A note from Jeanne Somer, House Officiant
I would be honored to be considered as your Officiant, should you need such services. If you already have someone for this service, that is great too. What’s most important is that you have exactly what you need. However, if I am to be considered, first of all, thank you. This is what I love most and do best. If it is at all possible for me to officiate your wedding, I would love to do so. As you might imagine, it is a challenge in this work to find a weekend when I can be free. I like to insure that I have at least a few weekends away during the wedding season. Hopefully, that will not be a time when you are wedding.
Here’s what I propose: If you are interested in my style of officiating, please fill out the request form found here. I will check my calendar and let you know ASAP if I think this will be an open date for me. Chances are, it will be. If not, or if something happens along the way (rare), I have a few other officiants to turn to – all of whom share the same values, as described below, with great personality and a heart for what they’re doing.
My philosophy of service:
The ceremony is a time for you to celebrate your loving. First of all, it is a time when you should be fully present to yourself and to each other, so that, at the moment when you are saying your promises to each other, you actually feel (and mean) the words that are coming out of your mouths. When people witness your marriage, they should see two people who are in love, who are grateful for the chance to make this commitment, and who are authentic. The Officiant, in my opinion, should disappear into the background at the right moments and take charge when need be, to help set this tone of celebration, gratitude, and love. Not only are you grateful for each other, but you obviously appreciate those gathered or you wouldn’t have invited them. So, my task is to help them to feel special too, to involve them so they feel as if their love for you is not just a thing of the past, but something that will carry you into this bold and exciting time in your lives. When the ceremony is past, I want people to have felt as if time has stopped in their busy lives. They have been able to take a breath and be fully present to you. To the degree possible, I hope they also feel a renewed sense of how wonderful this gift of life is and what a great opportunity each of us has in this life to make a difference to another person. The model of this kind of good loving in the home, should extend out to others. That’s why Hidden River’s bi-line is “Love Multiplies!”
In order to create this kind of experience, I meet with the couple to get to know you. I listen to your story. I ask about your values: i.e. what language, ritual and imagery inspires you. I share some electronic files with you, some readings about marriage, etc. Then I craft a ceremony that is just for you. This is my 30th year of officiating weddings. It took me a while to understand what I was doing (I was young when I started!), but once I figured it out, I can honestly say that it gave, and continues to give, me goose bumps. First of all, I bring a sense of awe to this moment: that you found each other when it could so easily have been different and that you are brave and loving people who want to create a life together when we all know that it’s a challenge just to create our own lives. I am honored by the chance to stand with you at such a moment. When I stand there with you, I bring this kind of grateful energy; and I have gotten to the point in my life, after 30 years, where I am able simply to talk with you and your guests. I plan in advance, but I have done this enough to know how to do it well, with minimal notes, so that you can actually feel something, if you allow yourself to do so (holding off any performance anxiety, etc.) and give us all the gift of “peaking into the window of your loving.” That’s a great gift for us all if you allow it. It inspires.
If you think I’d be a good person to serve as a conduit for this beautiful experience, I’d be honored.
Please take a moment to fill out the request to secure my services, you can do so here. I’ll let you know immediately if I think I will be available and, if not, I will direct you to some other local officiants who may be of interest to you.
Officiant Terms: There is no cost for this service, if I am available. If I am not able to commit to your date, I will direct you to one of my associates whose services can be secured for $250. In the event of an emergency, once I have committed to serve as your officiant, should I become unable to provide services as predicted, I will cover the cost of a substitute.
Jeanne Matthew Sommer
Engagement Sessions & The Relationship Enrichment Retreat
Jeanne offers couples’ engagement sessions which explore a variety of important topics including but not limited to:
- communication and conflict management
- family history and patterns of relating
- child rearing
- personal values
Sessions may be conducted in person or via teleconference. Engagement sessions are $75 for a 1.5 hour session or 3 sessions for $200
Jeanne also offers a 2.5 day Relationship Enrichment Retreat for couples who wish to learn with and from each other while benefiting from the wisdom of expert speakers experienced with long lasting, monogamous relationships. The retreat is offered typically in January-early March. If you are interested in attending a retreat, please email Jeanne at firstname.lastname@example.org to place your name on an information list.
If Jeanne is your officiant, she directs the rehearsal and ceremony at no additional cost unless your wedding party is greater than 8 people.
If Jeanne is not your officiant, she or someone she appoints in her stead can be hired to direct your ceremony for an additional fee of $150. Ask your officiant if this is needed – often ministers do not feel comfortable directing as well as officiating a ceremony and those who have been ordained online typically do not know how to direct a ceremony effectively.
If Jeanne is not your officiant and you have not hired a Ceremony Director, neither she nor any other Hidden River staff member will be present to direct your ceremony.
The Marriage License
- Marriage Licenses are issued from 8am – 5pm at the Buncombe County Register of Deeds Office at 205 College St. Please plan to arrive by 4:30 pm if possible.
- To obtain a license, both parties must be present with valid photo identification AND Social Security Cards.
- The issued license is valid for 60 days from the date of issue and can be used for marriage anywhere within the state of North Carolina.
- The fee for the Marriage License is $60.00 and can be paid with cash, check, Visa or MasterCard.
- For your convenience, you may complete the marriage license application online, found here, from home prior to your visit. The application is available and can also be completed upon arrival at the Register of Deeds office.
- Once the ceremony is performed, the completed license must be returned to the Register of Deeds Office within 10 days. A certificate of marriage can then be issued. Click here to go to the Marriage Certificate Page for more information.
Office Email Address: email@example.com
Register of Deeds: 205 College St, Asheville, NC 28801
Hours of Operation: Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm
Main Office: (828) 250-4303