When Your Couple is Time-Challenged

Man looking at watch

Island time is code for don’t get yourself in a tizzy

Man looking at watch
Photo by Shamim Nakhaei on Unsplash.com

When you’re on the receiving end of this statement it means you’re dealing with someone who is time-challenged. He or she looks at the clock and the hands tell him or her the time they want it to be. Not the time it actually is!

If you’ve ever visited the Caribbean you’ve probably heard the expression, “island time”.

For the non-time challenged, this expression is code for “being late for an event is just how things are here in the islands. Chill. Have a Dos Equis or Corona.”

When I lived in Puerto Rico for 8 months, there were some folks who were known for being days, not just hours, (I kid you not) — but DAYS late.

The tizzy part? I didn’t do so well in that department.

Maybe it’s because I’m the daughter of a man who regularly showed up early for an event. Yes EARLY.

My mother was pretty much always on time. Dressed to the t’s and with a casserole in hand.

The early bird genes

No early bird genes were passed on to me from either side of the family. I’m the one who’s the most time-challenged in my family.

I’m the one who’s squandered the family punctuality genes. Yes, me, the one offering the good advice in this post.

You might assume I’d be more understanding of a bride who’s an hour late to her wedding.

Horrible traffic

Not too long ago on my way to officiate a local ceremony, the traffic was so horrible I called the groom. Just to be on the safe-side. “ I’ll still be there on time,” I told him. “Just not as ahead of time as I like.”

“Don’t worry,” he told me. “We’re really behind too.”

red flag waving for the time-challenged
Photo by Hello I’m Nik 🇬🇧 on Unsplash.com

A red flag popped up somewhere. “How behind?” I asked him.

“About 15 minutes,” he laughed. He sounded stressed.

“No worries,” I told him. “I’ll get there and check everything out. We’ll just wait.”

When I found the correct location, there were about 20 people standing around. I drifted through the crowd and sat down to go over the ceremony.

When I looked up, it was 15 minutes past the hour the ceremony was scheduled to take place.

Text #1

I sent a text to the bride. “Where are you at?”

“We’re 5 minutes away,” she said.

I shucked and jived with some guests who were rolling their eyes and looking at their watches.

Text #2

Eight minutes later I sent another text. “What’s up?” I asked.

No answer.

Curious, I asked one of the bride’s friends, “Is being late normal for her?”

“Oh yes, she runs late a lot,” chuckled a guy who was wearing a black shirt with big red flames rising from the hem. He turned out to be her Dad.

“Did you start that with her?” I joked with him. “Were you always late when she was a kid?”

He shook his head yes and I chided him, “See what you started? You made her this way! It’s all your fault!” He laughed and joked back about how he knew he was a bad role model.

Making the choice

At that point I had a choice to make. Wait for the bride from her fortress on her island of  time-challenges.

Or set a limit.

Because I’ve been in this situation before and truly, I’m better at managing my tizziness, I chose the latter. Limits were on their way.

The importance of telling the truth

What bothered me the most was that the bride was not telling the truth when she said she was 5 minutes away. I get that she  may have been embarrassed or didn’t want to get scolded for being late. She’d probably been scolded plenty in her time-challenged life.

But she had to expect being scolded. Everyone has something to do, somewhere to be.

The truth was, she hadn’t even left her house yet, which was about 10 minutes away. So she was lying. That kind of stuff REALLY bothers me I don’t care what the occasion.

Whether she was nervous, a bad planner, had too many distractions, these are all and none valid reasons for being late to her own wedding. If instead she’d come clean, and been truthful, I might have read another page of the Mueller Report while I waited.

Text #3

I chose to text her instead. “How are you coming? Getting closer?”

“Almost there,” she said.

“Good,” I said. “Because I have to leave at noon.”

I felt through the ethers that boundaries weren’t something she had to contend with often. People just allowed her to operate on Island time.

But something in her kicked into high gear. I could feel it.

