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Circle of Love Wedding Ceremonies

Hearts are Bound By: Rev. Shannon Mackay

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Officiant Fees:


To reserve your special date....We will meet on the phone, through email, or in person.
If you decide that we are a match, you can reserve your date and time by returning a completed contract and paying either the entire amount or the 50% non-refundable deposit fee. Your deposit then applies towards the final total fee. The payment of the remaining balance is due no later than 5 business days before the wedding day (this avoids the discomfort of later trying to receive payment for services rendered) which can be paid by: Credit Card, Cash, Check or Money Order. Feel free to call me with all your questions so I may assist you on your beautiful day.


Once you have reserved my services, I will get right to work on your ceremony scripting, writing up everything that we worked on at our meeting.


After we meet or talk
Within a week or two after we meet, or talk you will receive the wedding ceremony script for your review. This writing out of the scripting for your review is especially important and unique to my services. I offer this so that you will always know exactly what to expect. With this complete scripting in hand,
you will feel secure and confident knowing that your wedding ceremony is personalized and customized to reflect your beliefs, values, and wishes.

Once you receive your scripting, you can review it to make sure that everything is exactly how you want it. If there are changes, just email them to me. I will make the changes and send you a newly revised scripting for a second (or third) review.


My fees for officiating a marriage ceremony are straight forward. This fee covers the creation of your custom ceremony program which is used to celebrate your unique ceremony. Marriage officiated at the place of your choice. A beautiful Wedding Certificate as a keepsake provided the day of your wedding. After the ceremony I ensure that witnesses sign the marriage license, then secure the marriage license and make sure that all forms are filled out properly, and mail it in promptly.  Within 10 days you may return to the County Clerks office to get a certified copy of your license, unless you have paid them the extra $10.00 to mail you a certified copy. You may then go to the Social Security Office to change your name, and then to the DMV.


Ceremony Package Fee is $200.00  (Unless you reserve your date online to receive a discount) - For Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Fort Fisher area.

The average fee for mileage is $30 - $60 depending on driving distance and ferry fees beyond the listed areas. Ceremonies held on Bald Head Island include an additional fee to cover the cost of the ferry's from Southport to BHI.  I can take the tram to what ever location the ceremony is going to be held at.


I do not usually attend rehearsals, and here's the reason why:


My ceremonies are written as scripts, including processional and direction by name (i.e. Mary, would you please hold Sarah's bouquet; John, may I have the rings please). Therefore, the copy of the ceremony that you receive beforehand is an extremely clear guide to who-does-what-when. Especially for brides who use a wedding director, this is abundantly clear direction for a rehearsal. However, about 20% of my couples ask me to attend the rehearsal anyway--as a kind of insurance for them (which is very flattering for me!). However, because my time at the rehearsal is not an essential part of the process, and because I virtually always end up acting as wedding director, I do charge to attend rehearsals. Whereas most wedding directors charge $350 and up for this service, I charge an additional $150 plus travel.


I'll be glad to attend your rehearsal if my schedule permits it; just advise me well ahead of time so that I may schedule accordingly.


If I have the opportunity to schedule a wedding ceremony rather than a rehearsal, I reserve the option to do so, even if the rehearsal has already been scheduled, so that the rehearsal time can be rescheduled or so that I can arrange for another minister to stand in for me at the rehearsal.




The following are the most common questions I encounter.


"What are the rules for marrying on the beach?"


Carolina Beach allows weddings on the Beach. Beach Wheel Chairs are available for FREE but you must reserve them. If more information is needed, please call the Rec. Center at: 910-458-2977


Please call the Town of Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation at: 910-458-7416 for more information, if you wish to be married anywhere else in Carolina Beach.


