Being an Oregon Coast Officiant, Carolyn is incredibly talented. She creates a beautiful and custom ceremony for the couples she works with and marries. Being a local, she knows the ins and outs of the coast. This knowledge is gold when it comes to finding the perfect ceremony location for your elopement or wedding.
Oregon Coast Officiant
My vendor spotlight today is highlighting Carolyn, owner and officiant of Oregon Beach Ceremonies.
The reviews on her website confirm the priceless services she provides. Couples are raving about the memorable experience she helps create for their best day ever. I stand alongside of them in that fact, as I had the chance to work with her this past year.Her love for what she does is unmatched. I’m really excited to share my interview with you today, to give you a chance to get to know Carolyn more.
How would you describe your vibe?
Well, to start, I am a hopeless romantic, a huge nature lover, and a storyteller. I am also a great listener and I think that’s an important part of what I do. My clients have described me as “warm, friendly, authentic and wise.” My focus is always on my couple and what makes their story unique and special!
Was there a particular moment that inspired you to become an Oregon Coast officiant?
Actually, my love of ceremony came before my Officiant title. For as long as I can remember I have been creating ceremonies to honor special moments for my friends and family, most often in nature. The moment I made a conscious choice to become a Celebrant was when my brother told me about the Celebrant Foundation (think of a Celebrant as a graduate-level officiant). I then spent 18 months studying the history, ancient customs, storytelling and personal elements of ceremony. When I realized I could do what I love by creating ceremonies in my “soul place” on the Oregon Coast – I was hooked!
How long have you been in the wedding industry?
This is my 5th year. I can’t believe how quickly it has gone. Every year has been so meaningful and fun. In 2020 I did 84 small weddings and elopements, and each one of them was amazing. I especially loved being surrounded by love energy!
What is your favorite way to connect with a couple prior to their wedding day? Take us through your process.
I am always available by email and text but my favorite way to connect is through Zoom so I can see my clients. In our initial consultation, I describe the process of working with me and how the ceremony should reflect their personal beliefs and their love story. This is often a surprise to them because obviously they don’t do this often, but also they have only seen a traditional (and often boring) wedding ceremony.
My clients have two assignments from me; a Ceremony Questionnaire (this is where I get their vision of the ceremony) and a Couple Questionnaire that they each fill out separately (this is how I write their love story in the ceremony).
I also provide tips on writing vows and I provide sample vows for them to choose from (if they don’t want to write their own). Once I have all the elements that are important to them, I write the ceremony from scratch!
You will not receive a cookie-cutter ceremony off the internet from me!
Each component – vows, poetry, stories, music, readings, and rituals – is tailored to suite the couple’s personal style and beliefs.
What services do you provide? Do you officiate bigger weddings too, or weddings at a venue?
I officiate all types and sizes of ceremonies but my niche here on the Oregon Coast is destination elopements and micro-weddings. About 80% of the weddings on the coast have fewer than 20 guests. The Oregon Coast is one of the top destination elopement places in the country!
Do you serve exclusively as an Oregon Coast Officiant, or do you travel as well?
Yes, I do travel! Most of my clients are getting married on the Oregon Coast, but I have been getting more requests for adventure elopements and weddings in other areas due to client referrals and recommendations from photographers I have worked with!
Can you share for us a bit of your journey since you started your business?
In 2014, I was feeling “stuck” in a corporate job that was increasingly becoming toxic to my soul. Sitting in a cubicle for 8 hours a day was literally sucking the life out of me. I was intent on finding a way to do what I love AND find a way to make a living doing it.
When I heard about the Celebrant Institute, I immediately knew it was for me. I studied all things ceremony including how to create personalized wedding ceremonies that tell a couple’s love story (think of a certified wedding Celebrant as a professionally trained Officiant). Two years later, I left my corporate job (and cubicles!) behind to follow my dream of living and working in alignment with my purpose and passions. I started my small business as a Celebrant offering ceremonies on the Oregon Coast and my spirits soared again. It was a perfect fit for me!
In what ways have you seen the wedding industry shift in light of 2020?
Destination elopements became even more popular in 2020. I realized there was a trend toward a customized elopement experience. The couple could still have the bells and whistles of a wedding without the stress of a large formal wedding (i.e. luxury accommodations, a kick-ass photographer, small wedding cake, gorgeous florals, catering for two, and a ceremony that celebrates their relationship)!
The couples in 2020 were resilient and diligent. They sometimes had to come up with not only plan B, but C, D, & E as well! Many of the couples I worked with were so grateful and excited to find that their alternate plan was exactly what they wanted, even if they didn’t envision it this way originally!
Do you have any tips for couples writing their own personal vows?
Take a moment to sit quietly with pen in hand and think about your love. Be real. Your words should sound like you, and matter to you. Be specific. A little humor is a great way to lighten things up. As for length, thirty seconds is fine, more than 2 minutes is too long. If you have any doubt, go over it with a close friend or family member, or me!
Do you have a favorite moment from an elopement wedding day you would like to share?
Oh my gosh there are so many! One elopement last summer was such a funny combination of random events that perfectly fit with the quirky vibe of Oregon. We were at Hug Point and the bride needed to find somewhere to change into her dress (the bathrooms were closed due to Covid). I knew of a cliffside spot that was secluded so we headed up there. On the way we ran into an aerial dancer in a Cedar tree, and a female Shaman sent to “bless the land.” She ended up helping us get the bride into her gown. I love those types of random events that turn into fun wedding stories!
Also, I loved the ceremonies I did last summer at Pelican Brewery in Pacific City. We had a dream team of vendors for three ceremonies in one day! It was such a fun collaboration and each of the small ceremonies were so beautiful and unique to match the couple’s style.
If a couple is traveling to the coast for their small wedding, where do you recommend they go to eat? What are a few of your favorite restaurants and coffee shops along the coast?
Absolutely! For coffee: Insomnia and Sleepy Monk in Cannon Beach. Manzanita News & Espresso in Manzanita.
Hole in the wall breakfast places: Wanda’s Café in Nehalem, The Roost in Wheeler, Yolk in Manzanita, and Lazy Susan’s Café in Cannon Beach.
For dinner: Newman’s, Bistro, and EVOO in Cannon Beach. Also, McGregor’s whiskey bar (all in Cannon Beach). In Manzanita, The Winery in Manzanita has great ambiance (outdoor seating and firepits at each table). There is also a new restaurant called Offshore Grill that is really good.
Anything else you would like to add?
Another service I provide is healing ceremonies for people who are going through a time of change in their life (i.e. milestone birthdays, remembrance ceremonies, ceremonies for letting go of a relationship, job loss, healing from illness and addiction, etc). I have access to a privately owned rainforest in the foothills of the Nehalem valley. It is truly magical!
If someone is seeking to book you as their Oregon Coast Officiant, where can they connect with you?
Photos in this post were taken by yours truly, TMinspired Photography.
P.S. Are you looking for a photographer to capture your Oregon Coast wedding? I’d love to chat!
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