Let’s take a look at new officiants today.
A friend of mine came to visit me many years ago and liked the area so much she and her husband decided to move here.
When they were exploring, we talked with current residents who once upon a time, had been newbies. They discovered how beautiful the area was and now were discouraging newbies so the charm of the area wouldn’t be further changed.
Strange when the same thing was probably said of them behind their backs when they first arrived.
My friends moved here bringing their artistic and business skills with them. They actually added to the richness of the area, rather than detracted from it.
Which goes to show you keeping people out can detract from rather than protect an area’s awesomeness.
30 years of change
How does this apply to being a new officiant?
When I was a new minister 30 years ago, leading a wedding ceremony was still a privilege of those ordained in seminary. I’d been ordained after several years of study in my denominations version of seminary.
I was good to go!
Fast forward 30 years and now, anyone can become an officiant. In fact, one poll says that 43% of couples are now asking a friend or family member to officiate for their ceremony. This means more and more people are getting ordained in order to provide this service to friends and family.
I call them Friendiants.
The Ongoing Bemoaning
What amazes me is the controversy and bemoaning over so many new officiants that are entering the field. There’s an average of 500,000/year. That’s a lot of people even if they’re spread out over the globe.
Many of the wonderful officiants who want to discourage new officiants also started out as a friendiant. It’s all very similar to trying to keep new people moving to an area so it stays the same.
Yet many of these people got into this work and found out how wonderful it is. They, like all of us, get into a groove — we get comfortable with the competition we have, the resources available to us, and the amount of people looking for our services. We don’t like it when our world is disrupted by having less people wanting us and others doing things in ways we either don’t appreciate, understand or approve of.
So we try to stop the change.
I say good luck with that.
There is no going back.
The skills needed to officiate
Particularly in the world of being an officiant, there is no going back. Maybe the pendulum will swing in the other direction, but my guess is, it won’t swing very much.
If a you can handle the leadership position that you have to have in order to be an effective officiant means, if you have the resources you need, know how to market your services, and are willing to be creative, you’ll find this work very meaningful.
A profession with meaning
Which is what I think is at the bottom of why so many of us love it: Officiating has meaning.
How can we begrudge anyone from finding work that is meaningful?
Its interesting how things are evolving. The institution of marriage is changing, too. More people are living together and NOT getting married. I married a couple this past summer, a wonderful couple who’d been living together 19 years and decided in order to get his Social Security benefits in case he passed available for her, they had to get married.
Most Americans (69%) say cohabitation is acceptable even if a couple doesn’t plan to get married. Only about half of Americans over age 18 are married. This is down from 72 percent in 1960. That’s a 22% drop. 61% of same-sex couples who were living together have now gotten married. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.
The role of officiant is getting reinvented just as marriage is. I’ve heard some people talking about being able to marry people online. Is the personal nature going to be taken out of such an important event like so much else is being done online?
Our mutual gifts to one another
I’d like to see those of us who are experienced welcome the energy and ideas of new officiants so newbies can benefit from our experience and we can benefit from their new perspectives.
Welcome New Officiants!
I say welcome new officiants. How can I help you best? I have my own ideas, I have a course that’s particularly for new officiants, the ready, willing and able officiant prep course, AND in the meantime, I have a simple but very helpful piece of information called the 5 Common Mistakes New Officiants Make and how to fix them.
5 Common Mistakes New Officiants Make (and how to avoid them)
Ready to check out the course designed specially for new officiants?
Please feel free to contact me if you’d like to learn more about the course.
Would you like to get on the waiting list for the Kickstart Course for New Officiants online program? It should be out by the end of February, 2020. This redesigned course incorporates some of RWA course contents but includes introductions to specific marketing tools, and the right amount of resources to get started creating the perfect framework ceremony.
Yes, I’d like to be on the waiting list.
Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!