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Wedding Officiant Sara Shendelman

Berkeley , CA
CONTACT US
CONTACT US

LOCATION

Berkeley, CA US 94703 (map)

PHONE

510-644-2956

WEBSITE

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ABOUT US

Sara Shendelman performs unique, inspired and inclusive weddings all over the country in natural outdoor as well as eclectic indoor settings. Her beautiful voice enriches the ritual she... Read more
Sara Shendelman performs unique, inspired and inclusive weddings all over the country in natural outdoor as well as eclectic indoor settings. Her beautiful voice enriches the ritual she creates for any occasion. She has been honored to provide ongoing spiritual guidance, officiating at milestone events, for couples as they plan their lives together, welcome their babies into the world, and celebrate seasonal and lifecycle events with their families in a compassionate, joyous, literally harmonious and personal atmosphere. Read less
Officiant

PHOTOS

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INFO FOR OFFICIANT

What officiant services do you provide?
Civil Union, Interfaith Ceremony, Non-religious Ceremony, Single Religion Ceremony
What religious affiliations do you serve?
Agnostic, Buddhist, Jewish
Can you accommodate the hearing impaired?
Yes
Are you willing to perform a ceremony at a non-religious site?
Absolutely - unique, natural, personal sites can be the most meaningful, memorable and romantic.
What is your attire for the ceremony?
I usually dress in a long silk or velvet dress and jacket. I always check in with the couple
 about their wedding colors, so I will be in snyc.
Are you flexible in the wording used throughout the ceremony, including the vows?
Totally - I create a ceremony that expresses your relationship and communicates whats important to you.
Do you allow the couple to write their own vows, if desired?
Of course. I can provide guidance and support to inspire the couple's loving intentions.
Do you have a list of readings pre-selected, from which the couple must choose?
I can suggest readings, if desired. I do not obligate the couple to include any readings or rituals in their special event.
How long are your ceremonies?
Generally about 30 minutes.
Do you require that premarital counseling be done?
I have no such requirements. It is necessary to have time with the couple to explore their desires, vision and intentions for their ceremony, relationship and guests' experience. I offer counseling, if the couple wants it.
Are you willing to perform pre-ceremony rehearsals?
I am willing to provide personalized services according to the couple's wants.
Do you supply a sound system?
Yes, if needed. I have a good one that works in all settings as it is battery powered.

REVIEWS

4.8
out of 5.0
4.8/5.0
4.8/5.0
4.8/5.0
4.8/5.0
4.7/5.0
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Anonymous
Wedding:
Recently Married
5.0/5.0
We knew upon our first meeting with Rabbi Sara that is was b'shert. She is everything you would want out of a wedding officiant, and more! She guides a collective experience for everyone in attendance that invites them into the love they are there to witness...this is a unique experience when compared to the more traditional, passive style of wedding ceremony. She made our ceremony a memorable celebration rather than a ritual, while including the traditional aspects of a Jewish ceremony that were important to us. Rabbi Sara radiates love from within, which made everyone comfortable and engaged, and made us feel beyond comfortable proclaiming the story of our love and commitment to each other in front of over 100 people. Rabbi Sara's presence and words drew the guests into the ceremony and made all the joy, spirit, and emotion we were feeling a collective experience that lasted until the last person left.....and weeks beyond. Rabbi Sara was not just our wedding officiant, but is our new friend....we can't praise her enough!
Services Used: Officiant
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Macy
Wedding:
6/28/2014
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara Shendelman is the most sincere, deep, lovely, funny, brilliant, and kind wedding officiant. We met a few others first, in our search for a truthful and personal ceremony.
She officiated our wedding last week end. With only a few days to prepare, she met with us, made many suggestions for the ceremony, accepted our choices, listened to our opinions, and produced the most beautiful off-the -charts moving, meaningful, precious ceremony, completely tailored to our histories and our needs. What a magnificent woman to work with! We will both be ever grateful.
It was a small event but each guest expressed their delight with Rabbi Sara and the wedding ceremony.
Services Used: Officiant
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Marsha
Wedding:
6/28/2014
5.0/5.0
If you have the opportunity to have Rabbi Sara Shendelman as your wedding officiant, expect a ceremony which will be beautiful, moving, honest, and true to everything which you express that you want. She has a profound gift for creating meaningful and special ritual. That which you want will be included. That which you don't want, will not. She is positive, brilliant, lovely, and sincere.
Services Used: Officiant
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Anonymous
Wedding:
Recently Married
5.0/5.0
Rabi Sara performed a lovely outdoor wedding ceremony for us. She was so professional and thoughtful throughout the entire planning process. She spent the time to get to know us in order to develop a ceremony that was special and tailored to our love story, which is something that the others we interviewed did not take the time to do. On the day of the ceremony she calmed both the bride and grooms nerves before the ceremony and her words and singing really resonated with the wedding party and the guests in the audience. We are so glad that we selected her as our minister.
Services Used: Officiant
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Paul
Wedding:
4/5/2014
5.0/5.0
We couldn't have been happier with Rabbi Sara as our officiant. Sara blended our two cultures (irish and persian) together perfectly in a secular ceremony with beautiful touches of spiritualism. She absolutely made our ceremony one that we will remember forever. We are still getting compliments about her from our guests! We wholeheartedly recommend Sara for any occasion!
Services Used: Officiant
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SportGirlie1
Wedding:
8/31/2013
5.0/5.0
I can not possibly overstate how wonderful our experience was working with Rabbi Shendelman!! When the Supreme Court decisions were announced we decided to have our wedding on Labor Day Weekend 2013 (the closest 3 day weekend from the decision). That gave us about 6 weeks to plan our wedding in its entirety. We pulled it off with 70 guests at the Sheraton Palo Alto with the whole sha-bang!

