VIA’s Editor-in-Chief meets with a woman of many domains, now a Traveling Minister of the Universal Life Church, too. In the name of love, by Mea Argentieri
Some people like to officiate things in the most formal of ways: paperwork, signatures… While others prefer another route – more open-minded yet nonetheless binding. What was once a bohemian lifestyle choice is now more en mode than ever, where professionals with lifelong careers follow a spiritual calling and train at the Universal Life Church (ULC), officiating ceremonies around the world in all-inclusive philosophy.
You’re a true career woman who’s traveled near and far; what inspired you to become a minister?
In the summer of 2017 my best friend’s daughter, Madeline Fraser and her husband, Clinton Bopp asked if they could have their wedding at my home in Italy. I was thrilled to oblige. Then Madeline threw me a curve ball and asked if I would perform the ceremony. I said yes, but I remember thinking “oh s***, where do I begin? Till that point I had never thought of becoming an ordained minister. So in June 2018 I performed my first ceremony and hosted guests from around the world. The ceremony took place under an ancient carob tree atop my vineyard. This wedding was my first and because it was at my home I did the much of the planning. However I was fortunate to collaborate with an extremely talented event planner, Carla Ritorvato. We did it all! Rehearsal dinner, ceremony and reception. Obviously this was a unique situation. I am not a wedding planner so this service is not included unless the wedding takes place at my estate in Puglia..
How does the process start? Do you meet with the couple in person, virtually or both?
Through a series of face-to-face or video meetings I will ask several questions. For example, I will ask if the couple wants a traditional or a contemporary wedding ceremony. Do they plan to write their own vows or would they like me to write their vows or both? Do they want to include any of their own religious practices? The pre-planning phase is all important. I want to know the couple and so I meet with them several times in order to understand exactly what they envision. My goal is to make their wedding one of the most memorable experiences of their lives.
What are the ceremonies like?
Each ceremony is very different and uniquely customized. To date I have performed weddings and vow renewal ceremonies in Italy, France and the United States. I strive to make the ceremony not only personal and intimate but also all inclusive. Everything is legal in accordance with specific state and country laws.
How long is the average ceremony?
That depends on the couple but usually it is 30-40 minutes. I always l make a few pre-ceremony announcements and then welcome the families and guests. For one wedding, the couple requested that the guest take no photos during the ceremony. So at their request I instructed the guests accordingly and asked at the couples bequest that they put their phones on silence be in the beauty of the moment. Having been to many weddings, I found this to be a genius suggestion. It really impacted the mood. Everyone was present and engaged it was wonderful.
Where has the call of love taken you so far and – are the ceremonies legal?
To date I have performed weddings and vow renewal ceremonies in Italy, France and the United States. Yes, everything is legal in accordance with specific state and country laws.
Besides weddings, can you officiate other types of ceremonies?
Yes, I can also officiate vow renewal, baptism and farewell ceremonies.
If the couple would like to have the wedding at your home, how many guests are you able to accommodate?
I can host groups of up to 80.
Is there anything you would like to tell our readers about yourself and your experiences thus far?
I have always been a connector. I love meeting new people. Being a minister is an honor and a responsibility that I take very seriously. I have been enriched by each and every experience and now it has become a passion. To witness love at its best is beautiful. And without exception I have remained in contact with all of the couples.
When I ask her what clients have said about this experience, I’m overwhelmed. Who knew you could have a traveling minister attend your event on-demand? I browse through the testimonials she sends me, and a tide of eternal gratefulness and deep appreciation for her guidance leave me beyond impressed and moved. I know her, but I still continue to learn about the many colors that make her Mea. Madeline Fraser’s letter is among them, “Mea made all of our dreams come true. She guided us and connected us before the ceremony… She ended the ceremony by announcing us “partners for life” and if you know us well, you would understand how perfect those words were for us to start our life together as husband and wife.”
I read through several letters of guests, brides, and grooms when one in particular by Mary Ta, a wedding guest, grabs my attention. “The words of human communication, commitment, and understanding beautifully evoked by Mea were pure poetry of humanity. Mea’s reminder is that a wedding ceremony is not just about the bride and groom, but also about all of us to each other and even deeper to ourselves. I have never heard such profound truth, it rang every fiber of my body, and mind and soul as the waves crashed rhythmically reminding us that we must all be ONE.”
This is probably in the top five of highly anticipated and awe-inspiring days of our lifetime. Among her many talents, Mea has the capacity to put you at ease and invoke spirituality into one of the most important agreements you’ll ever be bound to, offering new insight on knowing your chosen mate before they become your chosen one. All this sans the burden of hierarchy – it is a love revolution.
Groups of up to 80 can be hosted at her masseria in Puglia. Mea can also officiate wedding ceremonies in locations worldwide, and on request.
Contact Meat at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about Crevents, contact Carla Ritrovato.