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Meet Our Friends: Sterling Weddings
categories: for your ceremony, Meet Our Friends, Scottsdale Weddings, Sedona Weddings

When we think about planning a wedding, we start at the beginning- the dress, the photographer and the venue, right? Wrong! The whole reason you are planning the biggest and possibly most expensive event of your life is for the ceremony! Often, and I can’t blame you, engaged couples get wrapped up in the “fun” decisions that need to be made like the colors, the food, the flowers and the cake but the most important part of the day is when you actually make the commitment to spend your life together as one. Your ceremony is, as Reverend Shanandoah Sterling says, the “heartbeat” of the entire day.

Shanandoah Sterling (owner of Sterling Weddings) and I chatted recently about her work and I don’t think I can quite express to you you how much I would want her to be my officiant at my wedding if I could do it all over again. She knows what’s important and she makes sure you remember it amongst the hubbub of wedding planning. She centers people, works magic in the quiet moments and makes sure you feel completely connected to your ceremony. That’s saying a lot, isn’t it?

(Photo courtesy of: Sedona Bride Photographers)

(Photo courtesy of: Cameron Kelly Studios)

What makes Shanandoah special is the lengths she goes to make each ceremony a customized and thoughtful reflection of the couple. She encourages her couples to write personal vows, allows for couples to incorporate their unique traditions and cultures, asks the parents for words of wisdom to be used in the ceremony, and helps couples savor the engagement period. I especially liked her “keepsake vow booklet” idea. She takes all the literature (vows, readings, words of wisdom, blessings, etc.) that will be used in the ceremony and keeps them in one beautiful booklet; this is then given to the couple to keep after the wedding.

Shanandoah, who performs Native American ceremonies and is part Native American herself, allows couples to incorporate any traditions they see fit for their ceremony. If a non-Native American couple wants a Sage or Ring Blessing, they can have it because it is THEIR ceremony. Unfortunately, this concept seems so foreign to many other officiants. Perhaps one of the most touching ceremonies she performs is the Wedding Blanket ceremony. As the couple searches for a blanket for the ceremony, they must be represented individually and together in some aspect in the actual blanket. What a beautiful way to symbolize that the two people getting married are important on their own and as a couple.

(Photos courtesy of: Andrew Holman Photography)

(Photo courtesy of: Sedona Bride Photographers)

Your take-away from today’s blog is that you do not have to do anything in your ceremony other than give a verbal consent to marry but with a committed and flexible officiant like Shanandoah, you can make it yours in so many unique ways. The invitations, the linens, and the DJ all come second to the reason you are marrying each other. Make sure you align yourself with someone who truly understands that on a deep level.

To find out more about Shanandoah (who is based in Sedona but travels regularly to perform ceremonies in the Scottsdale area) and her unique ceremonies, please visit her website and blog. She is also a member of the Sedona Wedding Studio– a stellar group of wedding professionals you will want to check out for all things wedding.

I can’t wait to hear how you are going to make your ceremony special to you!

Chatting Soon~Kelly


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