Congratulations on your upcoming ceremony!
My name is Michele LaRosa, but in the wedding world I'm better known as LI Officiant!
I am beyond blessed to be able to do what I do. My ordination allows me to work with couples from any and all backgrounds. I believe is that love is love...period (or better yet, I should say exclamation point!!)!
I pride myself on being able to recognize the unique personality of each couple. I promise to be sensitive to your philosophical and spiritual beliefs, your wishes, needs, and values!
It is my belief that your wedding day should be exactly what you imagine it to be. There is no one right way to conduct a ceremony. A ceremony can be short and sweet, you can use pre-scripted vows, or you can customize your own vows.
I love creating ceremonies that showcase and honor each couples story and their vision for the perfect ceremony.
The Wedding Industry
Had I asked my 20 year old self where I would be 20 years later, I couldn't have imagined that I would be a wedding officiant.
At 23 years old I began a career in law enforcement as a probation officer. Later I got married, began a family of my own and I stopped working to be a full time mom!
I unknowingly began my wedding journey in 2011 when the New York State marriage laws changed for the better and recognized same sex marriages!!! ~Hooray!
I’m very close with my cousin, and she and her partner had been waiting for this day to arrive! Not only was I honored that they asked me to officiate their ceremony, but I was also humbled by the trust that they had in me.
This was their special day....their wedding day, a day they would never forget. Eeek! To say that I was nervous was an understatement. However, they knew me well enough to know that when I do something, I do it to the fullest, and I am a stickler for detail.
And so it began. The passion and joy I experience each time I meet a new couple is overwhelming. To know that I am turning the page for couples so that they can begin to write the story of their life together is amazing.
I thoroughly enjoy listening to couples as they tell me their story, their likes, dislikes, and what they hope for in the future. I have to admit, it's truly a gratifying experience each time I see a new couple turn and walk down the aisle with their lives wide open right in front of them.
The Wedding Memories
I have so many amazing ceremony memories!
I've taken part in so many different types of ceremonies; private elopements, back yard extravaganzas, castle weddings, beach weddings, light house ceremonies, low key / intimate weddings, a Cat In The Hat Ceremony (cute and truly meaningful to the couple), yacht weddings, surprise Halloween Weddings, and so many more.
But my favorite memory of all.... the sky diving ceremony!!
When I got a call from the groom asking me if there was any way I'd officiate at 13,000 feet with a parachute on....I nearly jumped out of my chair! Little did he know that I grew up watching my father sky dive as a pararescue jumper, so the day I turned 18 I went skydiving, and subsequently did so again and again.
What were the chances that this groom was calling ME!?! I think I was just as excited as the bride and the groom when the plane took off and the ceremony began! They each said, "I do", exchanged rings, and then it was time to jump! WHOA!
Above all else, I can guarantee two things to each and every one of my couples.
Number one: there will be so surprises!
Each couples is sent a draft of their ceremony script to review ahead of time.
I am a true believe that this is YOUR wedding day, so while I may love the ceremony I've scripted for you, unless you're pleased it doesn't matter.
I'm more than willing to edit until you're both 100 % pleased. Though my true goal is to exceed your expectations!
I tell couples all the time: during the ceremony you're going to be in your own world. You'll be looking at one another, speaking with your eyes... and more often than not you'll quietly be speaking to one another during the ceremony ( I think it's cute!). You will only actually hear about 50% of what I'm saying, so at least you'll know ahead of time that everything I'm saying is exactly what you wanted!
Number two: it will all go smoothly!
Experience is the only reason I can make this guarantee. When I arrive at the venue I always do a mini-run through of the ceremony with each couple. We go over the hand-off with the brides escort, the ring cues with whomever will be holding the rings, the flower cues with the maid / matron of honor, and then I go over exactly what the couple should expect during the ceremony.
But once the ceremony begins, I pretend that the couple doesn't know a thing and I guide them every step of the way.
I go slowly, saying only a few words at a time when there's a repeat after me. I quietly prep you with your response before I ask a question, and when
I need you to do something (like join hands or complete a task for a unity ceremony) I tell you exactly what to do.
The ceremony sets the tone for the rest of your day, and I don't take that lightly!
I’m here for my couples every step of the way…
From the moment they make contact; be it through email, a phone call, or social media, I do my best to make the process enjoyable and stress free. Couples can be as hands-on or as hands-off as they’d like when it comes to scripting their ceremony. And in the end, each couple has the final say over every word I say, unless their wish is to be surprised!
It’s all in the details….
With an in-person meeting, a questionnaire, phone calls, and emails I’m able to get to the core of their love for one another and craft a ceremony that’s personal and meaningful!
