Hello, I'm Rev. Kristen Barner

My goal is to make your ceremony special, whether it be traditional, spiritual, nondenominational, civil, or interfaith.

Photo: Shannon Michelle Photography

Photo: Shannon Michelle Photography

Hello, I'm Rev. Kristen Barner

My goal is to make your ceremony special, whether it be traditional, spiritual, nondenominational, civil, or interfaith.

Spring 2017 is already booked. What a year! I'm currently accepting wedding ceremony dates scheduled after June 1, 2017. Congratulations!

Spring 2017 is already booked. What a year! I'm currently accepting wedding ceremony dates scheduled after June 1, 2017. Congratulations!

About

Rev. Kristen Barner, MDiv
Wedding Belle Rev, LLC

I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (similar to Presbyterian or Methodist churches but a little more progressive).

Credentials

  • Undergrad - Mary Baldwin College (English, Theater, Secondary Ed)
  • Master of Divinity in Theology - Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (emphasis in Homiletics and Political and Religious Ethics)

Places I've Lived

I'm from Virginia but moved back to Charleston with my husband after serving a church for four years in Arizona. I have lived in Scranton, Pittsburgh, Staunton, Americus, Ghana, Phoenix, and now Charleston. Of all these places, Staunton and Charleston are home.

More About Me

I have a husband and two dogs. My husband is an actor and we are super close with our families. A few of my favorite things in the world are boogie boarding at Folly Beach and listening to African drumming... and weddings.

Services

Wedding Officiation

Not only do I officiate your wedding, but I write the ceremony specifically for you. This is your wedding, your ceremony, and it must be perfect. The better I get to know you, the better the ceremony!

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House Blessings

Congratulations on your new home! I believe that every space and every structure has a life to it; a spirit, a purpose, a reason. A house blessing is to honor the shelter you call home and an acknowledgement and blessing to it and all who cross your threshold.

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Baby Blessings

Sometimes parents seek a blessing for their child but not the formality or obligations involved in a church baptism. Often, parents and families are interfaith and a spiritual dedication with a global and interfaith blessing is appropriate for the foundation of spiritual upbringing for the child.

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Vow Renewals

Vow Renewals happen for a variety of reasons. Whether it's been one year, ten, twenty, or fifty years together, this is a beautiful opportunity to revisit vows and reaffirm your commitment to one another.

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Animal Blessings

Your pet is family. I believe that all creatures are sacred. Your family's beloved members (whether furry, feathered or finned) can receive a blessing and assurance that their lives greatly enrich ours. When we look upon them and spend time in their company, surely we see the very presence of God's love.

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Other Services

I offer premarital counseling which can be done via FaceTime, Skype, or over coffee if you are in town. Four sessions of homework, created from past experience and training in conflict mediation, designed to inspire your own unique conversations about marriage.

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Wedding Officiation

No matter which service level you choose I will create a wedding service particularly for you and with you. Your relationship with one another is unique and your ceremony should be as well.

300

Basic Service:

  • Wedding Ceremony

450

Standard Service:

  • Wedding Ceremony
  • Rehearsal

600

Full Service:

  • Wedding Ceremony
  • Rehearsal
  • Premarital Counseling

Payment Methods

Price Exceptions

Moncks Corner, Summerville, Goose Creek, and Ladson are:

  • Basic Service: $350
  • Standard Service: $550
  • Full Service: $700

Particulars

Basic Service: This 15 - 20 minute ceremony is for those who are not planning a large wedding. This beautiful ceremony is crafted to include all the same elements of a larger ceremony, and still emphasizes the romanticism and beauty of the ceremony. If it's just going to be the Bride & Groom, Bride & Bride, Groom & Groom, or perhaps just a handful of relatives and friends, this would be the service level for you.

Standard Service: We will utilize your bridesmaid/groomsmen information to organize and conduct your rehearsal. If you have a wedding consultant, we will work with your consultant to coordinate our service with your DJ and photographer. This service level will provide you with a coordinated rehearsal and a beautiful, personalized, stress free ceremony.

Full Service: This is actually really fun and can be done via email and FaceTime/Skype if you are from out of town. This is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. It's such a pleasure to watch a couple uncover new things about each other.

