Nashville Wedding Officiant
(Not my wedding attire:))
Golden Dolphin Weddings
A note regarding the TN law effective July 1, 2019:
I will do anything it takes to be in my integrity for my clients and to ensure them that they are getting a quality, caring Minister they can trust to be in compliance with all laws and statutes. Due to a very small grey area in the new law, I had a few hoops to cross to ensure that I could continue to provide you with the same assurance I always have that you are working with an officiant in full compliance with any statutes.
Here is the story in a nutshell:
I am in full compliance with TN law, as I have a Master of Divinity, and was ordained by the church affiliated with the University I attended after a comprehensive degree program and Master's Thesis. However, just like
Harvard has distance learning (online) classes, my school was online, so the one sentence addition to the law, "Persons receiving online ordinations may not solemnize marriages," did cause me a bit of concern.
Both my school/church and myself talked to the Tennessee State Governor's office, the Senator who sponsored the bill, and my State Representative, and all of them said that I'm legitimate, and that the new law was not meant to exclude people like me. They have both said that they will probably need to change the wording when they're in session in Jan-April to allow for people like me so that there is no grey area with the new one-sentence addition to the law.
However, that didn't help me for the rest of 2019 to assure people that it is safe to work with me, as Tennessee does not require Ministers/Officiants to register with the state- so even though they all said I was perfectly legitimate, they were unable to provide me anything in writing to back that up.
As divine timing would have it, my school/church (which is in Northern California) was hosting a free weekend spiritual retreat June 22-23 in Philadelphia, which I attended--and though all of the lawmakers said I was legit, during the retreat, I was officially re-ordained in-person in order to give my couples full peace of mind.
I am blessed and honored to be allowed to continue to love on all of you beautiful people, just as I have since 2008.
Now... About Me: :)
I am an ordained non-denominational Minister with the Wisdom of the Heart Church, with a Master of Divinity Degree. I have an open mind and a warm heart, and love to bring people together by creating a sacred space for their important rite of passage. It is my extra special pleasure and honor to assist: interfaith, "spiritual but not religious" couples, same-sex couples, and those who want an open-hearted officiant, but not necessarily a lot of overly spiritual wording.
I have been performing wedding ceremonies since 2008. As for my own faith, I would best describe myself as spiritual, but not religious. My school and church served as a spiritual and academic exploration through a open religion where we were exposed to many different traditions, paths, and ideologies.
My other life talents and experiences have included such diverse things as: owning and directing dance studios, speaking, teaching, counseling, and writing spiritual and personal growth books, articles, blogs, and poetry. In this manner, I find being a wedding and life ceremony officiant quite comfortable! I have had the sincere pleasure throughout life of working with many of the different aspects that make up my job as an officiant. Among them include: dealing intimately with people in highly emotional settings, writing, planning, and directing, and speaking and carrying myself professionally in front of a crowd. It is my sincere pleasure to 'hold the space' for you as you cross the threshold into your new life together.
In my desire to support you in making your ceremony exactly as you imagined it, I am open to being as involved or as non-involved as you'd like. I love to offer that little extra 'something' when I am asked or can tell that it is welcomed, but I am also fine with just doing my part and keeping things more closely aligned to your exact wishes if you'd prefer.
It is true that even after our first phone conversations, I have become fast pals with many of my couples. There have also been just as many though, who appreciate the fact that I will stay very closely aligned to things exactly as they have been arranged or planned, and not get too involved otherwise.
If you are having a bridal party and are planning to do a rehearsal, I am particularly fond of those, as it gives me time to really get to work with you, your family, and bridal party in a fun and comfortable setting.
I have also been known to really enjoy taking photos after the wedding (like the one below, and the one on the home page) for some of my smaller weddings. Sometimes it is just the couple and me, or maybe just a few friends or family members. In these cases, all you have to do is hand me your camera and I promise to have a blast creatively styling you in all kinds of neat poses for a great selection of photos you get to take with you and do what you'd like with for no extra charge! If you are having a large ceremony with a photographer or two, know that I am very comfortable with that. Feel free to tell them that I don't mind at all if they get close or shoot from behind me to get the best shots of the two of you. When I am doing your ceremony, I am in the zone, I don't even notice they are there!
