'I now pronounce you ...'

Nancy Taussig is a popular presence at weddings, but not as a guest.

She's a notary who has just celebrated her 700th ceremony as the officiant.

"It's fun," said Taussig of Sarasota, who operates the business Barefoot Weddings with an accompanying Internet Web site¬

"I get to meet people from all over the world, everybody's happy. They may be stressed but they're happy," she noted.

Among the oddest of the weddings she's performed was one in which the groom rambled on, giving a wonderful, personal chat during the ceremony. When he turned to his bride, she simply replied, "Ditto."

"If the groom cries, usually the bride doesn't," said Taussig said. "Either they're both emotional or if he's the emotional type, she's very much in control."

Sometimes, they both cry or even giggle throughout their vows, said Taussig said.

Her favorite wedding was one in which the bride and groom had both flown in from Alaska and because it was so far, did not expect family members to attend. But the groom, who was a big, burly longshoreman, looked down the beach and saw someone resembling his brother.

"He kept looking at this guy saying, 'Boy, he sure looks like my brother,' ’’ remembered Taussig remembered.

She finally explained that it was the groom's brother, who had made the trip as a surprise.

"He just totally lost it," she said of the groom. "He started crying. He was so happy they had come so far to come to the ceremony."

SheTaussig has performed ceremonies on the beach, at private homes and on personal boats, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Selby Botanical Gardens, Ringling Museum, Crosley Estate, plus other locales in Manatee and Sarasota counties.

She got started in 1990 when her hair dresser asked her to officiate at her wedding.

Promoting her business through her Web site has brought clients from all over the world including Australia, England, France, Italy, Poland, Central America and Canada, she said.

She charges $150 plus travel expenses per ceremony and this year hopes to perform 100 marriages.

Married to antiques dealer Donald Taussig, Nancy Taussig says that her work as a notary enriches her marriage. The two plan to celebrate their 20th anniversary next month.

"When I come home from doing a wedding, I say (to him), 'You know, I'd marry you all over again,' ’’ Taussig said with a laugh. "It keeps it fresh, being around people who are getting married all the time."