Rabbi Shendelman was the icing on the cake. Because of her, the ceremony was fabulous. Our guests raved about how loving and inclusive and FUN the ceremony was for them! She offered the guests the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way that neither they nor we had experienced at a wedding ceremony before.

We interviewed other wedding officiants and we felt an instant connection with Rabbi Shendelman. She has a grace and knowing way about her. She quickly got to know us and walked us through the development of a very personal and meaningful ceremony. The day of the wedding she provided words of wisdom that not only kept us present but added a spiritually fulfilling energy to the proceedings.

We are so happy to be able to write this review that others might decide to include her wonderful soul on their special day!!

Thanks!!
Services Used: Officiant
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Ester
Wedding:
8/10/2013
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara made David and Claudia's wedding even more beautiful. She personalized her ceremony, included the guests, and added a great sense of humor. She made the wedding special
Services Used: Officiant
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Masha
Wedding:
6/1/2013
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara created a heartfelt, powerful ceremony on our wedding day. The way she officiated was warm, deeply spiritual and inclusive of the entire community in attendance. While following the tradition of Judaism, she was able to reach guests of all faiths and put us at ease, too. Thanks, Rabbi Sara! We highly recommend her.
Services Used: Officiant
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Anonymous
Wedding:
1+ year ago
5.0/5.0
I highly recommend Sara Shendelman as a wedding officiant! She did my wedding with such warmth and enthusiasm, musical talent and professionalism, i couldn't have imagined anything better. The photographers even came up to me after and expressed to me what a unique and wonderful ceremony it was. She helped guide us through the planning process, allowing our personality and beliefs to shape the service, but providing the traditional foundation which we desired. She was such a delight to work with and so easy to get in touch with when I had questions, she made this stressed out bride feel completely at ease!
Services Used: Officiant
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Miguel
Wedding:
12/8/2012
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara officiated our wedding, and we could not have been happier. Her delivery was humorous and touching. Many of our guests were surprised by the beautiful flow she created by combining her dynamic speaking with chanting, singing, and playing musical instruments. Rabbi Sara is very thoughtful. She prompted us to have several calls with her in the months leading up to the wedding. She carefully listened to what we wanted, and offered an outline of the ceremony that reflected our conversations. We had a chance to review her outline and make comments and suggestions. We knew what to expect during our ceremony, and yet everything felt original and not rehearsed. Since Rabbi Sara has officiated many dozens of ceremonies, she was also able to provide very practical advice (from timing to how things would look on photographs) of what to expect and how to adapt some of the things we wanted so that they worked even better.

