You’re an unscary person by nature
Not everyone at a wedding is looking at the officiant as someone they want to meet.
They have, we all have, our preconceived perceptions. Tell me if I’m wrong about that, please!
No matter how great of a job you do as an officiant, people may shy away from you. In fact, some look downright uncomfortable when you walk their way as if you’re a really scary person out to do them harm.
There’s been times when I looked at a wedding guest, and I wondered if they thought if they talked to me, I was going to put them on the spot.
A scary, uncomfortable spot.
No vampire fangs
It’s clear I don’t have vampire fangs nor horns coming out of my head. I’m pretty darn sure I don’t give dirty looks or convey any vibes that I expect a confession about anyone’s lack of attending church or not praying every night.
I can’t tell you how many plane trips I’ve taken and when the poor person next to me asked me what I did for a living and I told them I was a minister. Oi vey. People sometimes sank in their seat and the conversation would revert to something they felt guilty about.
After enough of these kinds of encounters I just told row mates that I worked with people on a personal level. Then we could have a decent conversation.
If religion never came up I’d be happy as a clam whether at a wedding or on a plane, train or in an automobile.
Projection and expectations are scary
Too often when people hear the word “minister”, “reverend”, even “officiant”, they are unconsciously scared. They may assume you’re religious and by association, judgmental. They may irrationally think you’ll have expectations they can’t live up to (“I don’t go to church even though I know I should”) , (“Then don’t if you don’t want to,” I say to myself).
These fears of expectations originate in the eye of the beholder, in that person’s perceptions.
Or on the other end of the spectrum, certain guests want to match up holiness points. (It happens, what can I say). A kind of spiritual pissing match. “Oh yes, I can officiate too.” “I pray every day.” “My pastor is my best friend.” (I’ve heard them all.) It’s scary to see the ego come out that way, but again, it happens.
The sad part is
What can end up happening is people shy away from making a connection that could be really fun, helpful and even meaningful.
And yes, may even give an opportunity for you to receive a well-earned compliment. “That was really a nice ceremony you did.”
The bests unscary way to connect with people as who YOU are is to help change perceptions. To avoid the perception of-who-I-am-and-what-I want-from-you trap, I have a few questions I ask that help a huge amount to smooth the choppy waters of discomfort.
Let me say quickly here as a kind of caveat that I believe it is our inherent nature to love and let ourself BE loved, but time and culture have made us wary and maybe even downright scared of each other.
Questions to break the ice
So here are the major questions I use that can help you if you run into the same kinds of situations (and I’m SURE you will).
- “Who of the couple do you know?” is the first question.
- “What can you tell me about him/her?” comes next.
- “How long have you known bride/groom?” works well for the last question.
These simple questions can break the ice and give you an opportunity to connect with a friend or family member of your couple. But you may also make a connection with someone who’s either getting married too, or knows someone who is getting married.
You can’t be on all the time
Really, though…you shouldn’t have to worry about making everyone comfortable or always making a connection. That’s not possible. You can’t be “on” all the time.
Sometimes I’m not in the mood for meeting people. But when I do walk out into a gathering of wedding guests, drinks in hand or searching for one, It’s much more fun to engage people.
When you do want to connect and make the impression YOU want to make, try using these questions to break the ice before or after a wedding you’re a part of.
Moments to remember
A nice connection can lead to moments you’ll remember, and hopefully they will too. You may be one who helps others to realize not all officiants/ministers/pastors are created from the same disparaging cloth. We’re really quite unscary!
How I can help
Helping you get more confidence and skillful is what I’m here for. I want to help you make a connection and build your reputation as a great officiant without risking sticking your foot in your mouth.
When reaching out to people you don’t know is done right, schmoozing with guests and breaking the ice will be a great way to get more credibility as an officiant. Being unscary is easier and more fun than you may imagine it to be.
Before you officiate next time
Please feel free to fill out the Contact Us form (won’t take rocket science to figure it out) before you officiate for your first wedding, big or small. We’re here to help you make the most of your ordination and show up as the most unscary person at the wedding.