If you'd like to check out a few other photos I've taken for a smaller wedding, click here: http://www.ng-11.com/#
As I am a somewhat non-traditional minister, I will not arrive at your wedding in a long robe or more traditional 'clergy' clothing. I am more comfortable in and prefer a simple black blouse with a long black skirt, and white scarf/stole with pretty crystals on it. (You can see it below, in the photos listed under: Katie and Brandon, Sarah and Elijah, Rachel, and Josh and Courtney). However, my attire can also change based on the style and type of wedding you are having. If you are having a theme wedding, I am open to adopting: an island look, a non-traditional blue dress with colorful batik stole, or whatever else you can dream up. I am open to what will work best with your style and taste. I am here to support you and I am open to all faiths, paths, and belief systems.
Photo credit: Sara Bill Photography
Find more pictures on my facebook page at:
I wanted to provide you just a few testimonials on my website, so as not to overwhelm you. :)
If you are looking for more, please feel free to go over to my profile at: www.weddingwire.com for many more!
"We want you to know what a perfect job you did as our officiant. You were such a calming, elegant, and wise presence. I really liked your comment about the beauty and magic of the downpour as Lucy sang. I hope we will have the opportunity to serve as a reference for you. Please feel free to pass on our email or phone number for this purpose." M.F. Wisconsin
Chris and I are back from our wonderful honeymoon and settling back into daily life... and I just wanted to take a moment to say thank you for the beautiful, touching and memorable ceremony you performed for us. We could feel how present and sincere you were, and your humor and warm spirit shined through. We have received so many compliments about your ceremony... everyone was greatly moved by it and we just wanted to let you know how much we appreciated it. You made it an incredibly special day for us....
We just got the video as well, which I will share as soon I I receive the digital file... feel free to share it on your website as an example of your ceremony if you wish, as it really showcases how present you are throughout. He had to cut much of it, due to time length of the video, but it is obvious watching your face throughout it that you truly shared our joy, and that means a lot to us.
(*Note- Video was not able to be loaded- sorry!)
"I was looking for a non denominational minister that would honor and respect whatever my husband to be and I wanted as part of our wedding ceremony. Neither my husband or I are religious, but spiritual in nature, so we were very particular about who would be leading our ceremony. I found Amanda's information on line and called her up. I felt an instant connection with her on the phone, and felt immediately at ease and comfortable knowing I had found the right person. We followed up with a meeting at a coffee shop and went over what we wanted our ceremony to be about. We threw out there whatever we wanted and she constructed a ceremony based on our needs and desires. Everything turned out beautifully, actually perfect! I couldn't have asked for a better minister or ceremony. It was heartfelt, magical and completely reflected our spirits and who we are and what our love meant to each other. I am grateful and thankful for Amanda's presence at our wedding! -Heather Walker
Choosing to get married in Hawaii was an easy decision for us; we’ve spent time on the Islands and love the land and its people. Choosing someone to perform a wedding ceremony was much more difficult, until we met Amanda that is.
She was a breath of fresh air, professional and competent, yet allowing us the flexibility, and letting the romance and a spirit of the occasion to seep in. Amanda is easily the nicest person you would meet, keen to listen, but ready to offer subtle advice when she perceived, correctly, that we needed it. The moment a couple gets married is one of the life altering experiences I believe, we are most fortunate and grateful to Amanda for helping usher us on the new path with smiles and tears of joy, with deep sense of goodness and humanity she emanates. Whether you want your wedding small or big, just the 2 of you or 500 people, she can make it happen. We felt that the moment was about us, not all the external accessories the wedding entails. It takes a special person to make that happen, for us it was Amanda.
