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Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley Reviews

Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley

Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley

New York, NY
5.0 out of 5 rating, 103 Reviews
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Reviews

5.0 out of 5 rating
103 Reviews
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100% Recommended by couples

Awards

103
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

42 User photos

  • R
    Rebecca Sent on 11/22/2023
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    Best wedding ceremony we could imagine!

    We are so incredibly lucky that we came across Chris in our search for an officiant. Our ceremony was the highlight of our wedding and so special due to Chris’s creativity and inventive way of approaching ceremonies! He’s a beautiful writer that both wrote and narrated our love story for our guests. The ceremony was a perfect balance of laughter and more sentimental moments. So many of our guests remarked that our ceremony was one of the best ones they have ever been to and my husband and I can attest to that because it was hands down our favorite part of our wedding! We also had the opportunity to speak with Chris and meet him in person before the wedding. He was very open to the ideas and vision we had for the ceremony that were important to us. Chris has changed the game for how wedding ceremonies can be imagined and we couldn’t speak more highly of our experience!!

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Rebecca, thank you very much for these kind words! I'm not sure which was more fun, hanging out with you and Akash a month before the wedding, or the wedding itself. Tough call! You two are so lucky and I hope you are happy forever.
  • Tara
    Tara Sent on 11/01/2023
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    100% The Best Officiant

    I am SO thankful we had Chris as our wedding officiant. He was incredibly kind, professional, and effectively communicated with us during the entire process. Even our guests were telling us how incredible our ceremony was and it was all thanks to Chris for making it perfect. Everything ran smoothly and I highly recommend him. If you want the best for your day, hire him!

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Tara, thank you so much for the kind words! It was a pleasure to work with you and to be part of such a beautiful event.
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  • Natalie
    Natalie H. Sent on 12/29/2023
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    5 Stars is Not Enough!

    Five stars doesn't begin to reflect how wonderful Chris was to work with. We are not a conventional couple; mature in years and young at heart, so we wanted an officiate that would help us plan a ceremony that reflects our personalities. From the very beginning we knew we had found the perfect match with Chris. The communication from our first meeting to our last was amazing. The detailed questionnaire helped Chris to get to know us on a deeper level and was key to the ceremony that Chris wrote. It was OUR story, full of laughter, poignant moments, and pure joy. Chris listens to the bride and groom's ideas and gently guides them to create the perfect ceremony. We were able to review the script and tweak it until it was perfect. His idea to engage the guests and make them part of the ceremony was incredible and so memorable, from our flower "dude" to the one minute of selfies at the beginning of the ceremony, our guest knew this wasn’t going to be a traditional wedding. We heard over and over from our guests, how did you find him? He was amazing. Even other vendors said that this was the best wedding they had ever been to. What a wonderful compliment. I know it is a day WE will always remember and thanks to Chris our guests will too. Thank you, Chris, from the bottom of our hearts!
  • C
    C Z Sent on 12/28/2023
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    Impressed every guest and made us feel so great in a genuine way

    Chris Shelley impressed everybody (my wife and me included) at the wedding. It was an amazing performance by him - with his voice, humor, and thoughtfulness - without taking the spotlight away from my wife and me. Chris has an excellent handle on every minutia of the ceremony, both the expected and the potentially unexpected. Apart from being very familiar with our venue (shown in a lot of his pictures), he did an excellent job coordinating with our harpest on the day of which was another highlight of his performance.

    Chris crafted a detailed plan to ensure the ceremony would go smoothly which also made my wife and me at ease and enjoying the event. He sent us a detailed list of questions to understand our story and details of the event (to be filled out ~2 months prior to our wedding), and then worked with us over a number of iterations until we found the script perfect. Throughout the entire preparation process, Chris was generous with his time and met us in person a month ahead of our wedding to get to know us better, talk through any concerns/questions we had, and offered his encouragement as well as additional suggestions. Further, he was extremely reliable throughout our interaction and always early to our appointments.

    Chris surely set the bar very high for officiants. A lot of our guests came to us asking how/where we could find such an exceptional officiant that made the event so touching and memorable right from the start. We were lucky to have had Chris referred to us by our friends who worked with him at their wedding, and we 1000% recommend him without any reservation.

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thank you so much Chris and Chloe! This is a spectacular review. I'm so honored to do this work and be present at these amazing moments in couples' lives and to be appreciated for the work is so special. Thank you so much and have an incredible new year!!!
  • Alison
    Alison T. Sent on 08/15/2023
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    We love Chris!

    Chris was exactly what we wanted for our wedding and he executed it perfectly. He took the time to get to know us, asked all the right questions, and our ceremony was nothing short of amazing. He has the ideal mix of humor and sentimentality which was exactly what we wanted. When it came time for our ceremony, I had read Chris’ speech a few times before but I still thoroughly enjoyed being up there while he said the words out loud. He puts his own spin on things but still really captured us and our story. After the ceremony, so many of our guests came up to us specifically to say how much they enjoyed it and how great Chris was. I think if more of our friends weren’t already married they would hire him for their weddings, too! He puts so much life into what he does and you can tell that he genuinely loves doing it. Chris was ultimately the perfect choice for us and I can’t recommend him enough.

