West Des Moines, Iowa, United States

Phone: (515) 491-9139 Email: Nic@TheMarriagePros.com

Rev. nicole & the marriage pros Iowa's longest serving wedding officiant

Considerations from Rev. Nicole - The Marriage Pros, Wedding Officiant

What to do - what if - considerations

So Things to Consider


 We hope this helps you with some of your considerations  with your ceremony.  

 Do you have any guests that don’t get around so easily?  Weddings on beaches are beautiful, but sometimes the beach is a small hike from the parking lot.  It is usually not level ground, and wheelchairs and walkers sometimes have a hard time navigating. 

Is it hot?  Some couples have a cooler and water waiting for guest when they arrive.  Some are self-serve and some are delivered by ushers.  Some couples provide hand-held paper fans. Remember, you as the couple will probably be in an air-condition building or vehicle.  You guests may be sitting outside in the hot sun for quite a while.  

If it's cold some couples provide gas heaters around their seating area or small throw blankets and some have had hand warmers.  


If you wish to include your pet, are they allowed at your venue?  Are they prone to get excited and jump or have accidents?  If you are having a longer ceremony, please provide a bowl of water and allow someone to take your pet to a cool or shady place once they have done their part.  I’ve had two weddings with dogs as ring bearers that ended up with heat exhaustion and a trip to the vet.  Be prepared with poo bags too, pets sometimes get nervous.  Decide in advance who will take over if a pet needs additional attention during your ceremony.  

Remember, not all venues allow alcohol.  Opened or not.  We had one where the wine for a wine ceremony to be opened a year later was confiscated in the middle of a formal wedding.   Make sure you know what your venue does or does not allow.


If a venue does not allow outside food, that may also mean cheerios for a child.  Yes, this happens.

There is one very popular, beautiful, but pricey spot where we had a reception the night prior to the wedding which was going to be held outside on their deck, the reception was inside.  The Mother of the Bride had to use the restroom, there were people in the venue and they would not allow her in.  She had to go to a restroom at a nearby campground.  Make sure you know when your venue will open its doors for you.  

Some venues and/or caters charge extra for chair covers, table cloths and other items, but not tell you upfront.  Your venue may not look like it did during your search as it does when you show up for your wedding day.  Many items are rented a la carte.  Remember, most venues are rented for a vast variety of events. Also, if you decorate yourself, make sure all decorations are allowed.  Also know where the trash goes when your celebration is over.  It is not uncommon for people to clean and bag everything, and find out they used the wrong dumpster and get hit with a fee and had part of their deposit withed. People spill, make sure you know where cleaning supplies are kept/or you have your own. 

 It shouldn't have to be a consideration, but it's happened at a wedding I officiated,  if you go to places with fish ponds, (Botanical Centers),  zoos or around other living things that fascinate children - of course you do not want them to fall in, but make sure they also do not "feed" anything.  If an animal gets sick, you may get stuck with the bill - or worse.

I performed a large wedding in Cummings a few years back where the caterers booked the wrong date.  The wedding was on a Friday night at 6:00 P.M. so most people came after work without eating.  There was not even a gas station in Cummings to purchase snacks.  I was able to delayed the wedding for an hour, (which usually is NOT the case) then the open bar started with no food or wedding cake.  I left around 8:30, many people with children missed the ceremony and alcohol had kicked in with some guests who I can only assume never ate when the food finally did show up - sometime after 8:30.  The lesson learned, if you are in a rural or sparsely populated area, grab some snacks to keep handy.  They can be used at a later date if not needed.  

 Butterflies are a nice touch in movies, but more often than not, they do not fly out as planned – if at all.


 Doves are birds – and birds sometimes poop on the couple or their guests.  They are also sitting in a cramped box, or in a covered cage surrounded by people, which they may not be accustomed to, probably getting very anxious and wondering what it is going on.  They "escape" more than they beautifully fly out.  I am not telling anyone what to do or not to do, with butterflies, birds, pets, or any other live thing.  These are just what I have witnessed firsthand.  