*While I am an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ with years of pastoral care, conflict mediation, parish ministry, and hospital chaplaincy, I am not a licensed counselor. Premarital Counseling is simply the name of the service.

*If you choose to pursue Premarital Counseling with me, mention it to the office of the South Carolina county probate judge when you apply for your marriage license. You just might get a discount!

How It Works

Fill out my contact form or email me. I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Tell me when and where your wedding will be and I'll ask if I can give you a call, Skype/FaceTime, or meet you for coffee if you're in town. If I'm available for your wedding date and time, we'll talk about what you want for the ceremony that day.

I will ask plenty of questions about you and your fiancé/fiancée. This is one of my favorite parts. I LOVE getting to know you, your story, and how you have come to this place of formally joining your lives together.

You'll decide if I'm the right person for the job and we'll talk about everything you want to get out of this experience. You'll make a decision, sign the agreement form, and send it to me with a non-refundable 50% deposit. The balance is due two weeks before the ceremony.

I book your date and time and then we begin the creative process of choosing exactly the right vows, readings, language, words, etc. that you want for your ceremony. It's that simple!

Get your marriage license. Both of you are responsible for this and must appear together at the office of a South Carolina county probate judge and file a written application. It is a sworn statement that must be signed by the two of you and then notarized in that same office. You do not have to be a resident of South Carolina to be married in South Carolina. Also, a marriage license from any South Carolina county is valid in all south Carolina counties. You'll then need to wait 24 hours before you can pick it up. I must see the marriage license before the wedding.

Let's get you hitched! As soon as the ceremony is over, the three of us sign three copies of your marriage license. You keep the top copy and I will mail in the other two.

You continue the rest of your days, for better or for worse, living happily ever after.

Helpful Docs

Vow Renewals

Let's celebrate your love for one another! If you're planning something together or if you're cooking up a surprise for the love of your life, let's talk.

300

*Travel expenses may vary.

Payment Methods

A Short Story

I confess, the first time I was asked to officiate a "surprise" vow renewal for a man and his wife, while they celebrated their anniversary in Charleston, I was a little taken aback. A surprise? Why a surprise? What happened? Why would you choose to do this? I can think of so many reasons this might not work the way you envision it. Of course I never said any of that out loud, but I was curious and agreed to help him surprise her with a vow renewal.

At the scheduled time, I "happened upon" them on the dock of a pier. I started a conversation with them about taking off shoes to get closer to the beach. He loved the idea. She hated it. Then I wished her a happy anniversary and offered to help them celebrate. She looked confused. When the husband and I explained who I was and what he and I had planned, she was absolutely thrilled. The ceremony was beautiful! The sunset, the ocean, the tears, the joy, the love... the years and years of love.

They completely sold me on the idea of vow renewals. I think it's a beautiful way to remember and restate your commitment to each other.

Vow renewals aren't always surprises. Sometimes they are large events with attendants and a formal and sweet ceremony that perhaps the couple didn't get to have the first time. Sometimes there has been an event like an adoption, recovery from an illness, or a rough patch. Sometimes it's the overwhelming feeling of gratitude to have been paired with the heart's perfect match. Vow renewal ceremonies can be held in any number of beautiful places – a public park, a perfect old oak tree, a house, a home, a beach, a plantation... anywhere you like!

House Blessings

A home is a blessing. Let us honor your space with the love and life you bring to your space.

200

*Travel expenses may vary.

Payment Methods

Past Experience

The first time I was involved in a house blessing was in college when I volunteered with Habitat For Humanity. My brother started the Almost Heaven HFH affiliate in Pendleton County, WV. The idea of Habitat's house blessing was that the labor of love from the homeowners, the volunteers, the donors, and anyone who contributed to this new home was wrapped up in God's blessing and joy for providing affordable housing for a family.

It was often a ceremony filled with some stories, some laughter, a scripture reading, a prayer and blessing, and if so moved, even a little singing. Joy all around to help a family discover the assurance, liberty, and freedom of shelter provided by so many people who work in the spirit of love.

When I worked with HFH International in Ghana, West Africa, house blessings were my favorite part of the job. Not only did we bring our American HFH traditions of celebration, but those traditions were merged and blended with African traditions. The celebration could be two days with village chiefs and priests included, feasting, dancing, and joyous celebration like I had never witnessed before.