Your unscary helper,
People believe they’re good at multi-tasking these days. Before you stop reading this blog because you think I’m going to bash multi-tasking, wait just a sec. Give me a minute more of your time between reading and eating your lunch.
Doing more than one thing at once seems a necessary evil because so many of us have a to do list that needs serious negotiating with an army of helpers.
We all do it, even though there’s plenty of research (here’s info from Forbes) refuting our belief that we can effectively multi-task.
Which may be one reason I read on FB pages for and by officiants that they can wear more than one hat at a wedding. The Officiant may be the planner, musician, the DJ or florist. Some are also the make-up artist.
One officiant doubled as the photographer. S/He must have had four arms in order to lead the ceremony AND take pictures at the same time!
A way to make ends meet
I know that making a living on an officiant’s fee alone can be tough. So adding more services seems like the logical things to do in order to help make ends meet.
Kind of like services multi-tasking.
Having tried it myself, I felt extremely fortunate that my bride was easy-going, gracious and much more flexible than I would have been.
Like when the very expensive cake I’d ordered for her on the day of her wedding was the wrong size. But I’d negotiated an alternative which she was fine with. And time changes for getting into the beautiful venue didn’t phase her at all.
What I don’t want to get caught up doing
But I don’t want to have to manage a microphone that doesn’t work properly when I’m leading the ceremony. Or have to calm an excited vendor who’s running late and can’t find the location.
Getting the groomsmen to the site on time or replacing the wrong color goblets while I’m focusing on inviting the OM energy to the ceremony is a distraction I don’t want to have to deal with.
Multi-providing within the ceremony
Where I do “multi-task” is to add services to the ceremony itself. The term is multi-providing bonuses such as offering a wide array of special ceremonies a couple can choose from. Or using a questionnaire that will knock their socks off and elicit stories that completes their ceremony in a wonderful way.
For me that fits the bill of commanding a higher fee. What I do isn’t really multi-tasking but it is being inventive, collaborative and attentive. All with the same focus – creating a meaningful ceremony and putting the couple at ease.
My one stop service: Keeping my own energy focused and not spread out all over the place on the day of their wedding.
More power to you
This is what’s right for me. I know that necessity is the mother of invention. If you wear more than one hat by service multi-tasking, you’ve decided multi-services is necessary for you to have more fun and/or earn the kind of income you need. More power to you!
Wearing one hat
Focusing on wearing well that one hat, instead of multi-tasking or multi-servicing and providing that one focus is the choice I’ve made for my wedding business. I ask and receive a higher fee because of this choice. My chosen task: leading my couple in a meaningful, fun, romantic wedding ceremony where I am 100% present for them.
Leave a comment what your situation is and how you came to be a one task or a multi-service officiant. We’d love to hear your story.
For more ways you can improve your skills as an officiant, be sure to check out the 8-part online course, The Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program.
Or if you’d like personal coaching to get your officiant business up and running sooner than later with marketing and creative inspiration, Contact me by filling out our easy peazy form. I love helping new officiants get the right resources for them, and their marketing off on the right foot!
You’re always welcome to apply to join our private FB Group. To join, click here: Private IDOWedPrep
Customizing Can Be Crazy Easy
Not every wedding needs to be highly customized. But you will build YOUR confidence when you customize. Plus you’ll discover your couples are more satisfied when you add some of your own flare and personality to the ceremony.
AND in a crazy easy way, make their ceremony unique to them.
Here’s how to get more information on the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program (Special Vacation price until August 7 at 10:00 p.m.) or the Unforgettable Officiant Email System.
Fill out our simple form: Contact Us.
Be sure to participate in Wedding Tip Wednesdays, every Tuesday in the private Facebook group for officiants wanting to stay tuned and ready in the highly competitive world of officiating.
To apply to join the group, click Private I DO Wed Prep on Facebook
Is the Ready, Willing and Able program right for you? Contact us and we can chat whether it’s your best choice. We don’t want to sell you anything you don’t benefit from.
What’s the Unforgettable Officiant Email System about? It’s crazy easy to use too. Find out what it’s about by clicking here: UOESystem
Contact Us and I’ll get back with you to schedule a quick chat on the phone.
