In 1980, Elizabeth Turk, who worked in a law office, became a notary public. In Florida, notaries can perform weddings; and “instantly, people started asking me to marry them,” says Turk. But she realized, “Nobody was paying attention during the ceremony. We’ve all heard it over and over.”
A lifelong romantic, Turk says that even as a child she “was searching for something to fulfill my soul.” She decided to create deeper, richer weddings by writing her own ceremonies, bringing each couple’s unique love story to life.
Thousands of weddings later, Turk has married couples all across the United States; half her clients come from other countries. Most find her through her website or on several wedding websites, where she’s earned top rankings.
“I love telling family and friends things about the couple they never knew,” says Turk. One bride, afraid to tell her mother that she met her groom online, asked Turk to break that news. For another groom, she wrote a poem from his deceased father. The groom’s tearful mother told her, “What you said to my son was exactly what his father would have written.”
A bride wrote: “It blew my mind that we never met until you stood before me. You knew me to my heart.”
Fifteen years ago, Turk became a licensed minister, to increase her credibility and “because I wanted God to be at every ceremony,” she says.
A savvy marketer, Turk belongs to the chamber and networking groups, and researches wedding trends. She can handle the entire ceremony, bringing a sound system and portable arbor.
Red tide has cut this season’s bookings in half, says Turk. She also does celebrations of life, and the region’s demographics are keeping that business on track.
But weddings are her first love. She describes a recent ceremony for a North Port couple in their 80s. She expected a quiet event. Instead, their house was crammed with family and balloons. “Love can come at any age,” she says. “Never give up on love.”