[May] I'm unsure how may years ago it was when I first worked alongside Kimberly Thompson but more importantly, when I do it is always (always!) a treat! She is one of the most compassionate, sincere wedding officiants that I've met and she puts all of her warmth into each wedding whether it's a grand soiree with 250 guests or just 2 where I'm literally the witness (I even have to sign the marriage license).
We recently sat down at Napa's trendy Oxbow Market, chatting up stories and thoughts over a couple of fruity spritzers and I'm excited to introduce you to Kimberly Thompson of A Beautiful Ceremony Napa Valley!
When and how did you begin this path as a (nondenominational) wedding officiant?
She started at the young age of 26, first as the Marriage Commissioner in the Napa County offices, but soon the word about her spread like wild fire and brides began calling her during work hours asking for her services for their wine country weddings. That is when her business began, nearly 17 years ago.
Even though she was very good at what she did even in the beginning, she was met with some stereo-typical resistance because of her age and striking looks, it was perceived more acceptable to have a man with a graying beard and spectacles, not someone near the same age as the bride! So she received some very sound advice to break through this obstacle; "Make yourself up like a spinster; wear your hair in a tight bun, no makeup, pearls and glasses." And it worked for those early years!
Do you have any interesting stories to tell!?
At one of her Calistoga Ranch weddings, John Mayer sang for the couple and after the ceremony he approached Kimberly and told her "the vows you wrote were like musical lyrics". Ever since that moment she now gives her ceremony book a soft rub before each wedding, remembering that special moment when John held her book and said those words.
What was one of your most memorable weddings? (Have tissue ready! Seriously, I cried while she told me and I'm crying while I type this.)
It was her first official year in business and a bride phoned her in November requesting her services for Christmas day. At the time her son was 3 and she quickly gave her regrets to the bride. The bride, Joy, a 32 year old woman with terminal ovarian cancer explained her situation. Kimberly and her family completely restructured their holiday and Kimberly without hesitation changed her answer to "Yes!". Kimberly worked with Joy & John like any other couple, giving them the most beautiful ceremony despite the oxygen tank and the need for the bride to sit during the vows.
Three days later Kimberly received a call from Joy's mom telling her that she had passed and that she had something to give her from Joy. It was a handwritten note thanking her for bringing their dream come true, expanding on how she was certain that Kimberly was gifted and this path was her true calling. Kimberly still has the note and it has carried her through all of these years.
Tell me something about yourself.
She has a son, Devin, who is now 21 and stationed in Afghanistan for a few more months and she is so proud! The day we met for this interview turned out to also be the day of his birthday, so she picked up his favorite coconut cupcake and had plans of sticking a candle in it and singing him happy birthday over Skype.
Kimberly is so lovely and it was very fascinating to peek into her world and I was astounded at the time she puts into each couple and their vows. She offers nondenominational ceremony services and she specializes in Civil, Non Religious, Religious and Custom and through a crazy set of circumstances, she still has June 5 available on her calendar (this is rare!) so if you want to tie the knot in 3 weeks, give her a call! If you're not ready for any marathon planning, than consider her for 2011.
Thank you Kimberly for such a lovely morning!