79 Reviews for Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley
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Christopher is extraordinary! We didn't really know what we wanted in an officiant but from our first phone call we knew he would set the perfect tone for our wedding day...and he did not disappoint! His questionnaire allowed us to tell our story in our own voices and really take some time to reflect on how special the wedding experience really is. The ease of the whole process was a treat in an otherwise pretty stressful period leading up to the wedding.
Christopher has an amazing ability to connect with everyone in the room. Countless guests told me how much they loved our ceremony: "Best ceremony ever!" "He was so funny and so thoughtful!" "Really special and personal".
We would absolutely recommend Christopher!
Claire, thank you so much for this amazing review!!! I loved officiating your wedding. How did you find so many great people to all be in the same room? Thank you for hiring me!
I was left without an officiant after ours backed out at the very last minute (12 days until our wedding)... and they went above and beyond to help us find someone else, and also to arrange their schedule to try to themselves.
What amazing people!
We were referred to Christopher by another Officiant that was already booked. WE LOVED Christopher. He customized the ceremony based on worksheets the bride and groom completed. He then has conversations with them. The ceremony was hilarious and you could tell he put a lot of work into it. So many people came up after and said he was the best officiant they had ever heard. We were in Cop Cot in central park and people were stopping to listen. I was thankful for the humor since it kept me from crying at my daughter's ceremony. I would highly recommend Christopher!
Thank you Cathy! You just made my day! I am so happy that my particular style fit the bride and groom so well. Cop Cot is a fun space and inevitably one ends up with passersby paying attention. This just makes it that much more fun. Good luck to the bride and groom!!!
Chris was amazing, patient, funny and understanding. From the moment, we talked to him, we felt like he was the one! We did not want a religious ceremony and Chris was able to customize our wedding down to every little detail. He was a pleasure to work with and even calmed my fears before the ceremony. After the ceremony, everyone raved on what a great officiant we had and were jealous they didn't think of him for their wedding! The ceremony will always be one of my most treasured memories.
Thank you Corine! It was a pleasure to work with you and Tyler. It warmed my heart to see how much work your family put into this wedding. Good luck going forward! You have a wonderful life ahead of you.
Working with Chris Shelley was an absolute dream & SO MUCH FUN. We cannot imagine having worked with anyone else because Chris was a HUGE part in making our special day (and the months leading up) everything we hoped for and more. His process is totally clear, professional, and thorough from the start. Best of all he is just too funny and a really nice guy! Everything is just so smooth and fun that you don't even realize you are working your way through "bureaucratic formality" where in the end the officiant marries you and people sign a paper to make it official. What we had in the end was the MOST MAGICAL, MOST MEMORABLE, MOST SPECIAL ceremony that gave us and all our guests all the good feels...and 100% reflected who we are as a couple. We all laughed, cried, ugly cried, ugly laughed...we would not change a thing and really thank Chris for this. It's really touching to still hear weeks later that our guests enjoyed the ceremony as much as we did and that we had "the best officiant ever." Even before our wedding day, we really enjoyed the planning: Chris will set up an intro call and/or meet-up so everyone can get comfortable with each other and with next steps toward planning the ceremony; he will set deadlines for a really fascinating questionnaire process that prompts all sorts of funny memories and conversations with your partner and really good questions around family dynamics, cultural sensitivities, nuances to be aware of, etc. So important. We would do it all over again & change nothing. We were in such good hands and honestly just had a blast with Chris all throughout!
This review is by far the easiest to write because hiring Chris to officiate our wedding made it so special. Our ceremony was totally personalized just for us. Chris shared our story with our family and friends (a nice touch since our wedding included family members I hadn't seen in years) and filled it with a sense of humor that my husband and I both share. Working with Chris was easy too - we met with him way in advance of our wedding, but he was readily accessible and met with us again closer to the date. Our family and friends all commented on how much fun the ceremony was but I think my dad phrased it best: the ceremony kicked off our celebration on a great note!
Thank you Theresa! Your wedding was one of the highlights of my summer.