-A & A
My husband and I found Amanda through an extensive internet search. We were going to be flying to Kaua'i, a place we had never been before, to get married on a beach, yet-to-be-determined. As soon as we read her bio, we called her. Upon speaking with her on the phone, we knew she was the *one* who was meant to marry us. We met her just days prior to one of the most important days of our lives, and we were even MORE certain she would make our day perfect. We have always been thankful to have found her, and are now lucky to name her among our dearest friends. If you are searching for just the right mixture of fun-loving, spiritual, laid-back, organized, and professional, look no further. Amanda is all that and more!
-J & C
I just wanted to say thank you again for such a stress free and enjoyable ceremony! It was perfect in every way.
Katie and Brandon, Married in Tennessee
Amanda Amanda was a perfect fit for us from the very first meeting we had to discuss details of her services that she provides. We hit it off from the start and knew right away that she was the right one! We decided that we wanted a ceremony based on loved and leave the religious aspect out of it since we are a mixed religious couple. She had the perfect one that she created. We decided to do a rehearsal which she made easy for us and instructed everyone in a very professional way, it was great fun! When it came to the day, she took care of everything and made the day perfect, even when I was a blubbering mess at the alter. It couldn't be more perfect! Everyone had nothing but compliments on the ceremony and her, so perfect! I couldn't have been happier with her and with the day! Thank you so much for making everything stress free!
Jenn and Arnold, Nashville
Thank you so much, the ceremony was wonderful, and you helped make it beautiful! Elijah and I had the best wedding we could ever dream of and are so glad to have you as a part of it.
My hunch about you was right. You were perfect.
-Sarah and Elijah, TN
Amanda - We're getting back into our normal routine after the wedding and finally settled enough to tell you how much we appreciated you being with us on Miller and Breana's wedding day. The service was absolutely beautiful and they've gotten so many compliments on the vows and your officiating. Thank you so very much and we'll always remember you and treasure your part in our lives.
"I, the Bride-to Be called and talked to Amanda and when we met her it was then that we felt her spirit, it was a good vibe and she was very down to earth, honest, and genuinely a kind and caring person who stayed that way all throughout. Amanda was also a listening ear to us, I specifically remember that it was 2 weeks before the wedding when she tried assisting me, the Bride, with finding some where and some how to relax before the big day. The day of she came to the wedding prepared, she was checking and making sure we had everything together like a coordinator does, she was great."
Thanks Amanda from Tan & H, Tennessee
Amanda thank you so much for being a part of our day. After meeting with you I had no doubt that my big day would all work out worry free. Getting married in a different state was making me very stressed till we found you online. All the emails and questions I had, you answered so quickly. Getting to help personalize our wedding vows really made it very special. You were so kind and our family was also impressed with how personal our wedding vows were and how close we had became with you, It was like you had become our friend not just a random officiant. Needless to say our wedding was smooth sailing and thanks for making sure we had a wonderful day. Kendra & Anthony Bailey Married in TN Oct. 1 2010
I want to say a warm thank you for being such an important part of our wedding. Your comments and ceremony were simply perfect for the occasion. You captured the way David and I feel about each other, and you spoke with warmth and sincerity. I simply couldn't have asked for it to be more perfect. We received several compliments on the service throughout the evening. I know our meeting was serendipitous, but I am so thankful we met and that you were included in our wedding.
Sincerely, Tara and David, TN
My husband had been asking me to marry him for a year and for a year I had continuously refused, not because I did not want to commit to him, but because I did not believe that marriage by today's standards was sincere. I saw marriage as a show you put on for everyone you know and the vows as something someone else came up with forever ago. My opinion changed when I attended my uncle's wedding, officiated by Amanda Dobra, the feeling in the room was honest and personal. My husband and I were married less than a month later with Amanda as our officiant. Our wedding was perfect and truly us! I felt instantly comfortable with Amanda and knew that there would be no judgement or criticism about any of the non-conventional beliefs my husband and I share. In addition to suggestions with vows and support with any concerns I had Amanda was also very helpful with all of the confusing legal forms and processes involved in marriage that we were completely in the dark about. I felt as if I had found a very knowledgeable and supportive friend, I will always be grateful and I would recommend her to any bride or groom!
