Rev. Janice Carter

Wedding Celebrant and Officiant in the Seattle area

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Married on 41st Wedding Anniversary

Jennie Knapp and Bob Wuensch were reunited in marriage today, exactly 41 years after their first wedding.  They were first married while they were in the Navy on August 15, 1972 and wed for the second time today – on the 41st anniversary of their first marriage!  During the 41 years between their two weddings, they got divorced  and  married other people, but discovered they were always looking for someone who could measure up to their first love!  Now, 38 years after divorcing each other, they celebrated a real love story – their coming together again to marry the one they have loved during all those years of separation!  They had lost track of each other and lived on different coasts with 3,000 miles separating them, but found each other again through Facebook.

They kept their wedding very simple and intimate, limiting it to ten guests.  Afterwards, everyone went to dinner together to celebrate their marriage and to eat wedding cake!

The song, “I Wanna Grow Old With You” expresses their feelings well:

“Oh I could be the one,
Who grows old with you.
I wanna grow old with you.”

May they be blessed with many long and happy years together!


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Easter Sunday Shines Brightly On Wedding

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Kelly and Bonnie Rae were married on an unseasonably warm and bright, sunny Easter Sunday at the Millennium Room in Auburn, Washington. The brides and their guests were dressed in Easter colors. Both brides were escorted down the aisle by Bonnie’s father after her niece sang “I Wanna Grow Old With You”, accompanied on the guitar by her nephew. It was a beautiful ceremony with a reading from Gift From The Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Knowing that “love is easy, but relationships can be hard”, the reading talked about relationships and how they grow and change through the years. A relationship starts out so pure and simple, yet through the course of every day life, it changes and becomes complicated. It compares a good relationship with a good dance – the partners do not hold on to each other tightly, but they move in the same pattern while the dance is endlessly and beautifully unfolding. “They know they are partners moving to the same rhythm, creating a pattern together, and being invisibly nourished by it.” Bonnie and Kelly then recited their vows to each other that they had written, expressing the things they will do to help nourish and grow their relationship. A reception followed along with the cake cutting and several different kinds of cake to choose from! We wish Bonnie and Kelly a wonderful, long, and loving life together!


Zenner-Sarieddine Wedding

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Ashley and Salem had a beautiful outdoor wedding at DeLille Cellars in Redmond, Washington on September 1, 2012.  It was a perfect day captured in pictures and video.  The ceremony was performed on a grassy knoll surrounded by trees and water.  The ceremony had a love letter & wine box ceremony, where the bride and groom wrote each other love letters and put them in a box, along with a bottle of wine, to read on their 5th wedding anniversary.  A copy of the ceremony was also included.  They also did a wine ceremony, combining white and red wine to symbolize the combining of their two lives into one.  Afterwards the guests were treated to a cocktail hour and then a delicious sit-down dinner while listening to music by the DJ.

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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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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.