You and I are valued beyond measure.
We are not valuable because we are a member of a certain group or because we call the Creator a unique name.
We are not valuable because we follow a particular teacher, leader, guru or saint.
We are not valuable because of our spiritual discipline or special diet.
We are valuable because we are a spark of the Divine Creator and an expression of pure divine Love.
The Creator is only described two times in all of the Christian Bible; once as Love and once as Light. Scripture also says that we are made in the image and likeness of the Creator. Thus, we are Love and Light.
The only thing that gurus, priests, rabbis and elders can do for us to to point us back in the direction of home, our home is within, and fan that divine spark of Love.
Weddings to Remember
Traditional, All-faith, Inter-faith, Personalized, Custom, & Individualized
Wedding, Marriage and Commitment Services and Ceremonies
by: Rev. Dr. Robert S. Estling, Senior ADL Minister
(These Services are offered in the greater Gainesville, Lake City, St. Augustine, Ocala, Williston, Archer, Bronson, Alachua, High Springs area, and beyond)
Inter-Faith, All-Faith, Inter-Denominational and Non-Denominational Wedding and Marriage Officiating in the Greater Gainesville, Florida, and the North Central Florida area.
Individualized Wedding Vows and Ceremonies
Specializing in Personalized Wedding Vows, Services and Ceremonies, Rev. Bob assists in providing couples with weddings that are important and significant to the couple and their families. These often are held beyond the confines of a church building.
This includes officiating in chapels, parks, homes, auditoriums, hotels, backyards, restaurants, ferry boats, sail boats, beaches, and yachts, trains, on horseback and motorcycles, in living rooms, high atop mountains, in historic churches . . .or anywhere else a couple wants to get married.
Rev. Bob, an inter-faith chaplain, is also willing to create Commitment Ceremonies where the couple does not choose a legal marriage, but the couple wants to seal their personal and spiritual commitment to each other in the presence of family and friends. (He also officiates at funerals and memorial Services.)
Seraphim Center is available for rental as a Wedding Chapel, easily accessible in the Gainesville area.
Each couple meets with Rev. Bob to chose or design a wedding service that reflects the needs of the couple. They often begin by looking at one of Rev. Bob's favorite services, based on LOVE, and then various materials are molded to fit any specific circumstances, the needs of the bride and groom, and to include selections that are especially important to them and their families and their traditions. The result is a beautiful, magical, wedding ceremony, that can be, and usually is, totally unique for each couple.
Rev. Bob and his wife of 25+ years, Rev. Janet, have been long standing members of Methodist, Baptist and Unity Churches and grew up with a rich understanding and appreciation for all the faiths and religions of the world. They are more interested in the commonality of all religions than the small details that seem to divide them one from another. To do that they founded their own Multi/Inter-Faith ministry in Gainesville, Florida, Seraphim Center.
Weddings usually include appropriate elements from any religious tradition that is significant to the couple, including Universal, Christian, Jewish, Native American, Eastern, Western, New Age and other religious and spiritual convictions. Secular, Humanist, and other non-religious services are also available.
It's YOUR wedding!
Rev. Bob is dedicated to giving couples what they want within the bounds of good taste and manners. Very simple traditional services to more customized and individualized ceremonies are all possible with the goal being that the couple is to enjoy their wonderful wedding ceremony as a milestone of life, including prayers, readings and covenant exchanges.
Family and friends of the bride and groom are specifically invited in the service if desired. Services often include elements that demonstrate the newly created marital relationship by the lighting of a unity candle, a "sand ceremony" or the presentation of flowers and/ or special gifts to parents. If the couple has a child (children) present, the child (children) can be included in the vows so a complete loving family is created and affirmed at this special time.
