River & Root Ceremonies

handcrafted ceremonies joyfully congruent with your complex life

Frequently Asked Questions

para ver esta página en español, por favor, haga click aquí. to view this FAQ in Spanish, please click here.

What is a Celebrant? 

A Life-Cycle Celebrant is a ceremony professional who has completed rigorous training in ritual academic theory (covering cultures and traditions across the globe and throughout history) and has practical experience working with people to integrate their story into the ceremony.   As the Celebrant Foundation and Institute states, 'Life-Cycle Celebrants abide by a code of ethics, a nondiscrimination policy, and commit to continually improving their knowledge and skill.  Celebrants believe that affirming life's milestones through customized, thoughtful ceremony strengthens the bonds of families, partnerships and communities and deepens the human connection across generations, and remembering and honoring our ancestors are the very essence of what it means to be human.'

 How are Celebrant ceremonies different from other ceremonies?

The major difference is that Celebrant ceremonies are co-created with you - you share your story and the elements that matter to you.  The Celebrant researches, writes, and edits until the ceremony fully reflects the your personality, beliefs, values, and traditions while weaving in your personal story and history. The Celebrant ceremony takes into account the ceremony guests or community, ensuringthat they feel a part of it all in whatever way that matters to the ceremonial honorees.  As the client, you have complete approval over the ceremony script, and you have the right to make revisions before the ceremony is officiated by the Celebrant. 

What do you charge?

The work I do is so varied from situation to situation, that I prefer to discuss specific fees after we’ve had a chance to speak and get to know each other a bit more.  For weddings, I offer a range of services from $750 to $1600 with elopements and short-notice weddings ranging from $200 to $600.   I look forward to reviewing that with you at our initial complimentary consultation.  For all other ceremonies, I will be able to offer you a quote at our initial complimentary consultation.

Are there payment alternatives?

I strongly believe that personalized ceremonies should be available to everyone.  For example, if you believe that the marriage ceremony is one of the most important, integral elements of your wedding day experience, then this process is right for you, and we will find a way to make it work.  To that end, I am prepared to offer discounts when necessary to full-time activists, artists, students, and to returned service members. I will work with you to create a payment plan, if that eases your situation.  I am also open to bartering for various services.  The best thing to do is contact me, I’m sure we can work something out!

 How does this work?

Please visit ‘The Process’ page for a more in-depth description of how I prefer to work.  For short-notice ceremonies (with less than one month of lead time), I work somewhat differently.  Please contact me and I will give you the scoop!

Where do you perform ceremonies?

I am based in Washington, DC, but I travel all over the DC metro area and beyond!  Anywhere can be a sacred place for your ceremony. I do not charge travel fees within 50 miles of the District. After we meet and/or your ceremony location is confirmed (whichever happens first!) I will be happy to quote you a travel fee, if applicable.

What about rehearsals? Is there an extra fee?

Generally, I attend wedding rehearsals, and it is included in my fee.  Please note that I am not a wedding coordinator, and do not act as one, although I am more than happy to work in concert with wedding or venue coordinators when they are present.

For all other ceremonies, I find that a brief walk-through a few minutes before the ceremony is sufficient.  If you would prefer a full rehearsal prior to a non-wedding ceremony, please let me know at our consultation and I will take that into consideration as I prepare your quote.

What other services do you offer, in addition to weddings and elopements?

At the moment, I am pleased to offer:

  • ceremonies for the family: expectant parents, partner/mother/father blessings, baby and child welcomings, coming-of-age ceremonies for teenagers, letting-go ceremonies for parents as children leave the family home
  • ceremonies for your home: new house blessings, ceremonies to mark the initiation or conclusion of major home renovation, moving blessings, and downsizing ceremonies for people moving to nursing homes or assisted living facilities
  • ceremonies for professional transition, including new jobs or responsibilities, retirement, new business endeavors, and dissertation completion celebrations
  • ceremonies for your third act and beyond: milestone birthday celebrations, wise elder ceremonies, other transition rituals to acknowledge this change in life circumstance
  • ceremonies for homecoming: for returned service members, volunteers, and other who have spent significant time abroad, the return home can be fraught with complex emotions and desires -  a ceremony to acknowledge this transition can be helpful to the person returning as well as their community
  • other commitment ceremonies: in addition to weddings, I am happy to co-create vow renewals or celebrations of milestone anniversaries

I also offer hourly consulting services for any of the above ceremonies, including weddings.

Please have a look at the relevant pages of the website for more specific information. If you have an interest or desire for a transition ritual that is not listed here, please get in touch - I would love to work with you to create a custom ceremony!

Are you available on short notice?

Yes, I am often available on short notice, particularly for elopements and weddings.  Please contact me!

What about children?

I enjoy working with children, both creating ceremonies that honor them specifically and including them in ceremonies.  

What about pets?

I would be happy to co-create a ceremony with you that includes your beloved animal companion(s)!

Do you work with other officiants/monks/priests/ministers/rabbis/gurus/etc?

I am happy to co-create a ceremony with you that includes members of faith communities important to you.  Please bear in mind that you remain my client, with 100% approval over the ceremony script; I would ask that you make that clear to anyone else participating directly in the ceremony so as to avoid confusion.

Do you require pre-marriage counseling or classes?

I do not require,  nor do I offer, pre-marital counseling.  I do have some references if you are interested in those services, please contact me for more information.

What do you wear for the ceremony?

I want to match the tone of your ceremony with my clothes.  Generally speaking, I wear a trouser suit in a dark color, or a tunic dress with a colorful shawl. If you have specific requests for what you would like me to wear or not wear, I’m happy to listen! Coming as I do from a theater background, I am familiar with the power of a good costume to deepen the experience for everyone present.

What's the deal with the Spanish?

I am a gringa, but I grew up in DC and went to Oyster Bilingual Elementary School (now Oyster-Addams Bilingual School), so I've been speaking Spanish since kindergarten.  I sound good (my accent is a bit of a mix from the Spanish-speaking places I've lived: Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic), Buenos Aires (Argentina), and Santiago (Chile)).  My grammar isn't always the best off the cuff, but I am fluent conversationally and would ensure that any ceremony script would be error free.  I would love to create a bilingual or majority-Spanish ceremony with you!

Do you have questions that are not on this FAQ?

Please get in touch, I would be happy to answer them!

Por favor, haga click aquí para ver estas preguntas en español. To view this FAQ in Spanish, please click here.

please do get in touch: hannah@riverandrootceremonies.com or (202) 930-1138