Our ceremony was both inter-faith and non-denominational. Rabbi Sara was wonderful at working with a second officiator to coordinate both the content and the delivery of the ceremony. She was also great at incorporating and enriching the Jewish traditions we were looking for. We would not hesitate to recommend Rabbi Sara. She brings together an unusual combination as a warm and truthful spiritual guide, a multi-talented officiator and performer, and a graceful public speaker.
Services Used: Officiant
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Michael
Wedding:
6/22/2012
5.0/5.0
We found Rabbi Shendelman to be thoughtful, insightful, and perfect for our interfaith marriage.
Services Used: Officiant
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Jennine
Wedding:
9/4/2011
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara made our wedding so special! Everyone says to this day, that it was the best wedding they had ever attended, and I think a big part of that was the energy that Sara created around both us, and our network of family and friends in attendance. She really involved them in the process, which made them feel an authentic and deep sense of connection to the entire experience.

Thank you, Rabbi Sara for creating a day that will live in the hearts and minds of not only us, but our loved ones too!
Services Used: Officiant
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dragonfly
Wedding:
5/7/2011
5.0/5.0
My husband and I were so thrilled to have met Sara. She is a spiritual and intelligent, insightful officiant and was easy to communicate with. Sara establishes a personal relationship with her couples, prior to marriage. On the wedding day, we felt as if a friend were marrying us -- it felt very personal. Sara has a beautiful voice -- she chants in both English/hebrew, depending upon the couple's choice. The relationship we built with Sara will last a lifetime!
Services Used: Officiant
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yregelman
Wedding:
8/21/2010
5.0/5.0
R Sara Shendelman is a remarkable and spiritual person. She made our friends and family laugh, she made them cry, she made them think, and she made them learn, and in the end she got us married :) She helped and supported us every step of the way and provided the anchor of calmness in the midst of a busy and eventful day. We are forever grateful!
Services Used: Officiant
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susan
Wedding:
6/14/2010
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara was a life blessing for us!! She made our marriage ceremony a magical, spiritual experience. We continue to express our gratitude for her unique gifts, knowledge and incredible soul. It is our delight to attempt to put into words how wonderful she is!! She continues to make an incredible contribution to our lives in her advice, insights and friendship. Rabbi Sara is a life treasure.
Services Used: Officiant
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Jocelyn Brodeur
Wedding:
6/12/2010
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara not only gave a heartfelt and enjoyable ceremony, but she provided a much needed head leveling when my maid of honor did not show up on time. My fiance and I were unsure of where to begin looking for our vows and ceremonial scripture and she coached us gently and professionally in the right direction. We were very satisfied with how beautiful the ceremony was.
Services Used: Officiant
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japicella
Wedding:
5/14/2010
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara, all I can say is that she is one of a kind. She made our wedding very special. Rabbi Sara did an excellent job of incorporating Jewish culture into our wedding. It was very heartfelt and meaningful. She is obviously a very learned Rabbi, however; she knew when to bring humor to the ceremony. Most importantly, she incorporated everyone in to the ceremony. She made sure everyone was involved, even those with non-speaking parts. She also made sure that everyone knew what was going on by providing explanations throughout the ceremony. Her focus was always on the bride and groom; checking in on us constantly.

I highly recommend her. She is very special and will make your ceremony just as special. She is the best!
Services Used: Officiant
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Rachel
Wedding:
3/15/2009
5.0/5.0
We are absolutely in wedded bliss! Getting married is by far the best thing we've ever done ;) And so much thanks goes to Rabbi Sara - she made the ceremony, and the day, just perfect for us. The moments we spent together, both before and after the wedding... we can't thank her enough.

She is an amazing woman with such a huge and open heart - we both learned a lot just from spending time with her. We're so grateful she could marry us
Services Used: Officiant
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Chris Andrews
Wedding:
10/1/2008
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara Shendelman has performed several beautiful services for my wedding clients. She was very thorough and conscientious with each client, helping them to create a unique and heartfelt ceremony that truly represented their vision for their marriage and their wedding day. Rabbi Sara's intelligence, oratory mastery, and her ability to connect on a deep level with each couple resulted in wedding ceremonies that touched everyone who attended. One of my couples even returned the area to renew their vows with her on their first anniversary.

