The Rev Tedarino

I am ordained as a minister by ULC, the Universal Life Church, which ordains anyone that wants to be ordained. It’s part of their philosophy of religion, which some applaud and some detest. I, like many people ordained by ULC, did so in order to be able to perform legal marriages, when my dear friends Steven and Noelle honored me by asking me to perform their wedding ceremony. That was in 2002, in Seattle, WA. I have since officiated several weddings for friends here in CA, four “playa weddings” at the annual Burning Man Festival (in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada), my sister Emily’s wedding in Durham, NC and sister Lucy’s wedding in Roche Harbor, WA. I also helped design and organize a few memorial services: for my Uncle Roger in 2005, a friend Vicki in 2013, and my wife Jody’s in 2023.

"We are all children of the same universe
People celebrate the overturning of DOMA and California Prop 8, at the US Supreme Court, by waving rainbow flags.

June 2013 Update: With the overturning of Proposition 8 here in California, I excitedly look forward to officiating gay and lesbian weddings! Please allow me the honor of honoring your love and commitment!

June, 2015 Update: The U.S. Supreme Court struck down all state bans on same-sex marriage, legalizing it in all fifty states!

Here’s a brief statement about my personal sense of spirituality, about love and marriage, and how I like to help people with their wedding:

I was raised a UU (Unitarian Universalist), a liberal protestant denomination with a very humanistic, ecumenical world view, which aptly describes my world view. (I’m ½-and-½: UU on Mom’s side, Jewish on Dad’s side, but we were raised UU; I was not bar mitzvahed or anything.) I am not a regular church-going person; I’m one of those people that says something like “I’m spiritual, not religious.” I do believe in the Sacredness of all life and of everything: The Creation. I am comfortable thinking/speaking about God as The Creator, and also comfortable with the notion that maybe “God” is just a human construct to help us make sense of a universe too wondrous for our little minds to fathom… I like the way the Unitarians describe Jesus as a great spiritual teacher, a prophet, as were Siddhartha Gautama Buddha, Muhammad and others. I’m either a Unitarian (one big creation that embodies God in everything) or a polytarian (many Gods in everything, everywhere, also called “pantheism”); the Trinity seems too limited a view of God for me…

We are writing to recommend the Reverend Tedarino, who officiated at our wedding in 2008. Evident in all of our interactions with Ted were his sensitive and alert listening skills, his ability to thoughtfully prepare us for our vows, his process of helping us design an appropriate format, his willingness to go beyond his duties as officiant to make the day memorable, and his ability to have fun with it all. The Reverend Tedarino has found an avocation that showcases the best of who he is. He’s a natural whose services I would highly recommend to anyone. Thank you, Ted!

—Carol & Randy

Ted & Jody marry, July 1, 1989

I was happily married for 33 years, from July 1989 to Jody’s passing from complications of Parkinson’s Disease in September 2022. I’m a big fan of love and marriage; love rocks!!! I think a couple’s marriage is a very important event, and I am always honored when a couple asks me to officiate their wedding. I see marriage as more than a “contract” between 2 people: it is a community event: it is a couple declaring before their community that they are making this solemn vow to one another—and to the community: to love and support one another.

I am very happy to help you with your wedding, if you like the sound of who I am and how I approach this process. I am happy to talk about ceremony details, process, etc. I have a number of ideas about what a good ceremony can/could/should include. I also hope/trust/assume that you two have a number of ideas about what you want. I am willing to play as small a role as you wish, or a larger/more active role, if that’s what you want and as time permits. I’m happy to swap many emails, send files back and forth, etc. to help you work out the ceremony details. We can also talk by phone. If you are close enough to Santa Cruz to allow for face-to-face meetings, that’s always the best, of course.

Please contact me if you’d like to discuss how I can be of service to you.

“Ted brings such a positive, personal and reverent demeanor to his work that it really resonated in every step of the process and made planning the ceremony enjoyable, professional and personal. Everything came together so easily with Ted’s guidance; we felt that it was the ceremony we were meant to have. Everyone at our wedding loved our ceremony and many people told us that it was the most touching ceremony they have ever witnessed. We highly recommend Ted; he was not only a great ceremony planner and officiant, but a calming and positive presence.”

—Anthony & Marianne




Here are a few resources that you may find helpful in planning your ceremony:

  • A large collection of wedding ceremony readings, collected and compiled over many years by the
    Reverend Douglas Wilson, UU minister and former (now retired) Executive Director of Rowe Camp and Conference Center in the beautiful Berkshire mountains of western Massachusetts. Rev. Wilson offers this note about sources: “I do not claim to be author of most of this material. I have gathered them from a great many sources over many years. I have listed authors and sources for some, but have not attempted to do so for everything. I do not want to plagiarize anyone’s work, and I’m happy to add acknowledgements to any authors/sources not already provided here.” Another comment from Doug (paraphrased by me): “I do not usually provide this document to couple at the beginning of the process; I don’t want to influence their thinking about or their choices of selections for their ceremony. Usually, after we have spoken a few times and their ceremony has begun to take shape, only then do I offer this document as a possible source of selections.” So maybe you don’t want to look at this right away, but rather form some ideas first…
  • The ULC offers a “Wedding Script Generator” as well as a number of sample wedding scripts.
  • Brad & Elaine’s wedding ceremony, August 2009
  • The Hartfelt wedding ceremony, July 2008

Last Updated on July 20, 2023