Collaborator and Creator,
I DO, Wedding Officiant Prep
“You should be charging $2000 for your services.”
At first I didn’t say anything. I was watching every “that’s impossible” thought in my head come charging to the surface. ‘He’s gotta be kidding. He couldn’t possibly know what the market is like — all the competition!’
What Would You Tell Him You Charge for Your Services?
Tell me — what would YOUR “that’s impossible” remarks have been?
The man on the other end of the phone was a person who’d built businesses, repaired businesses and flipped all kinds of companies. And he’d found me, I didn’t go looking for him. He wanted to learn to be an Officiant. But what he was saying was a challenge to my own beliefs about WHAT AN OFFICIANT CAN CHARGE for her or his services.
His Reasoning about What to Charge for Services
“A couple is putting a huge amount of time, resources and energy into their wedding day,” he explained (and I’m paraphrasing here because yes, I was driving and talking on the phone. My bad…), “so why not charge $2000 considering all the different options, services and bonuses you provide them?”
Which is true. I didn’t raise my prices until I found unique ways to add value. The ceremony my couples get, their results, are worth the fee. Plus guests regularly and even predictably go gaga for the ceremony that gets created for the couple.
One of the lowest paid on a wedding team
“But I just don’t find those kinds of people coming to me, “I explained back. “Officiants are one of the lowest paid of all the wedding professionals.” I took note of the poster of the Henry Ford quote that started to flash in my mind, “Argue for your limitations and they’re yours”. “But I do charge more than most people in my area.”
My fees aren’t all that cheap, unlike many other officiants. I’ve seen what they charge. NOT MUCH. I felt a bit defensive. It’s not as if I don’t value my services AT ALL…
Whether the conversation I continued to have with him was a curiosity call, a sales pitch from me to him or him to me, the internal dialogue I was having felt far more important.
Thank you, sir, wherever you are, whatever you are doing, for nothing other than challenging my own assumptions.
Because yes, I do have a higher charge for my services. And I also provide more services than what so many ask for at first — a short and sweet ceremony.
The couple that requests short and sweet relays this request as if they don’t want to ask too much for themselves, either. Probably, they have little sense of what kind of magic can be infused into a ceremony by a skilled Officiant.
Chances are if you’re that Officiant would you be reluctant to value and accordingly highly charge for your services?
Or are you a real deal? And why? Why should you be the deal?
Requests for Short and Sweet
Other times it also feels like a short and sweet ceremony is the quickest and least painless entrance fee they have to pay in order to be ushered with their guests into the big bash party afterwards.
The food. The drink. The flirting. The parent child dances that make the older folk cry and the younger folk wish they’d hurry up and make way for the REAL dancin’.
All that money, all that time finally taking shape and form with or without a ceremony that was out of the ordinary. Solemnizing a marriage may have been sweet, or short, or deep and engaging. Light-hearted and witty.
Whatever tone the ceremony takes, it should be an effective beginning to the day a community comes together and lets the couple know, “We have your back and we believe in you.”
I can’t claim that every ceremony is going to be touched with magic, that everyone will be amazed, inspired, captured by the couple’s love story that I’ve put into words for them.
Here’s the continuing dialogue I’m inviting you to participate in with me. Why DO officiants have such a hard time charging a fee that truly demands attention and respect? That reflects the value of what the power of a ceremony is?
And results in a memory that will be theirs forever.
I’m asking you, my fellow officiants, what factors makes us reluctant to charge money for a service for such an important life event?
We don’t have to be charging $2000 but why do so many only charge $50 to $100 and feel unsure about even charging that much?
What would your conversation be if the man who called me, called you? What would you WANT to tell him you charge for your services and what you ACTUALLY charge for your services?
Let me know. I’m curious.
To the best inner and outer dialogues between all of us.
Rev. Crystal Y
Jump in on the ongoing conversations, or start your own.
For new Officiants, be sure to grab a copy of The 5 Common Mistakes New Officiants Make.
Inspire and Celebrate — A Wedding Address can do THAT?