Chris was great. We talked with him on the phone to kick off the process. The back and forth between drafts of the ceremony script went smoothly. His humor was great when we were at the alter to take some of the edge off. I would highly recommend him
Where do I even begin? Chris was fantastic in every way possible. He was professional, fun to work with, flexible and AMAZING at writing and officiating the ceremony. He captured our love story PERFECTLY and delivered it flawlessly...and had everyone laughing, smiling and crying tears of joy and sentiment along the way. So many of our wedding guests told us that our wedding ceremony was "the best wedding ceremony they have ever attended." And a huge reason for that was Chris. If you like everything you see and hear about Chris...look no further and don't hesitate. I highly, highly, highly recommend Chris Shelley of Illuminating Ceremonies.
Preparing for the ceremony was my favorite (and most meaningful) part of wedding planning. Mostly, this is because Chris was incredible. He helped create a meaningful, fun ceremony that everyone in attendance enjoyed (and believe me, we had a mixed crowd!). Chris's personality, filled with warmth, charm, humor, and depth, makes him a perfect officiant for any occasion. He took the time to get to know us and created a customized ceremony that was poignant and touching at an unbeatable price. Chris loves what he does, which is why his work was truly unforgettable. I cannot recommend this man enough!
Thank you very very much, Mia!!! I had so much fun officiating for you up on that quirky rooftop in the sun. Enjoy your summer!
Chris was great! He really personalized our ceremony and it was the perfect mix of humor and emotion. All of our guests commented on how unique and great he was!
Thank you Allison! You had a stunningly beautiful wedding and I'm glad I got to be a part of it.
Christopher is professional, intuitive, genuine and very funny! We loved the personal story he wrote about us. Our guests loved him too. He is a great officiant with unique gifts. I highly recommend him.
Thank you Sunny! It was my honor to officiate for you!
We first had an hour phone conversation with Chris, and then decided it was best to meet him in person. After meeting with with Chris, we knew he was the one we wanted to marry us. Chris was very personal, professional and extremely easy to work with. He asked us to fill out a questionnaire about a month or so before our wedding. He then gave us a draft of our ceremony- which was so perfect and fitting we barely had to make any changes. Our guests were truly floored by Chris- they loved our ceremony, and really loved Chris. Thank you for making our wedding ceremony so perfectly about us. Do yourself the favor, stop looking and hire him now for your wedding! :)
Thank you Katie!!! I really appreciate it. You were both a dream to work with.
Creative, patient, reassuring and all around amazing! Christopher was a complete pleasure to work with!
Our wedding was a surprise ceremony that was organized from a distance, another country to be exact. Christopher was very helpful and present throughout the whole process. He managed to script a service that included my partner and guests without having access to them. It was funny, original and all around entertaining. After the ceremony, every single guest asked me the same question, ‘Where did you find this amazing guy?’… He, beyond any doubt, made our simple ceremony a success.
Extra points for his patience since the event was delayed because of a few hiccups with the venue that we had booked!
Merci Jeffrey! It was absolutely my pleasure to help with your surprise. You are beautiful people and deserve a long happy life together.
We would recommend Chris to anyone! The ceremony he wrote was personalized, heartwarming and funny. He worked closely with us for several months to make sure it was everything we wanted. You don't hear of many weddings where guests remember the ceremony at all, let alone compliment the bride and groom on it all night long.
Thank you Marie! The pleasure was mine. It's always a pleasure to do weddings at The Monastery Event Center. Your wedding was wonderful and I'm very happy for you both.
Chris was everything we could have wished for. The ceremony he prepared was funny, unique, loving and emotional.
Ourselves and our guests loved the ceremony. He brought so much energy to the room, made every one laugh and told our love story so well.
We highly recommend Chris, book him you won’t regret it!
Thank you Matthew! It was my pleasure to meet your family and to perform your wedding ceremony. I'm honored that you chose me. Thank you! I'm just sorry I couldn't learn Polish in time for the wedding so I could have spoken more to Joanna's Mom!
