Rev. Dr. Barbara Campbell, Pastor
In my 25 years of experience as a Presbyterian (PCUSA) Pastor, nothing has brought me more joy than participating in wedding ceremonies and festivities. A wedding is one of those marvelous times in our lives when the world seems to stand still and everyone focuses on the ultimate gift and joy of committing one's love to one other special person.
I have had the great joy of officiating at such a wide variety of weddings. From 4 people, plus me, in a quiet chapel, to more than 500 people in a grand cathedral, to 20 people in a familiar living room or on a back patio, to 100 people underneath the trees, each and every wedding has been specially crafted to bring alive the hopes and dreams of the two saying their vows. The only "rules" I hold to for weddings are that you must show me a marriage license allowing me to marry you and you must both publically state that you wish to marry the other person and will promise to do your best to be loving and faithful.
When you tell me what you are envisioning your wedding to look and sound like, I can provide you with years of possible scenarios, written resources, website, rituals, hazardous areas to avoid, etc. We can work, mostly by email to put together the actual wedding outline and wording of greetings, vows, thank you, and other special messsages. I love working with wedding planners, but have also filled that roll somewhat when a wedding planner is not available.
I have served large and small, theologically liberal and progressive congregations that are GLBTQ empowering, earth friendly, and committed to interfaith connections and growth.
I am an artist, of sorts, dabbling in watercolor and paper mosaics. I am a dog lover, gardener, world traveler, science fiction and fantasy reader, camper, hiker, and I love to be in or near natural bodies of water!
I love all styles of music from rock and roll, of course, to jazz, hollywood and bollywood classics, folk, and classical.
I am laidback, sometimes a bit irreverent, have a good sense of humor and enjoy others who do also, don't take myself or life too seriously, but am also passionate about inclusive justice issues.
I enjoy sharing special times with the people I meet. There is often an immediate bond formed so that, if we ever meet again somewhere, we feel like old friends, even though we've only spent a handful of hours together. (It may sound weird, but this is also true when I preside at a memorial service for a family!) I also enjoy combining a sense of formality and seriousness with lightheartedness that doesn't take anything too seriously. I like word crafting because I know how much words matter and like words to create just the right feelings and atmosphere.
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Frequently asked questions
What is your typical process for working with a new customer?
Find out what their goals or dreams are and then see what resources I can provide or help them find that will enable them to reach their goal quickly and efficiently.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have my Masters in Divinity and my Doctorate in Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary. I have also trained in mindfulness, problem solving, counseling, and interfaith understanding.
Do you have a standard pricing system for your services? If so, please share the details here.
Fees are based on several variables: 1) The couples financial status, 2) distance to travel, 3) number of guests at the wedding, (this usually determines how complicated the service will get) 4) How many times we decide to meet face to face, and 5) the length of the actual ceremony.
Generally fees range from $200 up to $750.
How did you get started in this business?
I was ordained into professional ministry in the PCUSA in 1992.
What types of customers have you worked with?
All types! Every age from 19 to 70 somethings. People in my own congregations, friends of friends, and people I've never met before. Religious and never-been folks. LGBT folks and inter-religous or ethic couples.
Describe a recent event you are fond of.
There are so many I remember fondly:
A wood paneled ski lodge room surrounded by snow, a St. Bernard that carried the ring, and the sweetest couple ever.
A cathedral wedding with 8 bridesmaids and groomsmen, the farthest from me being a young man who felt faint and tried to sneak out a side door only to take a header over a pew when he began to black out, and someone stepped on the bride's train as she was coming to walk down the aisle, so we had to wait until she got sewed back together.
On the deck of a Nature Center surrounded by birch trees where I married the nephew of a dear friend and a fiddle band played all night at the reception.
But especially, the couples where it is the groom who sheds some tears while his bride softly wipes them away with her hands, or one of them gets so nervous that he or she just looks at me and smiles and I repeat their line.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a pro in your area of expertise?
Go with your gut. This is your day, be sure the "pro" is ready to make it work for you and make it the day you envision. Look for someone who you can trust to take the "Mother of the bride" or "mother-in-law" or wedding planner heat off you and carry it themselves, while remaining calm and gentle. Look for someone who takes things seriously enough to discourage abuse of spirits before the ceremony, and who has hads lot of experience so they can roll with the inevitable punches.
What questions should customers think through before talking to pros about their needs?
Are we really ready to make this committment?
What do we want the day to feel like?
What do we want to remember most about the day?
How much planning are we willing to do?
When, where, # of guests and attendants?