Kure Beach allows weddings on the beach. Chairs ARE now permitted on the beach as well as tents but not overnight because of the turtle nesting. Space must be left for emergency vehicles to pass by area you are occupying on the beach at all times.  Parking is limited in the boardwalk area.  Beach Wheel Chairs are available for FREE but you must reserve them. If more information is needed, please call the Fire Department at: 910-458-2014


Fort Fisher Historic Park has a Gazebo on the ocean which is available for weddings. Please call: 910-458-5538 for availability. A $600 fee is required to reserve the Gazebo. There is free parking at this location. There are several other options available in this location with varying pricing, please call them for details.


Fort Fisher State Park located next to the Aquarium is also a possibility. Once you pass the "rocks at the Ft. Fisher Historic park, you are on State Park land. To be married along this strip of beach, there is a $60.00 fee and you need to fill out a Special Activity form which is available at the State Park. Please call: 910-458-5798 or e-mail them at for more information.   Beach Wheel Chairs are available for FREE but you must reserve them. If more information is needed, please call 910-458-5798


We also have a beautiful State Park that is located on the Cape Fear River that has tons of beautiful locations.


"Do you have discounts for weekday ceremonies?"


Yes, if your wedding is held in our local area Monday - Thursday we will discount your fee.

"What kinds of services do you perform?"

We officiate the following types of ceremonies;  Civil Union, Re-commitments, Vow Renewals, Non-denominational, Traditional, Interfaith, Intercultural, Humanist or Spiritual Ceremony, Same-Sex Marriages, Pet Weddings, Pet Funerals, Funerals, Funerals at sea.

"Where do you perform them?"

I'm delighted to perform services wherever you would like to celebrate your union. I serve the Wilmington, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Fort Fisher, Outer Banks, Bald Head Island, Figure 8 island areas, Jacksonville. I am also available to travel for a fee.


"Our belief is....more spiritual than religious - not religious at all - members of two different religions can you still marry us or is that a problem?"

I can marry you, that is absolutely not a problem. We are all children of One God living in the same Universe, and all faiths and belief systems leads us back to our Heavenly Creator.

"We want to get married, but not with a marriage license... can you still marry us?

Of course... we can celebrate your commitment with a ceremony that reflects a traditional marriage ceremony, the only difference is that you are not legally married in civil union therefore the law will not consider you married, but in your hearts that moment will live forever.

"Why does it cost so much for 20 - 30 minutes of work?"

It is completely understandable for couples and their guests to assume officiants earn an unusually high amount of money for simply prompting the couple through their vows and pronouncing them husband and wife, but that is only part of the story the most visible part.

Competent officiants invest time before the wedding gathering the pieces together and ensuring the desired flow of the ceremony is there. Time may be spent helping the couple customize vows, decide between a unity candle or a sand ceremony, and/or writing the opening words, a homily and a blessing. Ceremony composition is far more time-consuming than the joyful occasion itself.

Officiants are often present well before the service to calm nerves or confer with a wedding consultant, the photographer, and other wedding vendors. We are usually asked to stay for a portrait after....sometimes waiting for a long receiving line to conclude or family portraits to be taken first.

Officiants in North Carolina are also responsible for ensuring accurate completion of the marriage license and submitting it to the appropriate county clerk recorders office and there are travel and/or postage expenses associated with this responsibility.Wedding officiating is a business with accompanying expenses. Officiants must advertise, maintain home offices, have internet access, make long-distance phone calls and travel to the ceremony among other costs.
Your officiant is a professional every bit as much as your caterer and your photographer.

"What is the best way to reach you?"
With a variety of intermittent appointments, the most reliable means of communication is thru email or text. This also allows for a written record of expectations. I am more than happy to speak with you over the telephone but may need to schedule a time to speak with you uninterrupted.


"What are your office hours?"
Monday through Friday

Marriage License Requirements

New HanoverCounty

216 North 2nd Street, Room 2


In the State of NORTH CAROLINA, you may apply or use the marriage license in any county of the State.

