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Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley Reviews

Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley

Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley

New York, NY
Rating 5.0 out of 5, 94 Reviews
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94 Reviews

Rated
5.0
out of 5.0
Recommended by 100% of couples
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Awards

  • 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

24 User photos

  • G
    Gina Married on 04/09/2022
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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. Married on 10/16/2021
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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!
  • Angelica
    Angelica C. Married on 09/18/2021
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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!!!
  • S
    Sreya R. Married on 03/10/2020
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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 Married on 09/28/2019
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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 Married on 05/26/2019
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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 Married on 12/22/2018
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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. Married on 11/24/2018
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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. Married on 11/01/2018
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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 Married on 10/21/2018
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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 Married on 06/23/2018
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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 Married on 04/21/2018
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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 Married on 02/18/2018
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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 Married on 01/20/2018
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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 Married on 11/04/2017
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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.
  • Kayla
    Kayla Married on 10/28/2017
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    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!
  • C
    Cathy Married on 10/20/2017
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    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!

    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!!!
  • C
    Corine Married on 08/12/2017
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    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.

    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.
  • K
    Kendra Married on 07/22/2017
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    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!

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thank you!!!
  • T
    Theresa Married on 07/15/2017
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    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!

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thank you Theresa! Your wedding was one of the highlights of my summer.
  • M
    Matthew Married on 06/23/2017
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    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

    Illuminating Ceremonies/Christopher Shelley's reply:

    Thanks Matthew!
  • D
    Danielle Married on 06/04/2017
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    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.
  • M
    Mia Married on 06/03/2017
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    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!

    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!
  • A
    Allison Married on 06/02/2017
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    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!

    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.