Sober, Stoned and Legal Issues

Legal issues

Legal Issues Guide

One of the biggest questions asked in the officiant Facebook groups I’m part of are about legal issues for Officiants. Now, I’m not super up on all legal matters, but I do know some. Better to know some than to ignore the good.

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The following video is from a Facebook Live I did on Thursday, November 9, ’18. Let me know what your biggest takeaway is.

Please consider yourself invited to join the private facebook group if you’re not already a member. Click here to join:   I DO Wedding Officiant Prep .

Is Online Ordination Legal?

For more information about why online ordination is legal in the United States, one of the largest internet ordination services, the Universal Life Church gives you the history including legal battles for the right to ordain on the internet, as well as see a copy of their Articles of Incorporation by clicking HERE.

Thanks for caring!

I look forward to hearing about your experiences leading a couple as they say their I Do’s.

Rev Crystal Y


For information on our new officiant prep online courses, fill out our simple Contact Us form. We’d love to hear from you!

Why Our Officiant Relationship is Unique

Our Officiant Relationship is Unique -- Courtney and Trenton

You can listen to me rant this blog post here:  Why Our Officiant Relationship with our Couple is Unique.

My Rant About the Unique Officiant Relationship with Couples

Recently I had a very long FB conversation with a fellow Officiant in an Officiant FB group. Right off the bat let me say that it was civil and we learned about each other.

What piqued my interest was the photo she’d posted on the page. In the photo she looked very happy that she’d just done this simple vow exchange ceremony. Her comment was that her friend had PhotoShopped the picture so her hair didn’t look as bad as it had in reality.

But what got me was the groom had gotten married while wearing a T-shirt with the word F__K on it. In Bold. Center of the shirt.

Really honey pie? You couldn’t find anything else to wear? That’s the statement about life you wanted to make on your wedding day?

What’s Disrespectful about F__K

I was floored. I commented that I’d have made him change his shirt before I’d have conducted anything for him. “I didn’t realize I’m getting as sour as I am” but I continued that it seemed very disrespectful of the serious AND joyful event that was taking place.

“The bride didn’t seem to mind,” she wrote. “After all I’m just a vendor providing a product or service for a fee, so who am I say anything?”

Which on one hand I can totally agree with.

But on the other hand, to think of ourselves as a vendor is to diminish the importance that we are standing there when two people make these promises to each other that tie their karma, their intentions, their past, present and future to one another.

If Their I DO’s Don’t Stick

If the couple doesn’t take their vows seriously and their I DO’s don’t stick, this breach of trust could cause a lot of grief, anger, disappointment, and heartbreak not only for themselves but for family and friends too.

AND let’s not forget it can cost a LOT of money to get unhitched.

Our Relationship is Unique

Because we are the ones who share the moment with them in a way no other vendor does, that we actually lead them in their vows and then sign on to the fact they’ve exchanged these important promises, our relationship with them IS unique.

And because for some (obviously not the groom in question) there is a bit of mystique that still surrounds (thankfully) the office of Officiant, we have the opportunity to bring to bear the spiritual significance of the event. As we stand in our spiritual “Office” we should also ooze that we respect and value what we do.

We are more than reciters of an often repeated ceremony.

We say more with our words than “have you come here freely to marry one another.”

We are the holders of the importance of the commitment of marriage, of the delight that love has graced our couple’s life.

We Officiants hold this importance first by respecting the institution of marriage and the courage a couple has to have in order to risk promising “until death do us part”, even “through all the changes of our lives” to one another.

And helping them to respect it as well.

If they don’t respect this, then we have a teaching moment on our hands.

Because I feel in many ways we’re way too casual about the kind of things that can do lasting harm.

The Internet is Your Congregation

Consider this too. Even though many of us were ordained by simply signing up online, the only reason anyone was able to do this is because we agreed the internet was our congregation.

And congregations are spiritual in nature.

There is still an aura of ministry around being an Officiant. And ministry gives us a power to influence, my friends. It touches that which is greater than one’s self and can bring magic, delight and wonder into our life.

An f’ing t-shirt can’t do that.

So recognize your “aura” shall we say, the power of being an Officiant and use it wisely. Lead your clients and potential clients through your words and actions that the ceremonial act they’re signing up for is a beautiful, awesome event.

