Kathy Atkinson – North Carolina Humanist Minister – Your Questions Answered
Fully Qualified To Perform Ceremonies in Every State
What are your qualifications?
I am an ordained minister, licensed to practice official and legal marriage ceremonies in all states of the U.S.A. Undergoing a year of evaluation, I am an ordained celebrant of the Humanist Society, a historically recognized institution that is part of the American Humanist Association. The A.H.A. has been in existence for over seventy years and applies a strict evaluation panel to every application, including references from established celebrants and recognized experts. In addition to my ordination I have extensive experience in the performance of ceremony and public speaking. I lived in the UK before I moved to the USA in 2003 and obtained full citizenship. (I have retained my English accent)
Are you associated with a religious group?
The Humanist Society, though fully recognized as a legal ordination body, is not a religious institution and has no affiliation with any faith or religious creed. My goal is to give a secular ceremony that is about the couple, rather than any ideology or religious tradition. I understand however, that some family members may come from a religious tradition and I will endeavor to be respectful of this when providing a service that is non-religious.
What is a Humanist / Secular / Non-religious wedding?
A humanist or non-religious wedding is a ceremony completely devoted to the couple, as opposed to any religious requirements or traditions. In working with you to prepare your ceremony I first ask for a history of your journey together and your own desires for your special day. Your wedding is yours to build in full and I will be privileged to help you make every aspect specifically tuned to the people you are and the couple and family you will become.
Kathy officiates a beautiful secular wedding ceremony.
We want you to perform our ceremony. How do we engage your services?
The first thing is to give me a call on 704 877 3658 or e-mail me at..Email: Kathy When you contact me I will work with you to answer any questions and concerns you may have, as well as helping to fulfil your ideas and dreams about your special day. Why not call me today and see how I can help you take the next step forward?
Is my deposit refundable if my circumstances change?
As soon as your deposit is received I pledge and contract for the time of your ceremony and will turn away any other work for that time. For this reason I cannot refund any deposits.
What happens if you cannot perform our ceremony due to a personal emergency?
In the highly unlikely event that I become unavailable through a personal emergency, I have contact with a number of Humanist celebrants who would be able to step in, those officiants will have been vetted by me or have equivalent qualifications. In those circumstances I would handle any contractual matters at a guaranteed no extra cost to you.
What types of wedding ceremonies do you perform?
I work with you to build the ceremony you most desire. I strongly welcome all ideas you have for your ceremony, but can also suggest many elements I have seen work successfully from extensive experience. I am happy to incorporate any texts or traditions from your family or background. My goal is to offer you the widest of possibilities and to help you build a unique, personal and ultimately memorable occasion.
What other types of services do you provide?
In addition to weddings I am able to perform any ceremony marking important moments in life and community. I proudly offer end-of-life ceremonies that are truly personal and celebrate the life lived, together with the wonderful memories of your loved one. I also offer diverse ceremonies such as baby-namings to welcome new life to the world in a personal and unique way, divorce ceremonies, renewal of vows and pet memorial services. New: I am now offering professional and dignified, secular dedications, declarations, introductions and newest of all; secular invocations. If I have not listed the type of ceremony you are looking for, please give me a call; 704-877-3658.
Are you LGBT friendly?
I am delighted and proud to officiate wedding ceremonies for couples.
Do you perform more than one wedding on any given day/date?
No, I take wedding ceremony bookings on a first-come-first-served basis; there are no exceptions. Once I have a booking/reserved date for a couple and the non-refundable deposit is paid, I consider that date booked and I will turn away any subsequent enquiries for that date. This allows me to give my full attention to each couple and their special day.
What do you wear during the ceremony?
Every ceremony is crafted to your requirements. Although it is standard for ministers to wear evening dress or maybe robes, I very rarely do. I am able and very willing to tailor to your plans, especially with color. As with every aspect of my service, I am eager to adapt to your needs and desires for your special day.
How long is the ceremony?
The ceremony is yours to build and I take pride in working with you to craft an occasion of any length and style you desire. Obviously the number of readings, the entrance, the music and the vows you choose to include, will affect the length of your ceremony. My costs remain the same regardless of ceremony length. As a broad rule of thumb 25-30 minutes is around the usual length of a ceremony with readings. While it is important to include everything you wish, it can be wise to avoid guests, particularly the elderly and younger children, becoming uncomfortable in their seats.
Do you have recommendations for potential outdoor wedding venues?
The Charlotte and Lake Norman region is a highly desired destination for weddings, from across the globe. We have many wonderful venues in this area and it is best to look on line but please remember; any wedding venue will likely be booked well in advance, so be sure to plan ahead!
We want to get married in a church, but are not members anywhere. Are there churches that will rent out their facilities?
It is becoming increasingly less likely that a church will allow you to use their space if you are not a member. If you are looking for a venue with some historic charm, this region has many alternative locations that would qualify.
What geographical areas do you cover?
Although I am based in Mooresville in Iredell County NC, my main areas of coverage are the cities of Charlotte and Concord and Iredell and Mecklenburg counties NC. I will also cover all counties that border Lake Norman area and I am happy to consider the counties that border with those, going west to Asheville. Because the NC/SC border is in close proximity to the city of Charlotte, I will also consider counties in northern SC. If you are unsure please give me a call; 704-877-3658.
Do you give or require premarital counseling?
No. I am not a licensed counselor, but if you have questions or concerns about your ceremony or vows, I am very happy to offer advice from extensive experience. I assume and trust that you have given the fullest consideration to your decision and that this will take you both with confidence, into and through your special day and beyond.
What is your fee?
My standard fee for producing and performing your personalized ceremony is $350.00 plus expenses. If a rehearsal is requested I ask an additional amount of $150.00, payable at the rehearsal (As this is a service provision no tax is assessed on fees). A non-refundable deposit of $100.00 is required upon booking your ceremony and the balance is payable on the day of the ceremony. I do not charge travel expenses if your wedding is within Iredell and Charlotte Mecklenburg counties. Otherwise my travel costs may be payable, depending on the location of the venue. (I charge for my travel at the standard tax rate per mile) Please call me today to discuss your needs on 704-877-3658. For full pricing information please see my price list.
Is a rehearsal necessary?
I recommend a rehearsal at least for the wedding party so everyone is aware of their role and where to be, and when. I am very happy to attend your rehearsal and help guide you through the ceremony process, but if you have someone coordinating for you it is not always necessary that I attend as I am fully experienced in my role. Not having your officiant at the rehearsal can be a way to save costs, but a full rehearsal can ensure your day goes as smoothly as possible.
Will we get to read and approve the written ceremony before our wedding day?
Absolutely! I will work with you to build as many drafts as it takes to get your ceremony exactly right.
Is it proper to provide a gratuity to the officiant?
I believe I have priced my services at a good value, but if you feel that I have performed beyond your expectations or you consider that I have gone above and beyond my call of duty, I am more than happy and most grateful, to accept a gratuity!
How do we make payments to you?
You can make payments by check or cash. I will give you an address to send checks to (please do not send cash by mail). For final payments on your wedding day, please have the appropriate amount of cash, or a check made out to ‘Kathy Atkinson’, which can be presented to me along with your wedding license, just prior to the ceremony.