Making good on a threat

Honestly I hoped I wouldn’t have to make good on my threat. I took a few moments to imagine myself walking away. It didn’t feel good but I decided I would trot my body out of there if I had to. The couple could come to my house and I’d officiate for them there later. They could still party and have a good time talking about what an awful a person I was.

Giving her these parameters wasn’t meant to be mean, but to make the point that other people’s time is part of the equation at any event. Agreements are agreements. Whether you’re on the mainland or an island.

And in 10 more minutes they showed up with 5 more minutes to spare.

Why was I there?

I was hired to do a job, and provide a valuable service. That’s why I was there with all the people I didn’t know who were tapping their foot, looking at their watches. I was not there to wait around for her to get her act together.

Although this was her and her fiancé’s day it was NOT the best of times to keep everyone waiting. As much as I didn’t want her wedding day to be marred by the boundaries I’d set if the worse case scenario unfolded, waiting an hour for a wedding to start is too much in my book.

The Pagan Initiation

A zillion years ago when I first started doing weddings,  I officiated a ceremony for people who identified themselves pagans. I’m up for the unique so I was eager to officiate.

The ceremony itself was way out in the country. There must have been 100 people waiting for the event to begin. It was muggy.

I overheard someone in a group of friends mention how she was always horribly late (aka time-challenged) and you just had to put up with it if you wanted to be her friend.

After an hour, even the people-pleaser in me had had enough. I asked a few people where the bride was. Someone guessed she was having trouble with her dress. On the second floor of the farmhouse.

I sought her out to see if I could help. What I found was she and her bridesmaids lounging in the bridal room drinking beer.

The dress was fine.

“If you’re not at the altar in 10 minutes, I’m leaving.”

She was. I officiated. The groom apologized and I felt bad for the lifetime ahead of him.

Being late is an unconscious method of controlling others

But that’s just me. I don’t like late late late. It makes me feel like someone is trying to control me and tell me they’re more important than I am.

I believe we’re equals. And deserve equal respect.

So you have to decide how long you’ll wait for a late bride or groom.

Aunt Mary is running late

You also have to be prepared to make a recommendation of how long to wait for a guest who’s important and is “running late.”

time-challenged older woman
Photo by Shamim Nakhaei on Unsplash

Some couples want to wait for 20 minutes for a treasured aunt who’s always late. Or someone who says they got lost.

In the meantime there’s 50-100 people waiting for that one person. The new star of the day…

That’s not okay with me. Honor the people who are there on time. Let Aunt Mary watch the video.

TO DO: Clarity in the contract

I’ve learned now to put in my contract that any wedding that starts more than ½ an hour late, a fee of $25 for each 15 minutes afterwards will be charged. After and hour has gone by, I’m going bye-bye.

The time-challenged have taught me well.

Be clear up front, and make your clients sign on the dotted line that they’ve read and understood the stipulation about time. Doing so is a good practice.

Beyond that, although every situation may be different, check out the Checklist I created that details how to identify and work with the following reasons island time has been invoked.

When your couple is time-challenged, you’re looking at

  1. Patterns.
  2. Extenuating circumstances.
  3. Honoring those present.
  4. The Domino affect.
  5. The Disease to Please.

I expand these points, and look at how and why to handle them in a PDF Checklist. You can grab it here:  When Your Couple is Time-Challenged

The gentle kind belief

The world’s made up of all kinds of people. Some are chronically late, others like my dad are early.

It’s up to you what you want to do. But make sure you don’t resent your couple later because they should have done better. If you’d been clear up front, could the situation have been improved?

Spell out what you’re able to do and what crosses the line.

That way you can focus on love, on joy and happiness. and on feeling you are respected for all you bring to a couple’s very special day, even those who are time-challenged and deeply in love.