Because love truly is a many splendored thing.

And Mr. F t-shirt, if you can’t for 5 minutes respectfully acknowledge that and relegate your crass garb to mowing the lawn or fixing the carburetor, then I’m not the Officiant for you. You can either take that shirt off for a civil one or I’ll refund the fee you paid me.

Can I say it again? Being an Officiant is one of the most fun professions ever. And it carries weight, power and as such deserves respect.

This is why I believe our relationship with our clients is unlike any other relationship on the wedding team.

Our service and product is of the heart. We’ll remain in our couple’s memory for many years to come.

Take Advantage of Teaching Moments

Take advantage of teaching moments. And stand for the beauty and depth of the promises two people are going to make to each other.

Thank you for listening. My rant is now over.


Rev. Crystal Yarlott


For information on our new officiant prep online courses, fill out our simple Contact Us form. We’d love to hear from you!

Photo courtesy of

Reminding Yourself of Joy in Marriage

Joy In Marriage

Finding Joy with Joy Fetel on Ted TalkSome of my former couples want to rediscover joy in marriage. I admire all of my couples when they set out for themselves the task of being married to the same person for the rest of his or her life. When I found a Ted Talk on Finding Joy  (click here to see the video don’t click on the video) on an old friend’s Facebook page, I loved what she was talking about.  Ingrid Fetell Lee’s ability to bring out the playful side of ourself is so refreshing! Because our joyful side unfortunately gets confined in squares and boxes, expectations and judgments.

The squares and boxes of expectations and losing sight of life as an adventure. One of the wonderful things about meditation is it has a way of loosening the fear of adventure — because after all  — adventure exists in the unknown future — and feels kind of, well, round.

Round as joy?!?!

Ms Ingrid talks about round objects carrying more of an energy of joy. I thought of of Native Americans who lived in round structures.

Of the geodesic dome that Buckminster Fuller invented based on the strongest structures in nature. Living in a round structure makes a huge difference in the energies contained there. Round structures help reduce the use of utilities too.

What about the wedding ring?

What about the wedding ring? Nice and round, right? Depending on how or even whether as an Officiant you do a ring blessing, how could this notion of round being a symbol and way of carrying joy into the world be used as a reminder of more than eternity.

Not that eternity isn’t enough!

Defining Joy

To set up a common ground with this Ted Talk, joy is defined as an “intense,  momentary experience of positive emotion, one that makes us smile and laugh and feel like we want to jump up and down.”

Get the picture? Feel the feeling? When I’m not focusing on being nervous but on serving my couples in their wedding ceremony, I feel like jumping up in down after I’ve pronounced them married.

Although I might also add, I feel like I have a tail and I want to wag it because I’m so happy for the couple.

Joy That’s Fickle

I love feeling that way no matter what! Because as an aside, joy is awfully fickle if it depends on my couples, the weather, my dogs’ health, where I’m sitting or how much gas is in my car/what it will cost to fill the tank up.

Joy then, has to depend on an internal compass.  Joy in marriage, depends on that same internal compass, not on the other.

So I came up with this little paragraph that I’ll offer my couples as an alternative to the ring blessing I usually do.

Check this little compliment to finding joy in marriage out and of course, leave me a comment about how it lands with you.

And I’m totally open to edits too. As in many things, this wording is just a place to start. The ring as a symbol can emphasize the potential of joy in marriage.

Draft Ring Blessing

“On your wedding day, you are full of joy for the love you’ve found in each other.

“You’re about to exchange a beautiful ring, a symbol of the unending joy that found you, and drew the two of you together to allow joy to flow through you to each other day after day.

“Joy comes not in having reason to be joyful, but in letting out from within you the joy you have CHOSEN to share with another, not BECAUSE of another.

“Today as you place this ring on your beloved’s finger, repeat these words, ‘I give you this ring as a symbol of the joy I feel in loving and committing myself to you. ‘”

I hope this option inspires you to let out some joy from within you, and maybe wear some pink and orange polka dots!


Rev Crystal

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Comparing Shaman and Quickie Officiant Styles

Shaman or Quickie Officiant

Are you a Shaman or a Quickie Officiant?

Do you know what style of Officiant you want to be?