 If you have an outside wedding, always have a backup plan.  Also, sometimes venues close unexpectedly.  Try to check in with your venue or research it again about a week prior to your ceremony.  Bats closed Ahquabi Lake.  Beaches closed due to health concerns, and businesses going out of business have all quickly changed the best planned weddings.  It is best to check in with everyone working on your ceremony.   You should check in with caterers, cake decorators and officiants, no matter who is performing your ceremony, the day prior to your ceremony.


If you are using a first come -first served park shelter, plan on being there early in the morning to save it, especially during or prime wedding season.   A big thing to consider, is if you plan on having a wedding on a day when any Iowa - Iowa State game is on, or any other major sporting event such as the Super Bowl, you may be disappointed at your turnout.  Sometimes people or their spouses RSVP without checking dates.  Graduation and major holiday weekends sometimes are also a disappointment if you have a lot of non-family guests.  However, Graduations and Holidays seem to work out when weddings have more family members attending.  In less you are still in college or friends and family that are mostly sport fans, I would definitely thinks twice about having a ceremony on a day when Iowa -Iowa State is playing.  Even if your ceremony time is different from the game time, traffic is usually pretty bad in certain locations, and some non-sport fans traveling from a ways away may not know.  They may have left in plenty of time for a normal trip, drove all the way, but missed your wedding due to standard Iowa-Iowa State traffic.   I have had several weddings where less than 50% of the guests who RSVP'd showed up.  Just the wasted food alone can really add up.  

 If you are reading this as a family or friend of the couple and you are not 100% on board with their wedding, please remember it is their day, voices travel, and people love to post things!  If the couple loved you enough and cared enough about you to invite you to their wedding, please respect all of their wedding day choices.  If you are unhappy about any choices they made for any reason, I "assume" they knew that prior to the day of their wedding.  By having the ceremony, they already made their choice.  Right - wrong - or indifferent.  Let them have their wedding day.  Anything can happen, but I have never had a couple cancel their ceremony in all of the years that I have been preforming weddings, on their wedding day and/or just prior to their ceremony. If their license gets lost or stolen, they Recorder will simply print up another one.  Besides, once they get their license, they can get married without you there. Would you want that?  Witnesses do not have to know the couple, they just have to be over 18 and witness that the ceremony took place. Any 18 year old in school could be their witness.  They could get married in a hallway between classes if they really wanted to. Would you rather be at the ceremony and congratulate them or have them get married anyway and you find out by text? I cannot answer that for you, just a heads up that it happens. Nobody is saying you have to like their choice, and it may be the worst decision they ever made, but they made it and if it is time for their ceremony, they intend to go through with it.  You can be supportive or left out. If they have their license, the State of Iowa already gave them the OK.  I know this paragraph does not apply to most couples or their friends and families.  Most couples have wonderful support even from family and friends that could not attend their ceremony for whatever reason.    

Some couples set up video calling for those who cannot attend.  The Marriage Pros allows video calling or set up on any ceremony.  The couple must make sure there is Wifi, or coverage, the couple or their guest is required to set up whatever is needed and provide all equipment necessary prior to the start time.  This has been a great option for military families, or for anyone in a hospital, nursing home, or a long distance away, who would love to celebrate with the couple.   This page is kind of a bummer, but the vast majority of weddings are happy, fun, and problem free, which is why I love being a wedding officiant!!!   As a wedding minister who has performed weddings in the West Des Moines and surrounding areas for over a decade, The Marriage Pros and Rev. Nicole, an ordained wedding minister in West Des Moines, IA may be able to help you with unforeseen issues which may come up on your wedding day.


Rev. Nicole, The Marriage Pros' wedding minister, has performed around 1000 marriage ceremonies for couples across the USA.

West Des Moines, Ankeny, Carlisle, Winterset, Stuart and all areas between.

Contact Rev. Nicole

(515) 491-9139