Rev. Janice Carter

Wedding Celebrant and Officiant in the Seattle area

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Long Term Partners Wed at SimpliDone Gardens

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Bobbi and Jean have officially been partners since their commitment ceremony 15 years ago. On June 15, 2013, they were thrilled to finally be able to be legally married! As they said their vows to one another, the guests could sense their joy and happiness as tears sparkled in their eyes and emotions made it hard to speak.

They were married in a beautiful outdoor wedding at the SimpliDone Gardens in Sammamish, Washington. Bobbi was resplendent in a long, crimson gown with gold detailing and a long train. Jean was attired in a coordinated ensemble consisting of a black shirt and suit with a maroon vest, tie, and pocket handkerchief. Bobbi’s two daughters and her four-year-old granddaughter attended, as did Jean’s father and cousin, and several friends and neighbors.

They had a beautiful ceremony, including a purification ceremony to wash away any past transgressions and a Unity Candle ceremony to symbolically join their lives together as the following words were said, “These candles represent the glow of spirit dwelling within each of us. Today Bobbi and Jean join their twin flames to kindle a single fire of passion and enlightenment, for their union and for all the world.” The ceremony ended with the Benediction of the Apaches.

We wish Bobbi and Jean many more years of love and happiness together!


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Arizona Couple Marry on The Seattle Wheel

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Quinn and Steph had a spectacular setting for their wedding as they were married at sunset on The Seattle Wheel. The day was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day and the view from The Wheel, as we rose up above the water, was impressive as the tall buildings in downtown Seattle rose to the East of us and Puget Sound stretched out as far as we could see to the West! We took a few minutes to look at the view and take pictures, then had a beautiful wedding ceremony while we circled three times to the setting sun. After Rev. Jan talked about love and relationships, the couple said their own, heartfelt vows to one another as tears of joy flowed. A double ring ceremony followed and their vows were then sealed with a kiss. As the newlyweds alighted from the cabin of The Wheel, the crowd clapped and cheered for the happy couple. We wish Quinn and Steph every happiness as they make their home in Arizona!

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Patterson – Reynolds Wedding

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Joan and Tammy were married in a private ceremony in the living room of Joan’s parents on January 18th, 2013 at 12:00 noon.  As Joan’s mother walked her down the aisle, everyone present started crying tears of happiness and joy.  After we all had a chance to dry our tears, a beautiful ten-minute ceremony joined Joan and Tammy in matrimony.  It was a touching and intimate ceremony, celebrating the love and commitment that Joan and Tammy have had for each other for nine years.  Both brides were radiant – Joan in a beautiful rose kimono jacket and Tammy in a vibrant red shawl.  We wish them many years of love and happiness together as they make their home in New York.

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It Takes A Village to Support A Marriage

Marriage has its ebbs and flows, just as the ocean does.  It has its good times and its bad times.  It is important to understand that marriage is not always the “happily ever after” affair that we wish it could be.  Our marriage partner cannot read our minds.  Our marriage partner cannot make us happy.  Our marriage partner cannot be everything to us and for us.  It takes a village to support a marriage.

We need to reach out to our friends and family when we are going through difficult times.  Asking them to help us through the difficult times is something we don’t like to do – we want to keep our problems hidden from others – but many times, this is exactly the time we do need their help and support to get through the rough times.  They can listen and comfort us and also give us a perspective from outside the relationship that can help bring things back into balance.

In 2005, I did a radio program on “Leading Lives of Quiet Desperation”.   It is worth the 15 minutes to listen to it.  Go to and listen to the 6th audio program.  It provides insights into the desperate lives both men and women lead when we look behind closed doors.  No one’s life is perfect, although it may look perfect from the outside.  Then we are surprised when the couple with the “perfect life” all of a sudden split up.  What can be done to prevent this from happening?

During many of the wedding ceremonies I perform, I speak to the friends and family of the bride and groom to ask them to be there for the couple both during the good times and the bad times.  They need support when things are not going well and friends to share things with when things are going well.  It takes a village to support a marriage.

Here is an excerpt from a wedding ceremony I did yesterday:
“As family and friends, you form a community of support that surrounds the bride and groom – a Tribe, if you will.  Each of you, by your presence here today, is being called upon to uphold them in loving each other.  Encourage them when encouragement is needed.  Promise to always stand beside them, never between them.  Offer them your love and support, without your judgment.  Promise to encourage them when encouragement is needed, and counsel them when they ask for advice.  In these ways, you can honor this marriage into which they have come to be joined today.”

Every relationship has its ups and downs and it is important to know that we need to work through these times, because the good times will return if we are patient and we work at it.  Many times, marriages are ended too easily when they can be saved with a little work and by being a grown-up.

