I’ve thought about this blog post for a while now. I’d like to say weeks, but it’s more like months, probably even years. Why would someone choose me to officially and legally marry them? What makes me any different than all the other ministers, officiants and celebrants out there? Aren’t we all working under the same premise? For the most part yes, we are. We meet with couples, we gather information about their relationship, we create a ceremony that best represents the couple, we show up at rehearsal and make sure it all runs smoothly, and then we show up the day of the wedding, do our part, sign the license, wish you a happy life together and then go home. So why does it matter who you choose to marry you? It matters because you want someone you can connect with, someone who “gets” you and your spouse and what you two are trying to create as a couple. So I’ve decided to give you three reasons why you should choose me. And since I’ve been officiating weddings for over 9 years we’re just going to skip over the above mentioned duties. Of course, I can do that. All celebrants can. I’m here to give you the reasons why you should choose me.
Reason Number One: I understand that your relationship is not perfect nor will I try to convince you it should be. I am not here to sugar-coat anything about marriage nor to convince you that if you follow a set standard of marital vows your marriage will last forever. What I am here to do is to challenge you both to figure out what goals you have as a couple and to use those goals to determine the foundation for your wedding ceremony. Because your wedding ceremony is the day you publicly declare your love and commitment to one another, you should be thinking about the base for your relationship. How are you going to work out differences? How are you going to resolve conflict? It isn’t just about soaring doves, love, and hearts, there are going to be some flame throwing tantrums and possibly some pillow smothering pondering moments in the years to come. The time is now to figure out the way you are going to handle them and effectively resolve them so everyone feels validated.
Reason Number Two: I understand that what marriage means to Jane is not what marriage means to Jack. Depending on how you grew up, where you grew up, or what your example of marriage was, everyone is going to approach it from a different angle. The basis of vows are commitment, faithfulness, and support and these are great vows to speak, but what do they mean to you? Maybe Jane thinks commitment means her spouse will do everything in their power to support every spontaneous decision she makes. Or maybe Jack thinks faithfulness is broken when his spouse reconnects to a former high school flame via social media. And maybe Jane thinks support includes financial bailouts when the credit card gets a bit too high or the mortgage is late. When thinking about vows it is important to find out what is important to your spouse-to-be and then understand that when you make your commitment you know exactly what you are promising them. My job in that first meeting is to help you find out what marriage means to you and what marital relationship you idealized when you were growing up. It helps to understand your expectations of marriage.
Reason Number Three: I care about your ceremony and you a whole heckova lot. Sometimes to the point of being a bit obsessive. I will write and re-write my sample ceremonies over and over again. I will search online and in the many books I own for words to express what you want to say. I will pace the floor of my office repeating your ceremony over and over again until I have it almost memorized. I will check my email every half hour after I send you a sample ceremony script or a change you have requested. I listen diligently to your guests after the ceremony to hear comments, hoping against hope that they are positive. (For the record and to toot my own horn, I’ve gotten loads of compliments from wedding guests) I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment on my drive home from your wedding but at the same time I feel a bit of a let-down because it’s over and I already miss your giddy faces when I pronounced you married. I wait impatiently for your photographer to upload photos so I can see your faces during the entire ceremony in hopes that you seem happy and fully involved in the moment. I let you know in my thank you letter that you are free to contact me any time for anything, some of you do but most of you don’t. I will open my album of photos from all of my weddings and reminisce like I do the wedding photos of my own children. Sometimes, I hear that you have separated or gotten divorced and I might reach out to you to let you know that I’m here for you and that no matter what people are saying around you, I am here to support you. The bottom line is, you are now officially part of my life. I like to connect with you through social media and see photos of a house you bought, the family you have started, or the new job you have taken. No matter what, I care about you and what your life is like after my job as your celebrant is over.
And there you are, three reasons why you should choose me as your celebrant. If that sounds like someone you want to help you create your wedding ceremony, we should talk! If not, I wish you luck finding the right celebrant for you, there are so many great celebrants to choose from! Until next time,