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Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley

New York, NY View map Visit website



I have been a writer ever since I was a kid growing up in Boston, Massachusetts. I became an actor, earning a BFA in Acting from Boston University and living the actor's life in New York City. I earned an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from New York University. I've published short fiction and, most recently, short humor in West 42nd St. magazine.

Officiating weddings calls upon my writing skills, my theater skills, my business skills, and my people skills. I have never been happier in a job. I enjoy helping couples orchestrate the ceremonial aspect of the happiest day of their life. I enjoy coaxing the details of love stories from the minds and the lips of the couples whom I am fortunate enough to call clients. I enjoy helping them find the best words for their best day. I've been doing this for over 5 years, and I hope I'm doing this until I'm 100. (I'm 47.)(But I feel 43.)

I am a licensed Wedding Officiant in New York State and Ohio State. I can also legalize marriages in New Jersey, Kentucky. Arizona, Pennsylvania and probably other States as well. I am a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, having graduated from the Celebrant Foundation & Institute with a focus in Wedding Ceremonies.

For four years in a row, I've appeared on 'The Rachael Ray Show', on Valentine's Day, officiating ceremonies in front of a massive national audience. In April 2014, I appeared on Joan Rivers' reality show, 'Joan Knows Best'. I'll miss Joan. She was the most courteous professional I ever met.

While New York City is my home base, I have a residence in Cincinnati, Ohio, where I am also licensed to perform wedding ceremonies and make marriages legal. I also officiate weddings in northern Kentucky, mostly Covington and Newport.

Please note: if you reach out to me, PLEASE let me know where and at what time your wedding will take place, thank you!!!

Frequently Asked Questions

Which of the following are included in the price?

Ceremony Rehearsal

Does starting price include the ceremony rehearsal?


What types of weddings and events do you provide services for?

Ceremony Rehearsal
Vow Renewal
Civil Union
Single Religion

What religious affiliations do you serve?

Baha'i Faith
No Denomination
Orthodox Christian

On average, how long are wedding ceremonies you officiate?

Less than 30 mins.

In which states are you licensed?


94 Reviews

Write a review
out of 5.0
Recommended by 100% of couples
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    Rating 5 out of 5
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24 User photos

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    Gina Married on 04/09/2022
    Rating 5 out of 5
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    Personal, engaging ceremony!

    I’m not sure who loved Christopher more - me and my husband, or our guests! Christopher brought so much joy and laughter to our ceremony - our cheeks literally hurt from smiling so much. It was amazing to hear the collective laughs and cheers from our families and friends as we were getting married. Our ceremony was uniquely “us”, to the point that many guests assumed Christopher was an old friend of ours! It was very special.

    Christopher is a true professional, and really enhanced our wedding day! I highly recommend hiring him if you’re looking for a bespoke, meaningful ceremony. Thank you, Christopher!
  • K
    Kristine M. Married on 10/16/2021
    Rating 5 out of 5
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    WOW! Incredible attention, composition, and delivery.

    Stop shopping. Chris is your guy. Seriously, just call him right now.
    Christopher Shelley is an intelligent, fun, thoughtful, friendly, professional, incredible person. My wife and I were struggling to find an officiant for our wedding in NYC last month because we felt it should be someone we knew and trusted who was also well qualified. Chris married a couple of friends of ours, so we met him for drinks, and we could tell right away that he shared our values and understood our vision. Even though we had never met him before, he felt like a warm relative who had known us all our lives. His process involves sending a questionnaire form for the couple to fill out, which turned out to be really fun and evocative. In the end, the ceremony he wrote for us was absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Per our requests, it was relatively short, sweet, funny, touching; and he even included a poem we requested. We laughed and cried and so did the guests. Literally every guest I spoke to mentioned how amazing he was. We could not endorse him more highly!


  • 94
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2020 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2019 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2018 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2017 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2016 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2015 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2014 Winner
  • WeddingWire Couples' Choice Awards 2013 Winner

Real Weddings

  • Betsy & Mike
    88 photos · 09/15/2017

Professional Network & Endorsements

8 Endorsements
Valerie Coleman, Wedding Officiant and Celebrant Valerie Coleman, Wedding Officiant and Celebrant Wedding Officiants

Christopher is an excellent officiant! He brings his charming, joyful personality to his work and it's evident he gives 100% to every client. There is no such thing as a boring or dry wedding when Christopher is the Officiant!

Colleen Good Ceremonies Colleen Good Ceremonies Wedding Officiants

Christopher is a suburb choice as an officiant for your wedding. I guarantee that you will have a unique and fun wedding ceremony with his creative and lively touch.

Weddings by Larissa Weddings by Larissa Wedding Officiants

Christopher really is illuminating! He is by far the funniest person I know and there won't be a face in the crowd without a smile on their face when Chris performs a ceremony. He is charming, polite and the best listener I know. He will deliver a ceremony that would surely put a smile on even "Aunty Betty that disapproves of this union" face.... Highly recommend.


New York, 10019
Location of (Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley)
Cincinnati, 45229

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