I've not yet been asked, on this side of the ocean, to put together a Ghanaian version of a house blessing. I'm not sure I could pull it off without Ghanaians here to lead the way! But, I continue to offer house blessings in homes newly built, newly renovated, or people with children and pets.

I'm happy to write for you a house blessing ceremony that reflects who you are, what your home means to you, and all the love and hospitality, good health, and good wishes you seek in your home. The blessing can be as religious or non-religious as you like. We can certainly blend the faith and spirituality of your family with what I have to offer as a UCC Minister.

Animal Blessings

As an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, I have presided over pet blessings and blessings of the animals in parish ministry and in private events. I've blessed dogs, cats, ferrets, pigs, steers, cows, sheep, llamas, goats, gold fish, and more.

We honor the animals who are living, the animals who are working, and the animals who have passed on before us. It would be my great blessing and honor to bless your creature.

50 - 250

Fill out my contact form or email me to discuss.

*Travel expenses may vary.

Payment Methods

Services

Pet Blessing: Our human children are baptized, christened, bar/bat mitzvahed and blessed. Our pets are very much a part of our lives. Let us honor their sacred spirits and formally name them as the family members that they are.

Blessing The Passing: A pet's passing can be a traumatic and deeply sad time in our lives. We always remember our "first", the childhood dog or the first cat we owned as an adult. Losing this precious family member is a spiritual journey for all of us. I am honored to walk through this chapter with you.

Honoring Service & Work Animals: Service animals don't choose the life we give them, but they save the lives we live... offering comfort, security, peace, safety, guidance, and a means with which to navigate this world. They are honorable and sacred workers, worthy of our respect and blessing. Together we can name this gift of work and friendship.

Testimonials

We first met Rev. Kristen January 1st, 2015 at a Blessing of the Animals gathering of friends and their furry companions. Our seventeen year old pup, Lucy, was on the verge of leaving us that cold day in January. We suspected that she had suffered a stroke over the Christmas holiday. Rev. Kristen gently laid her hands on Lucy and prayed. Through the tears, we experienced a truly spiritual moment. She had touched us all with kindness, hope and love. A short 24 hours later, Lucy made a miraculous recovery and is still with us today. Rev. Kristen gave us a precious gift and we are forever grateful.

Stephen & Mary Ann Velluto
Swoope, Virginia

Kristen is so absolutely wonderful at what she does, it is hard to put into words. She has that passion for all animals, and it is so apparent in just one conversation with her! She recently blessed our furbabies and it was such a great experience. We have 2 dogs, and we added a pet pig to the mix so we were apprehensive about how the animal dynamics would be in the house. Shortly after Kristen's visit, our pig and our 2 dogs had an unbreakable bond! I believe with all of my heart that if it were not for her blessing, the experience would not have been so smooth! I am forever grateful for Kristen, her amazing family and the impact they have on my life.

Ashley Craft
Paws & Polka Dots

This event started with a one-sided conversation with my Border Collie Virgil. As always his eyes said everything. So I called Kristen. It was kismet! The strong man slammed the hammer and the best-ever critter-blessing minister became just that. The bell rang across the phone lines. Virgil and I had our lady. On the day, the First of the Year, to my amazement, people came bearing food and spirits to share but most of all their love for their dogs, cats, ferrets, horses and fish, to date. Kind people are gentle to animals. It is a spirit worth celebrating. Kristen willing,Tim and I will not miss a year.

Victoria Godfrey - Hostess of the Annual Blessing of the Animals
Swoope, Virginia

Photos

Photo credit: Mary Stamps Beebe

Baby Blessings

It is a blessing to me that I am invited to share this blessing with you. Anything we can do to illustrate the best of love for you and your child is exactly what we should do. Congratulations!

250 - 300

Fill out my contact form or email me to discuss.

*Travel expenses may vary.

Payment Methods

Baptism vs. Blessing

People talk to me pretty regularly about being "spiritual but not religious." For a while I didn't know quite what to make of that. Gradually I grew to understand that it's not that people don't have belief in God or faith in some sort of higher spiritual being; rather, it is that realization that what we have been doing in our organized religion services doesn't quite speak to them any longer. There is often concern and sadness on the part of parents and grandparents. But the ability to practice spirituality in a way that feels authentic and, well, spiritual can be difficult to find. I understand this.