"All of the family members I've talked to agree that it was one of the best and most creative (wedding services) they have been part of . . ." (a grooms father)
"My husband and I want to thank you for the wonderful wedding ceremony you conducted for our mother . . .You made it so personal, touching and meaningful. It was a beautiful service. Many of our guests commented on how special you made it." (A daughter of the bride)
"Thank you for making our wedding day so special. The service was great. I have people still asking about the Apache Poem - it was perfect." (A bride)
"Both the prayers and the "MY COMMITMENT" poem were so beautiful and included everything that we had hoped to have on our wedding day. Thank you for making this very important day a special one." (A bride and groom)
"I came to the wedding expecting a traditional Christian service that would be a bit offensive to my Jewish Faith, but what I experienced was a wonderful wedding, that satisfied everyone. It helped me reconfirm the vows I said to my husband five years ago. Thank you so much!" (A guest of the bride)
Weddings performed at Seraphim Center and weddings performed by Rev. Bob Estling are generally Spiritual in nature. It is his religious ordination that gives him the legal authority in Florida to perform marriages. However he is flexible, has performed humanist and secular weddings if desired, and encourages the following:
The couple designs as much or little of the wedding ceremony as they desire/ Rev. Bob has many nice ceremonies to choose from, and they can be combined
The scriptures, prayers and poems of any religion that are meaningful to the couple getting married, may be used.
Pre-marriage counseling, workshops and seminars are encouraged. These events lead to a deeper commitment and understanding of marriage.
Travel to any locations important to the couple, as long as travel expenses are paid, see below. (Out of Florida, local laws must be consulted) Theme or costumed weddings if desired by the couple and in good taste.
Outdoor, garden, beach, home, cruise or sailboat weddings all encouraged.
Churches of other denominations, with permission of that church.
Encourage photography and videotaping, with the permission the bride.
Rev. Bob's principal wedding ministry is helping couples begin a beautiful, lasting, and spiritual marriage based on common respect, commitment and Love.
His experience has led to a simple minimum fee structure appropriate to the investment of time and effort he makes to fulfill his responsibilities for your wedding. Fees and honoraria received for performing weddings and other religious ceremonies are used to support his ministry with Seraphim Center, Gainesville, Florida.
Additional gifts to Seraphim Center Chapel are always welcomed and honored and are tax deductible.
The no-cost (free consultation) planning session with Rev. Bob is intended to provide an opportunity to get to know him and to ensure that the wedding planned is appropriate for each couple. Couples have a wide selection of vows, readings and other parts of the ceremony that will be chosen during this meeting. This meeting is a special time for couples to get to know Rev. Bob and to discuss their specific wishes for their wedding ceremony. The fees listed below may be adjusted for special circumstances.
A $50 non-refundable scheduling fee is required for him to make a time commitment for your wedding and secure the date on his calendar. This normally is paid during the planning meeting with Rev/ Bob. This is to be paid within 10 days of the planning meeting. The scheduling fee protects the couple's time and location selected for the wedding service in his schedule. Weddings planned in the springtime and for any holiday time face special scheduling pressures.
Every couple making a tentative commitment for a wedding ceremony will receive an immediate confirmation after their initial contact. If scheduling is critical for any reason, couples often mail their deposit check immediately and then find a convenient time for their planning meeting with him, in order to secure a date and time on the calendar.
If Rev. Bob is unable to participate in a wedding because of a scheduling conflict, he will recommend at least one or two other properly ordained clergy from Seraphim Center to officiate at the wedding, with the couples permission.
Telephone calls from brides and grooms with questions about their wedding plans are welcomed, without cost, prior to a wedding.
If Seraphim Center is used for your service, the cost for this is flexible depending upon the number of people in attendance and whether or not the reception is to be held at the Center. Average cost runs from $75 to $200.
An Honorarium of $100 is expected for the wedding service itself. Normally, this is paid at the time of the planning meeting, rehearsal, or at the wedding. All fees should be paid prior to the beginning of the wedding ceremony. Rev. Bob arrives early for each wedding to assure the bride that everything is ready to proceed and to complete all the required legal documents, including obtaining the necessary signatures. All checks are to be made out to "SERAPHIM CENTER."
