Marriage Ceremony Officiant and Wedding Pastor Tom F. Hamel

Serving West Michigan Since 2005​​

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You Have Questions

It's reasonable to have questions.   After all, you don't get married every day. The most frequently asked questions are answered below.  But when more details are needed ,

I am happy to speak personally with you by phone, text or email.



Cash, checks and money orders accepted.

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Requests for changes to date and/or time of event are subject to availability. I will make every attempt to accommodate a request for change.  Depending on circumstances, a fee may be imposed for changes.  If changes cannot be accommodated, a loss of deposit may occur.

Any cancellation of a reserved date results in loss of deposit.  Any cancellation within 30 days of a reserved date requires payment of balance in full for the ceremony and also for a rehearsal if scheduled.   Payment for other services  like music, photography, etc may be cancelled without penalty.  My West Michigan Wedding reserves the right to evaluate if a refund may be warranted in extreme circumstances.



A $100 deposit is required to secure your date and time.  This is applied to your final balance which is due the day of  your ceremony.  


SInce 2005, My West Michigan Wedding has successfully provided professional services at reasonable and affordable rates.  Serving a large geographic area, and providing different levels of service prevents offering a one-size-fits-all price. Please contact me to learn more about my fee.

Michigan Residents - Your wedding license must be obtained from the county of your residence no more than 30 days and at least 3 days before your wedding date.  

Non-Michigan Residents - Your wedding license must be obtained from the County in Michigan in which you plan to have your ceremony.  It should be obtained no more than 30 days and no less than 3 days from your wedding date.  This requirement can be waived if circumstances dictate; however, typically a fee is imposed.  Click here for a listing of Michigan County Clerk offices.



Q: Can we meet you somehow to make sure you're a good fit for us?

A: Absolutely!  I welcome the chance to meet with couples. There are different ways that we can make this happen. We can meet in person, facetime and Skype.

Q: How much are we allowed to customize the ceremony? Can we write our own vows?
A:  Yes, you may write your own vows.  I will work with you to personalize the ceremony in a way that provides the most meaning for you.

Q:  How long is a typical ceremony?
A:  Ceremonies usually last about 15 to 20 minutes. Ceremonies will be longer if music, traditional elements or readings are added. They can also be modified to be shorter and still retain the most important content.

Q:  Do we need a permit for a beach wedding?
A: A permit is not always required, depending on the size of the wedding, but often permission does need to be granted.  I can help with recommendations about who to call for permission.

Q:  Will you perform a ceremony in a location other than the beach?
A: Absolutely! Private homes, B&B's, vacation rentals and historic sites make for wonderful wedding venues. I have conducted wedding ceremonies at Meijer Gardens, John Ball Zoo Bissell Tree House, The Barn at Towns Corners, White Pine Village Chapel, various churches and many, many other similar venues.

Q: Will you marry us even if we are not currently members of a church?
A:  Although I suggest that you find a place of worship where you can grow spiritually together,  it is not necessary to show membership at any certain place of worship.

Q:  Is pre-marriage counseling required?
A:  No, because it is not practical to require this for destination weddings.  I am happy to suggest resources for couples wishing to further their understanding about marriage if they so desire.

Q: If we are of different faiths, or one of us is not religious, is that a problem?
A:  I believe we are all at different places in our spiritual journey.  A commitment to each other, and an understanding that marriage is a solemn and binding contract best undertaken with the help of God is my criteria for joining in marriage.

Q:  We are planning a wedding for just the two of us?  Are we required to have witnesses?
A:  Yes you are.  If family or friends are not an option, we can provide witnesses for you.  

Q: We have a divorce in our past, is this a problem?
A:  No

Q:  We have children, is that a problem?
A:  No, and I am happy to help you include them in your ceremony. This day should be meaningful to them as well.

Q: Will our friends be allowed to participate in the ceremony, including giving readings, singing, etc?
A:  Yes, we can work together in advance of the ceremony to find the best spots for others to be involved.

Q:  Should we have a wedding rehearsal?
A:  Most small, intimate weddings do not require a rehearsal.  In fact, many couples prefer the feeling they have on their wedding day knowing that they are facing each other for the first time, saying their vows and sharing a powerful moment together.  Larger weddings that involve many people in various responsibilities do benefit from a rehearsal.  

Q:  Can you suggest a location for us?
A:  Some slideshows of ceremony venues can be viewed on the My West Michigan Wedding YouTube channel. I am happy to help you in your decision process.