten Blom-Westbrook
Contact: Call 443-844-1573 or e-mail [email protected]
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