PLEASE NOTE THAT MY PRICING IN NEW YORK IS VASTLY DIFFERENT THAN MY PRICING IN OHIO.
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!!!
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89 Reviews for Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley
Recommended by 100% of couples
23 User photos
Erin · Married on 09/28/2019
A Perfect Storyteller
The entire process of working with Chris was PERFECT and seamless. You have to take the time to fill out your couple questionnaire so he can make your ceremony that much more perfect. We aren't a religious couple, so we wanted a wonderful storyteller. And that's what Chris is: wonderful. He's thoughtful and engaging. He helped a stressed, control freak bride seamlessly coordinate with the venue and the DJ without lifting a finger.
I had SO many people comment to us afterwards how great the ceremony was and how great Chris was. I even had one guest say, "At a wedding ceremony, you usually want it to end quickly. But I didn't want him to stop talking!" If you're thinking about using Chris: pull the trigger and just do it. You will NOT regret it.
Photography by Sherri BarberSent on 11/11/2019
erin · Married on 05/26/2019
10/10 Would Get Married Again Just to Have Chris Officiate It
Chris was absolutely fantastic. He worked with us through several drafts of the ceremony and offered quite a few suggestions to really make it pop. During the actual ceremony we had some weather difficulties, but Chris was able to improv on the fly and delivered a wonderful show. He’s witty, funny, and easy to work with. We are still receiving comments from our wedding guests about how much they loved him. Could not recommend him enough.Sent on 06/07/2019
Annie · Married on 12/22/2018
Hire him now - perfect ceremony
I have nothing but good things to say about Chris and his work. I was so hesitant to book a stranger off the internet to perform in such an intimate part of our lives. However, after meeting Chris and seeing the first draft of our ceremony all my worries went away! He knocked it out of the park! I first found Chris here on the Knot and then did a youtube search of him -where there is a whole ceremony he performed - I fell in love! It's like he knew that couple! Our ceremony was so personable and so us. We opted to write our own vows and Chris helped edit them- he didn't change anything we wanted to say but instead helped with grammar. At the rehearsal I even told Chris I wasn't quite sure my vows were complete and he emailed me later that day willing to help and even found me before I walked down the aisle to make sure I was happy with my vows (I was - those dang nerves got the best of me)! At the reception, our guests kept coming up to us telling us it was the best ceremony they have ever been to. At the end of the night I looked at my husband and said, uh we totally forgot to give Chris the marriage license to sign- when we went to our day of coordinator she told us Chris signed it and took it with him to send out so we didn't have to worry about it. The very next day he even text us to let us know he sent it. I cannot say enough good things about Chris and his work! THANK YOU FOR MAKING OUR WEDDING ONE TO REMEMBER.Sent on 01/03/2019
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Annie! I loved working with you and Alec. It's always an honor when a couple makes a point of prioritizing the ceremony to the point that they hire the officiant over a year before the wedding. That means it is as important to you as it is to me! Thank you for letting me be a part of your big day. It was my pleasure. Happy New Year!
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!
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.
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.