Marriage License Applications are taken from


Both the Bride and Groom must be present when the license is issued. In cases of extreme hardship when one applicant is UNABLE to appear (i.e. confinement in hospital, nursing home or prison), the individual who is unable to appear in person must submit a sworn and notarized Affidavit in Lieu of Personal Appearance. The affidavit, along with the required identification for both parties, must be presented by the individual appearing in person.


The fee for a Marriage License is currently $80.00.


The fee for a Certified Copy of your Marriage License is currently $10.00.


The following documents must be presented from both the Bride and Groom before a license will be issued:


Effective February 01,2009 Applicants for Marriage in New Hanover County must provide Picture ID with date of birth, certified copies of birth certificates (if birth certificate is from another country, couple must also provide a certified translation) and an acceptable proof of social security numbers on ITN number. (Will accept W2, statement from Social Security Administration or paystub with printed SS#)


*If you have been divorced in the last 60 days you should bring your divorce papers.*


The legal age for marriage in North Carolina is 18. (Persons over 16 and under 18 can only be married with signed parental consent. It is illegal for any person under 14 to marry in North Carolina. Any person older than 14, but younger than 16 must obtain a Court Order through the Clerk of Court's Office at 910-341-1302 for additional information.


The marriage ceremony MUST be performed within 60 days after the license is issued. If ceremony is NOT performed within 60 days following issuance of license, another license must be issued before a marriage can be performed.


A Magistrate, Ordained Minister, Priest or Rabbis or any other person authorized by their religious denomination, or federally recognized Indian Tribe, may Perform a marriage ceremony.


On-Line Marriage Application Form
On-Line Marriage Application Form Only valid for 10 Days.


The following links need Adobe Acrobat Reader© to be viewed and printed. If you don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader©, click on the button below.


Other Local Register of Deeds

Brunswick County Register of Deeds

75 Courthouse Drive, Bolivia



Onslow County Register of Deeds

109 Old Bridge Street, Jacksonville



Pender County Register of Deeds

300 N. Fremont St, Burgaw



National Association of Wedding Ministers

Wedding Etiquette

Cultural backgrounds and individual convictions heavily influence the decision-making in Wedding Etiquette. Nevertheless, the following is a general guide that should be construed as such... and adopted as you deem fit:

Who Pays For What?


The Bride typically pays for:

The Wedding ring for the Groom

Gifts for the Attendants

Accommodation for out-of-town Attendants

The Wedding gift for the Groom


The Groom typically pays for:

The Bride's rings including the Engagement ring

The honeymoon

Wedding gift for the bride

The marriage license

The Groom's men gifts

Accommodations for out-of-town groom's men

Flowers for the Bride

The going-away corsage, corsages for mothers, special ladies; the boutonnieres for the men in the wedding party

The gloves, ties and accessories for the men in the wedding party

Fee for the clergy person or judge


The Groom's Family typically pays for:

Clothing for the Wedding

Travel and lodging expenses

Rehearsal dinner

The Wedding gift for the newlyweds

The Bride's Family typically pays for:

Fee The cost of the reception

The Bride's Wedding attire

Invitations, announcements, thank you notes

The seating assignment chart, napkins and mailing costs



Ceremony Costs

Bridesmaids, flower girl, ring bearer flowers and accessories

Transportation for bridal party on Wedding day from ceremony to reception

All gratuities for all services: parking, security

Bridesmaid luncheon


The Attendants typically pay for:

Their Wedding clothes

Travel expenses

Wedding gift for the newlyweds

Attendant’s Responsibilities


Maid/Matron of Honor Responsibilities:

The maid or matron of honor is usually a sister or very close friend. Choose some dependable. If you choose, you may have both a maid (single) and a matron (married) of honor takes precedence at the ceremony, signs as you legal witness and carries the groom's ring.


Before the Wedding: The maid of Honor may plan your wedding and take care of details for you. If she lives nearby she might help address invitations, plan pre-wedding parties, make favors or table decorations, and keep track of gifts received and thank you cards sent. The maid of honor usually hosts a bridal shower. The bride can delegate care of bridesmaid's fittings and details. She attends pre-wedding parties. She attends the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.


