Humanist Celebrant

Gina Kirkland Polesetsky

Celebrating Life’s Major Moments With a Humanist Touch

Introduction

Based in Los Angeles, California, Gina Kirkland Polesetsky is a Humanist Celebrant available for wedding ceremonies, end-of-life celebrations, and naming ceremonies that reflect Humanist principles.

She offers her services in the Southern California area and is available to travel to your location.

Her primary goal is to help people celebrate life and love in a way that respects their identities and values by offering guidance and advice in the options available through language, ceremony, traditions and modern twists on traditions. She is passionate about celebrating the precious and powerful connections of love and community with the couples and families with whom she works.  Whether she is guiding families through end-of-life celebrations or wedding ceremonies, Gina emphasizes having gratitude for the present moment.

Though most services are performed at a venue of your choosing, Gina also offers a beautiful and private outdoor wedding venue in the heart of Los Angeles for couples looking for an inexpensive location for a small number of attendees.

Wedding Services

Pre Wedding Guidance

Providing pre-ceremony guidance and advice on wedding vows, readings, the flow of the ceremony and wedding rituals

Personalized Ceremony

Creating a personalized wedding ceremony that reflects your lives, passions, and personalities.

Celebrating Your Big Day

Performing a ceremony that is unique to you and reflects the mood of your special day.

Hosting Your Event

For wedding parties of 20 and under, we offer a beautiful, private, and inexpensive outdoor location for your ceremony.

(see picture below of the location)

Wedding Gallery

Parts of a Wedding Ceremony

Feel free to choose your own musical selections for the processional, recessional, or for performance during the ceremony. Gina can provide a list of songs to choose from or to review to help you start thinking about the type of music that you would like.

The invocation is the welcome and recognition of the audience or witnesses. In a traditional ceremony, this is where "Dearly Beloved we are gathered here today . . ." would be said. In a modern Humanist ceremony, there are several ways to word this that you can choose from.

In a traditional ceremony, this section would be a sermon, but in a Humanist ceremony, we use this time to explain why marriage is valuable to individuals and to our society as a whole. If desired, an explanation of what a Humanist wedding is and means can also be included here. Gina can offer you several wording options and also welcomes couples to personalize the words on marriage to express what marriage means to them.

Many couples choose to exchange personal vows. Gina is happy to provide guidance for you to write your own vows. She can also provide pre-written vows that you can choose or customize.

For couples who prefer not to exchange vows, a couple bio might be a good option. This is a bio written by Gina after interviewing the couple. The bio can be written to express the feelings that the couple has for one another, how they got to this day, tell the story of their relationship, or be personalized in anyway that the couple chooses.

This is where the couple exchanges their rings. This can also be folded into the Declaration of Intent to Marry, also known as the "I Dos."

Rings are not a legally required component of a marriage ceremony. The couple can also choose to exchange something else, such as books that hold a special meaning to them or any other form of gift. Alternatively, the couple can skip the rings and move on to the Declaration of Intent to Marry.

The “I Do’s”

Gina can provide a long list of options for your Benediction, should you choose to have one. This is not a required part of a wedding ceremony.  In a traditional ceremony, this is typically a reading from a religious text.

In a Humanist ceremony, this could be a blessing, a favorite piece of poetry or prose, or any reading that the couple chooses. If you want to involve another member of your wedding party in the ceremony, you can also choose to have someone read a piece at this point in the ceremony.

The pronouncement concludes the wedding ceremony and in a traditional ceremony usually sounds something like this, "By the power vested in me . . . I now pronounce you husband and wife."

In a Humanist ceremony, there are several options for how this is phrased. You can be pronounced husband and wife, husband and husband, wife and wife, or, if you want to take traditional terms out altogether, you can simply be pronounced, "married."

After the pronouncement, I typically invite the couple to enjoy the first kiss and then introduce them as a married couple. . . . . The audience cheers here!

A Few Words on

LGBTQ+ Weddings

Gina has been proud to offer wedding services to LGBTQ+ couples both as an affirmation of her belief in Humanist principles and her personal belief in celebrating love for all people lucky enough to find their special someone.

“The nature of marriage is that, through its enduring bond, two persons together can find other freedoms, such as expression, intimacy, and spirituality. This is true for all persons, whatever their sexual orientation…There is dignity in the bond between two men or two women who seek to marry and in their autonomy to make such profound choices.”