Know Like and Trust
Crystal Yarlott, Officiant and Collaborator







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Hacks for the Unhacky Officiant, Part 2

Bay Harbor, MI Wedding Photography | Kate + Michael | © Dan Stewart Photography | http://danstewartphotography.com

Networking as part of a wedding

How to build your referral network with simple social and networking hacks even if you don’t know what “hack” means (tricks and methods to get results). You can get more bookings with these simple methods that are at your fingertips.

  1. With permission, post engagement photos of your couple using any hashtags they may have
  2. Ask the couple for the contact info and websites of the other vendors who are part of the wedding team
  3. Post a rehearsal picture of the couple from your perspective
  4. Take a photo of the wedding site from your perspective on the day of the wedding
  5. Take a photo of your couple after the ceremony
  6. Get business cards of the other vendors
  7. See if the photographer can provide a photo of you officiating. Get permission to post on your social media and / or website.
    1. Post photo and congratulate the couple
    2. Give obvious credit to the photographer first
    3. List the contact info for the entire team who contributed to the success of their wedding day
  8. Post your posts two or three more times at different times of day, and on different days
  9. If you have a website, be sure to include all info about other wedding professionals on your post.
  10. Ask if other professionals will put your contact info on any posts they have about the wedding you all participated in together.

Download Hacks #2, Networking as Part of a Wedding:  I DO_Hacks #2_19

Click For Hacks #3, Above and Beyond Hacks

Click to go back to Hacks #1 With Wedding Professionals and Business Contacts


Get more information or to introduce your wondrous self to the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program, Contact Us or visit RWA Program.

Hacks for the Unhacky Officiant, Part 1

Here’s how to build your referral network with simple social media and networking hacks even if you don’t know what “hack” means (tricks and methods to get results). You can get more bookings with these simple methods that are at your fingertips.

(Download link below).

Networking hacksWith Wedding Professionals and Business Contacts

  1. Arrange to meet in person, by appointment with venue coordinator, head of photography, DJ, caterer, florist, or wedding planner.
  2. Research their website or Social Media pages to get an idea of what they’ve been up to, who they are and anything they’ve done lately. Be knowledgeable when you meet!
  3. Offer your card with a small gift like a few fresh baked cookies, muffins, fresh fruit or anything that’s small and notable. Nothing fancy or it’ll seem like you’re trying to bribe them. Do NOT leave a calendar. (Oh lordy mama hug me now if I get one more calendar).
  4. Ask for your Contact’s:
    1. Facebook @ address or link
    2. Instagram address or # (hashtag)
    3. Twitter Handle
    4. LinkedIn address
    5. Google For Business link

5. Are they on any big wedding websites like Wedding Wire or The Knot?

6.  Email address and direct phone number

  • How do they prefer to be contacted
  • What hours do they prefer to be contacted

7. Ask your Contact, “What can I post on my FB page and social that’s most helpful to you?”

8. Take a selfie with your Contact. Smile, please! Even get goofy if you dare. 😉

9. Make a little video of a part of the tour of your Contact’s business and post (watch for too jiggly a video)

10. Post your video or selfie to your FB page or website within a day of your example of using social media hashtags and @'svisit or your event

  • Be sure to tag your Contact
  • Include contact info for your Contact on your post (see photo>>>>)

11. Does your Contact or their business have a blog?

        1. Could you be a guest blogger or would they like to guest blog on your website?
        2. Can they post your contact info on their Social media and / or Instastory?

12.  Request to be on their Preferred Vendor’s List

13.  Create your own Vendor’s List and ask if they’d like to be listed (they’ll say yes!)

14.  If your Contact is on a wedding website, ask them if they’ll recommend your services in exchange for recommending their services

  •  You can put “As reviewed/seen in Wedding Wire” etc., on website or social media

Give these hacks a try.  You’ll see changes sooner than later in your bookings.

Download the hacks:  I DO_Hacks #1_19

There’s  more!!!