At the Wedding: The maid of honor helps the bride with dressing and assists with the, train, veil and holding the brides bouquet during the ceremony. The maid of honor wears the grooms ring on her thumb (or carries it in some other safe manner) until it is time for the blessing and exchange of rings in the ceremony. She is responsible for having an emergency kit with miscellaneous items such as a needle and thread, extra nylons, a roll of tape etc. The maid of honor holds on to a duplicate list of desired shots for the photographer and videographer as well as a song list for ceremony musicians and a copy of any special prayers or readings to be used during the ceremony. She walks in front of the bride in the processional and with the best man in the recessional and stands near the bride at the altar. She makes sure that all of the bride's clothing, make-up and personal belongings are removed from the changing room at the ceremony site and taken back to the bride's home. She helps to line up bridesmaids for formal photographs.


At the Reception: The maid of Honor stands next to the groom in very formal receiving lines. The maid of honor is seated at the head table or table of honor. During the reception, she mingles with guest. She dances with the best man at the reception. She helps the bride with her train, fastening it to floor length so it is out of the way for dancing, if necessary. A duplicate copy of the list of names and pronunciations for the bridal party announcements is kept by the maid of honor. She also keeps a duplicate song list for the reception musicians or disc jockey. If the bride needs assistance in tossing her bouquet or in gathering single women to catch it, the maid of honor can help out. If requested, she helps the bride dress for the honey moon and makes sure the bridal gown and other personal clothing items are returned to the bride's home after the reception. She takes the bridal bouquet for preserving and may take the gown for heir looming while the bride is on her honeymoon.


Expenses: The maid or matron of honor pays for her own dress and other attire. If travel expenses are involved, she pays for her own dress and other attire. Although she may attend several pre-wedding parties, only one shower gift and one wedding gift are to be expected. She may share the cost of bridal shower.


Bridesmaid Responsibilities:

Bridesmaids are usually close friends or family members. When inviting them, make them aware that there are costs involved as well as a time commitment. It is an honor to be asked, but may also be a financial burden. Make friends feel special when you invite them to be part of your wedding.
The number of bridesmaids usually depends on the formality of your wedding, with a dozen being the maximum for any wedding. Girls between 8 and 16 are considered to ey may scatter flower or rose petals. If petals are not permitted, sometimes flower girls will hand out single flowers to guest as they walk, or they may just carry a bouquet, a ring of flowers or a pomander ball. During the ceremony, flower girls may stand near the bridesmaids or may sit with their families. Younger ones probably will do better sitting with their families. They are in the formal photographs of the bridal parties.


At the Reception: Flower girls do not usually stand in the reception line. Flower girls usually sit at a table of honor with their families rather than at the head table. Flower girls may dance with family members, friends or other members of the wedding party if they choose to do so.


Expenses: Families of flower girls are expected to pay for dresses and other attire. If travel expenses are involved, the girls' family pick up these costs. Flower girls are not expected to bring a gift to pre-wedding parties they may attend. If their parents attend, gift expectations would be the same as any other guest. If they attend more than one shower or party, only one shower gift is expected. Flower girls are not responsible for helping financially with bridal shower.


Groomsmen & Usher Responsibilities: 

The number of ushers is usually determined by the size of the wedding. One usher can comfortably seat about fifty guests. Ushers are usually brothers, relatives or best friends of the groom. In inviting people to serve as ushers, make sure that they are aware of the expenses involved. While it is not necessary to have an equal number if ushers and bridesmaids, it does balance nicely if they walk in pairs in either the processional or recessional.

Before the Wedding: Groomsmen usually help the best man plan the bachelor party for the groom. Groomsmen attend pre-wedding parties. Groomsmen attend the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner. 

