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Meet Ida-May Hanson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ida-May Hanson.

Hi Ida-May, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?

In 2001 my husband and I went to renew our wedding vows in Hawaii. At the time, I had no idea what a wedding officiant was or what their job entailed. At sunset by the ocean and while our woman wedding officiant was saying the words, “I now repronounce you, husband & wife,” there was a conch horn blown from way-up above in the high-rise. How the gentleman knew to blow his conch at that particular time was very impressive and it gave all three of us goosebumps. On the way back home to California I knew right then and there this is what I had to do, want I wanted to do, become a Wedding Officiant.

It took me over five years, but I finally became an officiant in February of 2009 and started a ministry called Happy Ever After Wedding Officiant. Before long, I brought in another officiant and changed the name to Happy Ever After Wedding Officiants. I had the honor of marrying lots of couples, elopement style, right in my home in Carmel, IN, as well as marrying tons of couples at venues, parks, backyards, riverside, airport tarmacs, and even in a canoe. It wasn’t long before my little ministry grew to have five other ministers as well as myself weekly performing wedding ceremonies. Then in 2014, we moved to Leesburg, FL. I was incredibly sad to have to close that part of my ministry, but today I continued to marry couples here in Florida. Through the years I received my Event & Wedding Planners certificate and started The Girls in Pearls, Event/Wedding Planning. Over the past year I have been studying a specially designed course to become the very first American, British Wedding Toastmaster.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
The wedding business in Indiana was very different from here in Florida. And I think each state has different rules and laws for marriages within their state. In Indiana, a church priest, minister or a wedding officiant could marry couples. Once a year on Valentine’s Day the county clerk’s office could marry couples in a group. That is why we were busy almost every weekend in Carmel, In. But here in Florida, the laws are very different. A regular county clerk, a notary, a ship’s captain, a church priest or church minister, an online one-time officiant or a wedding officiant can legally perform weddings.  Here in Leesburg, Fl. it’s definitely not the same as Indiana. Just getting noticed in Florida was a challenge and one I am still trying to conquer today.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I think I pride myself the most in performing a wedding ceremony specially put together for the couple. I give them words from different ceremonies and let them cut and paste what they want to be said in their wedding ceremony. When possible, I meet with the couple in person or online to let them judge if I am the person they feel comfortable with to perform their all-important and unique wedding ceremony. I love what I do, and it shows. I arrive around an hour before every wedding to make sure all the couples wishes are in play. I perform the wedding to the best of my abilities and though there are lots of people attending the ceremony, I try to speak to the couple on a personal note rather than just say the words. After more than 11 years of performing wedding ceremonies, I still get nervous just before the wedding. I hope to never lose that feeling. With it, I stay in high gear and try my best to please the all-important couple on their special wedding day. Now my latest project is that I have been training for over a year with Mr. Geoffrey Harris, a member of the National Association of Toastmasters in the U.K. to be the first and only American performing as a British Trained Wedding Toastmaster in the U.S.A.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
The Officiating side of my business readers can connect with me through my website at or by calling me at 352-431-0960. Anyone looking to contact the First & Only American to become a British Trained Wedding Toastmaster, M.C., Day of Coordinator, dressed in a red tuxedo can connect with me by going to my website at or again by calling 352-431-0960. Readers can support me by giving referrals and testimonials.


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