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!
Erin H. · Married on 11/24/2018
Guests said, "That was the best ceremony I've ever been to!"
We had the absolute BEST experience having Chris as our wedding celebrant. The wedding ceremony he created for us was amazing, we had so many guests come up to us after the ceremony to rave about how amazing he was, and say that it was truly one of the best wedding ceremonies they had attended. Chris not only took the time to get to know us as a couple, but he ensured that our ceremony had all the components we were looking, creating a perfect interfaith ceremony that really spoke to our personal love story. I can't say enough positives, Chris is just the best!Sent on 01/15/2019
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Erin! I really appreciate your kind words, and I wish you and Alex many years of happiness.
Juztina B. · Married on 11/01/2018
Best ceremony ever
First, we want to say HUGE thank you to Chris because honestly our wedding wouldn’t have been as perfect if he wasn’t there to officiate, so THANK YOU CHRIS!
Honestly, we are endlessly grateful for how amazing before and during the wedding Chris was. When we met him, it was like meeting up with an old friend. We hit it off, were making jokes and just knew he was perfect for our wedding. Chris’ questionnaire was fun and interesting to fill out, and even more fun to go over together as a couple after we each individually filled it out. We also appreciated Chris for helping us out with our vows, he was able to seemingly help us make sure both of our vows were both perfection. And even though we read our ceremony through together before, Chris presented it in such a throughout, fun manner that we still laughed and cried like we heard it for the first time. We knew from the beginning how amazing Chris was, but seriously BEST CEREMONY EVER! Not only do we think that, but all of our guests thought so as well. People even came up and said if they could do their wedding over again, they would do like ours...aka having Chris. We would recommend Chris ten times over. Trust us if you want the best ceremony ever look no further.
Sent on 01/24/2019
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Juztina! You know I love you both. I had so much fun getting to know you. I love that we were able to meet up more than once - even though we really didn't have any pressing business to attend to - we just felt like meeting up! Love it. You guys are the best. Be good to each other.
Amanda · Married on 10/21/2018
Best Ceremony Ever is true!
From our very first conversation I knew Chris was my guy. He was thoughtful and funny about the answers we gave to his questionnaire, changed things around when I asked for a few changes, and worked to combine the traditional elements my husband wanted with the non traditional elements I hoped for, including the priest's marriage speech from The Princess Bride, complete with lisp and everything! He took the time to make me laugh and ease my nerves when I was freaking out. He was patient when I was late getting updates to him. He was just all around exactly what I needed from an officiant. I never worried about how the ceremony would turn out because I knew it was in the right hands. I wanted a funny, heartwarming, and personal ceremony and that's exactly what Chris gave me. Every single person at my wedding commented about how funny Chris was, how awesome it was for everything to be so specific to me and my husband's personalities and quirks, and how much they genuinely enjoyed the whole experience. I 100% understand why Chris' book is called Best Ceremony Ever because that's exactly what he delivered for me and my husband, the very best ceremony ever. 12/10, without hesitation I recommend Chris as an officiant and all around good guy!Sent on 10/25/2018
Marisa · Married on 06/23/2018
Chris came highly recommended to us as someone that would bring a non-traditional approach to the wedding ceremony. His style is one of celebration and fun, and he did an excellent job of weaving our personal story into that unique approach. He worked very closely with us throughout the process to make sure everyone was on the same page. He helped us to plan some fun twists, and on the day of the ceremony he made sure to arrive extra early so that he could help coordinate with the readers and the string quartet. No detail was left to chance and our guests were laughing and crying throughout the ceremony. We lost track of how many guests commented afterwards that it was the best wedding ceremony they’ve ever seen, and we will be forever grateful to Chris for making that happen.Sent on 07/08/2018
Elease · Married on 04/21/2018
OH MY GOD! Where do I even begin? Chris made our wedding ceremony into one of the most memorable experiences of my life. OuR guests have RAVED that this was their favorite ceremony they have ever been to. Chris is simply hilarious, articulate, and clever!
