Many of you already know Shannon- at least virtually!- since she has booked almost all of our 2017 and 2018 clients as our Scheduling Manager. She has also helped about a dozen of you plan additional wedding details, such as flowers, dinner, hair and makeup, and other services, as our Client Concierge. Even though she has only been working with us a short time, I cannot imagine how any of us would work without her!
In addition to all the work she does with Savannah Custom Weddings & Elopements, Shannon also has four children with her husband of 15 years who is an active member of our military. Here is a little more about her, how she feels about her work with all of us, and some tips for potential clients.
What made you want to work for a wedding officiant? I have always wanted to work in the wedding industry doing something that allowed me to be a part of a couple’s big day. When I saw the opening, I knew it was the perfect job for me and based on her website, it seemed that I would love working with Tracy and everything she stands for.
What has been your favorite part of the job? My favorite part is definitely seeing everything fall together just how the couple envisioned it. It is a wonderful feeling to see and hear how happy they are to get the wedding of their dreams!
Tell us about a specific problem you solved as a concierge. I had a wonderful couple who needed seating for 20 guests for more then one meal while they were in Savannah for their destination wedding… but each guest needed to pay their own bill separately and most restaurants won’t book a group that large without renting the space and requiring deposits beforehand and a set menu. This is the type of situation where I feel like our concierge service can be extremely beneficial to couples because I was able to take the time to call several places to find the perfect places for their needs. They worked great for this couple and they didn’t have to worry or stress over it!
After answering hundreds of inquiries and acting as a concierge for a dozen clients, what are your top 3 tips for planning a wedding or elopement in Savannah?
1. Transportation! Have a plan in place on how you will get to your ceremony. Parking and traffic can be crazy in Savannah and you don’t want to be late to your own ceremony! There are lots of options here, including Uber, Lyft, and pedicabs.
2. Make sure you understand the city’s permit rules if you will be including more than a few guests. Unfortunately, you cannot show up with 30 guests without reserving a space and making arrangements for a permit.
3. Be patient! I have found that a lot of people and businesses in Savannah are “laid back.” They will get it done for you, and it will be AMAZING, but it may take them a little extra time. We are called Slowvannah sometimes for a reason!
What is your favorite television show? I could watch Grey’s Anatomy and Friends over and over again… and I do!
Your can’t miss places when visiting in Savannah? Forsyth Park! I love people watching there! So many interestingly fun people going through there all the time.
And, finally, what is the best way to show your love to your partner? I have been married almost 16 years to my high school “boyfriend” and I have learned over time that the best way to show love to your partner is through respect and honesty. I feel like those are two super important ingredients to make a marriage work. And don’t forget laughter!
Hey y’all! I am hiring three new partner wedding officiants for our team to start this fall. Partner wedding officiants officiate weddings when I am unavailable or double booked. Depending on the season, and their availability, partner officiants can marry 2-10 couples per month.
I am looking for one officiant based in Savannah and two officiants based in Hilton Head and the St. Simon’s and Jekyll Island areas, respectively. Because we are so booked in Savannah and Tybee, we usually have to turn down all requests for those coastal areas and I would love to change that.
Here is a brief overview of how the Partner Officiant process works.. Partner Officiants conduct wedding ceremonies written by me. Partner Officiants usually only communicate with their clients a few weeks before the wedding, those some clients may want a pre-hire consultation via Skype or FaceTime.
If you would like to apply, please send an email and resume or link to your LinkedIn profile at tracy [at] oppsproject [dot] com. Qualified applicants only, please.
Officiate pre-written wedding ceremonies and Signing Services as assigned
Provide high level of customer service to all clients with enthusiasm
Keep information about weddings and clients confidential
Dress appropriately for the occasion (generally cocktail or formal business wear for women, suit for men)
Be prompt for all events and arrive before the scheduled time
Respond to emails from clients and Slack notifications from our team members promptly.
