Wedding Officiants

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Getting married near Panama City, Florida? You're going to need an officiant. Your wedding officiant is the person who will perform your ceremony and will sign your marriage license as the official witness. In Florida, a licensed Notary Public or an Ordained Minister may perform a wedding ceremony. 
Whether you're planning a simple courthouse wedding or an epic celebration, our officiants would be honored to be a part of your day. For us, it's all about promoting and encouraging the love of two people! 
Meet some of our officiants...
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Mary Averill
Ordained Minister
Minister Mary is the Emerald Coast's favorite coffee love, beach bumming wedding officiant. She is joyful, easy-going, and certain to put a smile on your face. After years of officiating weddings in West Tennessee, Mary moved to Panama City Beach in 2017. A natural born nurturer, in addition to officiating weddings, Mary is also a nurse. All of her couples and their families say she immediate feels like part of the family. She works hand in hand with your photographer to make sure she is not in the way for your most important memories. Mary's "love" philosophy can be summed up as, "I came here tonight because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with somebody, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible." (-Harry, When Harry Met Sally)
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Darla Bennett
Ordained Minister

Darla is a proud military brat and because of her many relocations as a child, she loves meeting new people and learning about different cultures. She has a natural happiness that is contagious and she would be honored to bring a special joy to your most precious day. Darla and her husband, Clay, have 3 adult boys. In her personal time, Darla loves exploring her new home town of Panama City, petting every dog she comes in contact with and enjoying great meals with good friends. “Love is a partnership between two unique people who bring out the very best in each other and who know that even though they are wonderful as individuals, they are even better together.” Barbara Cage


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Rev. Tom Averill

Ordained Minister

Rev. Tom and his wife (Minister Mary) and I moved to Panama City Beach in 2017. When he's not officiating weddings you can find him spending time with his wife and cats, hanging out at the beach, or reading a good book. Rev. Tom also teaches English Language Arts at a local middle school.

"My favorite part of officiating weddings is all of the great people that I get to meet!" -Rev. Tom 


Panama City Wedding Officiant Minister Celebrant Notary Public- Stacey
Stacey Hopkins
Notary Public
Stacey was born and raised a southern girl from northern Louisiana and has lived on the beautiful Gulf Coast for the past 26 years with her best friend and husband, Darrell. They enjoy almost all water activities, camping, and spending quality time with family and friends. Stacey is an avid animal lover and dreams of opening an animal rescue service. Stacey has been a Notary Public for over 12 years and feels it has lead to so many blessings.
"Being able to be a part of a couple's most special day is the most rewarding experience. I never hesitate when asked to help a couple unite in marriage!!"
Stacey Hopkins
Panama City Beach Wedding Officiant Minister Celebrant
Chantille Gooding 
Notary Public and Non-denominational BILINGUAL Minister
Chantille has traveled the world over and recognizes all of the special moments that build a person's story. Love is an experience that shapes our perspective for the better. Chantille believes in unity and has a shared desire to celebrate the gift of marriage with you! She is a peaceful kindred spirit who honors all belief systems and backgrounds; a true professional who warmly invites you to discuss your vision for a perfect day. The immeasurable love that couples share is worthy of a personally tailored ceremony to honor that joy. 
In her personal time, Chantille enjoys exploring the natural scenery of Florida and welcomes you to the Emerald Coast!
"When two people choose to unite, love becomes the greatest teacher to see beauty in the universe." - Chantille Gooding
Panama City Beach Wedding Officiant Minister Celebrant
Lacie Shepherd
Notary & Non-denominational Minister

Lacie is the owner and founder of The Wedding Shop by Uniting Happiness. Originally from Louisiana, she and her husband fell in love with the Panama City area, after her husband was stationed here in the Air Force. They quickly rooted their family of five here and decided this would be their forever home!

Lacie loves to be invited to officiate a couple’s wedding, and has been performing ceremonies for more than 12 years. As both an ordained minister and Florida Notary Public, Lacie is duly qualified to perform ceremonies in Florida, although she has traveled all over the country as a wedding officiant! She believes a wedding ceremony should reflect the couple’s love story, and she really enjoys helping create something magical and unique for each couple.

“Love is the most powerful force we know. It is such a humbling feeling when I am asked to be a part of a couple’s love story and encourage the growth of that force.” –Lacie Shepherd


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Jill Poyant

Ordained Minister

Performing wedding ceremonies is one of Officiant Jill’s greatest joys.  Whether you are contemplating an indoor, beach, or backyard ceremony, Jill will perform a special ceremony tailored just for you.   

Jill, a Wisconsin native, who moved to Panama City more than 10 years ago, is a fun, polished, and professional officiant who is an ordained, non-denomination minister of the Universal Life Church.  Her compassionate nature naturally puts couples at ease and helps to create a graceful ceremony.

Marriage is a time when two people come together and proclaim their love for one another and their desire to create a new life together. This union is a sacred event to which Jill is honored to bear witness.  She supports marriage equality and honors all religious, spiritual, and secular backgrounds.