Logistics and preparation are key…
Together we go over; preparing for the day, what they should expect during the ceremony, obtaining the marriage license, tissues on hand, maintaining eye contact with one another throughout the entire ceremony, holding that first kiss so I can get out of the way & they’ll get the perfect photo of that ever so important moment (without me in the background)!
Making them feel at ease….
With confidence, experience, and genuine passion I’m able to emit a feeling of calm and assurance to even the most nervous couples. They’re confident in knowing that I will guide them every step of the way through the ceremony, and in turn they feel a true connection with one another during the ceremony! ~ Some have described it as “electric”
LI Officiant has become more than I could have ever imagined!
I began as Sealed With a Kiss, and with absolutely no technical skills I somehow created a website on my own, and much to my surprise...people started calling!
I was almost shocked because for one, I couldn't even find my own website when I searched google for a wedding officiant, and for two... I didn't have any reviews.
Over time I started getting busier and when I knew things were headed in the right direction I re-branded myself as LI Officiant. ~This time I hired a professional to create my website!
But I have to say, the real boost to my business, and my confidence came from two amazing women who have been in the business for years!
Alicia, from Fantasia Bridal believed in me and I couldn't believe it when she allowed me to put my business cards in her boutique! ~ I had always admired Alicia as a business woman so this little gesture meant so much to me!
And then, I had the privileged of meeting Joy (from Elegant Designs By Joy). She was at a venue finishing up all of the floral arrangements. At the time, all I knew was that her name was Joy... and her work was amazing. So I was truly taken aback when a couple called to book their ceremony and told me that Joy had referred me. I still get all sentimental when I think about that moment!
Joy has been in the business for quite some time, she knows everyone, and everyone knows her. The fact that she recognized something in me during our brief encounter gave me the confidence I needed to really put myself out there!
Joy and Alicia gave me what I needed to get started and over the years I have been fortunate enough to meet so many amazing people in the wedding industry! I have had venues seek me out and ask me to be their in-house officiant. I am beyond appreciative that they sought me out, and we have now built an amazing working relationship!
But the cherry on top...the reason that LI Officiant truly is what it is, has been my couples!
A tidbit about myself: I'm Irish, and so naturally when I'm nervous my skin flushes and it appears as though I've sat in the sun for five hours too many. And to this day, well after 500 ceremonies I still get flush.
Why? Because I genuinely care! I want your ceremony to be as perfect as you want it to be. I'm not happy until I know for sure that you were pleased.
I have received some of the kindest emails, reviews, and thank you cards from my couples! Each time I receive a new one I run to show my husband. He reads it and often says "why are you always so surprised!" Again, my response is, because I care! In that moment, when I read and email, a card, or a review that's when I know for sure that I've done my job well. That's what keeps me going!
The fact that so many couples have allowed me to play a role in one of the most important days of their lives is truly humbling! I will forever be grateful!
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How do we get our marriage license?
A. Great question! Your marriage license is THE most important thing you'll need on your wedding day.
You and your fiance must go the the clerks office within the 60 days prior to your ceremony to obtain your license. (You need to get it at least 24 hours prior to your ceremony). You will then need to make sure you have your license with you on the day of your wedding! **When we meet we will go over this is great detail!
Q. What do we have to do for the ceremony?
A. Well, that's up to you! You can be as hands-on or as hands-off as you'd like. Some couples like to put together the entire script on their own, but most leave it up to me. *You will receive a draft of your script to review ahead of time and I will edit until you're 100% pleased!
Q.What will you wear?
A. Typically I wear either a black dress or a black suit. I will wear my robe upon request, and if you're having a theme wedding or for any reason you'd like me to wear a particular color or pattern please just let me know!
Q.What happens to our marriage license after the ceremony?
A. Once you give me your license, I handle the rest. I send it via certified mail to the clerks office. They will then file your license and mail you your official marriage certificate.
When I'm not preparing for or officiating a ceremony you can find me in the kitchen. I love cooking!
We're a family of six, and 5-6 nights a week we have company for dinner ~My twin sister does not cook. She's a busy lawyer and I swear she has hidden camera in my house because she and her family always seem to walk in the door just as I'm putting dinner on the table! I wouldn't have it any other way.
When I have time I love to read. I tend to be a binge reader, 3-5 books a month and then 3 months will go by before I get to pick up another book.
Other than that, at this time in my life my kids fill my days! I have three boys and a girl (ages 14, 12, 9, & 7). They're amazing, crazy, loving, and all so different. It makes for an exciting home.
I'm always more than honored when a couple reaches out after their ceremony to let me know how they felt. The fact that they go out of their way to share their feelings with me is humbling. I love the pre-ceremony process and the ceremony itself, but those post ceremony emails are what keep me going.
Here’s a link that will allow you to see some of the reviews I’ve received over the years: