Frequently Asked Questions

Email me at pastorjoe -at- ourforeverpromise -dot- com or fill out this form.

Well over 25 years, and it keeps getting better and better thanks to my wife.

I have been serving couples since the early 1990s.

Hundreds. I do between 30 to 50 weddings each year.

I am a Pastor. I have been in ministry for over 30 years. 20 years in para-church missions ministry and over 12 years as Senior Pastor of churches in Boone and Dallas County, Iowa. See meet Pastor Karge for more information.

Yes.

Why, because it is the most effective way for us to really get to know each other. It strengthens not only your marriage, but our relationship and the personalization of your ceremony.

Couples that seek premarital coaching have a 30% higher success rate in their marriage. The bottom line: less divorces.

We don’t focus on whether or not you should get married, but rather reinforcing the things you are doing well and additional relationship tools you can consider.

See Premarital Coaching and Ceremony Preparation for more information.

See our Wedding Fees page for all the details.

I am more expensive than many officiants. We do weddings because we love them, and we are good at what we do. We are in high demand because of our proven track record. Many of our clients are brothers, sisters, college roommates, sons, daughters, friends and family members of couples we have served in the past. When I was a pastor, I did weddings for free in my church. Consider if you were a member giving just a few dollars a week, that would be equal to what I charge for a wedding.

I assure you that you can find cheaper officiants, but we offer so much more. See our Planning and Services pages for more information.

I am passionate about great weddings and I would encourage not to skimp here and go with the cheapest price. The cost of fuel, dry cleaning, office equipment, and many other expenses are necessary to create great ceremonies and lay the foundation for great marriages. No other individual you hire can make or break your wedding ceremony like the officiant. I promise you I will do a great job. If you don’t think I’m worth it after the ceremony, we’ll give you your money back (other than the deposit). We promise we are worth every dollar!

I offer discounts for active military personnel, Sunday weddings, midweek weddings and morning weddings. Prices can be negotiable, it never hurts to ask. I also know a lot of officiants who work with me that can afford to charge a little less than me. If I can’t help you, I may be able to refer you to someone else.

Yes, short, but not too short.

We live in a very fast paced “digital” society where everyone’s senses are challenged by quickly changing images and sounds. We strive to deliver a smooth, connected, calm, captivating message and ceremony that celebrates your love without losing your guests’ attention and excitement.

Our typical ceremonies last between 20 -30 minutes. Long enough to be meaningful, but not too long that people are looking at their watches and cell phones wondering when the ceremony is going to be over.

Long enough that grandparents, family and friends that drive all the way to the ceremony, sometimes from out of state with hotel expenses and more, feel like they’ve really been to a real wedding. Too short and they’ll be going “Is that all there is?”.

Content is everything here. We’ve all been to great movies that are super long. When they get done, and the credits are rolling, everyone just sits in the theater, almost spellbound. On the other hand, we’ve been to short movies that within ten minutes we’re elbowing our mate, saying “let’s get out of here!”

Braveheart
Lawrence of Arabia
The Ten Commandments
The Twilight Saga
American Sniper
Malcolm X
Dances with Wolves
Titanic
Wyatt Earp
Schindler’s List
Gone With The Wind
Lord of the Rings
The GodFather
Hamlet
Ben Hur

Praise God, it hasn’t happened yet. I haven’t wrecked my motorcycle, I haven’t been thrown by my horse Anabelle, I haven’t been in a wreck, and I haven’t been run over by a truck. With over 20 years of doing weddings, I have never failed to arrive and perform with excellence.

I’m pretty sure if it ever does happen, I won’t be too worried about your ceremony, nevertheless you might! But don’t worry, we have many friends that are pastors and do weddings, including my best friend and my wife.

I actually, routinely, plan for backup. I am the son of an engineer and keep immensely detailed records, checks and balances to keep track of everything I do for weddings. Even in the worst case scenario, someone would be ready and willing to step up and serve in my absence.

Make sure that you meet with your officiant before you make a decision. I personally would meet with several.

My greatest encouragement to you is to look for someone who truly cares about marriage, and more specifically, your marriage.

Someone that doesn’t just “do weddings.” Someone that isn’t “in the wedding business.” Someone that you can connect with personally, and that they will be honest with you and help you design the best ceremony ever. Not a sermon, not a lecture, but a celebration.

You have so many things to think about as you prepare for your wedding. You have so many things that you can spend your time and money on, too. May I encourage you to take a big breath and think about the weddings that you have been to and seen? When it is all said and done, what people will remember most is what we say and do during your ceremony.

Think about the ceremonies that you have been invited to. What did you like? What didn’t you like?

Think about the people that are important to you. What will guests like at your wedding? Will your parents and grandparents be pleased? Will you be true to yourself: what needs to be done so that the ceremony truly reflects your relationship and who you are? Are there family members and traditions that you really want to include.

I don’t wear a bunch of religious garb that attracts attention to me. You won’t find me in a robe, with a ministers stole or tippet, and crosses around my neck. I don’t need to prove my profession and your wedding isn’t about me. Most of the time I simply wear one of my professional suits. The color depends on your wedding. My wife has collected 100’s of shirts and ties, and we choose one that compliments your wedding and colors.

Look through our photos in the Gallery and you will see those choices consistently. I have done theme based weddings in which we wore special attire, but again it is never done in a way to draw attention to me. You are the focus of our services.

I assure you that because of our great experience, we are one of the most flexible wedding vendors of all. We have hundreds of samples to help you, but we want your wedding to be your wedding. I have experienced vendors and venues that have very structured ceremonies and approach different ideas with a “that’s not how we do weddings here” attitude. You’ll never get that from us. On the contrary, we embrace your personal touches.

Our typical weddings are larger events with 50-500 guests. 95% are at venues (not a church) with a large proportion outside (see our page about Iowa Wedding Locations). Time after time we hear comments like “that was the best wedding we’ve ever been to!” Our ceremonies are energetic, exciting, different and spectacular. No two are the same (see our reviews). Our ceremonies are not too short, long enough to be meaningful, but not too long that people are looking at their watch and cell phone wondering when the ceremony is going to be over.

Many of our couples are specifically looking for a personally designed, fun, energetic and special ceremony. They don’t want a long drawn-out boring ceremony. Many know exactly what they want but may not know where to start. We have a proven track record of helping brides, grooms and families create their dream wedding (see our reviews).

Many of our couples are looking for a legit pastor, but they don’t have a church. Sometimes their hometown pastor is not available, they are planning their wedding from out-of-state, or they are new to Iowa and the community they live in. Many are transitioning from college and careers.

Almost all of our clients are looking for an officiant that can provide balance. Balance that makes grandparents and parents feel comfortable, but creative and enthusiastically appealing to their friends, bridal party and most of all, true to themselves.

Absolutely, my wife, one of our pastors, or I will be there. Learn more at our complete page on rehearsals.

Absolutely, if at all possible and we’re invited. My wife and I would love to celebrate with you!

Absolutely, God designed the family for children.

Almost always. I believe that God is a God of second chances. If your previous spouse has passed away, God loves you and has brought another person into this world to love you too. If your previous marriage ended in divorce, God loves you and has brought another person into this world to love you too. Let’s work together to lay a foundation for your future marriage to last forever.

There is so much variance in the wedding “business”. There are great DJ’s, and there are pitiful excuses.

There are great photographers, and some that just point and shoot.

There are experienced professional officiants that really care, and there are others that just got ordained online and think they’re going to make a lot of money.

Experienced professionals know what they are great at and don’t try to be everything to everyone.

We may not be your choice if you are just looking for a standard status quo ceremony. New, exciting and even traditional yes, but standard and boring, no.

We are fully trained in public speaking, and we are sensitive to our audiences. We have years of experience as we set a tone that is driven for excellence but creates a mood of confidence and peace, leading to an at-ease and stress-free ceremony. We are 100% reliable, always show up and have a proven track record.

Reverend is a title that is bestowed on an individual that demands respect. It is derived from the verb revereri (to respect; to revere), therefore meaning “one who is” to be revered and must be respected.

A Pastor, on the other hand, is Biblically called to be a shepherd of a flock, to care for them, to encourage them, to make sure that they are safe and well fed (physically, spiritually and emotionally). Jesus said “I am the good shepherd.”

You may call me whatever you choose, but I like Pastor the most. Pastor is submissive. Pastor is about serving others. The flock is to be the most important, not the other way around.

That really depends on the type of ceremony you are having. If you are having a simple wedding with just a couple guests, probably not. If you are having an online ordained officiant show up and go through some quick scripted vows, probably not. If you have a minister or reverend that is just doing his/her part in the ceremony, probably not.

Most of our weddings are complete ceremonies that we have designed with you. Therefore, our rehearsals include the entire coordination of the ceremony. Typically, there are numerous guests and people in the wedding party, and rehearsals with us are important. Rehearsals allow us to coordinate the timing of your ceremony with the bridal party, the venue, your wedding coordinator, your musicians/DJ, and most of all you.

Rehearsals also aren’t just about logistics, they are an experience that allows you and your family to prepare for the emotions of the wedding ceremony that soon will be happening. The experience becomes real. Time after time, we have brides and grooms that were nervous and anxious before the rehearsal, but calm and at peace afterwards. It is incredibly important for you to get the greatest experience during your wedding ceremony.

We are available to be booked on a first come, first served basis. When you make your deposit, your date and time will be reserved.

If you decide you want to use me for your wedding, I decide if I can marry you in good conscience, and after our first initial meeting (online, on the phone or in person) there’s a good connection, I’ll pencil you on my calendar. If another couple wants your date before you make your deposit, I will check with you before booking their wedding.

Regardless of the length of your ceremony, many, many hours go into making your ceremony perfect, if you selected a professional officiant. You are paying for the expertise, experience and education that the officiant brings to planning your ceremony.

With years of experience, we know what works and what doesn’t. We’ve seen hundreds of positive reactions to content and style that people love and we’ve learned from our mistakes. Pastor Joseph, for example, is highly trained in public speaking, completing multiple speech courses and serving as a Pastor and a Mayor.

Each wedding requires hours of meetings, unlimited communications with vendors and couples, writing and rewriting of your service, transportation to and from the rehearsal and the wedding, clothes and dry-cleaning and more.

I used to perform and go to a lot of funerals because of the missions ministry I was in. Many funerals are the same over and over. Some denominations use the same scriptures, the same story, by the book, just change the names.

I became increasingly frustrated with the standard sermons that so many pastors use, and I committed to really investing in the families I was serving and getting to know their loved ones, even if I hadn’t known them in life. We started designing and writing ceremonies that celebrated their life, openly, honestly, and real! People loved our work. I still have people show up on my doorsteps at our farm and church requesting my services for funerals.

Soon after I performed Tom’s funeral, his brother asked me to do his wedding. That led to three other weddings in their family. The rest is history! I use the same style in designing and writing weddings. Personal, real and honest. Really, I get to be a part of the two greatest celebrations of life, who you marry, and the legacy you leave! I love what I do!

Yes! I work with many great professionals; I have seen the worst and the best. I would be honored to share some recommendations.

Steve Jobs once said, “People With Passion Can Change The World.” He believed that if you weren’t passionate about what you are doing, it simply would not make sense to invest the time and energy to do what you do with excellence. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, said “Coffee is the product, but it’s not the business we’re in, anyone can sell a cup of coffee. It takes a true innovator to create an experience.”

Believe me, I am passionate about we do. We believe we can change the world one marriage, one family at a time. We are not in the wedding business. We are in the business of making great memories that encourage great marriages that last forever.

I am proud of every job that I have done. I can ramble on and on about this bride, that groom, their wedding, many have touched my heart in such special way. Some of my memories bring me to tears. Some make me laugh.

I love connecting with couples that I have married in the past. Watching their families grow, children being born, careers developing, new houses, new adventures, dreams come true. I love praying for their struggles, the death of parents, the loss of a partner that I married years ago, struggles with children. And I love serving God. The scriptures declare that I will be held accountable for my actions, and what matters most is pleasing the bride, groom, their families and God!