Significant experience with public speaking or performing
Experience working with difficult people and unique situations
Experience as an independent contractor who organizes his or her own work and has been responsible to customers
Ease with mobile technology and apps (our job is very mobile and we use a lot of technology)
Flexible schedule on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and weekends
Belief in the concept of a modern marriage
Belief that ALL people deserve to be married, regardless of their sexual orientation
Belief that weddings can be joyful and fun while recognizing the importance and responsibility of the event
Comfort with performing ceremonies that are both non-denominational and non-religious
Partner officiants must have reliable transportation to get to weddings.
Partner Officiants are contractors and paid a flat fee per gig or rehearsal. They will be issued a 1099 at the end of the year. Payment is monthly by invoice.
If interested in becoming a Partner officiant, please send a resume and cover letter by September 1st to tracy [at] oppsproject [dot] com. Interviews will happen on a rolling basis. Finalists will be asked to conduct a mock wedding ceremony in front of the Fountain at Forsyth Park. If the opportunity arises, you can also watch me officiate a wedding after being interviewed.
Please note: I am looking to bring in a person that I can work with long-term and is a part of my organization, not someone I can simply refer weddings to when I am booked. If you are looking to market yourself as an independent wedding officiant in the future, or currently have a website or Facebook page marketing yourself as an officiant, this is not the position for you.
I look forward to your referrals and applications!
Buffy brings rich experience to her job. She has lived in Savannah for 20 years and is a graduate of the Savannah College of Arts and Design. She was born in Dalton, GA and was lucky enough to fall in love with her best friend, Adam, and they have been together almost 25 years.
Here are some questions I asked Buffy and some pictures of her officiating ceremonies! Here is probably my favorite picture from all her ceremonies.
What made you want to officiate marriages?
I wish I had a definitive explanation, but I don’t. When I discovered you were looking for another wedding officiant, I knew I wanted to do it, and I knew I would be good at it. I have never been that confident about anything ever! LOL!
I really like being around happy people. It makes me happy!
What has surprised you the most about officiating?
How calm the couples are when they get married. How intimate the ceremony really becomes. We could be on the beach, in the park, one of the squares, people all around, and for those few minutes, it doesn’t matter. It’s just them. It’s so sweet.
Is this your only job?
Actually, I am also a licensed real estate agent with Seabolt Brokers, LLC. This is not my only job, but this job can turn a bad day into a good one. On any given day, a couple gets married, I get to marry them and everyone is happy. Who wouldn’t want to do that?!?!?
Hey y’all! I did a model call for a photo shoot at The Savannah Cozy Chapel to demonstrate what fun a couple can have in our space. Luckily, the amazing Renee & Vanadis volunteered, a week before they were actually married in front of their family and friends at the chapel! Renee & Vanadis met on Instagram and it not surprising that they attracted each other on that platform because they are so photogenic.
Here is a list of other vendors who participated in the shoot.
Though we’ve been open in our new space since June, I still don’t have professional photos of the Savannah Cozy Chapel, my modern location for non-denominational and secular elopements and small weddings. I am finally going to do that this month and I am holding a model call to find 1-3 couples who would be willing to be photographed as part of a photoshoot. You’ll get free photos in return. See details below the picture.
When and where is this photo shoot?
It will take place one afternoon for 2 hours between 1PM and 5PM on November 21st, 22nd or 23rd at the Savannah Cozy Chapel at 2421 Waters Avenue between Maupas Avenue and 41st Streets. We’ll choose the date best depending on the couples’ availability.
Why participate in this photo shoot?
You will get a free digital gallery of yourselves that you can share and print as you’d like. The gallery will be several hundreds of dollars worth of professional photography work.
What are the requirements?
The couple(s) chosen must be able to take direction from the photographer and be comfortable showing affection to each other, smiling, and being serious when asked. The photographer will choose all poses and you’ll be asked to pose in multiple locations within the chapel and its outside gardens and sometimes hold props. You’ll also sign a model release that will allow us to use your pictures in online advertisements for the chapel.
Who should apply?