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy

Frequently Asked Questions

Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion. Affirming the dignity of each human being, it supports the maximization of individual liberty and opportunity consonant with social and planetary responsibility. It advocates the extension of participatory democracy and the expansion of the open society, standing for human rights and social justice. Free of supernaturalism, it recognizes human beings as a part of nature and holds that values, be they religious, ethical, social, or political-have their source in human experience and culture. Humanism thus derives the goals of life from human need and interest rather than from theological or ideological abstractions, and asserts that humanity must take responsibility for its own destiny.

- The Humanist Magazine

A Humanist Ceremony would not include anything that offends, disturbs, or is considered inappropriate by the couple entering into marriage. It should benefit people, not institutions, and use non-theistic language. It should promote the dignity and equality of each partner (e.g., parents do not “give away” daughters”). It should respect the backgrounds of each partner and all rituals or symbols used should be explained.

Yes! Many couples want to include personal vows, but are nervous about the process. I can offer two things.

First, if you want to personalize, but don’t want to say your own vows, I can write a couple bio for you that I will share during the ceremony. The couple bio will explain your relationship and your feelings for each other in your own words, but without you having to say it out loud in front of your friends and family.

Second, I am always happy to review a couple’s vows and give feedback to each partner to let them know if there are any tweaks they could make to help the vows better match in tone and length. These two links have some great thoughts on writing your own vows:

Guide to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows

What If I Bombed at My Own Wedding?

Check with your local county clerk to learn the policies in your area on obtaining a marriage license. I am including information on getting a marriage license in Los Angeles, but if you are in a different area and need some assistance, please feel free to ask.

  1. Los Angeles County Website
  2. Where in Los Angeles County to apply for a license
  3. License Fees

You do not need a blood test for a marriage license in Los Angeles County and your license is good for 90 days from the time you get it. It is the celebrant’s responsibility to return the signed license to the county clerk after the marriage to complete the filing. When you apply you should bring your Driver’s License or other valid identification. Some counties recommend bringing certified copies of your birth certificates. Know your parents’ names and mothers’ maiden names and places of their birth.

We have a beautiful, private outdoor venue available for small parties of 20 people or less who are looking for a place to host their ceremony. You bring your wedding license and we do the rest. Packages start at $450 for performing the wedding in our venue with music provided and a champagne toast. For more information on this option, please contact us using the information below.

End-of-Life Celebrations

Life Celebrations can be performed as part of a burial, cremation, or graveside service or as part of a memorial service separate from the burial or cremation. Even more so than in weddings, the difference between a life celebration and a standard burial ceremony can be vast.

A life celebration will not include ideas that our loved one is “in a better place” or “with God,” but will focus on mourning and loss, but also how we should live our lives to honor those who are no longer with us. Many people find that life celebrations can be very uplifting and joyous occasions to celebrate the beautiful life of the one who we have lost.

I offer services as an on-call secular celebrant for Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary in Los Angeles as well as private services for those in need to help families.

Testimonials

Meet Gina

Gina Kirkland Polesetsky graduated from West Texas A&M University and worked as an educator and an event planner before opening Kirkland Productions, Inc., a college entertainment, comedy, and speakers agency, in 2000.

In 2013, she channeled her lifelong passion for women’s issues into leading her organization, Girls Fight Back, to bring the message of living a fearless life and combating violence against women to millions of young women across the country. She runs the GFB Speaker Academy, is a NOVA certified Victim Advocate, and currently sits on the board of IMPACT Personal Safety in Los Angeles.

She is involved in the secular community, having served on the board of Sunday Assembly Los Angeles and as a Humanist Celebrant. She is currently perusing a Master’s degree in Clinical Psychology at Pepperdine University, is a dedicated Humanist and member of the AHA (American Humanist Association), and is active in community service. Gina’s proudest role is that of mother and step-mother with her husband, Matt, to their three inspiring children and their two adorable fur babies.

Gina at her own wedding in 2017

Contact & Pricing

Wedding Ceremony Packages

I know that couples don’t all have the same budget for their wedding, but everyone should have the chance to have a beautiful ceremony. This is why I offer a variety of options to fit different budget levels. Not only will you get a great ceremony no matter which option you choose, you won’t get a dry reading of verses from a book when your special day comes. I have years of public speaking experience and perform each ceremony with warmth, humor, and joy. Details for each package option are below.

