This is from an interview on Elite Radio in 2012 with Rev. Janice Carter.
What would you like people to know most about yourself ?
I am very people-oriented. I enjoy meeting and talking with people and am motivated by making a difference in people’s lives. I have had a life-long interest in love and marriage and have learned a lot about relationships and marriages from my life experiences and also from my studying. I am a romantic person and enjoy working to make a couple’s wedding a memorable occasion. After every ceremony, guests come up to tell me how much they loved the ceremony. They can feel that I am not doing this because it is a job, but because I really care about each couple.
I also believe it is very important for engaged couples to spend a lot of time getting to know each other, discovering each other’s hidden expectations about marriage, and exploring their compatibility in several areas of life.
Can you tell us a little about your philosophy?
Helping couples build a strong marriage is very important to me.
This usually starts with discussing their wedding plans and the wedding ceremony. I work with each couple to custom write a ceremony that will be heartfelt and meaningful to them not only on their wedding day but also throughout the years to come. I provide them with a copy of the ceremony afterwards so that they can read their vows on each anniversary or at those times that they are going through either a rough period or a period of renewed commitment to one another.
In addition, spending time during the engagement preparing for their marriage as well as for the wedding is very important. Being the right partner is as important as finding the right partner. My premarital courses give couples the opportunity to explore all areas of marriage and discuss their feelings and beliefs on various topics in a neutral, safe environment. This will provide a strong foundation for their marriage and help set proper expectations about what it means to be married and minimize the surprises and areas of serious disagreement they might encounter after they get married.
The current divorce rate currently is 51%: if couples put as much thought and effort into preparing for the marriage as they put into planning the wedding, this could be lowered. Even with a strong love for one another, not all couples are well-suited to be good marriage partners for one another; finding this out ahead of time would save a lot of future heartache.
How did you get started performing wedding ceremonies?
I became an ordained non-denominational minister with the Universal Life Church in 2010. Since then, I have been performing weddings, gay and lesbian (LGBT) commitment ceremonies, and renewal of vows ceremonies. I also offer premarital courses.
What led you to become a wedding celebrant and officiant?
I have had a life long interest in love, marriage, and weddings. When I was a junior in high school, I did extensive research on the topics and wrote a hundred-page report on “Courtship, Marriage, and Divorce”. It is interesting to go back and see not only how much has changed since then, but also how much is still very relevant.
I retired from my career in high tech in 2009. For the next phase of my working life, I wanted to work in a field that was people oriented and gave me the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. My life-long interest in marriage was the perfect fit!
I spent 30 years in various positions in the corporate world, holding high-level manager and director positions in software development, telecommunications, IT, and project management for well-respected Fortune 500 companies such as Nordstrom and Hewlett-Packard. I hold a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics from the University of Guam and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco. I have traveled extensively throughout Europe, the Caribbean, and Southeast Asia for work, school, and personal vacations.
In addition, I am an accomplished performer and speaker. I have performed on stage and have done public speaking in many venues. At graduation from my MBA program, I was awarded the trophy for the best presentations during my courses. While I lived in Los Angeles, I had a weekly radio program called “Jan’s World” where I explored a different, timely topic each week through talk, interviews, and music. I also reviewed movies on cable TV for five years during that time.
What is the most important lesson that you have learned throughout your career or life?
That everything goes in cycles. All relationships, whether they are marriages, sibling relationships, or friendships, have their ups and downs. Like the ocean, everything has its ebbs and flows. It is important to try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. Also, remember that in most cases, the person is doing the best he or she can. Try to understand the challenges they are facing and what is motivating them to act as they are.
What types of services do you provide?
I provide ceremonies for couples who either do not have a church they belong to or for couples who want to get married in a location other than a church. I perform both religious and non-religious ceremonies. I have performed ceremonies in some beautiful settings around the greater Seattle area, including Alderbrook Resort on Hood Canal and the W. W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory in Tacoma.
In 2010, one of my closest friends, Barbara Roser, who is an award-winning photographer with over 20 years of experience as a wedding photographer, came to me with an idea of a new type of wedding service to provide. This service would be for the couple who might otherwise elope, but wants something more meaningful than getting married in Las Vegas or in front of a Justice of the Peace. More and more couples are embracing a private and personal wedding ceremony that focuses on the couple while keeping the costs affordable and the stress level low. We created a service called SimpliDone Weddings to meet this need. We perform the ceremony in a private, elegant garden. The couple can choose from one of several pre-written wedding ceremonies, or they can write and bring their own. They can request a bridal bouquet and boutonniere, and a wedding cake and champagne for a small celebration after the ceremony. Best of all, the bride and groom can simply show up, dressed for their ceremony, with their rings, and we will provide the witnesses, or they can invite up to 12 guests. Barbara and I are available seven days a week for both planned and spontaneous weddings.
I have recently added a new wedding package for destination weddings. I will officiate at a wedding anywhere in the world for free. Only my travel expenses need to be paid. I limit my destination weddings to two per year.
In addition to the wedding services, to start the marriage off on a strong foundation, I offer compatibility questionnaires, a 5-module premarital course, and a 16-module premarital course. The purpose of all three services is to give the couple a chance to concentrate on themselves as a couple, get to know each other better, and provide an impartial environment in which to explore and discuss the many areas involved in building a life together.
What is the most significant issue facing your profession today?
The passage of same-sex marriages in all 50 states. On February 13, 2012, Gov. Gregoire of Washington State signed landmark legislation into law, making same-sex marriage legal in the state of Washington. Same-sex marriage is now legal in seven states and Washington D.C. Also, Washington State is the first state to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which defines marriage as between one man and one woman.
The changes in Washington’s marriage laws require a 90 day wait, so same-sex marriages were to go into effect on June 7, 2012; but enough signatures were collected for Referendum 74, so the new law will be put on hold until the November 2012 elections, pending voter approval. (Note: R74 was passed in November 2012 and same-sex marriage became legal in the State of Washington on December 6, 2012.)
To what do you attribute your success?
I love what I do and take a personal interest in the couples I work with. I am also constantly studying and updating my materials and developing new services. For example, I have been noticing the need for a ceremony for people in transition, whether it is a divorce, moving to a new location, retirement, becoming empty-nesters, or learning to live with a disability. I am developing a Transitions Ceremony to address this need.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your career?
The best part is working with the couples and getting to know them at one of the happiest times of their lives.
What sets you apart from others in your field?
Three things set me apart from others in my field.
First, the involvement and interest I take in each couple and getting to know them.
Second, the constant drive for improving the services I provide, whether it is the wedding ceremony, the premarital courses, or developing new services like the Transitions Ceremony.
Third, I believe couples need to concentrate on the marriage at least as much as the wedding. They need to put as much thought, planning, and preparation into the marriage as they do the wedding. I have known several couples who have been deeply in love and very well-suited for each other in most ways, yet would not be good marriage partners due to one or two significant areas of unsolvable differences. Some of the most common areas of this type of incompatibility involve children, finances, sexual preferences, religion, and in-laws.
How can we find out more about Rev. Jan Carter and SimpliDone Weddings?
To contact me, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or you may call me at 206.915.1077.
For more information about me, please visit my website and blog at www.RevJanCarter.com.
For information on the elopement-type wedding, SimpliDone Weddings, please visit the website, www.SimpliDone.com.
In addition, Facebook has entries under both Janice Carter and SimpliDone Weddings (https://www.facebook.com/SimpliDone.Weddings). In Twitter, look for @RevJanCarter.
At LinkedIn, look for Janice(Payne) Carter, M.B.A., Officiant.