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thank you Alison!!! Your wedding was a blast, and I'll never forget those beautiful surroundings next to the lake. Your guests were very kind to me and I am so grateful that I got to be a part of your wedding. Thank you so much!!!
  • Klara
    Klara A. Sent on 10/20/2022
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    Chris was like family!

    Asking Chris to officiant our wedding was one of the best wedding decisions we made! More than just being organized, well-spoken, and reliable, he was like family! He was excited to learn and participate in our Slovakian traditions and even learned to say a couple of lines in Slovak for the ceremony. He knew how to draw people in, how to make people laugh and cry, and truly celebrate us. Everyone raved about him and wanted to book him for their event!
  • NICHOLAS
    Nicholas O. Sent on 01/08/2023
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    Stop the search you’ve found your officiant!

    EVERY guest talked about how much they loved Chris and how they’ve never been to a wedding with such a good officiant. Even employees from our venue and our photographer said that Chris is the best in the business. Without upstaging us, he was the star of the show. Chris was great to work with both professionally and personally as he guided us through the ceremony development process. His speech was a good combination of heartfelt and serious with some tasteful comedy. The ceremony was so personalized to us that people thought Chris was our friend. We couldn’t recommend him enough.
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    Gina Sent on 04/14/2022
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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. Sent on 11/19/2021
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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!
  • A
    Angelica C. Sent on 11/07/2021
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    The Highlight of Our Day

    Chris was truly one of the highlights of our big day and our guests have raved about him since our ceremony. Chris wrote us a fully personalized ceremony that made everyone both laugh & cry, and was always prompt with his responses. He is an amazing speaker and writer whom we clicked with immediately after speaking with him and highly recommend to anyone looking for an officiant.

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thank you Angelica! Your wedding was delightful. You were both so kind and generous to me the entire time, responsive and totally onboard with my unique approach. Good luck to you both!!!
  • Hayley
    Hayley Y. Sent on 08/22/2021
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    A special, intimate ceremony

    We were married by Chris in Central Park as a small wedding ahead of our originally scheduled one. Chris made our ceremony feel special and personal - going above and beyond what we expected. Our guests really enjoyed Chris and he kept everyone laughing despite the 90+ degree heat. I would highly recommend him to anyone looking for a meaningful ceremony, big or small.

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Hayley, thank you so much! I think I finally cooled down from your wedding just this morning! It was really fun despite the heat and I'm so impressed that your friends and family were there for you. Thank you for letting me be a part of your wedding, and I hope your big Italian wedding is multi bene!!! (I don't speak Italian. Yet.)
  • Lauren
    Lauren F. Sent on 06/24/2022
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    Amazing Human + Wedding Officiant

    Hiring Chris to be our wedding officiant was the easiest and overall best decision Harry and I made during our wedding process. From our first conversation to gauge what an officiant even does to post-wedding check-ins, Chris has been an absolute joy to work with and just know as a person. 
    In hindsight, I have learned that a wedding is essentially a big show that you put on for your loved ones. And our ceremony was the first act of our show. Chris wrote a beautiful ceremony that encapsulated Harry and I's story. He made the ceremony funny, sentimental, serious, and romantic. Family members came up to me after and shared that our ceremony was the best they have been to because of Chris' bright personality and charm and just the way that he "got" us. There were teary moments, and slap-your-thigh moments, and it was just perfect. 
    I really had no idea how our ceremony would go walking into the wedding planning process and Chris helped our not-vision become a vision and become one of the greatest moments of our lives, so far. We highly recommend having Chris be part of your wedding day and bring smiles and tears to your faces as he did for us. 

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Lauren! This is amazing, thank you so much, you made my day. (Is the title a Brooklyn 99 reference?) Your wedding was fun, but the best part was working with you both on the ceremony in the months leading up to the wedding. I am so happy for you both!!!
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    Sreya R. Sent on 11/10/2021
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    A ceremony to remember

    Chris was a highlight of our wedding, and I'm so happy we chose him to officiate our wedding and marry us! Throughout the whole process, Chris was great to work with. From writing our ceremony (and nailing it, minimal revisions!!), to helping us structure our vows, to the actual day of, Chris was amazing. We got so many compliments on our ceremony and people actually enjoyed it! Chris was the perfect mixture of funny, entertaining, and sentimental. I'd highly recommend Chris to any & everyone!

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thank you Sreya! What a fun ceremony that was. You were both very easy to work with - thank you for that!
  • Erin
    Erin Sent on 11/11/2019
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    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 Barber
  • erin
    Erin Sent on 06/07/2019
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    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.
  • Annie
    Annie Sent on 01/03/2019
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    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.

    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!
  • E
    Erin H. Sent on 01/15/2019
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    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!

    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
    Juztina B. Sent on 01/24/2019
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    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.

    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
    Amanda Sent on 10/25/2018
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    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!
  • M
    Marisa Sent on 07/08/2018
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    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.
  • E
    Elease Sent on 05/12/2018
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    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!

    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.
  • K
    Kristen Sent on 08/26/2019
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    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!

    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!
  • foodmanandwife
    Claire Sent on 03/17/2018
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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!

    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
    Cristina Sent on 03/02/2019
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    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.
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