At the Wedding: The main job of the usher is to seat guests. They should arrive at the ceremony site at least one hour in advance and should have clear instructions on the seating plan. In Christian ceremonies, the bride's family and guests sit on the left and the groom's on the right. In Jewish services, the seating is opposite, with the bride's family on the right. Female guests are escorted by having the usher offer his right arm to her. Her date or spouse walks behind. Male guests are lead to their seats. If there are pew cards being used or a special reserved section, ushers should pay special attention as they escort these guests to their seats.


Ushers distribute any programs or ceremony handouts at the ceremony. Ushers direct those bringing gifts to the ceremony to a gift table. If there is a guest book at the ceremony, ushers direct guest to sign it.


After all guests are seated, the ushers escort the groom's parents to the front row on the groom's side (Unless they are part of the processional.) Lastly, they escort the bride's mother to her seat, unless she is accompanying her husband in the processional.


Once everyone is seated, the groomsmen unroll the aisle runner in readiness for the processional. The Groomsmen may be part of the processional or they may take positions in the front with the best man or groom. They stand near the groom during the ceremony. They are in formal Photographs of the bridal party. They escort the bridesmaids from the ceremony in the recessional.


One of the ushers should be responsible to roll the aisle runner back up after the ceremony and have it cleaned and returned.


One of the ushers should collect any leftover handouts or programs and see that they get returned to the couple who may want to send them to family or friends who were unable to attend.


At the Reception: Ushers may be part of the receiving lines in the very formal or formal weddings. Ushers may be seated at the head table or a table of honor at the reception. During the reception, groomsmen mingle with the guest. Groomsmen dance with the bridesmaids at the reception. They assist by encouraging single young men to participate in catching the garter.


Expenses: Groomsmen or ushers pay for their own formalwear and accessories. If travel expenses are involved, they pay their own costs involved in getting to the wedding and staying in town during the celebration.

Although groomsmen may attend several pre-wedding parties, only one shower gift and one wedding gift are to be expected. Groomsmen may share the cost of the bachelor party with the best man.


Ring bearer and Train bearer Responsibilities: 

Neither of these is required positions and may be boys or girls. Usually only one ring bearer is used, but two with one ring per pillow will work if you have and abundance of four or five year children that you would like to have involved in the ceremony. Although the rings on the pillows are usually not the actual wedding rings, you could have two ring bearers if you are having a double ring ceremony, one for the bride and one for the groom. Trainbearer or pages usually walk in pairs but a single trainbearer can be used.


Before the Wedding: If ring bearers and trainbearer are little boys they are not likely to be interested in any pre--wedding parties. If they are girls, they might want to attend the shower and some other parties. They attend the rehearsal and may attend the rehearsal dinner with their families.


At the Wedding:


During the Ceremony: The ring bearers (s) carries a pillow with a ring or rings sewn to it. (These are usually not the real wedding rings but symbolic ones for show only.)


The ring bearer (s) walks either directly in front of or beside of the flower girl (s) in the processional and the recessional. If real rings are tied to the pillow the ring bearer takes the pillow directly to the maid or honor and the best man who will remove the rings. The trainbearers follow the bride in the processional and recessional, and carry the bridal train. The ring and train bearers may stand near the ushers or sit with their families. They are in the formal Photographs of the bridal party. At the Reception: Ring and train Bearers do not usually stand in the reception line. Ring and trainbearers usually sit at a table of honor with their families. Expenses: Families of ring and train bearers are expected to pay for attire. If travel expenses are involved, the children's families pick up these costs. Ring and train bearers are not expected to bring gifts to any pre-wedding parties they may attend. If their parents attend gifts expectations would be the same as any other guest. If they attend more than one party, only one shower gift is expected.


Junior bridesmaids.

 Junior bridesmaids are not expected to help with details as much as bridesmaids. 

Before the Wedding: Bridesmaids help take care of details for the bride such as running errands, and making table decorations or favors. Bridesmaids usually join the maid of honor in hosting a bridal shower. Bridesmaids attend pre-wedding parties. Bridesmaids attend the rehearsal and the rehearsal dinner.