Budget Wedding Package  $450

My budget wedding ceremony is offered for those willing to choose from existing scripted ceremonies instead of having a ceremony written specifically for you. However, “budget” does not mean your ceremony will be anything less than beautiful and meaningful. These ceremonies have been crafted to fit a variety of couples and are filled with warmth, love, and joy. With this option, you will be able to choose from three pre-written Humanist and non-religious ceremonies suitable for both opposite-sex and same-sex couples.

  • No obligation consultation
  • Expert advice and suggestions
  • Choose from a selection of three beautiful pre-written ceremonies
  • Access to my wealth of poems and readings to choose from for personalization
  • Unlimited support by phone, email, or text
  • Option for rehearsal (additional $150 fee + travel, if necessary)
  • Free travel up to 10 miles from 90232

Custom Wedding Package  $600

With the custom wedding ceremony, I take your ideas, find out more about you, present you with options, and put together a ceremony that best reflects your personalities and wishes. The introduction, readings, vows, ring exchange, and other wedding components are specifically chosen to most appropriately fit the feeling, energy level, and options that you are looking for. You have the final say on all parts of the ceremony. This ceremony is completely customizable but does not include your personal love story.

  • No obligation consultation
  • Expert advice and suggestions
  • A beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony
  • Access to my wealth of poems and readings
  • Include any traditions that are important to you, including secular versions of religious or cultural traditions
  • Unlimited support by phone, email, or text
  • Option for rehearsal (additional $150 fee + travel, if necessary)
  • Free travel up to 10 miles from 90232

Personalized Wedding Package  $750      

With this package, I create a personalized ceremony for you that tells your personal love story in a way it’s never been told before. A personalized wedding ceremony focuses on celebrating your love for each other and giving your friends and family an intimate look at what brings them all together that day.

This is by far my most popular option. I meet with both of you ahead of time for an in-depth interview (this can be done in my office, by phone or Skype) and take great care and time in crafting a unique personalized couples bio/love story. Feedback from family and friends attending one of my custom ceremonies has always been that this is the most authentic and personal wedding they have ever attended.

Your couple bio/love story will take your friends and family on a journey of your relationship, from your lives before you met, to the first date, the engagement, the reasons you chose to spend your lives together, and your plans for your future partnership. This is completely customizable to match the tone of your ceremony.

Personalized wedding ceremonies must be booked at least three months in advance.

  • No obligation consultation
  • Expert advice and suggestions
  • A beautifully crafted, one-of-a-kind wedding ceremony
  • Your personal love story, filled with humor, love, and joy
  • Write your own vows or choose from my options which are fully customizable.  Vow writing assistance is included in this package.
  • Access to my wealth of poems and readings
  • Include any traditions that are important to you, including secular versions of religious or cultural traditions
  • Unlimited support by phone, email, or text
  • Option for rehearsal (additional $150 fee + travel, if necessary)
  • Free travel up to 10 miles from 90232

End-Of-Life Celebration Packages

Pricing ranges from $500 - $750 depending on the type of celebration and customization involved. Please contact me for more information.

Wedding ceremony rehearsals give you the peace of mind that everyone will know their roles in your ceremony from the beginning of the processional to the end of recessional. They are conducted professionally, with or without a wedding coordinator, with expert advice for the wedding party and all involved in the ceremony. A rehearsal is strongly suggested for ceremonies with large wedding parties, but are likely not necessary for smaller and more intimate weddings or weddings without a wedding party. Independent of which package you choose, I ask an additional fee of $150 if a rehearsal is requested in addition to travel costs for the rehearsal day, if necessary.

A non-refundable deposit of 50% is required upon booking in order to secure the date and time for your ceremony/celebration. The balance is due up to and including the day of the ceremony. However, the final payment must be received before the ceremony/celebration start time.

Payments are accepted by PayPal, cash, and check. I can also accept Visa or MasterCard, but there is a 5% fee to cover the credit card charges.

All packages include free travel up to 10 miles from the 90232 zip code. For all venues located more than 10 miles from 90232, the travel fee is $1.00/mile round-trip plus any necessary tolls and parking. 

Lodging is rarely required for venues within three hours from 90232, but if necessary will be discussed and agreed upon before pricing is set for your event.

For more information please reach out to Gina or use the form below:

O: 866-769-9037        C: 214-801-9685

gina.polesetsky@gmail.com

Free consultations are available by phone or in office!

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