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.

Interested?

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?

meditation

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.

Namasté
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 Way You Look as an Officiant

First time wedding

The Way You Look

I think you’re beautiful,

This is true, first and foremost. I don’t care what your age is, whether you’re skinny, tall, overweight, bulky, baggy, saggy or boney. You’re a part of this world, and you’re beautiful.

Your situation may be far different from mine. You might not have the money to dress well (or want to), especially in the beginning of your career as an Officiant. It’s okay. You’re amazing. Look at all you’ve been through! What’s true about how you look and what it’s important, is because who you are speaks so loudly, I can’t see what you look like.

Now — remember how beautiful you are as I ask you:   how do you feel about the way you look when you officiate? Good? Unsure? Like a million or a couple of bucks?

All of it affects your confidence level. And people are drawn to confidence because they want it for themself. Confidence is a healing power, and a business building asset.

So let’s reexamine the expectations of the way you look outside as an Officiant first.

Next week we’ll talk about reinventing the way you think about yourself as an Officiant inside.

Reinventing the role

Reinventing the role of Officiant is making leaps and bounds up and down and all around these days. Examining the way you look as an Officiant is part of that reinvention process we’re in.

On one of my favorite podcasts, co-host Rev. Clint  tells about being asked to dress up like Elvis at one of his first weddings. He didn’t care for it and never did it again.

Las Vegas isn’t the only cool place in the country

Some of you may shout, “Oh contraire! I love to dress up, dress out, dress oddly.” Theme weddings are not only held in way cool Las Vegas or cultish New Orleans alone. You may have one in your own backyard!

FB Group research

You can see what other officiants are wearing in their posts in various FB groups. The clothes they wear ranges from super casual to robes with cleric collars, to a suit and tie, or an elegant dress. You can see some of us dressed in our choices in our Private Facebook Group.

(Side comment:  Any man of any age or size looks GREAT in a tuxedo.)

What you wear obviously reflects your knowledge of the couple you’re officiating for – whether their wedding is formal or casual, beachy or woodsy.

Going Too Far

I had a conversation with an Officiant on FB about her groom wearing a t-shirt that had profanity in big bold letters on it. You can read that rant, Why Our Officiant Relationship is Unique.

Her acceptance really took me aback but that may be what’s important to her — anything goes.

Few Basic Guidelines for the Way You Look

In any event, here’s some guidelines I use for this reason:  Officiants deserve to be a respected member of a couple’s wedding day. I have a hard time thinking that respect is being generated when the groom wears F__k on his shirt.

These suggestions can help you implement building a good reputation so you can feel more confident and are aware of your choices.

The way you look
Rosalind Lynch Church looking official in the middle but doesn’t overshadow the Bride

1. Never upstage the bride. Choose more conservative attire, even if you’re doing a theme-based ceremony.

a.  The bride and her partner need to be the center of attention. I’ve seen some officiants look so flashy that it almost looks like s/he is competing for attention. One example is a new officiant wore a cocktail gown with a low v-neckline. She was sexier and flashier than the bride who was quite overweight.

Wearing White

b.  Watch your own use of white and off-white. Even in contemporary weddings there seems to be a touch back to tradition that the bride is the only one wearing white or off-white.

2. Let your couple know what you like to wear and make sure they don’t have expectations that you’ll arrive looking like a pastor or conversely, a wild woman.

AND /OR

3.  Ask your couple if they have a preference for how you look and/or dress. Oklahoma Wedding Officiant
a.  One of my fellow officiant teams wants their couple to make a clothing preference choice for their wedding. They’ve got photos on their website of them dressed in each different optional outfit. I’ve heard others do this as well. I do not.
b.  Do you think you’re expected to wear a collar, a robe or a stole? Check with your couple first to see if this is really true. It’s pretty safe to say that many contemporary couples are absolutely fine with your wearing contemporary clothing.
c. Every couple is different. Some care, some absolutely don’t. Others WANT you to be comfortable whatever you wear.

4. Be prepared for nasty, windy, cold or stifling, hot, humid weather.
a.  If It’s cold, I always let the couple know being cold is my least favorite activity in the whole world. I warn them I may wear long pants and a raincoat, wool coat rather than my usual simple dress. I also make sure I know they are the center of attention, not me.

If It’s Hot

b.  When I’ve done a beach wedding (which is often synonymous with HOT, I always ask beforehand if it’s okay to wear flip-flops or go barefoot. A lot of couple’s end up kicking their shoes off or dressing down a notch or two when there’s a wedding at the water’s edge.
c.  Wear a hat to protect yourself from mid-day sun. Make sure you batten down the hatches if the weather forecast is supposed to be windy.

5.  Check your pearly whites.  I’m embarrassed to mention this. I’ve failed to look in the mirror with a smile to check for spinach and sesame seeds several times when I’m in a hurry.  Therefore,
a.  Floss or brush your teeth before you grab your ceremony and head for the wedding site.
b.  If you make videos for or about your couples, check your teeth, especially after meals and then get in front of the camera.

6.  Bless the wind. Full skirts? Do I need to tell you to prepare for your Marilyn Monroe above the sidewalk vent moment?

7. Don’t work in the garden before your wedding. OMG I’ve done this way too many times. Then I’m digging dirt out of my nails or trying to touch up nail polish as I’m walking into the venue. And yes, I took a shower! Digging in the dirt can be so rewarding but wait until you get back to pull those weeds or plant those sunflower seeds.

8. Put your outfit together and ready the day before. (Forgive me sounding like your mother…)
a. Make sure your outfit is ironed unless you like the wrinkled linen look. Even an inexpensive outfit looks better when it’s been freshly ironed. TIP:  Sometimes if I have a long drive to a wedding site, I’ll wear my jeans and change into my marryin’ outfit once I get to the location.
b. No spots, and is clean.
c. Women, if you wear them, make sure you always have an extra pair of nylons available. Those pesky runs probably aren’t going to be too distracting but still. I always feel better when I’m put together. (Hey that rhymes!)

Please leave a comment — gimme the shelter of feedback!!

Tell me what you think of these suggestions. What have you worn? Can you post a picture of yourself in what you usually wear on the blog or on the FB page? 

I’d love to see, and I’m sure other officiants who follow this blog would love to see what your wedding clothing is.

Want more ways to reinvent the traditional officiant role? Get the free download, 5 Stress Free Ways to Officiate an Unforgettable Wedding. Watch for it to pop up if it hasn’t already.

What did you get out of the post? Let me know.  Email me at crystal@officianttraining.com.

I look forward to hearing your stories about leading a couple in their I Do’s.

Namaste,

Rev. Crystal

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

 

 

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.

To get the guide Sober, Stone and Legal, fill in the form below and it’ll be quickly delivered to your inbox.

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

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