Published: Monday, Apr. 27th, 2020
Sean Kelley recently got ordained and performed a special, socially distant ceremony for his father outside of an assisted living center - all so that his 92-year-old grandmother could be physically present and witness the nuptials from a safe distance.
Read our Q&A session with Sean to learn about how it is possible to get ordained, register as an officiant, and officiate a socially responsible, memorable, once-in-a-lifetime ceremony in the midst of a worldwide crisis!
Sean, can you tell us how this one-of-a-kind, socially distant wedding ceremony took place?
My dad, Harold, reconnected with his high school sweetheart, Lorrie, a little over a year ago. After leading full lives apart, both growing their own families, they decided fate had brought them back together and they were meant to be – and they announced [their engagement] while both families were gathered at Christmas 2019!
They began making all the necessary arrangements, and sent out their invites in February. Then the world realized how dangerous the Coronavirus truly is, and began closing [businesses] and cancelling so many events. It seemed to shutter their plans at first, [but] they were one of the lucky couples who had already obtained their marriage license from the courthouse.
The most important part of this wedding for my father and Lorrie was that his mother, Christine, could attend. She's 92-years-old, and wanted nothing more than to see them married.
Unfortunately, another of Ohio’s executive orders prevented anyone from entering or leaving nursing homes and assisted living centers, where she resided – so it was decided to have the ceremony outside the doors of her assisted living center, so she could be in attendance and witness her son’s wedding!
…and your father asked you to officiate! Getting ordained and registered to perform marriage can seem daunting to most folks even under normal, non-Coronavirus circumstances. What made you choose American Marriage Ministries for your online ordination?
I was so honored when my father told me that he wanted me to be the person to unite him in marriage.
I did a lot of research before choosing where to become a Minister. The ultimate deciding factor was the amount of passion that came through on the website - the reviews of those before me who truly respected and trusted American Marriage Ministries. AMM stands behind their officiants, not just during the initial sign-up, but throughout their future too. I cannot express how happy I have been with my decision!
The ceremony you just performed took place in Ohio, a state that requires Ministers to register before they’re allowed to officiate. Was it difficult to register as an Ordained AMM Minister in Ohio at this time?
Simply put, no. AMM sent me the application to apply with the State of Ohio pre-filled with my information. I verified everything on the state's website, but AMM had everything I needed in order. Everything provided from AMM was up-to-date and accurate. I just mailed the check to the state with my documents from AMM. It was SUPER EASY!
Which resources were the most helpful to you in preparing for your duties as an officiant in these unique circumstances?
The online wedding planner, the automated [reminder] countdown that is emailed to you, and the automated follow-up email to document your thoughts and feelings on how the wedding went. Preparing for the ceremony was a cinch with AMM's online wedding builder! I also appreciated the organizational side of the website. The ability to register weddings, build scripts, and upload details were all vital factors in my choice to become ordained with American Marriage Ministries.
AMM made planning everything so easy that I wasn't at all worried when performing my first ceremony. We were able to have my grandma present, and have all those that they love – from as far as England – in attendance virtually via Zoom and FaceTime calls. The fact that, despite all else, we were able to perform this ceremony means everything to me!
Of my future weddings, I don't know that any will hold a place in my heart quite like marrying my father, amidst a global pandemic, with my 92-year-old grandma able to be a part of it.
If you haven't yet, be sure to read more details about this special ceremony on our blog here.
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