We got engaged on January 1 of this year (3 year anniversary) and just got married this past weekend. I turned 32 a couple of weeks ago and wanted to get this marriage show on the road, which was why we "rushed" the engagement phase :) I waited 31 years as it was for this moment!!! That said, I did most of my marriage preparation based on online reviews from The Knot, WeddingWire, and TripAdvisor (plus, I am always doing research for vacations and road trips, so checking out reviews from others on these sites was natural practice for me!).
When it came time to find an officiant, I did a Google search of wedding officiants in NJ. Andrea Purtell of This Joyous Occasion was one of the first to pop up in my search results! I liked her website, the thoroughness of her wedding package descriptions, her availability, her overall tone and website appearance, and just had a good vibe about her from the onset. I decided to email her via her website to find out if she would be available for our big day -- fortunately for us, she was! Since we were getting married in Bernardsville and she lived in Point Pleasant, she very kindly explained her fees for travel/mileage (which was also explained on her website). Andrea had scripts for weddings, recommended readings, links to vendors she'd worked with, etc. Her website had a very user-friendly, bride-friendly element -- it's as warm and inviting as she is!
While Andrea recommended getting in touch via Skype or phone to discuss wedding details, we actually planned our entire event THROUGH EMAIL. I'm not even kidding!!! I'm a big fan of writing emails simply because I can take the time I need to think through what I'd like to say, make edits, etc. I found a wedding "script" I liked on Andrea's site, went through her suggested readings and fell in love with her passage from "Captain Corelli's Mandolin" that talks about love (one of Andrea's favorites as well :) and made adjustments to the run-through based on our personal preferences. We didn't have a "traditional" ceremony in the sense of a full bridal party, the traditional music, etc. It was a much more intimate ceremony with family only, and we got married and had our reception in the same location (The Bernard's Inn, which I also HIGHLY recommend!). Andrea was completely open to any changes or suggestions that were in the original script, and was extremely accommodating. Shortly before our wedding, she had a hard-drive crash that led to a possible lost "script". We quickly assured Andrea that what she had in her email back-up was indeed the script we'd originally prepared. Even in times of possible "crisis" Andrea was extremely calm and willing to call us if need be to assure us she knew what the ceremony would look like.
The day of our wedding was the first time we spoke to Andrea and met her in person. I actually "ran into her" in the lobby as I was heading downstairs to the Silver Vault where the ceremony was to take place (I was checking on my decorations at the time). Andrea was SO WARM AND FRIENDLY!!! Just as sweet as her emails. I have to say, I'm not a bridezilla and I was calm as a cucumber the day I got married. My now husband and I had been living together for a year and this day came together as if it were any other -- in an incredibly good way. I wasn't worried about our ceremony knowing it was in Andrea's hands, and after talking to her for a few minutes prior to our nuptials, I was CERTAIN we would have a wonderful ceremony. A JOYOUS OCCASION INDEED! I cannot recommend Andrea enough!
Andrea's website: https://www.forthisjoyousoccasion.com/