Beware "Flowers, Flowers Everywhere"

With Valentines Day approaching, flowers will abound on every street corner, every grocery store, and every florist. All of them will be ready to supply the demand.

But wait a minute. Will all these flowers be the same? Is a rose really just a rose; but with a different color? These are just a few questions I had, so I asked a few florists. At first I was only curious, but when I got evasive answers I decided to do a little digging.

My probing took me to Fall River Florist Supply website. After perusing it, the fire that fueled my curiosity, quickly abated. They covered the difference between flower farms (breeders), the quality of flowers from soil to soil, the post-harvest process, the unknown age of cut flowers, the refrigeration during and after shipment, and the delivery.

They explained everything I wanted to know. Now, I look at flowers differently. And so will you.

In the past; I have purchased flowers from street vendors, grocery stores, and warehouses. I would pick them with care; inhale their aroma; then take them home. Once there, I would prune their stems on an angle to bring water into them, add a dash of bleach and a pinch of sugar to the water to keep them alive.

The next day to my chagrin I would find half the lot drooping. What happened were the words echoing through my mind? It does not matter that I only spent $5.00 for 6 roses or $10 for a dozen. What mattered was that I spent my money and time on an inferior product.

Too often people go for convenience, and a florist who has the expertise, artistry, preferred suppliers, and equipment for proper storage; may not be in every town or on every block. So go the extra mile and find a florist that you can relate to and rely on for all your celebratory needs.

Your florist number should be readily available just like your doctor, veterinarian, or best friend.

Reverend Starlene Joyner Burns
DC Superior Court Authorized Officiant

©2010 All Rights Reserved

If you have any comments, I would like to hear them.

Silent Flames - Beauty and Danger

I have officiated at many weddings, baby celebrations, and other sacraments. And when candles are lit to illuminate the space, all the other decorations come alive. The water glisten, the flowers brighten, and facial expressions soften.

The silent flickering flames quickly removes the danger of fire from the minds of a select few. I recently did a wedding where the florist created a beautiful walkway of staggering glass columns. Each vase was filled with water to the brim while the candles floated gently above a sea of exotic plants. Seeing the aisle decorated this way was not my first time. But it was the first time I had seen the candle flames above the rim of the glass.

I took my concern to the florist immediately. After telling her that some of the water needed to be removed from the cylinders so that the candle flames would be lower; she replied "that's what the couple wanted, so let me check with the wedding planner."

Minutes later, nothing had been done. So I sought out the planner myself and place the perils of the situation at her feet. And of course, she needed to speak with the florist. When she returned, she said, “in order to lower the candles the florist would have to break down the arrangement, and she’s not going to do that.” Meanwhile, the danger persisted. So one of the guest, fearing for her safety, put out a set of candles next to her seat.

Noticing this, the planner saw that was probably the best option. Minutes later, the florist arrived and extinguished the rest of the candles.

How could the florist not be mindful of the danger she had created.
How could she walk away from a warning saying “that's what the couple wanted?”

When a couple sees something they like, they expect a professional to educate them about the best way to use their idea in creating a dream wedding.

They also expect a professional to use good judgement (common sense), and not just deliver a product while jeopardizing the safety of others.

So know who you are hiring. Don’t always go for the cheapest, because the cheapest may lack the expertise of a sage professional.

Hire someone who has your best interest in mind as well as the integrity of their business.

So here is my question to those reading this Blog.

If someone was harmed as a result of the florist negligence, who would have been liable?

Select one or more:
the venue, the couple, the florist, the planner, or all

Kindly post your answers.


Rev. Starlene Joyner Burns
Authorized Wedding Officiant

Trusting the Unknown

Now that DC has marriage equality, it needs to revamp the marriage license process. Everyone wants that 3 day waiting period to go away!

Meanwhile, ads are popping up with catchy phases like:

"We will process your marriage license for you."

Now there may be a valid reason for this service, but should you trust the source?

Is putting your confidential information in the hands of an unknown that easy?

You have read articles about it, so trusting your confidential information to someone you meet on the Internet is no different than trusting someone you meet on the streets.

IDs are stolen all the time, and the below information just makes it easier.

1. Social Security Number
2. Date of Birth
3. Address
4. Valid Identification (birth certificate, drivers license, passport, military ID)

When I am asked for such information to perform a prison marriage; I don't comply. I have no idea whose hands that information is going to be in. Moreover, it was a chaplain at a mid level security facility who warned me to never provide my confidential information to anyone.

The marriage license application asks for the same kind of information that is required to run a background check. And if you are not sure what that entails, cut and paste the link below in the address field, and take a look.

I can understand why couples from out of town would want to find a trusting source to handle their sensitive data. And since vendors are competing for business, unscrupulous characters will start to horn in on this virgin turf.

The easy way this time may not necessarily be the best way.

So make coming to DC a road trip, a short vacation, a time for reflection, meditation, or preparation for the future.

I have been a minister in the Washington DC Metropolitan area since 2004. And I have officiate more than 450 weddings. Since that time, I have never been asked to initiate and process the marriage license until same sex marriages became legal. And this is not a service that I provide under my ministerial title.

However, my business, Another Choice Virtual Assistant Services, can act as a marriage license agent for any couple in need of that kind of assistance. You can find us at, and we will be happy to work as your agent.

Furthermore, we will do everything we can to keep your confidential information protect until it is handed over to the clerk of the court.

So you decide what is best.

Reverend Starlene Joyner Burns
DC Superior Court Authorized

©2010 All Rights Reserved

If you have any comments, I would like to hear them

DC Same Sex Weddings

Will Gay Marriages Really Increase DC’s Revenue?

DC always finds a way to run potential wedding couples away. First it was the blood test and the five day waiting period. This sent couples to VA where they could get married immediately or to Maryland. And couples like that who really wanted a DC marriage; would have their weddings (commitment ceremony with proof of their marriage) in the District of Columbia amongst their family and friends.

Now, DC has a new dilemma. Same sex couples will try to bypass the requirement just like heterosexual did, but in a different way. They will get married in DC (private ceremony) and then have their commitment ceremony in a neighboring state.

I receive calls from people asking if their DC marriage license had to be used in DC. My answer is always an affirmative, yes. I make no exception to this rule. However, I let all of them know, that they can have a commitment ceremony in MD or VA and have a marriage ceremony in DC. That suggestion appeals to many couples, especially those trying to save money with an all inclusive package offered at some of MD venues. However, it does not appeal to those who really want their marriage performed and celebrated in DC.

Once Maryland starts to recognize same sex marriages performed in other states including DC, DC will have some stiff competition. Most couples will have their weddings in Maryland and their marriages performed in DC.

This will leave DC receiving the stats and fees for these marriages, but not the expected revenue. However, many same sex couples who want to move to DC after marrying here; says, "all the money should go to DC. DC legalized it, so DC businesses should profit from it, not Maryland and definitely not Virginia."

Reverend Starlene Joyner Burns
DC Superior Court Authorized

©2010 All Rights Reserved

If you have any comments, I would like to hear them.

DC Wedding Minister / Maryland Wedding Officiant / VA Marriage Celebrant

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Serving MD, DC, & Northern VA, Washington DC, United States