Are you a couple in love? If the answer is yes, the answer is you. The Chapel serves diverse couples and we are looking for models who reflect that. Couples of all sizes and ages should submit. If you have tattoos, alternative hair colors, bring it on. I am also interested in featuring at least one same-sex couple.
You do not need to be married to apply, but you must be in love and be comfortable showing that on camera. Past clients welcome and encouraged to apply.
What should I wear?
My goal is to portray how modern and fun the space is. For women, think classic white, flowy elopement dresses or colorful options. For men, suits or a business casual look would be best. Women are also free to wear something traditionally more masculine if that is your jam. Clothes must fit you well.
Your outfits must be approved in advance by me and the photographer. We’ll ask you to send you us a picture.
I will pay for a makeup and hair artist for women participating. You’ll have that done at the Chapel prior to the shoot.
How can I apply?
Please submit a contact form on my website to tell me you are interested in being considered. Tell me a little about your love story and provide a link to an Instagram picture of yourselves. I’ll follow-up with next steps.
Hello y’all! I can’t believe we are already halfway through June 2016! I have already married 165 couples this year through a busy spring season and I am looking forward to meeting with all the couples already booked through May 2017.
While June is a busy wedding month in most corners of the country, it is slower in Savannah because of the heat (we are at 100+ degrees already!). For that reason I use every June to review through the past year and look at how things have gone with my business the previous season, especially around packages and pricing. This year is no exception and on June 20, 2016, I will be rolling out pricing changes. I will be keeping all of my packages the same, but adjusting prices and changing some amenities and discounts. Most packages will stay the same, but some will increase about $20 and all off-season pricing will be eliminated.
If you are currently interested in booking a wedding between now and June 2017, I will honor my current prices until the 20th so please contact me now to book your wedding.
I look forward to working with you on your wedding ceremony!
Hi y’all! I wanted to make you aware of some new and exciting changes to some of my services launching next week.
Introducing The Savannah Cozy Chapel
I have a new, beautiful space to marry people in! Over the last two years, many people have asked me if I could offer a private space to do ceremonies and Signing Services. I am offering that new space to all of you beginning March 28th via the Savannah Cozy Chapel. The chapel, located in the Starland District, is a bright and airy studio with floor to ceiling windows that allow lots of natural sunlight. It also features a private outside balcony and a decorated wedding arch for the perfect background for your ceremony.
I will also be doing Signing Services that take place Monday through Thursday at the chapel as of Monday, March 28th, 2016. The price is also increasing to $75. In addition to the privacy I am able to offer, the good news is that I’ll be able to schedule these out further in advance and not just one week before your date. My assistant officiant, Aimee Dostie, will continue to conduct Signing Services on Fridays at Savannah Coffee Roasters for $60.
Savannah Elopement Experience Changes
It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost two years since we launched the Savannah Elopement Experience package. Megan Jones and I have been so busy working with couples, that we haven’t had a chance to update our marketing materials with all the amazing pictures we have as well as clarify a few details about what you can and can’t offer with the package. We think you’ll be pleased with the clearer guidelines as well as opportunities to use the Savannah Elopement Experience package for larger weddings.
In honor of the changes and updated marketing materials, we are going to have a one-day sale on any Savannah Elopement Experience that takes place on Saturday, April 2, 2016. Usually $775, we will be offering it for $625 if you book by March 31st. No other discounts apply. Please contact us if you’d like to schedule your package!
I Oppose Georgia’s Proposed Religious Freedom Laws
If you haven’t been following the news, you may not know that Georgia’s state legislature has passed some laws that promote discrimination against same-sex couples. It is currently on Governor Nathan Deal’s desk to be signed or vetoed. Both the NFL and Disney have said that they will not do business here if it is signed into law. Both Captain America: Civil War and Guardians of the Galaxy were filmed in our state making that a huge loss to our economy.