Christopher came highly recommended from a fellow vendor - and we're so glad we found him! Within the first few minutes of our meeting Chris came off as extremely warm and friendly, and someone who genuinely enjoys his job. We were confident that he could give us the type of ceremony we were looking for: personal, sentimental and fun. And he delivered! Our ceremony was the perfect reflection of who we are. Our families and guests loved it. It was the perfect start to an incredible evening, setting the tone for a warm, loving and fun evening.
Stephanie, thank you for these kind words. I'm glad I was able to come through for you and Dimitri. I wish you both the very best.
We hired Christopher Shelley to be the officiant for our wedding, on October 29, 2016, at Bryant Park Grill. After the ceremony, as we were making our rounds to each guest during dinner, the most common question we heard was, "How do you know your wedding officiant? He was great!"
We joked that he was Uncle Ned's kid and then fessed up: he was the best-rated officiant we found in New York City. We are from different religious backgrounds, and our wish was to have a non-denominational ceremony with certain flourishes from each faith. Chris worked with us from the beginning to make sure that our wishes came true. He first met with us to get a sense of who we were as a couple. He then emailed us a thorough questionnaire for us to fill out individually so he could use personal details about us and our relationship to write a first draft of our ceremony. His draft was touching and funny and really felt like it was extremely personalized for us. We then worked with him to make additions, subtractions, and edits to finalize the ceremony a few weeks before the wedding day. It was an extremely smooth and fun process!
In addition to writing our ceremony, Chris also handled the marriage license procedure. We sat with him on the day of the wedding and signed the marriage license in front of him and our witnesses. He then took care of mailing it off to the City Clerk while we were on our honeymoon. It was a relief to come home to the finalized paperwork!
We would highly recommend Chris to be your wedding officiant. He is funny, positive, and truly cares about making your wedding day memorable and special. He is also very pleasant to work with in the stressful months leading up to your big day.
Sarah & Matt
Thank you Sarah! This made my day. Yours was such a perfect, dream-like iconic New York wedding. I was so proud to be a part of it. Thank you for your trust and your friendship, and for these kind words. Thank you!
Chris was great and delivered an amazing ceremony. Our wedding guests had made comments about the potential to cry or tear up during our ceremony, but as soon as Chris started to speak, that all changed. The ceremony was full of laughs and everyone loved it! We even had some guests tell us that was the funniest ceremony they listened to.
Chris was easy to work with. We were not in love with the first draft of the ceremony so he rewrote it until we were 100% satisfied. Chris immediately processed our marriage licence - the Monday after our wedding.
Thank you for the kind words, Ivy!
My husband and I are very lucky to have found Mr. Chris Shelley to officiate our wedding ceremony in June 2016. He brought his brand of humor, wit, and artistry to delivering all the words that we had poured our hearts into on our wedding day. Our guests were very engaged because of his energy and how he directed the flow of the ceremony. I especially appreciate his wonderful reading of a romantic though obscure Shakespeare sonnet that I once heard read by Garrison Keillor - Mr. Shelley did it just as beautifully. He developed a detailed program for the ceremony based on in-depth, personal conversations with us months before the wedding and a written questionnaire that helped to capture in verbatim what we had wished to express. Mr. Shelley is a true professional who listened carefully and conveyed truly all the complex emotions and joy that we wanted to share with everyone on the happiest day in our lives.
Thank you so much for your kind words! I guess I'll need to work on my 'value'. Cheers,
Chris Shelley knocked our ceremony out of the park! He made our guests laugh and cry in a single sentence. Our life expressed through his words was amazing and our guests continue to compliment his work from our special day. It was so much fun and very different from your normal wedding ceremonies (which are normally very boring)! We cannot wait for our video so we can hear it all over again. Thank for making our day that much more special.
Thank you so much for your kind words! You just made my day!
I cannot recommend Chris enough. Planning a wedding, no matter how large or small, can get stressful and somehow the ceremony always feels like the spiritual heart of the whole exercise. We knew from the outset that we wanted a special ceremony that combined humor with emotion, with a little New York flair, while keeping our guests entertained. In addition, since my now husband's family is French and do not speak a word of English, we asked Chris if he could indulge us and deliver our ceremony entirely in French. He was such a great sport about it and rose to the occasion - our Central Park ceremony was personalized, charming, literary, funny and entirely what we wanted. To all the couples out there searching fruitlessly for a bilingual ceremony or one entirely in French, you've found your guy! Our French family members were completely blown away. MERCI MILLE FOIS!