Rabbi Sara is a comforting emotional support for those planning their wedding from afar. They will feel they have roots here once they connect with Rabbi Sara!
Services Used: Officiant
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Solmn
Wedding:
2/10/2008
5.0/5.0
Rabbi Sara Shendelman created an exquisite, personal, meaningful and moving ceremony. We truly felt blessed on our wedding day. Every single person in attendance really loved the service! One couple told us they wanted to be married again by her! She has such a dynamic spirit, a gorgeous singing voice and a spiritual wisdom that shines so brightly!
Services Used: Officiant, Unique Services
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Erin
Wedding:
2/17/2007
5.0/5.0
Our wedding and ceremony were more spectacular than we could have ever dreamed. We are endlessly grateful to Sara for generously sharing her gifts of talent, spirit and beauty with us and our guests.
Services Used: Officiant
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Anonymous
Wedding:
2+ years ago
4.9/5.0
My husband and I were absolutely thrilled with Rabi Sara's ceremony. It was all so amazing and we loved every part of it so much. Everyone has been saying how amazing the ceremony was and informative for those that hadn’t been to a Jewish wedding before. One of my friends was evening asking if she could have a Jewish wedding without being Jewish!!

Working with Sara was such a pleasure and in the short amount of time we spent with her we really felt that she got to know us and reflected this in the ceremony. We absolutely loved all her anecdotes about the traditions. It made it such a fun and loving ceremony.

Can't recommend her highly enough.
Services Used: Officiant
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Huminbyrd
Wedding:
5/7/2011
4.6/5.0
If you have come to know Sara, you have come to know her for a reason. She is not for the fainthearted. She is not for the "there is a pink elephant in my livingroom and no one is going to admit it" type. If you found Sara, it is because you are seeking the truth. If you don't like the truth of the message. don't blame Sara. Instead, look deep within your self. Ask for help, if needed.You probably know the answer already. So, stop with the drama and ask yourself..what is it I really want? What is REALLY bothering me? What do I need to do to be happy? When you start to ask yourself these questions, you will find the energy around you start to change. Go with it...discover...the answer lies within you. Trust in yourself.
Services Used: Officiant
Wedding Officiant Sara Shendelman responded with the following comments:

This comment is on counseling services.
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Brian
Wedding:
8/3/2013
4.5/5.0
Rabbi Sara did a wonderful job and performed a beautiful ceremony for my wife and me. She perfectly tailored the service to what we had envisioned, and she worked extremely well with our co-officiant. We could not be happier with how everything turned out.
Services Used: Officiant
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Josh
Wedding:
10/10/2010
0.5/5.0
We booked Rabbi Sara a few years back for a nondenominational ceremony. She told us that we could write our own ceremony and she would do whatever we wanted. Fast forward to just before the ceremony and she changed her tune. She said she had a format that she stuck to and that was what she was going to do. All of a sudden during our wedding she decided that she would sing, ring bowls, and make us recite parts of our ceremony in Hebrew? Yiddish? Not sure as neither of us are Jewish. She forced parts of her views on us and made the ceremony vary awkward for us and our families.
After the ceremony she grabbed food for not just herself but for 2 other people we hadn't invited before my wife and I had a chance to eat. She then came back later and packed Tupperware with food from our reception to take home with her.
Our families and friends still talk about the bizarre behavior she displayed at our wedding.
Services Used: Officiant
Wedding Officiant Sara Shendelman responded with the following comments:

I always partner with couples in planning their ceremony. I start with a simple template and we go from there. Most couples work with me hand in hand and are delighted with the results. I always include ceremony elements that are requested as we did here. Perhaps afterwards they wish they had done it differently. As for bringing someone; I was supplying the sound system for free and brought a helper along to help me carry the heavy pieces (my daughter). This is quite normal for any vendor. At the end of the reception, one of their friends who was in charge of the food which was delivered said there was way too much left and would I please take something home. I was handed a pan which I accepted.

I am so sorry that there was any problem. I gladly offered them a free service if they would ever want that. It is very important to me to get it right, and the above reviews reflect that I usually get it more than right.

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Berkeley, CA 94703 See On Map
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