Steve Sharp - A Beautiful Ceremony NW

Steve Sharp

A Portland area native, I started out as a musician – another profession that is known for bringing people together to celebrate! My experience making music on stage helped me develop my instinct for communicating with people heart to heart. Years of staging performances also laid the foundation for my understanding of how ritual and ceremony can bring people together in a deeply shared, vibrant experience.

With my knack for bringing people together and my stage presence, it occurred to my daughter that I would be the right person to conduct her best friend’s wedding ceremony. I studied the steps required to be a qualified wedding officiant, and in 1996 I became ordained through the Universal Life Church, where ministers come from all walks of life and spiritual traditions, united by their belief in religious freedom.

One beautiful summer day, I conducted my first wedding ceremony in a beautiful park on the banks of the Columbia River, my proud daughter the beaming maid of honor.

In the years that have followed, I have conducted weddings that have been as diverse and one of a kind as the couples who have invited me to be their celebrant. On a train, on a beach, on a mountaintop, in a back yard, in a rose garden, in a historical church by candlelight and even in the middle of the Portland Marathon!

I have performed ceremonies for intimate wedding parties of four as well as grand outdoor feasts attended by three hundred revelers; weddings conducted in two languages; couples seeking a way to bridge the very different spiritual traditions of their families and couples who want very little ceremony at all.

It’s been a real privilege to be part of such a hopeful day for so many people over the years!

I draw from the personal and spiritual beliefs of each couple to help them express their commitment to each other in their own unique way. The core belief of the Universal Life Church is that every person has the natural right and responsibility to peacefully determine what is right. I honor every couple’s desire to make their wedding vows in the voice that feels truest to them.

Leslie Sharp - A Beautiful Ceremony NW

Leslie Sharp

Being a wedding officiant is a unique opportunity for me to combine a life-long interest in spiritual traditions with my background in theater and public speaking. It’s a real privilege to help couples create a meaningful ceremony that draws them together with family and friends in one of life’s great celebrations.

My interest in how we put down roots for our lives by figuring out our own unique connection with the universe at one time drew me to attend a seminary and complete a pastoral internship at a church. Then time and experience taught me that the life of the soul is too mysterious to fit into any single tradition. I now describe my spiritual understanding by borrowing from Hemingway: “There’s no one thing that’s true. It’s all true.”

I greatly enjoy listening to couples describe how they’d like their wedding ceremony to express their commitment to each other in a way that feels most authentic to them. If they’d like to combine elements from specific traditions that are important to them or to their families, I suggest a variety of readings or rituals that will bring those valued beliefs into their ceremony. Writing a ceremony is a lot like having a palette with a lot of colors to choose from, and the reason this approach works is that, well, it’s all true!

I am bilingual, and there are special reserved sections in my heart and mind where I revel in the beauty of Spanish. I am deeply grateful for the gracious hospitality I have received in the years I lived as a guest in Mexican and Central American culture. I can conduct all or part of your ceremony in Spanish, or if you would prefer an officiant/interpreter approach, Steve can conduct your ceremony in English and I will interpret all or part of what he says.

As a Universal Life minister, I honor the way you would like to connect the truth of your relationship to whatever greater truths anchor your lives. It’s a great pleasure to spend time with people who have the courage to commit themselves to loving another human being, and briefly being part of your joy on that day is the great fringe benefit of being a wedding officiant.