At the Wedding: Bridesmaids walk in the processional and recessional, either single file, two together or with an usher. They stand near the bride during the ceremony. They are in formal photographs of the bridal party.


At the Reception: Bridesmaids pay for their own dresses and other attire. If travel expenses are involved, they pay their own cost involved in getting to the wedding and staying in town during the celebration. Although bridesmaids may attend several pre-wedding parties, only one shower gift and one wedding gift are to be expected. Bridesmaids share the cost of the bridal shower with the maid of honor.


Flower Girl Responsibilities:

You may choose one or two little girls to be flower girls. The best age range is between four and eight. (Although younger ones are cute, they can create some real challenges during a processional or ceremony.) If you choose two girls, it looks nice if they are about the same size, but that may not be possible. It can be a special honor for a child to be chosen as part of you wedding.


Before the Wedding: Flower girls attend the shower and some pre-wedding parties. They attend the rehearsal and may attend the rehearsal dinner with their families.
At the Wedding: Flower girls walk directly in front of the bride in the processional and in front of the maid of honor in the recessional. As flower girls walk down the aisle, the Wedding Etiquette 

Summary of Responsibilities of the Wedding Party:

Maid of Honor/Personal Attendant:

Helps bride with shopping, invitations and other details as requested.

Attends all pre-wedding events

Pays for own wedding attire

Takes charge of groom's ring during ceremony

Witnesses, signs wedding certificate

Helps bride in arranging veil and dress at ceremony and reception

Returns bride's gown to designated place after wedding.



Purchases and completes fittings of gowns

Performs tasks as assigned by bride

Attends rehearsal and rehearsal dinner


Best Man:

(Assists groom with all details of the wedding day.)

Pays for own attire

Transports groom to the church.

Supervises the grooms men, regarding their dress and duties at ceremony

Takes care of bride's ring until ceremony.

Presents the clergyperson with fee.

Signs and witnesses the marriage certificate

Offers the first toast to the bride and groom.

Dances with the bride after the groom and both fathers have danced with her

Prepares the honeymoon car, packs suitcases in car.

Holds for safe-keeping, any tickets, keys, etc. for the groom.

Returns groom's tuxedo to rental shop.



Pays for their own wedding attire

Attends rehearsal and rehearsal dinner

Attends bachelor dinner if there is one

Escorts bridesmaids during the ceremony



Pay for own wedding attire

Make sure principles have flowers before being seated. (Unless this task is assigned to another)

Distribute wedding programs. (Unless this task is assigned to another)

Seat guests on appropriate side of church.

Assist elderly guests to seats.

After all guests are seated, unroll aisle carpet.

Check church or synagogue for any items left behind.


Rules of Etiquette for Mother’s Attire:

Tradition holds that the mother of the bride chooses a dress first, followed by the mother of the groom. Their dresses should complement each other, as well as the bridal party. For instance, having one mother in a floor length dress and another in a mini-skirt is a major no-no. Likewise, your mother wearing an orange dress next to your bridesmaid’s light green ensembles are bound to make your wedding pictures look tacky. While your moms shouldn’t be wearing the same style and color, their dresses should coordinate.


Generally, at formal weddings, your mother and mother-in-law should be in floor or tea-length dresses. Semi-formal or informal weddings allow them to get more creative with the length, but they still need to make sure they are complementing one another.


Unless your bridesmaids will be wearing black, a mother of the bride or groom should avoid this color. Until recently, black at weddings was considered a social blunder and many guests will still look at the color choice with suspicion. Steer them away from choosing a color that will raise eyebrows as to whether or not they approve of the marriage.


Don’t forget to finish the look with a matching corsage or a small bouquet.

Contact Us:

Hearts are bound by: Shannon Mackay

Carolina Beach, NC28428

Founder of: Pleasure Island Wedding Professional Group

Find us on Facebook: Pleasure Island Wedding Professionals