While there are shades of grey in between the two types of Officiants, in order to be found by the kind of clients / couples you want, you need a good picture in your head of who you’re serving.

I have a primary type, and occasionally I bend and get involved with ones who aren’t my ideal client. I’m a Shaman Officiant but I’ll do last minute Quickie ceremonies if the couple lets me add more meat.

Here’s the two types of Officiants as I see them:

The Quickie Officiant

An extension of a Justice of the Peace. The Quickie Officiant does shorter weddings for a minimum fee. His or her ceremonies are primarily out of a book they purchased from the online ordination service. The Quickie Officiant is primarily concerned with the number of weddings he or she can do in a day without as much regard to the content and movement of the wedding ceremony. They delight in drive-through weddings, last minute bookings, and love crazy theme weddings.

The Shaman Officiant

This Officiant is a creative personality. S/He has researched options and has compiled resources to help him or her put together the most stunning, inspiring ceremony possible. They may love theme weddings like Zombie or Star Wars, but they’re as happy to be part of a contemporary ceremony as they are a traditional ceremony.

So where do you fall in this spectrum?

One isn’t better than the other. What matters is how you see yourself. Because the people who need what you have to offer are looking for you. Are there common traits that go with being either a Quickie or a Shaman style Officiant? Let’s see…

A Few Pros and Cons of Being A Quickie Style Officiant

There a couples who only want a quickie wedding. Being reminded of the joys and responsibilities of marriage don’t matter to them. So your role as the Officiant is not as involved.

You have to depend on volume and probably more marketing because your fees are lower and you have to do more ceremonies to make enough money to live on.

Your couples may love each other dearly and be together forever. They want a simple, “I Do” and done wedding ceremony so they can be on with the joys and transformations of being married. They’re a no fuss, no muss couple.

OR — the couple has no depth. They don’t really care if their marriage succeeds or fails. At least consciously.

You can usually arrive at your wedding when it begins because you probably won’t have many set ups for special ceremonies. If you’re late it’s more than likely not a big deal.

The vows you offer your couple or that they usually bring to the table are traditional.

Your ceremony, exchange of rings and vows and pronouncement is usually over in 5 minutes at the least, 10 minutes at the most.

Pros and Cons of Being A Shaman Officiant type

Your couples tend to be more involved in creating their ceremony. They know the wedding ceremony ritual is an important statement and a community event.

You have a role to play because you realize you’re stepping into a role typically prescribed to men and who have a religious organization or tradition behind them. You are your own unique acceptance or twist on this role.

As a Shaman Officiant you investigate and care more deeply about your relationship with the couple, and may in fact, be a friend or family member.

Have to arrive early to a ceremony site to make sure more elements are set up correctly so they come off without a hitch or few hitches shall I say, during the live ceremony.

You take your time preparing a couple’s ceremony. That’s the good news. The bad news is it takes much more time to prepare a ceremony.

Your wedding ritual typically lasts from 15 to 30 minutes.

Your fee is much higher than the Quickie Officiant’s due to the greater prep time and delivery.

You truly want your couples to be sent off into their happily-ever-after by a really great ceremony.

You depend on referrals, more content marketing and networks, and good reviews to earn your living as a Shaman Officiant.

Tools  to Succeed as either a Shaman or Quickie Style Officiant

So, what kind of Officiant are you? What tools do you need to take on your job to the best of your ability?

Remember to check out the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program to see how it can meet your style, and your needs.

Being an Officiant is a wonderful profession. Enjoy it no matter what your style is. And know I believe in you!

I look forward to seeing you the first one to walk down the aisle!

Rev Crystal Y

For information on our new officiant prep online courses, fill out our simple Contact Us form. We’d love to hear from you!

The Problems with Being Humble

Henry Ford was not humble but About

Whether you come from a religious background or not, you’ve been confronted with the concept of being humble. It’s highly likely, if you asserted yourself in the company of very religious people, you’ve been accused of being self-promoting, and you should humble yourself. In other words, back off, calm down and get a grip on how lowly you really are.

Grab that Dictionary defines humble  this way: “Having a feeling of insignificance, inferiority, subservience. Low in rank, importance, status, quality.

For the non-religious, just to get you up to speed, Jesus supposedly said, in Matthew 23:12, “And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.” The traditional interpretation of this passage has been that somehow, if you stand up for yourself or acknowledge what you might be good at, you’re going to get some bad karma, you’ll be “abased”.

