“You’ll do that?” is a reoccurring phrase I hear many couples say to me when I meet with them over coffee somewhere.
In an age where marriage officiating is becoming more of a “job” instead of an opportunity and privilege, I’ve seen too many couples miss out on some of the most powerful benefits to finding someone who will not simply marry them… but marry them. Here are 5 quick things to consider before choosing the person to marry you:
1 – Choose an officiant that cares about the “couple”; not the “gig”.
I keep in touch with a number of the couples I’ve married over the years, get their birth announcements, do their baby dedications, etc. If you find someone simply to take care of the “abra cadabra” to get you married, you are missing out on a powerful opportunity to have someone give you some perspective and thoughts on how to turn a great “wedding” into a great “marriage”.
It is important to find someone who genuinely cares about you as a couple; not simply the in’s and out’s of the ceremony before moving onto the next gig. Make sure you find someone who actually cares about “you” and “your” needs. Believe me, that will make the ceremony all the more impacting… because you’re celebrating this moment… together.
2 – Choose an officiant who makes the ceremony “yours”… not “theirs”.
I’ve heard the horror stories too many times from couples who have found officiants who give them little wiggle room on what to do during the ceremony. It’s like paying someone to simply “cut and paste” a ceremony together.
Bottom line: Every ceremony should reflect the couple… not the officiant. As I tell all the couples I marry, there is very little that HAS to be done for a marriage to be “official”. That’s why they can easily be done in the privacy of an office. Everything that “you” want to have in your wedding should be able to be accommodated by the person who is supposed to be making “your” day special, not the other way around.
3 – Choose an officiant who takes care of “you” through the ENTIRE process.
If they hand you the paperwork to register the wedding… you have the wrong person. If they tell you they expect their spouse to be invited to the reception… you have the wrong person (I actually tell people to save their money by not inviting me to the dinner… yet many still want me to come due to the relationship we end up building. It should NEVER be an extra expense simply expected by the officiant. That to me is selfish and insensitive).
4 – Choose an officiant who makes the “wedding” meaningful… not the “ceremony”.
As mentioned before, I end up connecting on a very personal level with all the couples I marry. It isn’t intentional. It just seems to organically happen. It is because we journey together as we plan it. We laugh. We cry. We share a very personal and special bond as we prepare for their special day. So by the time the wedding day comes the couple finds the ceremony has so much more meaning to it. It’s laced and marinated with a journey of vulnerability, truthfulness, and honesty. It’s two people pledging their love to one another; with the person officiating it knowing just how deep and powerful that love is.
5 – Choose an officiant who is in it for the long haul… not the moment.
I tell every couple I meet with, “If you hit a speed bump in life, call me and we’ll get together.” In all my wedding ceremonies I can’t think of many that have taken me up on that offer, but simply to know that they have someone to lean on when times get a little tougher (and YES they will) is such a sweet assurance. In my opinion, an officiant is not simply “performing” a marriage… they are “supporting” it. So he or she should actually desire for it to succeed… and continue to succeed; at whatever junction it is at.
If you find an officiant like that… you are well on the way to having someone not only care about the ceremony… but more importantly, care about the two people who are the ones making the commitment to each other for the rest of their lives.
At least that’s how I see it,