Based in Los Angeles, California, Gina Kirkland Polesetsky is a Humanist Celebrant available for wedding ceremonies, life celebrations, and naming ceremonies that reflect Humanist principles.
She offers her services in the Southern California area and is also 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 wishes by offering guidance and advice in the options available through language, ceremony, traditions and modern twists on traditions.
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.
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!
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
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:
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.
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.
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.
Gina officiated my wedding and struck a pitch perfect balance of calm and preparedness for our special day. We sat with her a few weeks prior to the ceremony and spoke about the wedding we wanted. She is warm, professional and patient.
Thank you so much for marrying us, twice! lol Married life has been amazing. ***SPECIAL NOTE: Jason and Jasmine forgot the wedding certificate on the day of their wedding, so they had the joy of getting married twice!
Gina was so great to work with. My clients loved her wedding service that she performed! She is easy to talk to & can truly make your day magical. Thank you again!
Gina made our wedding perfect!
Gina always exceeded our expectations. We first met with her in a coffee shop where she presented my fiancée (now wife!) Christine and I with a variety of great ideas for a ceremony. They were so amazing that Christine cried.
Under Gina's careful guidance, we spent the next few weeks tailoring a ceremony that would be a reflection of both our personalities and our families. We met with Gina again and she walked us through the big day. It felt very special and Christine cried. Gina then worked with us individually on perfecting our vows. Before we knew it our wedding day arrived. All of our friends and family were in town so we didn't sleep much the night before. Our minds were also filled with very important questions like, "Are the basil leaves for the signature cocktails going to wilt?! Is the DJ going to play a song that Grandma Sue can dance to?! Should we have gone with highball glasses instead of old fashioned glasses?!" Turns out none of that matters; with so much going on and the nerves flowing it was easy to forget that the only thing that really mattered was the ceremony. It's the reason everyone showed up!
Thankfully Gina was our rock. She was so prepared, so organized, and so calm that the ceremony could only go perfectly. It did and we all cried.
Gina was very flexible, professional, and put us all at ease, when we needed it most.
Wonderful to deal with and great communication! Gina has been fabulous! Looking forward to having her officiate our wedding.
Gina was very professional, friendly and accommodating. She made our special day even more special. Thank you!
Couldn't expect a better experience! Simply great!
Best officiant!!! Gina was amazing and made our ceremony the most memorable. She took the time to get to know us and listened to what we wanted. Then during our rehearsal our coordinator didn't show and she was able to help us get everyone lined up and ready. Gina is amazing!!!
Gina is amazing and her officiating of our ceremony was the first of many delights that accompanied the wedding and reception. There was a consultation a few weeks prior to the event, and on the wedding date she was well-prepared for the occasion. We could not have chosen a better option as a celebrant for our special day.
Gina made our wedding ceremony so personal and so special! We couldn't have asked for a better experience and appreciate Gina taking such care and thoughtfulness in making our ceremony so full of love and perfect!
As we've been living together calling ourselves "husband and wife" for years, my wife and I wanted a "stealth" ceremony to make it legal, and Gina was up for it. She slipped into the restaurant as we were finishing dinner with the friends who introduced us, I introduced her as "Gina" and invited her to join us for a glass of wine, we toasted and then SURPRISE . . . she launched into the ceremony. 90 seconds later we were legally married. We are filled with gratitude that we could find Gina to do this for us. She was great, and we'll never forget her.
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 the mother of a teenage son, a proud Humanist, and active in community service.
Celebrant fees range from $350 - $750 depending on the level of customization, the time involved in creating your service and the travel involved.
Mileage reimbursement will be added at the rate of $1 per mile for all locations more than 5 miles from the 90232 zip code along with parking fees if they are necessary for your venue.
Payments can be accepted by PayPal, check, and Visa or MasterCard. There is a 5% fee for payments made by Visa or MasterCard to cover the credit card charges. Ceremony dates can be held for 50% and the final payment is due on the day of service.
Free consultations are available by phone or in office!