Photo: Marianne Chua

Frequently Asked Questions

I believe that a meaningful ceremony should reflect who you are. I’ll work closely with you to custom design a fully personalized ceremony, that celebrates your unique love story, and is meaningful to you and those you invite to share in this momentous occasion.

As a professionally trained Celebrant by the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, I will advise, coach and support you every step of the way as we create your ceremony together. You will have the final say on every word and action performed, so that your love and commitment are fully reflected at your wedding ceremony. On your wedding day, I will be your “ceremony coordinator”. I will consult with your wedding professionals when I arrive so that you can be present for each other and deepen your connection as you declare your vows.

I joyfully and enthusiastically work with couples of all cultures, orientations, and beliefs. Short and simple, serious or fun, with customs, rituals, music and readings — the possibilities are endless! Your ceremony will be original, inclusive and full of love!

A Celebrant is a professionally trained specialist in ceremonies, ritual and symbolism, who serves everyone. As a Certified Life Cycle Celebrant, I design, write and officiate ceremonies that are inclusive of all cultures, beliefs and perspectives. My job is to craft a meaningful and memorable ceremony for you without any prescriptions for what “should” be included.

For more information about Celebrants, visit the Celebrant Foundation and Institute, a non-profit educational institution dedicated to helping families personalize celebrations that mark life’s milestones. Since CFI’s founding more than thirty years ago, its graduates have performed over one million weddings worldwide.

When you contact me I’ll respond to you ASAP. I’ll need the date, time, and location of your wedding to determine my availability. Then I’ll suggest an introductory phone or video call to get acquainted. I’ll ask you about your plans and vision, and we can exchange ideas about your ceremony. I will give you an exact quote for my services at that time.

If you are planning a destination wedding, contact me!

If you’d like me to be your officiant, a signed Agreement and 50% deposit secures your wedding date and time. The remaining 50% is due the week before the ceremony. Once the paperwork is out of the way, I will send you a proposed timeline so we stay organized and know what to expect of each other during our work together.

I will also send you a questionnaire to help me learn more about you, and enable me to craft a personalized ceremony. When I receive your responses, we’ll hop on a video chat to go over the general vibe and the nuts and bolts before I start writing.

Approximately two months before the wedding, I will send you a ceremony draft and over the following few weeks we will revise the ceremony together until it is exactly what you want. I will provide unlimited email and phone support leading up to your wedding day.

The week before your ceremony I will reach out to your wedding pros and provide them with Cue Sheets, so we are all on the same page.

The length of your ceremony depends on what you decide to include. In general, my custom ceremonies last 15-25 minutes. This includes the entrance/processional, ceremony and recessional. More important than the length of the ceremony is that it is crafted in a way that keeps you and your guests comfortable and truly engaged (no pun intended).

Definitely! Your ceremony is all about the two of you. Your vows are an opportunity to reflect on and express your love and devotion to each other now, and for the future. I’ll offer you a file of sample vows. You can use it to choose something that resonates with you, to cut and paste, or as inspiration to write your own. I’ll also send you my tip sheet for writing your own vows and will be available to guide your through the process. And there’s never any memorizing! I will print your vows and have them ready for you to read from. If you’d like help writing your vows, just let me know. 

Absolutely. Including important people is a wonderful way to make your ceremony a richer experience for everyone. Children make it especially sweet. I can give you creative ideas for ways to include others in your ceremony that will further strengthen your bonds.
I will arrive on the day of the wedding approximately 30 minutes before the ceremony to make sure that everything is ready. I will coordinate with your photographer, music provider and the venue staff, to make sure everything runs smoothly. I provide cue sheets for all. I typically do not attend the wedding reception. I will congratulate you and give you a big hug before I leave.

A run-through or rehearsal gives everyone an opportunity to get comfortable with the logistics of the ceremony. It is a wonderful time to begin building the sense of community and support that will carry over to the actual ceremony. It is also the moment that you can let go of the details and trust your community to follow through on what needs to be done.

I’m happy to arrive a few minutes early to oversee a “run-through” before your guests arrive. It shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes.

If you’re having a rehearsal on a day other than your wedding day and I’m not available, you don’t need me! The Cue Sheets I prepare for you and your wedding pros will enable whoever is in charge to run your rehearsal seamlessly.

Absolutely! I am truly honored to celebrate the triumphant love stories of ALL couples who want to declare their commitment to spend their lives together as a married couple. I am happy to welcome local couples as well as couples from around the country and the world who choose to marry in the Hudson Valley.
Yes! If you are having a destination wedding, I am happy to travel.

You must apply together for a license at the town or city clerk’s office in the state in which you intend to be wed. Currently, NYC Marriage Licenses are being issued online at You can also get your Marriage License outside of NYC at any Town Clerk by appointment. I will go over the details at our initial interview so that you are clear about your legal responsibilities. It is important to get these requirements handled in advance of your wedding day to insure that your marriage is legal.

Here are some helpful links for New York State and NYC:

In many states, including New York, you must choose what name you will use before you apply for the marriage license and record that name on the license. When you receive your Marriage Certificate, you will use it to change your name for Social Security, driver’s license, bank accounts and credit cards. Need help? Check out HitchSwitch.

I appreciate your consideration. For further information, to check my availability or inquire about fees, please send me an email, call me at (347) 247-3009 (remember to state your date, time and location in your message), or fill out the contact form with additional information about your ceremony!

Alice Soloway, Wedding Officiant and Celebrant, serving Westchester, Putnam, Orange, Dutchess, Ulster, and the Hudson Valley.

Where can I see a video of a wedding ceremony you’ve officiated?

Right here! Many thanks to Meredith and Jonathan (and Le Image, Inc.) for sharing their video with us.

Play Video

Let’s talk!

I’d love to hear more about your plans. Whether your vision about your ceremony is certain or unclear, let’s brainstorm together!