The ceremony honorarium does not include participation in any rehearsal or attendance at a rehearsal dinner the night prior to a wedding service. Generally couples pay Rev. Bob $50-100 for rehearsals, but this can be flexible, depending on the circumstances and the time commitment required.
Extras and Travel Fees
Wedding ceremonies out of Alachua County that require a greater time requirement incur additional costs depending on the amount of time required. If travel is expected completely out of the area, the bride and groom are expected to pay all hospitality and transportation expenses for Rev. and Mrs. Estling.
(Want to have a wedding in Greece or Italy?)
More Information on Inter-Faith Ceremonies.
For interfaith couples: Rev. Bob, because of his chaplain experiences, is accustomed to even the most challenging situations. To give some examples of the many faiths in ceremonies he has officiated, combinations of the following: Christian, Jewish, Italian Catholic, Greek Orthodox, Muslim, Various Protestant, Non-Denominational Christian, Mormon, Hindu, Atheist, Agnostic, Born Again Christian, Buddhist, Taoist, Sufi, Native American, and various other wonderful combinations of interfaith, interdenominational and intercultural unions.
Your traditions will be honored in a way that is inclusive, where no one feels excluded or offended. Family issues are reconciled with great sensitivity and love. As an interfaith couple you embody the meaning of respect, tolerance and understanding. You bring healing and hope to this divided world. You help bring us one step closer towards world peace and understanding.
For couples wishing to celebrate their cultural heritage with or without religious context.............
Residing in a rich cultural mixing pot, the University of Florida, Rev. Bob has extensive experience working with cultures from all around the world. You can celebrate your cultural backgrounds by incorporating rituals, blessings, prayers or readings reflective of your heritage. These can be adapted in a universal context for interfaith, intercultural, interracial marriages so that no one is excluded or offended.
For the couple who wishes a spiritual ceremony, without religious dogma.........
The service Rev. Bob will help you design, will have all the elements of a spiritual ceremony, he will speak of God, the Universe, the Creator (what ever is appropriate) when there are blessings and prayers but will leave out the judgmental dogma. Rituals and symbolism are done in a universal context speaking to all hearts. Should you choose readings from religious text, we choose those which are universal. Or perhaps you prefer readings from poetry or literature? Fortunately there is a copious amount of written material spanning every era, culture and creed for every aspect of your ceremony. Again the core of the ceremony is about yourselves, love, relationship and family...always from the heart.
For the couple who wants a humanist ceremony................
This is often referred to as a humanist ceremony as a civil ceremony with heart. Rev. Bob offers humanist ceremonies (without mentioning God). Where there is Love there is sanctity. Marriage is sacred.
For 2nd and 3rd marriage ceremonies and marriages involving children..........
To find Love once is in itself a miracle, to find it again is a testimony to the human spirit and God's infinite compassion and forgiveness. There are wonderful ways to convey your love. We honor and embrace life's complexities, life's richness. There are wonderful ways to include and honor your children, bringing togetherness and healing. Rev. Bob has officiated at marriages for divorced Catholics, etc.
For same sex couples or couples that choose not to be legally married................
Commitment ceremonies are blessed unions. Love takes many forms. God’s love is diversity. We offer all the ceremonies above, in language and ritual that is appropriate for any special union.
Who may apply for a Marriage License?
Any person who is at least 18 years old may apply for a Marriage License.
Any minor who is 16 or 17 years old may apply for a Marriage License with parental or guardian consent.
Any minors, who under oath, swear that they are parent or expectant parents of a child. In the latter case, a written statement from a licensed physician must verify the pregnancy.
If either party is a minor, is the consent of both parents required?
If either party is a minor the consent of both parents is required, unless the parents are divorced and one parent has full custody of the minor. In this case, proof of the custody must be presented and only the consent of the custodial parent shall be required in writing.
You must also provide proof of age (preferably a birth certificate) for the minor (s).
