It’s Spotlight Day, where we introduce you to incredible Central Florida wedding officiant, Michael Cassara of Pastor Mike Weddings and share the story behind his company.
When people ask “what do you do?” how do you answer?
I work with couples to create a personalized ceremony that is uniquely their ceremony.
They receive a digital copy of my Wedding Ceremony Resource Booklet and together we begin developing a ceremony that reflects who they are as a couple and what they want to communicate about their love in their ceremony.
On the day of the ceremony, I arrive at least 30 minutes prior to the ceremony to make sure everything and everyone is ready to go. I then officiate the ceremony enthusiastically and clearly. Finally, I take care of completing and filing their marriage license.
When and how did you get into the wedding industry?
I’ve been a church pastor all of my adult life, so officiating weddings within churches was a normal part of my duties. I love officiating weddings (not all pastors do) and many people commented that I did a great job so I decided to make myself available for wedding ceremonies that were not taking place at a house of worship. Over the past twenty years, I have officiated nearly 2,000 weddings.
What is the best compliment you’ve received from your clients?
People recognize that I am very prompt, detail-oriented, easy to get along with, and a great communicator but the best compliment I’ve received is one I hear often, and that is, “Hi. I’m getting married and you officiated my friend’s wedding and you were amazing. I’m hoping you are available to officiate my wedding.”
What is important for clients to know about your company before they book you?
While I’m not the most expensive officiant in the Central Fl market, I’m also not the least expensive.
When you invite me to officiate your ceremony, you are hiring a well-respected officiant with tons of five-star reviews. I wasn’t ordained on the internet. I’ve been a church pastor all of my adult life. It is who I am. So I bring the best of both worlds to the table. I bring a ton of wedding industry knowledge and experience along with a pastor’s heart that takes a genuine interest in the couple.
Why do couples hire you?
I believe they hire me because of my personality, my experience, my organization, and my reviews.
Tell us about your favorite type of engaged couple.
My favorite type of couple is those who believe the ceremony is the most important part of the day. They are not looking to rush through it. They want a beautiful ceremony that truly reflects who they are as individuals and as a couple as well as their love for one another.
What does your most popular package include?
My most popular package is my Gold Package. The couple chooses their desired ceremony elements from my Wedding Ceremony Planning Booklet to create that unique ceremony that feels like “ours”. We’ll schedule a 30-minute planning appointment via a phone or video call.
About a month before the ceremony, the couple will complete a worksheet and return it to me. I then create their ceremony and email it back to them for their review and make any adjustments or changes they request.
Tell us briefly about some of your package options and the price range for these packages.
I do offer a simple civil type of ceremony for couples who prefer to go that route. For couples who need someone to organize and direct their bridal party on the day of the ceremony, I can also provide a person to do so as well as attend the rehearsal as part of my Platinum package. Depending on the location of the ceremony and all the couple wants or needs, my fees can range from as low as $150 to as high as $400.
What is your best piece of advice for brides or grooms?
If you are considering having a friend or family member get “ordained” online and then officiate your wedding, please think that through.
While it may sound and feel like a good idea now, there is so much more to officiating a ceremony then standing up in front and talking. I hear from many photographers and DJs about ceremonies where the couple didn’t hire a professional officiant and it turns out to be really awkward or just plain bad.
A few months ago I walked into a venue to officiate a wedding and the DJ—who I know well—said to me, “Oh thank God they were smart enough to hire a professional officiant.”
You want someone who is experienced, pays attention to the details a family member or friend would not know to pay attention to, and who has a professional demeanor. You wouldn’t ask a friend to go buy a camera at Best Buy to be your photographer unless that was all you could afford. Don’t cut corners when it comes to the most important part of the day.
Tell us three venues you enjoy working at and why.
1. Ever After Farms in Mims – The venue is absolutely gorgeous and the staff is super friendly and helpful. They have several great places on their property to take pictures with amazing backdrops. Best “barn venue” location in Central FL.
2. Crystal Ballroom – All of their locations are elaborate and beautifully decorated. When you get married at one of the Crystal Ballrooms, there is a certain eloquence that is a cut above many other venues.
3. Historic Dubsdread Ballroom – As an officiant, it’s important to me to have someone from the venue to touch base with upon my arrival and discuss details of the processional and ceremony. I’ve found Dubsdread to have excellent staff who take charge and keep everything organized and flowing.
Here is what some previous couples had to say…
“It was clear in our communication with Pastor Mike before the event, as well as on the day, that he is a wedding expert. He ensured that all of the important details were discussed but also officiated our ceremony with a casual and friendly demeanor. Our wedding guests may have guessed that we had known him for a long time even though we had only met once in person. We greatly appreciate Pastor Mike’s role in making our big day that much less stressful.” – Csilla and Nolan, Atlantic Center for the Arts
“I knew Pastor Mike would officiate my wedding as soon as I got engaged! He was the pastor of my church growing up, but when I heard him officiate my friend’s wedding, it was a done deal. He was easy to communicate with and extremely informative from the very beginning. We received so many compliments on how beautiful our ceremony was and it’s all thanks to Pastor Mike! HIGHLY recommend!” – Alexandra and Jon, Backyard Wedding
“Pastor Mike was such a pleasure to work with and made us feel so comfortable during the entire process with his responsiveness, friendliness, and professionalism. He offers a ceremony template document with pre-defined passages and sections that make it really easy to build a ceremony schedule/script out of. We had a unique add-on request for the ceremony (a play on a final rose ceremony of the Bachelor reality TV show) and he was more than willing to do it (and nailed it perfectly!)
The ceremony went so smoothly and it could not have gone any better for us. We received several comments during the night from our guests (even during some of the dinner toasts) about how great the ceremony was with specific praises for Pastor Mike officiating. We’re very lucky to have had him as our officiant and help make our day so special. We definitely recommend Pastor Mike’s services!” Lindsey and Steven, Tuscawilla Country Club
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