With just one ceremony remaining on the books for 2017, I wanted to share with you all my review of the year. It was full of adventures and beauty, snafus and laughs. I managed to slow down a bit this year after performing over 130 weddings (!) in 2016. I’ll finish with just over a 100 happy couples married by me this year. I loved slowing down some because I had a bit more time to savor the experiences with all of you and really delight in the moments we shared.

Weddings Throughout California

Not only did I perform weddings in my home county of Riverside and my weddings in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Orange County, but I spent a lot more time in San Diego this year.

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Image by Jesus Frias

I also had a wedding in Ventura and another in Carmel by the Sea in Monterey County.

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Hot Wedding Locations

Some of my most popular wedding venues this year were Joshua Tree National Park…

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Palm Springs…

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Photo by me

Balboa Park…

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Photo by Simply Perfect Images

and Malibu (Saddleback Ranch was a favorite).

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Balboa Park was new to my list (I’ve now done weddings at the Japanese Friendship Garden and the St. Francis Chapel) as was Carmel by the Sea…

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and the Long Beach Canals.

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Photo by me

Busiest Wedding Months

This took me by surprise, but April was the busiest month of the year for me with 15 nuptials! The next busiest months were March, June, July, and October, all tied for second at 11 couples celebrated in each of those months. Those five months constituted 60% of my weddings this year!

Not All Who Wander are Lost

I always get a lot of people coming to California to get married. This year, my awesome couples hailed from Alaska to New York, Florida to California, with people even coming in from Switzerland, Australia, England, France, Colombia, El Salvador, and Germany to marry here. Guests hailed from all those counties plus Namibia, Ukraine, Argentina, and Japan.

Here’s a crazy fact: approximately 7,000 people witnessed a Let’s Get Married by Marie ceremony this year. What???

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Photo by Christina Chi Craig

Trends: Custom Unity Ceremonies

This year was big on custom unity ceremonies written specifically for my couples. I introduced a tequila unity ceremony for my Latino couples looking to honor their shared heritage.

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Photo by me

I did a Quaich ceremony (a Scottish loving cup ceremony) for another couple with Glenlivet. Custom twists on handfastings and knot-tying were also popular this year as was the Tasting of the Four Elements unity ceremony with chocolate.

The Ups and Downs of Weather

The beginning of 2017 brought tons of wet weather to California. On one hand, we had the superbloom.

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Photo by Keri Rico Photography

On the other, we all had to have rain and snow plans for the first five months of the year, which is unusual in California.

Some Crazy Stats

Because I’m a data nerd, here are some fun numbers to give you an idea of why custom ceremonies are more time consuming:

At just over a 100 weddings performed this year, that’s approximately 228,000 words I wrote and spoke to perform them. That’s like me writing and performing the first three books of the Harry Potter series in a year!

I also drove 18,525 miles for weddings as of writing this. That’s like driving at 65 mph full-time (40 hours a week) for seven weeks. (Hence why I have time to listen to so many podcasts!)

2017 Was Fantastic

I had so many amazing experiences with all of my couples this year. Every year I look back and am overwhelmed with joy and awe, but mostly gratitude that is how I spend my life…

celebrating your love

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Photo by Jenn & Pawel Photography

Thank you all so much for all the giggles, the happy tears, and quiet moments full of meaning and emotion. I will carry all those memories we made with me always.

And to those of you getting married in 2018: our adventure starts soon, my dears!!

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Photo of my ridiculousness by Keri Rico Photography