Prior to the wedding, he asked me and my husband to fill out a questionnaire. Based on that, he composed the funniest and sweetest ceremony that includes telling your guests your “love story”. Our guests really enjoyed that. He knew when to be Funny and when to be serious, and he was the perfect balance. Countless friends have asked me for his information!
YOU HAVE TO BOOK HIM!Sent on 05/12/2018
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Elease, thank you so much! This is the perfect review. If they could hand out a Pulitzer for best review, this would be the one that got it. Thank you again. I loved working with you.
Kristen · Married on 02/18/2018
Best ceremony ever!
Chris Shelley is amazing! Our ceremony was my favorite part of the day because of the way in which he personalized it just for us. He is the perfect balance between funny/light and heartfelt. The environment he created made us feel as if we in an intimate setting even though we were in front of 200 people - he brought everyone in so the room felt small and close. Exactly what we wanted! People could not stop talking about him and the ceremony following. Thank you Chris for working with us leading up to the day and making our ceremony perfect. We are so gratetful! Highly highly recommend Chris!Sent on 08/26/2019
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Kristen, thank you so much for this wonderful review! I am happy that you and Richard enjoyed the ceremony. Be good to each other!
Claire · Married on 01/20/2018
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!
Sent on 03/17/2018
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply: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!
Cristina · Married on 11/04/2017
Hire him - don't look anywhere else!
Where to begin?! My husband and I are so thrilled that we went with Christopher. We did the option where we gave him information and he wrote a unique ceremony for us. It was a wonderful experience. We answered several questions separately and then some together that Chris sent along (it was actually really fun to look back on memories & reminisce), and then Chris went on to formulate a wonderful speech and ceremony like a play. There were some unique things we wanted to do during the ceremony as well and he was very open to it. We told him we wanted it to be slightly funny/entertaining but heartfelt at the same time (while not being too long) and that's EXACTLY WHAT HE DID. HE HIT IT RIGHT ON THE HEAD. We pretty much told him what we wanted and he delivered extremely well. It couldn't have been more perfect. All of our guests kept telling us how much they enjoyed the ceremony, it was crazy.
There was a point in time I was worried about it and he was willing to meet us in the city a few days before the ceremony to make sure all was in order, make us feel comfortable, and he gave us helpful advice and suggestions. It was just a wonderful magical ceremony and experience all around. Wouldn't change one thing.
Piece of advice to brides + grooms - do the ceremony that YOU want, not what your family wants.Sent on 03/02/2019
Kayla · Married on 10/28/2017
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.Sent on 10/17/2017
What amazing people!
Cathy · Married on 10/20/2017
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!Sent on 10/31/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply: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!!!
Corine · Married on 08/12/2017
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.Sent on 08/16/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply: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.
Kendra · Married on 07/22/2017
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!Sent on 08/17/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you!!!
Theresa · Married on 07/15/2017
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!Sent on 09/01/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Theresa! Your wedding was one of the highlights of my summer.
Matthew · Married on 06/23/2017
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 himSent on 07/10/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thanks Matthew!
Danielle · Married on 06/04/2017
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.Sent on 01/06/2018
Mia · Married on 06/03/2017
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!Sent on 06/28/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply: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!
Allison · Married on 06/02/2017
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!Sent on 07/17/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Allison! You had a stunningly beautiful wedding and I'm glad I got to be a part of it.
Sunny · Married on 05/27/2017
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.Sent on 07/16/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Sunny! It was my honor to officiate for you!
Katie · Married on 05/13/2017
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! :)Sent on 07/13/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Thank you Katie!!! I really appreciate it. You were both a dream to work with.
Jeffrey · Married on 01/28/2017
Creative, patient, reassuring and all around amazing! Christopher was a complete pleasure to work with!Sent on 02/05/2017
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!
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:Merci Jeffrey! It was absolutely my pleasure to help with your surprise. You are beautiful people and deserve a long happy life together.
Marie · Married on 01/21/2017
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.Sent on 03/19/2017
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply: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.
Matthew · Married on 12/15/2016
Chris was everything we could have wished for. The ceremony he prepared was funny, unique, loving and emotional.Sent on 01/07/2017
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!
Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply: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!