If you belittle yourself, at some point you’ll be exalted in rank or character. Your ship is more likely to come in if you don’t think much of yourself. Or go for your dreams.

How’s that workin’ for us?

This understanding of scripture has been used to get people to conform to a weak sense of self and purpose, to acquiesce to other’s wishes. Others, who by the way, are being anything but humble by telling another person THEY should be humble.

Warm Up Your Engine and Drive!

We all have gifts and talents, especially if we have others around us who encourages us to use them. (Like I do in my Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep course :-)) It’s in our nature to use our gifts as much as it’s natural to rev the engine of that new Mustang convertible we’re going to test drive.  We’re going to explore and expand these talents, take ’em for ride and see how they do in life.

Or to quote something else Jesus is supposed to have said, (and I paraphrase a bit), “Let your engine warm up and drive, don’t hide it in the garage.” Matthew 5:16.

Too many people, especially if there’s a profession or goal related to religion or spirituality (such as being an Officiant), we may get this unconscious hit that to believe we’re good at something, and promote it, there’s something wrong with us. That in fact, bad stuff is gonna happen.

Back to the Self-Esteem Issue

People may walk around with this terrible sense of self-esteem thinking that believing in their gifts, their talents, AND charging appropriately for them is somehow going to get them in hot water. (Case in point-Officiants who charge so little for their services. Maybe that’s because officiating is still connected to religious beliefs we should be doing everything for free because God’s gonna take care of us. Well God will take care of us by inspiring us what to fee to charge. But that’s a whole other article to write!) Because NOT thinking much of yourself is what’s really going to keep at bay that ship you want to come in.

Making a List and Folding it Twice

Here’s a way this misunderstanding of humble shows its ugly face. It’s so much easier for most of us to name the things that are wrong with us than it is to list the things that are great about our self. Go ahead, right now make a 2-column list on an folded 8×11 sheet of paper. Take 5 minutes. Write down things that are good about yourself and things you need to fix about yourself. Go ahead, do it. Now which list is longer?

I rest my case.

I’ve been proficient at naming what’s wrong with me and how I’ve screwed up. I wish it weren’t true but ask my friends. I’m very practiced at being critical of myself.  I know I’m not alone in this proficiency. HOWEVER I AM getting better at believing in myself.  I’m living proof of the results of being one’s own worst enemy. Stagnation. Reluctance. Suffering from the disease of people pleasing.

Heck — I may have stood up in front of anywhere from 50 -500 people  and delivered a great talk. And what trap could I fall into? I’d focus on the few people who didn’t seem to pay attention, or who didn’t accept my premise. Who was I to think I had anything to offer?

Better back down and get back to being a nobody with nothing to say. Someone or some miracle will happen to save me someday!

“By this premise, I should be riding high on the hog because I’ve certainly “humbled” myself often enough.”

Reality Check

Reality check: What I / we / us focus on grows. The more I coulda woulda shoulda myself, the greater momentum is generated to prove over and over what’s wrong with me. “What you fear comes upon you,” it says somewhere in the Bible. What we repeat over and over, focus on and live inside of grows in magnitude, whether it’s self-appreciation or depreciation.

We gotta stop that crap of making ourself small when we really are naturally big. Created in the image and likeness of goodness it’s been said in some alternative spiritual circles. Believe in yourself. In your abilities. In promoting and offering the world your unique talents and skills. You know, let your engine rev!

Try This Humble On For Size

I’d like to suggest a new meaning for the word humble. Try this on for size.

To be humble is to be open. So rather than having these preconceived ideas about ourself, if we go back to basics, we become open to our self and the possibilities for goodness without prejudice. If we’re open from the standpoint of beginning again we are more likely to see from a new perspective.

We become elevated because we have no where to go but up!

Rewrite of an Old Teaching

Here’s the rewrite of that scripture: “And whosoever thinks they’ve got it all figured out is going to miss out. But if you’re open, you’ll see from a new perspective that can show you a whole other world of wonder.”

Much better definition, don’t you think?

So seek to be open, with a sense of wonder and curiosity about life. See yourself in a new light, not a negative light. Give yourself a break.