Click For Hacks #2, Networking As Part of a Wedding

We’d love to help you succeed as an Officiant, have more fun, get things done more easily, and set yourself a firm foundation to create a generous source of extra income for yourself. Contact Us through our easy, most enjoyable form or visit the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program page.

It’s been a pleasure and a joy.

Rev. Crystal

Contact me for more information on how our simple, straight forward, practical program to prepare new officiants and inspire experienced officiants can help you.

Hacks for the Unhacky Officiant, Part 3

Officiant hacks #3Above and Beyond Hacks,  Part 3

How to build your referral network with simple social and networking hacks even if you don’t know what “hack” means (tricks and methods to get results). You can get more bookings with these simple methods that are at your fingertips.

  1. At rehearsal, ask the attendants if they’d like to get special information about relationships. Get their email address and make sure they know what email address they’ll receive notice from you.
    1. Deliver easy to read blogs, simple quotes, podcast suggestions or Ted talks to inspire AND stay in touch with them. You never know who may be getting married next!
  2. Send an email to the vendors, couple and contacts, thanking them for being part of the wedding team. If applicable, include link where you posted their info and repeat your request to be referenced in any of their posts.
  3. Create a sharable doc of a few short reviews, some fun pics and a video clip of an event. Include this in the information you send to potential clients.
  4. Create a one paragraph email to send weekly to your professional contacts, and wedding couples. Poetry, gifs, something quick and unobtrusive. People get lots of email but you can be a contact who’s fun and engaging.
  5. Learn about marketing. For a list of recommended podcasts for wedding officiants and online marketing, click here.

I hope you enjoyed this 3 part series. For more information about the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program that gives you resources you can use to mentor other officiants or provide to your couple, PLUS get great resources or yourself, visit the RWA Program.

Click for Hacks #1 With Wedding Professionals and Business Contacts

Click for Hacks #2 Networking as part of a wedding


Contact Us through our easy to fill out form. Let us know how we can help you get the training and inspiration that will help you create and deliver wedding ceremonies that make a difference. Check out the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant Prep Program, an 8 part online course full of valuable and sharable resources, inspiration and hacks, hacks, hacks.

How To Marry ‘Em Officiant Mentor

Bay Harbor, MI Wedding Photography | Kate + Michael | © Dan Stewart Photography | http://danstewartphotography.com

Officiant Mentor Wha?

When I’m at a wedding and the officiant launches into a service I’ve heard before, (Dearly beloved, we’re gathered here today to honor and celebrate these two people as they dedicate their lives to one another etc., etc.) it doesn’t take long for me to zone out and begin to appreciate the trees outside the window, or the flowers on the altar.

Seeing people zoning out at a wedding you’re leading is every officiants’ nightmare.

Today, we have a lot more freedom to be creative and vamp here and there. But if you’re a new officiant or considering becoming one you might not know where to start. For example, you may wonder —

  • Do I speak extemporaneously or use a script?
  • Do I introduce myself or not– and what do I call myself?
  • Where should I insert that piece of my couple’s history into their ceremony?
  • How do I lead a prayer?
  • Is it okay to be funny?
  • The groom’s mom is being really bossy — how do I handle that?

Let’s look at the first bullet point

Some training sources are against using pre-made ceremonies. Some make cutting and pasting from several sources a sign that the officiant isn’t worth their weight in gold (wrong-you’re always worth it!) At least that’s what I thought. Just today my inbox revealed that the biggest critic of “cookie cutter” ceremonies was also trying to sell new officiants his cookie cutter ceremonies.

Everyone needs training wheels, which using a pre-made wedding ceremony is – words and sentiments that you like and begin to use as your framework ceremony. It’s the place you start so you can continue on with the process of finding your own voice.

More questions

Over time, you will refine your words. Meanwhile, with the big important wedding coming up on your horizon, how do you know if you’ll strike the right tone with your couple? What’s appropriate and what’s not?

And how do you lead the couple in their vows? What do you do after they exchange their rings? Should you pray or not?

