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Meet the Speakers for AMM’s NYC Wedding Officiant Education & Networking 2023 Seminar!

Published Friday, Jun. 23rd, 2023

New York Speaker Panel: Celebrant Christopher Shelley, Officiant Bethel Nathan, AMM Exec. Director & Minister Lewis King, and Officiant Jimmie Berguin

American Marriage Ministries is headed to New York, New York!



Update: AMM Events has rebranded! Check out AMM's Officiant Accelerator to learn more, and to purchase tickets to an officiant training seminar near you! 




Attention AMM Ministers and Wedding Officiants in the NYC area…



Meet our New York City Speaker Panel for our upcoming wedding officiant seminar! 


Christopher Shelley: Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, Master Storyteller, Author

Dr. Samora Smith, DMin : BIPOC Interfaith Wedding Officiant, Pre-Marital Counselor
Bethel Nathan: Business Elevation Coach, Speaker, Educator
Jimmie Berguin: Officiant, Educator, Hype Man
Lewis King: AMM's Executive Director


(Additional speakers TBA)


This group of talented wedding officiants and expert entrepreneurs will be speaking at AMM’s Wedding Officiant Education & Networking in New York City on August 23rd at Bryant Park Jay Conference Center. 


They’ll be giving advice on how to build your officiant business for long-term success, attract and connect with your ideal couples, use the magic of the theater to tell a compelling story during the ceremony, network with other wedding vendors, lead stunning unity ceremonies and vow exchanges, and much more.


You don’t want to miss it! Tickets are available now and going fast. Read more about the event and discussion topics, and claim your seat for this exciting event here: 


NYC Officiant Accelerator


(formerly AMM's Wedding Officiant Education & Networking Day)





Promotional graphic shows the expert speakers who will be presenting at the NYC wedding officiant education and networking seminar in August: Chris Shelley smiling while delivering an outdoor wedding ceremony, Lewis King, Bethel Nathan wearing a blue shirt and black jacket smiling toward the camera, and Officiant Jimmie Berguin looking down at a wedding ceremony script while smiling during an outdoor wedding , and Rev. Dr. Samora posing in front of the NYC skyline with a smile

New York City Speaker Panel

Top Row (Left to Right): Dr. Rev. Samora; Officiant Jimmie Berguin; Celebrant Chris Shelley / Botton Row (Left to Right): Exec. Director Minister Lewis King; Officiant Bethel Nathan


Meet our NYC Wedding Officiant Education & Networking Day Speakers

August 23rd, 8:30am-5pm, at Bryant Park Jay Conference Center, NY, NY



Christopher Shelley
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant, Master Storyteller, Author


Chris Shelley turns the traditional wedding ceremony on its head, creating hilarious, personalized, couple-specific love stories. Since 2011, he has been using his theatrical training and years of performing experience to captivate wedding guests, pulling off a unique kind of magic trick in the process. Chris a Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant and author of the book Best. Ceremony. Ever. (The Countryman Press / W.W. Norton).


He performs ceremonies through his company, Illuminating Ceremonies. Chris has officiated weddings on The Rachael Ray Show several times, and has also presided over the occasional memorial service, including one at the U.N. for a beloved diplomat, and one for Joan Rivers' dog. He lives primarily in New York City, where he is on the board of the New York Chapter of the National Speakers Association.

Close up photo of Christopher Shelley's face, he is smiling and his gray salt and pepper hair is tousled, he looks happy and carefree

Celebrant Chris 



Rev. Dr. Samora Smith, DMin

BIPOC Interfaith Wedding Officiant, Pre-Marital Counselor

Rev. Samora is a highly-acclaimed and award-winning wedding officiant, interfaith minister, and pre-marital counselor based in New York City. She’s been officiating ceremonies for over 13 years and has performed over 2,500 ceremonies. Rev. Samora comes from a multi-faith and multi-racial household, which naturally gives her the compassion and sensitivity needed when working with couples of ALL backgrounds and beliefs. Her approach is always couple-centered, love-filled, and inclusive. In addition to officiating weddings, Rev. Samora is the Associate Director of The New Seminary of Interfaith Studies, a Sound & Vibrational Healing Specialist, a professional Counselor and board certified Hypnotherapist. 


Photo of Rev. Dr. Samora, via her instagram, this photo shows Rev. Samora smiling and posing for the camera outdoors in front of the NYC skyline

Rev. Dr. Samora




Bethel Nathan
Business Elevation Coach, Officiant, Speaker, Educator


Bethel is a successful business owner, award-winning officiant, and WeddingPro Educator, and she knows how to build and run a successful wedding industry business. By focusing on her ideal couple and having a rave-worthy customer experience, as well as her strong support for marriage equality, Bethel has married over 1200 couples over the past 14 years, and has built up over 450 5-star reviews as Ceremonies by Bethel.


Combining her background in both large Wall Street investment banks and small businesses with her experience building her own wedding officiant business, Bethel also enjoys helping other wedding industry businesses grow and prosper as a business coach, industry speaker, and educator under Elevate by Bethel.


Related: Become a Successful Wedding Officiant with this Brilliant Advice from Bethel Nathan


Bethel wears a bright purple shirt and her gray her is cut very short in a cute pixie. She smiles toward the camera

Officiant Bethel



Jimmie Berguin
Officiant, Educator, Hype Man


Jimmie has made a name for himself in the wedding industry and on social media (Officiant Jimmie) by officiating visually compelling wedding ceremonies that resonate with couples who want something exciting and different. He’s also become the face of AMM's recently launched Professional Wedding Officiant Certification course, raising the profile of wedding officiants across the country and promoting officiant best practices.


Related: Wedding Officiants: Learn the ‘Officiant Creep’ & Step Aside for the First Kiss Photo

Jimmie wears a dark colored suit jacket with a black shirt and pants, his hands are in his pockets and he's posing with a smile

Officiant Jimmie



Lewis King
AMM Executive Director


Lewis is AMM's Executive Director and has spent the past five years helping AMM keep up with its growing community of ministers, growing its outreach and education operations, and advocating for ministers across the country.


Related: Read articles written by Lewis King


Lewis smiles toward the camera, his brown hair is cut short and he wears a dark jacket and light colored business shirt

AMM Exec. Director, Minister Lewis King





NYC Officiant Accelerator

formerly AMM Events Wedding Officiant Education & Networking Day




AMM Logo, two gold interlocking rings with three blue stars above






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Can't make it to the seminar? 


Check out our online wedding officiant training course! 


AMM's Professional Wedding Officiant Training Course 



Asked to officiate?  


You only get one shot to deliver a perfect wedding ceremony.


There’s no ‘take-two’ when it comes time for a couple to say ‘I do’ -- Wedding officiants only get one shot to perform a perfect wedding ceremony. We'll teach you how to get it right the first time, and every time! This course is the real deal, and has been evaluated and accredited by the International Association of Professional Wedding Officiants (IAPWO). 


Learn more on the Course Page. 






Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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