Rachel Schmidt, TN
Amanda was so great to work with. Me and my wife were so happy to have found her. She is a real pro!!! Of course me and my wife had no idea what we were doing, but had some ideas. Amanda was able to take our ideas along with her expertise and was able to help us plan a ceremony that was flawless. I would recommend Amanda to anyone looking for the ceremonial needs. She was so awesome!! - Josh and Courtney, TN
We chose Amanda as our wedding officiant because we both are of different faiths and knew we wanted someone non-denominational, but spiritual, to guide us through our wedding ceremony.
Amanda was so pleasant to be around and her calm demeanor definitely helped with nerves when it came to the big day. It seemed while everything was whizzing by, Amanda was the rock keeping us grounded and sane that day. We can't say enough about her professionalism and good sense of humor that brightened our moods as well as those of our guests.
When she arrived at the rehearsal, she was all business, making sure everyone - including the ring bearers - knew what they would have to do the next day. Her organization worked because the ceremony went perfectly.
We would also highly recommend the pre-marital counseling services Amanda provides. It not only gives you an opportunity to get to know your soon-to-be spouse better, but also allows Amanda to get to know the both of you better with four hours of one-on-one time as opposed to the brief time spent talking over the phone prior to your big day.
Counseling also helped work out tiny kinks in our relationship that may or may not have become bigger problems later in our marriage. Amanda provided suggestions for reading material to keep an open dialogue between us even after counseling was finished.
All-in-all, Amanda rocked as our officiant and we'd recommend her to any couple for their big day!
Thanks so much for everything!!!
-Allison & Grant, TN
"Anything we can do to help you and help every couple out there find you, we shall! Frankly there should be no weddings without you!"
Amanda is simply the best officiant we could have wished for for our wedding. We came all the way from England to get married in Franklin, TN and Amanda was just the most perfect choice, she was calm, collected and supportive throughout the process. We felt that everything was a simple and beautiful process leading up to the wedding and the ceremony itself was just incredible, we were able to work with Amanda to craft the perfect ceremony and she delivered it with sincerity, kindness and beauty in every way. Like us, she also was happy to improvise and have fun with the occasion, after all, weddings should be joyous and not stuffy occasions in my opinion! Weddings simply should not happen without Amanda... but I fear that might make her somewhat busy so thank goodness we were able to have her on our amazing wedding day.
-Alastair and Dannii
Thank you so much for making our wedding day so cozy and intimate. We really appreciated your steady guidance through the ceremony and also the photo shoot. The pictures you took of our whole family look fabulous! We all treasure it. We will remember your kindness always! Gratefully yours, --Rae and Caleb, TN
Thank you so very much for officiating our wedding! We really appreciate being able to customize our ceremony and all of your helpful suggestions. It really was perfect. So many of our friends and family commented on how poised and articulate you were and how lovely the words were. It was all very special.
Thanks again and take care!
Katie and Jordan, TN
Thank you for a wonderful day!
We really enjoyed the positive environment you provided.
Jeanett and Ash, TN
Thank you so much for being a part of our special day. You are a spectacular human being and I couldn't imagine our day without you. You're energy is beautiful and I appreciate you. I look forward to renewing our vows with you. I will never forget you covering me with your umbrella when it started to rain.
Lots of love,
Lana and Will, TN
I read and read and read reviews for officiants in the Nashville area. I reached out to a couple officiants, but between the reviews and correspondence with Amanda my decision was made pretty easily. From phone calls to emails she responded quickly! What I loved most is she makes you feel at ease. My husband and I opted for a commitment ceremony, but we wanted the traditional vows with a twist of something heartfelt and original...something that spoke to us. On the day of the ceremony I expected to be a nervous wreck, but she makes you feel at ease, like you have known her for ages. The ceremony she performed was above and beyond what I had even expected! She doesn't only just officiate, but she gives great direction and ideas for photos as well! When we decide to renew our vows we will DEFINITELY be reaching out to Golden Dolphin Weddings again.
Kendra and Breon-Nashville