photo by: LINDSEY THORNE
We’re professional, theologically grounded and love to craft a beautiful ritualized story for you. We vow to be here for you for better, for worse, to laugh with you and cry with you, to celebrate with you, and grieve with you during life’s most important moments.
We believe the kind of person you’d trust to mark important life’s moments should be a good listener, professional, honest, polished, act with integrity, non-anxious, caring, and respectful. And guess what? We think that’s us!
We believe in the revolutionary idea that life rituals bind us together even as they keep us grounded, happy, and sane in today’s post-modern world. We believe rituals mark and manage time and emotions. We believe rituals create community in a world of disunity. Basically, we believe we can put the world back together one ritual at a time. So, we invite you to invite us into your life. Allow us to help you create and birth new things, or let beautiful things go. We are ritual. We are humans that make art out of life. Let us tell your story.
We are committed to human rights. No matter who you are, who you love, what you believe, or what you don’t believe, you are welcome here at Central Ceremonies. We affirm and celebrate the beauty of all relationships.A percentage of every single ritual we perform is given back to community-building, loving, fully-inclusive nonprofits. Central Ceremonies tithes back to the community because we believe in community. It’s not just about your ritual alone, but how even one ritual builds a more beautiful world. Amen.
A proud Harry Potter know-it-all with a crush on Baby Yoda, Sarah regularly threatens to turn the company blog into a Baby Yoda or Harry Potter stan account. When not annoying Rene with these threats, Sarah has over twenty years of experience creating happy couples by handcrafting their ceremonies. As one of her brides pointed out to her, she is, at her core, a writer.
Sarah is a graduate of St. Agnes Academy, The University of Texas, The LBJ School of Public Affairs, and Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary where she was awarded the Newell Fellowship for academic and pastoral achievement. Her husband says she may not earn any more degrees.
Speaking of her husband, she’s been married to her best friend, Joe, since 1994. Together their greatest treasures are their two children, and the tight-knit family they’ve created. Rounding out their house are one spoiled, darling black labrador retriever, one cranky orange cat, four fish, and some plants.
Sarah loves historical fiction, mythology, collecting and connecting with people, as well as pretending she’s in the Tour de France during spin class.
Secret/fun fact: People are always surprised when they find out she is an introvert. No really. She is.
Married to the beautiful and brilliant Gretta since 1972, Sam is a husband, dad, and granddad. He is also a great friend and mentor to many folks. Sam loves to camp, paint, cycle (he got Sarah on her bike), dabble in tinkering projects, and travel. He loves conducting weddings of all sorts – LGBTQ+, Interfaith, Non-Spiritual, Renewals -- but also delights in birth and baby ceremonies, providing premarital counseling, and will journey alongside those grieving with meaningful memorial and funeral services. “Life is too short for hesitation so I love all these things daily and expect new things to love will come along daily, as well.”
Sam has a BA from Austin College in Sherman, Texas, and an MDiv from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He thinks of himself as a lifelong learner. “Much of what I have learned I’ve long since forgotten. But what I’ve not forgotten is that ministry brings its own daily blessings. At weddings, I stand on the brink of a couple’s life together and that gives me great joy.”
Secret/fun fact: In 2018, Sam checked off a bucket list item by riding his bike 500 miles in 10 days, cycling from Nashville, Tennessee to Natchez, Mississippi. He carried with him not just his camping gear, food, and water, but also his Dad’s memory, “Back in the late 1950s, while motoring along the Parkway, I remember my Dad saying ‘Someday I would like to camp along this Trail.’ Dad never got the chance to camp along the Natches Trail, so I guess in a way, I did it for him.”
Cam is a 7th generation native Texan originally from the land of oil and tumbleweeds (aka Midland, TX), and has called Austin home since 2010. He has a BA in psychology and religion from McMurry University and a MA in family psychology from Hardin-Simmons University. He received his Master of Divinity from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary. He is ordained in the United Church of Christ, and has pastored congregations in central and west Texas.
He currently serves as a hospital chaplain in South Austin, but sincerely hopes not to see you there as a patient. With his background in chaplaincy and family psychology, Cam is well suited to support couples through pre-marital counseling. He loves hearing your stories and helping you craft where you’ve been, where you are, and where you want to be into meaningful rituals.
Cam is in a committed long-term relationship with chocolate cake and Tex-Mex . . . and of course, his husband, Wade. When not in the nearest available swimming pool with a cocktail in hand, Cam spends his spare time supervising home improvement projects, being an amateur foodie, and watching cheesy horror flicks. He is also an avid curator of church potluck casserole recipes for the book he hopes to one day write about caring for the soul through good home cooking.
Fun Fact: Cam is an amazing singer with deep affinities for Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac, and 80s pop music.
Wanna hear one of the coolest parts of the Central Ceremony story? Veronica is the original owner and creator of Central Ceremonies. She learned the trade from one of the most popular officiants on the Central Coast in California. She moved to Austin, Texas and in 1995, launched what was until recently Austin Weddings Unlimited. Veronica, in high demand, needed assistance, and tapped Sarah in 1999 as her business associate. All good stories have interesting plot twists, so when Veronica moved to Tennessee, she sold the business to Sarah. They remained friends, and when Veronica returned to Texas, Sarah convinced her to return to the business, as well.
Hailing from that other Republic on the West Coast, Veronica has a BA from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. While in school, she seized the opportunity to work as a clubmate at Pacific Islands Club Hotel in Guam, which included dancing with a Polynesian dance troop. Shortly after returning from Guam, she was selected for an exchange program in Japan, where she left for her 3-month trip with only $5 and a round-trip ticket!
Veronica is engaged to an amazing artist, Steve Schlesener. She loves her dog Bella, sushi, and has been to Panama six times. She is a huge fan of Hanson, has seen Queen three times (Freddie Mercury threw her a carnation), and Ian Moore has called her his “soul sister”. In her spare time, she is an instructional designer.
Secret/fun fact: In 2003, Veronica was an on-air personality on 93.3 The Bone in Dallas. Her show was on the weekends, but she also did live remotes and even met Cheap Trick!
René Craft is an Austin-based blogger, communications consultant, and mom. Most bios don’t include motherhood but René spends energy, time, and money advocating and communicating the importance of neurodiversity and autism inclusion in all settings—with the input and direction of her teenage son who calls himself a "proud autistic."
She is the mom to two and has an incredibly supportive husband who is the yin to her yang. He allows René to pursue her crazy schemes and dreams with nary a raised eyebrow.
A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in Journalism, René has worked in New York PR, corporate and nonprofit communications in Austin and has supported women-owned businesses since 2013 when she started her own communications company.
René is a community involvement nerd and prior to her freelance life volunteered on 15 Austin nonprofit boards. René swore to her husband that she wouldn’t join one more committee but found herself saying yes in 2019 to the Easter Seals Greenleaf Advisory Committee to raise funds to build a Neurodiversity Community Center in Austin. Sigh.
One of her favorite things about working with the folks at Central Ceremonies is their commitment to community and equality. Inclusion, respect, and professionalism are purpose-driven attributes that René seeks in friends and clients.
Fun fact: René has been told she’s a Slytherin and can’t help but begrudgingly believe it’s a pretty good read on her personality when Sarah describes it as "strategic and ambitious."