What do I mean by being a grown-up?  I mean that first of all, we take responsibility for our own actions.  We acknowledge when we have made a mistake.  Second, we take responsibility for our own happiness.  No one else can do that for us.  If our life is lacking something, we are responsible for figuring out what that is and then going after it.  Our spouse might be able to help us to figure out what that is, but they cannot be the one to bring happiness.  Third, we understand that things will not always be perfect.   Fourth, it’s too easy to blame our spouse for our problems.  Sometimes, a little time away from our spouse make us realize what we have.  If that spouse is not there to blame, it helps us to realize that we have to get out of our slump ourselves.  It helps us to appreciate all the things our spouse does bring to the relationship.   Think about what things would really be like if your split up with your spouse – all the problems you would have to face alone, the broken family life, the financial difficulties, the loneliness, the additional problems that would arise with a split.  It is definitely worth the effort to save the marriage.

Make sure to take time out to have romantic times with one another.  This is especially important when we become parents.  We may focus too much on the children and forget to go out on dates with one another and take vacations without the children.  We need to be sure our own relationship is strong in order to be good parents for our children.  This will also give the children a wonderful gift – some special time with their grandparents or friends of the family.

Build a tribe to support you and your family.  Give your relationship a chance.  Give it time to come around again.  Plan some special events that you can look forward to together to help build that bridge again between the two of you.  Change your job if you hate it.  Take up a new hobby.  Go dancing together.  Build memories, take pictures, and reminisce about it throughout the years.  Run off together and do something fun, whether it is taking a hike, going on a trip, exploring a new area of your city,  redecorating a room in your house, reading poetry together, or listening and dancing to music in your living room.  Get dressed up and meet for a fantasy “first date” with one another at a fancy bar or restaurant.  Who knows? You might end up spending a night with each other at a hotel nearby and have breakfast in bed the next morning!

I wrote the following poem, Ebb and Flow of Marriage, and it was chosen as one of the readings for the wedding yesterday.  See if it speaks to you.

We rejoice with you today in your deep love for one another.
We wish for that love to grow and deepen through the years.
Remember, though, a time will come when you feel your love is gone
And instead of being like magnets greatly attracted to each other,
It’s as though the polarity has all of a sudden changed
And you are being pushed apart and cannot stand to be together.
But know that this is part of the natural ebb and flow of love and relationships
And the polarity will reverse once again
And you’ll discover that your love and attraction for one another
Has not disappeared, but is back as strong as ever.
We will rejoice with you in your times of love
And support you in your times of tribulation.

I was interviewed on May 8th, 2012 by Ashford Radio on the work I do as a wedding officiant and the premarital conversations I have with my engaged couples.  Listen next Tuesday on May 15th at noon PST on in Studio C for our discussion on Confidential Conversations, which is an outgrowth of my premarital work.

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‘Happy Valentine’s Day!

Today is the day for lovers everywhere.  Take time today to let that special person how much (s)he means to you.

In today’s Seattle Times newspaper, the “Ask Amy” column had the results of a survey on how to have a successful marriage.  This survey included over 1,200 people, mainly 70 years old or older, who had been married for several decades.  Listed below are the five tips they had for a “long and happy marriage.

1.  Marry someone a lot like you:  Similarity in core values in particular is the key to a happy marriage.  And forget about changing someone after marriage.

2.  Friendship is as important as romantic love.  Heart-thumping passion has to undergo a metamorphosis in lifelong relationships.  Marry someone for whom you feel deep friendship, as well as love.

3.  Don’t keep score:  Don’t take the attitude that marriage must always be a 50-50 proposition; you can’t get out exactly what you put in.

4.  Talk to each other:  Marriage to the strong, silent type can be deadly to a relationship.  Long-term married partners are talkers (at least to one another.)

5.  Don’t just commit to your partner, commit to marriage itself:  Seeing the marriage as bigger than the immediate needs of each partner helps people work together to overcome inevitable rough patches. ”

This research is from the book, “30 Lessons for Living:  Tried and True Advice From the Wisest Americans”.  Amy, thank you for publishing such wonderful advice for marriage on Valentine’s Day.


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Today I saw this amazing group of trees. You can see how they have become entwined with one another. Like these trees, a couple’s life becomes more entwined the longer they are together. What started out as two separate lives become one – while still maintaining the two. This makes a long marriage or partnership very strong and very supportive.

It illustrates one of my favorite marriage readings –


by Louis Bernieres:

Love is a temporary madness; it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.  And when it subsides you have to make a decision.  You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.  Because this is what love is.  Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.   That is just being in love, which any fool can do.  Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.  Those that truly love have roots that grow towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, they find that they are one tree and not two.