Your wedding address is an opportunity to inspire, engage and entertain your couple AND their guests. Many officiants know this is possible through our Wedding Address. You know what I mean by Wedding Address? The WA is the words we say about love, marriage, and our couple’s love story.
So how do we use this opportunity without being preachy or sounding overbearing? We don’t want people to fall asleep or look everywhere but at the couple and you, right?
The goal is to be the best officiant you can be:
Engaging. Effective. Enjoyable.
The Spiritual Element
There’s a spiritual element to being an officiant that is super important. Here you have all these people, even if it’s just 3 or 4, that bring energy to this awesome event in a couple’s life. This gathering engages the principle JC talked about here, “When two or more are gathered in my name there I am in the midst of them”. This principle of bringing so many people together at the same time has bearing on what happens in a wedding ceremony.
Not about Religion, so Hang On
Don’t get wompy on me if you aren’t religious. I know I’m quoting Jesus a lot here. This isn’t about the religion of Jesus. It’s about relevance and connection. So please, keep reading.
“Gathered in my name” doesn’t have to be about Jesus. Jesus was a manifestation of love (“God/The Father and I are One”) in a time when no one else knew what the heck that meant or who every woman, child and man really was – Marvelously Created.
Knowing the Quantum Connection
Jesus was someone who knew his connection with his higher self or God. The creator of the Universe! So “two or more gathered in my name” is a group of people gathered together in the name of love, of knowing the deepest connection and reality of all.
Isn’t that what a wedding is? People gathered in the name of love? (Okay, good food, drinks and rock ‘n rolling too). Dancing within the quantum field of creation. (I apologize to any physicists for my clumsy reference of the quantum field who may be reading this.)
Adding the Woo
To add a bit of Woo (I LOVE this word Woo) – the spiritual element or principle that sets the law of attraction into motion CONSCIOUSLY is this: Woo and you is how YOU as the officiant hold the space for Love to kick into high gear. Your officiant skills are engaged so the couple’s love is served and honored during the ceremony by calling it out from the git go of meeting your couple and preparing the ceremony.
This is the first level of adding the Woo factor to a wedding ceremony.
First To Do’s
To add the Woo factor to your wedding ceremony you gotta become the Woo. There’s so many ways of doing this, gang, so here’s my goal: to encourage you to use the law of attraction consciously and let it help you tap into the wisdom and wonder that’s within you. To make life easier for you. It just takes practice.
So here’s a way to begin:
- Before you meet with and interview your couple, ask your Higher Self (call it Jesus if you want) to connect with the couple’s higher selves.
- Close your eyes and affirm or pray for this guidance, whichever resonates with you. This is what I usually do and please — put it into your own words.
- I ask for the spirit of the love that has brought the couple together to inspire the way I put their ceremony together.
- I ask that the couple be led to reveal to me what will bring the greatest meaning and joy to their ceremony.
- When I sit down to put together all the elements I’ve collected to create their ceremony, I ask for the Love that’s greater than what they now know to help me …
- Construct the ceremony that will be the most fun
- Infuse the ceremony with the joy that’s brought them together and will keep them together
- Inspire the ceremony with the words and elements that will truly please, satisfy and delight the couple and their guests.
Do these three things and you’ll begin to center yourself in the spiritual essence of what has led you to be an officiant in the first place. Your inner self knows what you can gain by being an even more wonderful officiant. This inner Woo is what connects you to the Love that’s brought your couple together.
The Course of course
One of the things the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Course does is provide a whole session of affirmations, prayer and self-care meditation. They’re in written form and audio. Both are designed for the religiously or spiritually directed. This segment of the program helps you get into the Woo state of mind so you meet more successfully with your couples.
Plus create and deliver the ceremony that sets you out as an engaged, effective and enjoyable officiant. Unforgettable.
To check out the RWA program, follow this link. It’s affordable, you can take it at your own pace, and it’s fully delivered right to your inbox.
Stay tuned for the next installment of Adding Woo And You To A Wedding Makes a Wonderful Ceremony for all.
I’d love to hear from you!
Rev Crystal Y
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