The bride and groom must secure a license from a Court House in the State of Florida. You will need a valid drivers license or passport from the state or nation of your residency, for identification. The bride and groom must both be present to secure the license. There are no blood tests, waiting period, or other delay. The license will cost $88.50. If either party has been previously married you will need to know the date the last marriage ended. Most court houses in Florida are open from 8 AM until 4 PM Monday through Friday. Once you have secured a Florida marriage license you can get married anywhere in the state within 60 days of the date of issue of the license.
Beginning January 1st 1999 FLORIDA RESIDENTS ONLY are required to have a three day waiting period from the time of application for the license and the time of issue unless they have completed an approved four hour course on marriage. This is for FLORIDA RESIDENTS ONLY. Residents of other states and nations may secure the license with no delay.
Frequently Asked Questions
I was previously married, what do I need in order to have a Marriage License issued?
If either or both or both of you were previously married, you will be required to provide the date when the last marriage ended, whether by divorce, annulment or death.
Is there a waiting prior for issuance of a Marriage License?
There is no longer a waiting period for the issuance of a Marriage License.
Are any medial exams required in order to apply for a Marriage License?
No. There are no medical exams or blood tests required in order to apply for a Marriage License. The law requiring these tests was abolished on October 1st, 1986.
Can I have a marriage ceremony without a Marriage License?
No, Section 741.08 F.S. states that the party performing the marriage ceremony shall require a properly issued license before performing the ceremony.
Where can I apply for a Marriage License in Alachua County and what are the office hours and days of operation?
You can apply for a Marriage License at the Alachua County Courthouse, Monday to Friday during the office hours of 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, and this is generally true of most Court Houses in the State of Florida. A Florida Marriage License can be procured at any County Courthouse and is valid in any County.
What is the Fee for a Marriage License?
The fee for a Marriage License is $88.50, payable in cash, by cashier's check, money order, Visa or MasterCard. Personal checks are not accepted.
Once I have a Florida Marriage License issued, how long is it valid?
A Marriage License is valid for sixty days from the date it was issued. The marriage must be solemnized within that time.
Who may perform my marriage ceremony?
Your marriage ceremony may be performed by any of the following:
- A fully and legally Ordained Minister, Priest or Rabbi
- All judicial officers (Judges) of the State of Florida
- Clerks of the Circuit Court and their deputies of the State of Florida,
- Notaries Public of the State of Florida.
After my marriage ceremony, when and who should return the Marriage License to the Clerk's Office?
A Marriage License will be returned to the Marriage License Bureau within 10 days after the wedding. This is important, since a marriage cannot be officially recorded until it is returned to the Clerk's Office. The party (the minister) who performed the wedding is responsible for returning the completed license.
How can I get a certified copy of my Marriage License?
You can obtain a certified copy of a Marriage License in writing or in person. To request a certified copy of your Marriage License in person you must go in person to the Marriage License Bureau or any of the District Court Offices which provide Marriage License services. You must provide them with the information indicated above and the appropriate fees (described below).
How much does it cost to get a certified copy of my Marriage License?
The cost of a certified copy of you Marriage License is $3.00 for the first copy and $2.00 for each additional copy requested at the same time.
Who would you recommend as a florist and to create my special Wedding Cake?
Our favorite Florist is PRANGE'S PLANTSCAPES, Floral Design, Butterfly Releases and Greenery for every occasion. Ross Joan Prange, 352-335-0100, 3720 NE 4th St. Gainesville, Fl 32609 (One block from Seraphim Center)
For the most incredible cakes contact AMAZING CAKES, Wedding and Special Event Cakes
Talk to Onida, 352-538-8115 Web Site www.AmazingCakes.net
Where in the Gainesville area would you recommend for a beautiful location for our wedding.
For a beautiful 'nature filled' wedding I suggest the following:
THE BAUGHMAN CHAPEL AND MEDITATION CENTER on the University of Florida Campus at Lake Alice
KANAPAHA BOTANICAL GARDENS
For an informal or small wedding I suggest renting
Contact Rev. Bob
or by calling 352-339-5946
Have a wonderful Wedding!