If you ever wondered what goes into officiating your wedding this article if for you! Your wedding ceremony is usually about 30 minutes long but what makes that 30 minutes the most memorable 30 minutes of your life? The time the officiant spends preparing! The truth is I can only speak for myself and let you know that I invest many hours and days of time working with each couple I have the honor of marrying. When I initially receive an inquiry, I first check my calendar, review the website of the venue and set up an information sheet with all of the details provided in the inquiry. Once I do that, I reach out to a couple via their preferred method of communication, perhaps it's a phone call or maybe an email. Once I have connected with a couple, an important initial call is set up so that I can answer preliminary questions and set up an in-person consultation. The initial contact, research, emails and call can take an hour or two over the period of a few days.
Once the consultation is scheduled, I allow plenty of time to meet with the couple. I want us all to get to know one another without feeling rushed. Therefore, I spend as much time necessary to ensure each couple has the chance to share their story, ask me questions and discuss their ceremony wishes. I love to meet over a cup of coffee or tea (my treat!) so that we can relax and enjoy the consultation. I travel to the consultation location, spend at least an hour or two with each couple and then head back to my office to send follow-up information. Once the date is booked the joy of creating the personalized ceremony begins!
In creating a ceremony, I write an initial draft and consider all the details that the couple expressed as being important. I proofread and edit and then I pause. I like to let a draft sit for a bit so that I can go back to it with fresh eyes and make any further revisions that I feel are important. This process takes a number of hours over a few days until I think it's ready to send to the couple.
Once sent, I happily await feedback and make any changes requested until the ceremony feels exactly right to the couple. Sometimes this involves researching additional reading options, adding an element not previously considered or assisting with vow writing. This part of the process is very important because it leads to the final version for the wedding day. For that reason, I am always available to each couple to assist in edits, additions, moral support, suggested revisions, etc... My goal is to make sure the final draft reflects the ceremony each couple is dreaming of. This process takes as much or as little time as each couple needs but minimally several hours over the period of time leading to the wedding day.
As the day of the wedding approaches, I email each couple with reminders regarding licensing and items to have at the venue for the ceremony. I will touch base via phone, email or in person to discuss the rehearsal, the processional, last minute details, etc... Every couple I work with knows they can reach out to me at any time and I am happy to answer their questions.
On the day of the ceremony I arrive at least one hour ahead of ceremony start time. I check in with the venue, the other ceremony vendors and of course, the bride and groom! I oversee the signing of the license, complete the officiant section and provide a copy to the couple. I make sure the ceremony site is set and ready and that the wedding party is organized and assembled.
Finally the big moment arrives! The processional music starts and the ceremony begins! For the next 30 minutes of your life, time will stand still as I officiate your ceremony elements, and you share your vows and I do's. Rings are exchanged and you are pronounced married, share a kiss and head to the celebration!
After the wedding day, I file the signed license at the appropriate municipality. I continue to remain available to each couple for questions they may have about their marriage certificate or anything else. From the wedding day to the license filing I spend several hours in total depending on the location of the ceremony.
The bottom line is that I will spend as much time necessary to create ceremonies that resonate with each couple. I provide this information so that you can be equipped with knowledge when you are in the process of selecting an officiant. Keep in mind that your wedding ceremony is one of the most beautiful, meaningful, memorable and profound moments of your life; you will want an officiant who understands that. As an officiant, I find joy in investing the time each couple deserves to have the wedding ceremony they wish for.
As always, please feel free to reach out to me if I can be of assistance. Thank you and I wish you happy wedding planning!!