So you might not only have questions about content and delivery, you’re not sure what’s appropriate and what’s not. I get it!

I used straight out of the box denomination recommended ceremonies when I first started. There’s some threads of them left in the ceremony I use to this day. But my ceremony has evolved but it’s taken years of cutting and pasting. I’ve tweaked and been inspired over the past 29 years. It was time-consuming, especially when I had a full-time job.

But I also had training. I was prepared with a set of questions to ask as couple, and I also had help deciding what was appropriate and what wasn’t. I was in ministerial school and my teachers and fellow students were there to help me.

Is an Officiant Mentor for you?

So I can tell you, it can make a world of difference to bounce ideas off of and to give informed, constructive feedback. A mentor can be a HUGE help. An officiant mentor could be exactly who could help YOU!

PLUS not spending all your free time researching and gathering information is a great help. Or having to be in school for two years to learn how to do all those minister type things!

The question is—could you use some pointers to put your ceremony together? Do you want to find out how to get different kinds of information about your couple to make part of the awesome ceremony you have been asked or hired to deliver?

One of the things that really stood in my way was the preconceived notions I had of what was expected. Get those out of the way and you are much further ahead finding your voice and meeting your couple’s needs. Interested?

Free Download

Download the 5 Mistakes New Officiants Make and you’ll have in hand some important “don’t need to do’s. Once you look this over you can get on with the important business of finding the right resources and crafting a ceremony from all the millions that are available on the internet.

Really? Is that what you want to spend your time doing?

Or you could find an officiant mentor who will give you the benefit of their years of expertise making couples happy and successfully leading wedding ceremonies of all kinds.


Contact us today and let’s see how much easier and better a time you can have as an officiant. Know what you are doing before you do it!

Call today and we’ll talk over how you can go from beginner to better to best officiant ever!

Those of us at How To Marry ‘Em Mentoring at I DO, Wedding Officiant Training will listen, advise, and help you bring out not only the best in yourself, but in your couples too. Check out this bit of advice from an officiant mentor.

Kate + Michael | © Dan Stewart Photography | http://danstewartphotography.com


We offer a straightforward ceremony creation and officiant mentor coaching service.

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Your Who What’s and Where’s

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What’s the Cure for Easafrust?


OMG! It’s so noisy in here!! It’s Easafrust!!

Black Panther, Round 5

This wasn’t a comment I made to my best friend while we waited to get seated in our favorite Cajun restaurant in town. Nor was I at the theater listening to all the chatter before I saw Black Panther for the 5th time.

Nope, I was noticing the loud chatter that was going on in my head when I first sat down to meditate.

Every Day

After a journaling exercise I do ever day, I settle back and meditate to one of my favorite recordings. Other times I opt to set the timer to 20 minutes on my iphone and go through a relaxation technique that helps me quiet my body so I can then open up to possibilities that exist beyond the noise.

Because it doesn’t take long to get boisterous inside my head again. But I’ve definitely noticed since I’ve consistently and unrelentingly practiced meditation, I’ve become all-round kinder, gentler, wiser, and more likely to do an about face when 55 some years of practicing self-criticism/not doing enough-ness strikes a blow to my resolve.

Easafrust Defined

I suffer from “Easafrust”. That means I’m frustrated pretty easily because I feel like I work so hard and lose faith when I don’t see immediate results.

NOTE: If you’ve ever suffered from the need to please disease, you may also have a strain of Easafrust that flairs up in your life.

So my fellow officiant, does your life show any signs of Easafrust?

Long Term Prescription

If so, then my prescription for you is to start a meditation practice. It’s a long term prescription, like an herbal remedy takes time to work. Not fast acting like an aspirin.

