Ceremonies

Helen Wills Brown, a certified nondenominational minister, has been officiating at hundreds of weddings and other ceremonies since 1985. Helen's warm personality, her background in teaching and performing, and her years of mindfulness practice combine to make her an excellent ceremony celebrant.

About Helen

Early Life and Education

I was born in 1949 in Fort Worth, Texas, but my family moved to New York when I was 2 1/2 years old. In 1971, I graduated from Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts with a Bachelor's Degree in sociology and psychology, and then went on to achieve both primary and elementary AMI Diplomas (Association Montessori International).

Essentials

San Francisco has been my home since 1979. Singing and dancing are essential to my life. In my teens and 20's I performed as a modern dancer, and I still love to dance. Currently I sing with the California Bach Society, www.calbach.org, and since 1990 I've been performing in or volunteering for the California Revels, a theatrical pageant of music, dance and ritual, www.calrevels.org.

Family

My husband is a high school administrator and teacher. He is also an accomplished guitarist and singer/songwriter. We have a daughter who aspires to be an opera singer.

Helen Wills Brown Services

Certification

I began officiating ceremonies in 1985 after graduating with a minister's certification from the Berkeley Psychic Institute. I didn't study at BPI with the intention of becoming a minister but because I was interested in the practice of meditation and spiritual awareness. In the year I graduated, a friend of mine was planning her wedding and asked me to officiate. Working with this couple, creating their ceremony and presiding over the wedding allowed me to combine my teaching and performing arts background with my ministerial skills. It was a very satisfying and meaningful experience. The couple and their guests were deeply appreciative of the words I'd written and of the happy and eloquent way in which I conducted the ceremony.

Weddings

Most couples who contact me are interested in a secular or nondenominational ceremony and I've several samples for them to choose from, or mix and match. I also have traditional and religious ceremonies to choose from. If they want to include some original material, I'm happy to help them personalize or customize their ceremony. Some couples want to include prayers or rituals from different religions or traditions and I've officiated at ceremonies which blended Jewish rituals with Native American rituals, Celtic with Iranian rituals, Zen Buddhist with Catholic to name a few of the varied spiritual practices I've gotten to learn about and honor. I happily officiate at same-sex weddings as well.

Wedding Planning

Planning a wedding can be stressful, because this is such an emotional time. I try my best to make couples feel nurtured, listened to and cared for. I welcome laughs and silliness as well as tears during our meetings. They sometimes show up during the ceremony, too, which is perfectly natural as well. Although I don't provide formal marriage counseling, I'm a fountain of good advice, reading recommendations and referrals. My advice extends to other areas of your wedding planning as well. Since I've been officiating weddings in the San Francisco Bay area since 1985, I've seen the work of local photographers, caterers, florists, and musicians and am happy to pass along their cards to you.

Life Events

I also celebrate other life events: newborn blessings and naming ceremonies, marriage vow renewal ceremonies, rites of passage - turning 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100!!, memorial services, and last rites.

Celebrations and rituals, whether tradional or original, involving just two people or two hundred, are essential to the human spirit. When we come together to celebrate life changing events - birth, entering adulthood, marriage, landmark birthdays, memorials - we share our vulnerability and our hopes and fears for the future. These are the points in our lives when we most need wisdom and strength and love.

Happy Couples

Contact

w (650) 556-1307
m (415) 312-0276
helen@helenwillsbrown.com

Happy Couples

© Helen Wills Brown