As an Officiant, if you want to really serve your couples — if you want to stand out in the crowd of so many online ordained officiants who may have little or no respect for the responsibility of ordination, you have to know what’s good and unique about you and your talents. You have to be the new humble — know and promote what’s good and unique about yourself and how that will make your couple’s wedding day all the better. Because the good that you are is now at THEIR service.

Check out the wonders that are within you and let those beautiful facets of your character shine. Make that column of good qualities 10 times longer than the negatives. Go on. Do it. And get yourself into the habit of exalting those qualities, rather than those parts of yourself that are “still under construction.”

And I’ll see you being the first one walking down the aisle.


Rev Crystal Y

For information on our new officiant prep online courses, fill out our simple Contact Us form. We’d love to hear from you!

How Not to Get Wedding Referrals

Wedding Referrals from the Homestead Resort

A Fabulous Place

In the area I live, there’s a multi-wedding site venue called The Homestead Resort. It’s a fabulous place to visit whether it’s for a wedding, or is just a weekend romp. For an Officiant, it’s the kind of place you want to get wedding referrals from.

It happens to be 35 miles from where I live.

There’s a two-lane highway there, with two three-lane passing zones in the hills.

Oh. I should mention there’s a big city, Traverse City, to be exact in between where I live and The Homestead. TC has a huge number of festivals and activities going on all summer and fall.

With lots of people from out-of-town visiting. It can take a while to get through town when it’s packed with tourists. And floats. And cars, trucks and bikes.

When I first started officiating, I didn’t know how unpredictable getting to The Homestead on a weekend could be.

A Good Reputation

I was smart enough to know building a good reputation as reliable with the folks who coordinated weddings there was a good idea. They could refer potential wedding couples to me. My first two weddings there went well and everyone involved seemed happy.

One particular sunny Saturday, I started out 50 minutes before the wedding was supposed to start, knowing I was cutting it close. But I was SURE I would make it on time. Pedal to the medal, right?

And you know what’s coming, right? I ran into two — count them — two festivals, more traffic than I could imagine and I missed my turn. I was speeding like a bat outta hell which I don’t like to do.

I was only 5 minutes late. That didn’t seem like too big of a deal to me. Some of my brides and grooms waited 1/2 an hour for their tardy best friend to arrive at their wedding.

I apologized profusely, the wedding went beautifully and I thought I’d redeemed myself.

But the next year I didn’t get any wedding referrals.

I visited the venue before the next season started so I could ask the venue coordinator, what happened? She told me not being on time wasn’t tolerated — no matter what.

Repercussions of Not Being On Time

Why? A late minister means a late start which can mean upset brides and grooms, cold food, melted ice for cocktails and other events having to be started late.

But I loved The Homestead and wanted to get back in their good graces. We agreed that if I arrived consistently to the venue one hour ahead of time, she’d put me back on their referral list.

Which I did. I got back in their good graces. It all worked out. I do more weddings there now than ever.

The point is, you have to get to your wedding on time. You cannot guess what the road conditions are, festivals proceeding with efficiency, traffic being normal (including funerals, and reunion caravans). Being late is stressful on you — isn’t it????

Plan Ahead

So YOU have to make sure you plan ahead, way ahead.

You HAVE to prepare for the worst and keep your cool. More depends on you than you may be aware of. Thanks to technology, we have GPS’s within in easy reach now. Even they aren’t perfect.

I talked about this in the pdf you downloaded a while ago called Seven Easy Fixes to Prevent the Most Common Mistakes New Officiants Make.

A good reputation is worth lots of love, appreciation and thousand’s of dollars. 

You deserve to have everything go well for you as an Officiant.

You deserve to have everything go well for you as an Officiant. My couples give me great joy and I adore the privilege of being the one to lead them in their wedding vows and inspire their guests in my Wedding Address.

Get to the church / beach / venue on time

Call the local Chamber of Commerce. Double check your GPS. Call the venue to see what they know could be a problem around their location. Contact the venue coordinator to see if he or she knows something.

And I’ll see you walking first down the aisle!

Take care,
Rev. Crystal

PS What I mean about walking first down the aisle is an Officiant often walks in first as a signal the ceremony is beginning.

Crystal Yarlott, Officiant

There's Many Officiants in the World

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