So you have to be prepared for the long term. If you want a quick fix, you’ll do what I’ve done way too many times. From a state of worry, concern, panic, hurry to get something done you and I jump onto the bandwidth of the latest quick fix including

  • 30 seconds of our time entrusted to Mr. Fancy car and mansion will make us rich quick,
  • Weight will come off or clomp on effortlessly in just 20 minutes a week
  • Doubting or Believing who really can make America great

In other words, we’ll look for someone else to cure your problem but our desire to do the right thing is obliterated by all the noise of worry and fear.
The only way to completely find what’s true and right for you, to set your path in the direction of your best what’s next, is to turn inside yourself.

Get quiet. Listen.

Wait for IT…

…AND THEN take action.

I know it’s not easy. Like I said in the beginning, it’s noisy in there.

In a Worse Situation

But what’s noisier is when you and I make a choice out of fear and worry and then we find ourself in a worse situation, have to back peddle or apologize for years or wish we had the $500 we just spent on an online course that will only work if you take the NEXT course the teacher offers.

I remember when I was looking around for a new, more lucrative career option. I love animals so I checked out all things dog-related. I even considered starting a business picking up dog poop for people in their back yards. I considered going back to school to learn website design, event planning and eventually I thought about caring for Alzheimers patients.

But nothing felt right.

Then I just sat down and said, I have to meditate through this. I’m getting nowhere fast. It was noisy in my head, absolutely and for sure.

What Else Can I Do With My Life?

Bit by bit, I relaxed my body, quieted my mind and just used a simple affirmation: “Spirit shows me what else I can do with my life”.

That was it. Time in, time out. Noisy to quiet to noisy, freaking busy thoughts.

And to quiet now and then. Still no big voice came out of nowhere, no flash of insight.

What’s In That Email?

But one day I got an impulse to open up an email from Louise Hays. (My confession – I loved her presence in the world but I didn’t have much time to read so I rarely opened her emails.)

In the email was a recommendation for a person who taught students how to add value to their work. It occurred to me I didn’t have to start anything new. I could add to what I was already doing! How fun would THAT be!

A Huge Difference

I took the course. I found faith again that things COULD change. The investment (which was substantial) made a huge difference in my income level.

Next I felt that I needed a life coach, someone to help me stay on track. Because the thought persisted, rather than resist I checked out a few coaches for hire but connections didn’t happen.

Synergy Strikes Again

Then in a moment of synergy, I got a LinkedIn notice from an old friend who happened to be a life coach. I emailed her back, told her what was going on and hallelujah — she offered to coach me for free. (I LOVE YOU NANCY!!)

As we worked together, she off-handedly recommended a meditation recording she’d had success with that I still listen to. This mp3 has made the hugest difference in my life. More faith. More imagination. Much, much better attitude.

All because of meditation.

In It For The Long Haul

The noise STILL crops up. Heck, I’ve been practicing being worried for a long time so that noise probably isn’t going to be rewired in my brain “EASILY IN JUST A FEW SHORT WEEKS.”

Meditation is like starting a business that thrives — you have to be in it for the long haul.

But if you don’t start, if you don’t find the method that’s right for you, the chance you take is continuing to make decision from noise and then you really don’t know WHAT you’re listening to

As one wise person was once told (and I paraphrase here): Wisdom and love comes from the still, small voice inside.”

If you’re game to give meditation a good try, I’ve put together a guide to the steps I use to get into meditation. You can sign up to get it below.

There’s also a link to a meditation I recorded that will help you get into a state of receptivity. It’s pretty close to the MP3 meditation I’ve been using for so long, but I’ve amended it so it’s geared for an officiant.

And because I know I might not have the style right for you, here’s a link to another teacher who knows the value of meditation by Rick Rebman. Check out 5 Powerful Benefits of a Quiet Mind.

Kinder and Wiser

When you’ve given meditation a consistent try, you’ll begin to notice you’re kinder and wiser. Subtle changes will  surprise you when they happen.

You’ll be gently shown the next steps because they’ll line themselves up for you and just plain feel right.

The Self You Want to Be

The success, the answers, the self you want to be begins to take shape, right before your very eyes.

Rev Crystal Y

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