I am the daughter of retired Presbyterian ministers (PCUSA) and grew up in the formality of the church. I became a resident hospital chaplain, a youth minister, an ordained minister, a parish minister... and now, this wedding ministry places me in the heart of discovering something spiritual, real, ancient, and yet new. I cling to my denomination, the United Church of Christ, and I am blessed to be part of a progressive mainline Protestant denomination. We were the "first" of so many progressive movements. But, I confess, my own spiritual practices often find me out of doors, communing with dolphins and dogs, rather than sitting indoors. I haven't fully recalibrated my appreciation and respect for formalized practices with my heart's desire to be surrounded by nature and in conversation with people and music who think and sound differently than I do. The journey is fluid and I am right there with you.

That brings us to the issue of baptism.

In the United Church of Christ, baptism is offered as a part of celebration of a person's life, within the context of a specific congregation. The onus isn't on the child, but on the parents and the congregation to say together, "Yes. Yes! We will do everything we can to bring up this child in the faith of our church, in this congregation, open to guidance and questions, education, hospitality, and love". But what do parents do that move often for military, work, or family needs? Or when a couple is interfaith? Or when a couple is spiritual but not religious, and they want their child to have a life filled with the opportunity to grow, explore, inquire, and learn for themselves a spiritual path? Baby blessings. That's what I do. Very much like a baptism, but as I do not serve a congregation to offer to you and your family, I am honored for the opportunity to create for you a ceremony in which you, your family and friends gather around your child and say, "We love you. God loves you. We share this spiritual journey with you. Your path is safe in our home and together we will grow and mature in love and the Spirit".

Photos

Other Services

Are you adventurous? How about a paddleboard wedding out on the water! #notjoking. I also offer premarital counseling, pulpit supply, and memorial/funeral/internment services.

300 - 600

Paddleboard Wedding

*Standard wedding fees apply.

300

Premarital Counseling

*Stand-alone service only.

Payment Methods

More Info

Paddleboard Wedding: You are adventurous, athletic, you love the great outdoors, and you want your wedding (or elopement) to be completely unusual, unique and perfect. Let's paddleboard on Folly River and perform your ceremony on the water, surrounded by dolphins! No kidding! I know a photographer or two and a wedding planner who paddleboard. I'm out there anytime the sun is shining, the temps are warm, the wind is low, and I have a couple of hours to spare. Let's enjoy this watery perfection and get you married!

Premarital Counseling: Four sessions of homework, created from past experience and training in conflict mediation, designed to inspire your own unique conversations about marriage. Meaningful and fun! I have a certificate in Conflict Mediation from training I did in Charlottesville, VA. I also studied conflict mediation and communication in seminary (Pittsburgh Theological Seminary) pretty thoroughly. The four session program I put together is crafted out of that training and knowledge, flipped into a positive experience, setting you up for great teamwork. Check it out!

Pulpit Supply: My major course of study in seminary was homiletics. At graduation from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1997, I was honored to be the recipient of Wilson Keith Memorial Prize in Homiletics. I was an Adjunct Professor of Public Speaking for Blue Ridge Community College in the early 2000's. If you serve a church or chapel, are headed out of town or need a break, and require pulpit supply, I'm happy to assist.

Memorial/Funeral/Internment Services: During my first summer of serving a little church in Phoenix, AZ, I presided over 14 funerals in less than three months. It was an elderly congregation; so much of it wasn't a surprise. But a few members, or family members or friends who had died were young and otherwise healthy. Whether young in years or heart, I never took for granted the weight and profound honor and responsibility to be invited to preside over the final words offered for one who has died. Death is hard. Grief is excruciating. Maneuvering the process and project of a memorial or funeral service can be daunting and an added, unwanted burden to an already broken heart. I have experience in this. If you need me, it will be my honor to assist you and preside over a service written for you and your loved one. Please know that I am terribly sorry for your loss. If you need me at all, I am here for you. Call me. Let's talk. I'll do whatever I can to help you during this time.

*Fees can be discussed when we talk.

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