I have never been shy about taking a stand to discrimination and I was happy to meet with WJCL’s Arianna Pointdexter to share my views on the topic which is that it will hurt Savannah’s local tourism and wedding industry and not protect it. It aired on the 11PM news on March 22nd. The interview took place in the chapel so I am excited for you to see it. I have been recovering from a cold so excuse my scratchy throat, pale demeanor and semi-successful attempt at looking healthy.
… And a New Officiant!
I am regularly turning down 3-5 weddings a week because I am already booked for the same date and time that someone is requesting. Beginning April 1, I have a new officiant starting who will be able to work with more couples. Her name is Buffy Nelson and I’ll tell you more about her when she starts. In the meantime, her first wedding is already booked for April 8th and I hope some of you will get to work with her soon.
Thanks so much to everyone who supports the work I do. This weekend, I’ll be marrying my 300th couple. I couldn’t grow this way without your positive energy and I appreciate it.
For the last few months, Aimee Dostie has been working with me on Fridays to conduct Simple Signing Services as I am often booked with wedding ceremonies. She has married 20 couples so far and I think it’s time y’all get to know her a bit more.
Aimee moved to Savannah, GA from Maine (another New Englander!) and when she is not officiating weddings, is a licensed real estate agent. Since her arrival several years ago, she has fallen in love with Savannah’s rich culture and ‘big town, small community’ charm. In her spare time, Aimee is an avid sailor and dog lover, exposing her to some of Savannah’s beautiful natural resources and green space.
Here are some questions I asked her and how she answered them.
What made you want to officiate marriages?
So pretty much, I never thought this was actually a job and serendipitously fell into this after you asked me. I never knew it would be something that I enjoy so much!
What has surprised you the most about officiating?
Listening to people’s origin stories of how two very different people come together and decide that this is my person has taught me a lot. Whether it be couples that have been together for a long time or couples where life and kids have simply gotten in the way, each story is really special.
You work with a lot of families with your real estate business. How has wedding officiating made you better at working with them?
In relation to real estate, I think families- whatever their make up is- are incredibly important in building neighborhoods into communities and networks of people working toward a common goal. I find that understanding the diverse nature of the family unit is key in starting the solid foundation upon which a community is based. Being exposed to so many couples who have created unique family structures has been really informative to what I do.
Aimee conducts Signing Services on Fridays, as well as other dates when I am unavailable. She is great and you’ll be lucky if you get to work with her!
I am getting many requests for holiday weddings. The holidays are a magical time to get married in Savannah- the weather is still mild, but we still have a lot of holiday spirit!
I’d like to work with as many people as possible this holiday season, but do have some limitations. Here are days I will not be available for weddings. You can also check my availability page for other non-holiday dates in November and December.
In November, I will not be performing ceremonies on the day before Thanksgiving (November 25) or Thanksgiving Day (November 26).
In December, I will not be performing ceremonies after 6PM on Christmas Eve (December 24). I will be taking December 25-29 off and resuming ceremonies on December 30.
I will not be performing Signing Services on
November 25, 26, and 27
December 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29 and 31
Weddings booked on December 24, 31 or January 1 will be charged at a weekend rate.
Hi y’all! I hope everyone is staying warm this week, whether you live in the north and are dealing with the snow, or reside in the south and are experiencing crisp winds.
It’s not quite yet wedding season, but January 2015 has been a busy month(10 weddings!). I’ve also been working with brides who have booked many weekends throughout 2015 and even 2016. February is a bit slower and because of that, I’ll finally be taking my honeymoon during the first two weeks. I was married in March 2014 and we were finally ready to take advantage of some special time together during the last 60 days before our newlywed status expires. I’ll be away from February 2-11, but ready to take your calls and emails on the 12th!
I am updating my general availability on the Savannah Elopement Experience page. A weekend is open until a 50% deposit is received to confirm the date, but I’ve also indicated weekends with inquiries and seem popular. Please don’t hesitate to contact me about one of those weekends- it is just a sign that if you want the weekend, you should act fast and be ready to confirm a deposit.
I look forward to talking with more of you this spring!