Thank you Nishi! I'm so happy for you and Christophe, and it was an honor for me to perform your ceremony. I was so gratified that the French speakers were happy!
The hardest vendor to find and choose was our wedding officiant. Once we spoke to Chris, we knew he was our guy. Chris is super experienced and guides you through the process seamlessly. He's a true talent in his ability to capture your story, fill it with hilarious comedy (which I needed not to ball my eyes out through the entire ceremony), and heartfelt commentary that would have even the driest eyes in the audience crying. He is a ceremony artist. He brings to life everything you dreamt your ceremony would be as if he was a long time friend. Our guests couldn't stop talking about how beautiful the ceremony was, and how amazing our officiant was.
Thank you so much Chelsea! This review made my day. I'm so happy I got to be your officiant and to be a part of your big day. You're awesome! Thank you.
Chris officiated our wedding in May and we have only wonderful things to say about the ceremony and our experience with him. From the start, my fiancé and I knew we wanted something personal, spiritual (though not necessarily religious) and unique. We also wanted moments of seriousness and lightheartedness, and we wanted all that without any rituals or readings. Chris absolutely delivered. My guests laughed out loud many times and many (!) of them were in tears. Not a word felt recycled or inauthentic, and yet it felt like the important moment that it was. Afterwards, several guests commented on Chris' skills and even six months later we hear that it was the "best" ceremony many have ever witnessed. As the decor and details now fade half a year later, we realize how important the ceremony is to the whole day; we're so glad we picked someone like Chris to do it justice.
Laura, thank you so much for these kind words. Seven months later I still remember your ceremony and how lucky I felt to be a part of it.
Happy New Year! I hope you're enjoying married life thus far.
Chris was excellent. From the initial meeting, to the questionnaire he asked me and my (now) husband to fill out to get to know us and help craft our ceremony, to the actual day of, Chris really knew what he was doing and helped make our ceremony perfectly us. We're fairly untraditional; my husband and I met doing tae kwon do at college, and our college team has a tradition where one member of a new couple breaks a wooden board over the other member's head. We knew we had to include this tradition in our ceremony. Chris was beyond excited to include it. We kept the ceremony relatively short and sweet, about 10-15 minutes, but it flew by. We got so many compliments from our guests about how much they loved the ceremony and Chris. Several direct quotes include: "that was the best ceremony I've ever seen!", "when it was over, I wished there was more to it!", "your officiant was hilarious!" If you're looking for someone to really tell your love story, get the guests excited to actually be at your wedding, and have a completely unique ceremony, hire Chris immediately. You and your guests will NOT be disappointed!
Thank you for the kind words! Your ceremony was great fun. Good luck to you both.
When we were searching for a wedding officiant for our ceremony at Battery Gardens, we decided to meet with Chris after reading the overwhelmingly positive and heartfelt reviews on WeddingWire. After meeting with him the first time, we knew exactly what everyone was talking about. Chris is very easy to work with, on top of everything and will walk you through his plan/process very thoroughly. Besides all that great stuff, Chris is hilarious and had us cracking up every time we spoke with him. He had us complete a questionnaire which helped him put together an amazing speech for our ceremony. We had several guests tell us the night of and after the wedding just how funny and on the mark Chris was. He was also a huge help with our vows and with running through a rehearsal of the ceremony the day of. He even took care of getting our marriage license finalized and mailed out. Overall, just a huge pleasure to work with. If you're looking for someone who will make your ceremony memorable, emotional, and full of laughs, we highly recommend working with Chris.
Thank you so much for your kind words! I've always said it's weird having a job where you can get reviewed publicly - but it's also amazingly affirming to see such positive sentiments out there. Thank you again, and I will keep on trying to make every couples' experience like yours.