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
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