Officiants and “the Rehearsal”

I can’t believe it! I’ve recently discovered that the majority of Officiants don’t partake in wedding rehearsals. How can that be??? It’s like showing up in a starring role in a musical without any rehearsal time.

Yes…I and other Officiants meet with our potential clients, share our philosophy on a variety of ceremonies and marriage, answer questions, discuss affordable pricing options, scheduling and hand out resource materials.

However, what I’ve noticed that I differ in is that I attend the wedding rehearsal and many of my counterparts don’t. For instance, just in my recent interactions with the wineries and private estates that are in my normal stomping grounds for ceremonies…the Southern California Wine Country, Temecula area…I have found out that only one in twenty Officiants are there for the wedding rehearsal.

Wow! Knock me over with a feather! How is this possible? How is this possible? I seriously can’t imagine showing up to do a wedding without a rehearsal. There is too much left to someone else to manage and I wouldn’t feel that I was able to meet with, connect with, and develop a sense of affinity with anyone participating in the ceremony as a wedding party or family. As explained earlier, that would be the equivalent of showing up for a starring role in a musical, a play, or a movie without any rehearsal time. Yeah, like that will work!

As a parish Priest, Rabbi, or Minister you have a history of interactions with the family and the couple getting married, so you have that background of relatedness that you want and need, to perform an awesome ceremony.

As a non-denominational Officiant, the rehearsal (though not long) gives you the opportunity to interact and create the framework for the next day’s festivities. Also you get to be clear what issues may come up that would potentially have the ceremony not run smoothly. Maybe I’m a bit of a control freak (I am) but I want to know that when it comes to the ceremony I’m in command…in charge…the captain of the ship. That’s part of what I am being paid for, to be the master of that 20-minute segment of time. Couples put their faith in me to be the person who is accountable for how everything goes from the processional to the recessional.

Some Officiants add an extra fee for rehearsals. I get it. For some (couples), the dollar is running the show, and it’s very important to stick to your budget if that’s who you are and what your circumstances dictate. However, I would always recommend that your Officiant be there for the rehearsal each and every time.

Even though you put faith in you wedding planner/coordinator to make your day go great, don’t skip over how important it is to have a structure, a plan if you will…for how the ceremony will actually go…i.e…Who’s holding the rings? How and when do you retrieve them and pass them on? What about the flowers to the bridesmaid? These are certainly things that a really good coordinator can cover but really it should be your Officiant who is calling the shots for your ceremony.

Next…How an Officiant can make your wedding planner’s life sooooo much easier!


Writing your own vows… Sample One “His”

It’s time to loook at writing your own vows. Below isone sample of a "created" vow.


“I didn’t plan on being here today. I didn’t think I would ever find the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. I thought that what everyone else had I would miss out on. Before you, I thought I knew what life was about. I thought I knew where I was headed. I was wrong. My life changed the day I met you.

What I know now, is that my life began when I met you. What happened before helped me grow into the man you deserve. I want that opportunity for the rest of my life. I want to be with you, by you, and beside you, the rest of my life.

You are what I most desire in this world. You are everything to me. You are the only thing I want. Life with you will be the happiest and most exciting journey I can think of. I am lucky. Lucky because I have heaven on earth. I have you.

Thank you. Thank you for being who you are, that has me be who I am. Thank you, for allowing me to spend the rest of my life with you, if you will have me. You have my heart and always will.

Today my life begins again through you. Today my life takes on meaning, hope, and joy. Today I become your husband, your partner. Today the journey begins.”

Please note…these vows cannot be re-created or re-produced, part or in whole, without expressed written consent.


Writing your own vows… Sample One “Hers”

It’s time to look at writing your own vows. Below is one sample of a “created” vow.


“Today is the day. Today is the day I have waited for all of my life. The day I join my life forever to you. The one I love most in the world. The one I am going to spend the rest of my life with.

Today I get to say “I do”, and I will, and I promise. I do …promise you to be everything you hoped for in a wife. I will…be more than you could wish for. And, I promise to always be everything you could ever want in your partner.

Today is the day all of my dreams come true. I am marrying the man of my dreams. I am marrying my hero, my best friend, my partner for life.

But today is just the beginning…The beginning of a new life. And that new life begins with a creation. The creation of who I am and who i will be always for you. Who I am is your best friend. Who I am, is someone you can count on to inspire you, to love you for everything you are, and are not. To treasure you and hold everything about you dear in my heart. Who I am is someone who believes in you today and forever, who loves you with all her heart. Who I am, is someone standing in front of all of these friends and family, asking you, if you will have me as your wife, now and forever.”

Please note…these vows cannot be re-created or re-produced, part or in whole, without expressed written consent.


Writing your own vows 101

You’re getting married. You’ve got the ring, you’ve reserved the venue, and now it’s time to look at writing your own vows. Where do you start?

When you want to create your vows there are a few things to consider. First of all, why do you want to write your own vows? It can be a lot of work, stress, and uncertainty… or not.

Creating your own vows can be, and is, a personal experience that is exciting, enlightening, and empowering. It can be especially so when your vows have an impact above and beyond expressing your love and commitment.

Vow writing 101

  • Start by finding a quiet place where you focus and just be present to what you are up to… Creating a vow, a promise, a commitment to someone.
  • Have a pad and pen, or your iPad, phone, or laptop where you can put down random thoughts that pop into your head relating to what you want to express.
  • Don’t try to force words to “fit” but rather allow how you feel to be what you express.
  • Don’t waste time trying to “get it right”. Give yourself the grace to fully express yourself!
  • Get present to;
    • Who is this person for me
    • Who am I for them
    • What is it that has you want to marry them
    • Who do want to be for them
    • What can they count on you for

Once you start to presence yourself to these questions you will have a beginning to writing a phenomenal vow that will make a difference to you when you read them. A vow that will have an impact on who is hearing them. A vow that you can fulfill with joy, love, and full self expression!

For a sample of what this could look like as a finished product you can follow this up with one of my blogs “A sample of a custom “Hers“/”His” vow.”


Modern trends in Wedding ceremonies

“Today’s wedding ceremonies use the structure of traditional weddings, but have taken on a new look and feel.”

Recently, a couple who were looking to get married, were interviewing me as a possible officiant. They were asking questions about how I go about performing a ceremony, including; “do you memorize the ceremony or do you read it?” I answered that “I always use and refer to my printed ceremony. That way I am always present to what we created as we are performing the ceremony.” With the ceremonies I do, each being so different, it’s not really feasible for me to memorize each one.

Thinking about it, over the years I have seen pastor, priest, and rabbi alike all perform multiple ceremonies completely from memory. I realized this was possible because every ceremony was virtually the same format each time, with little variation.

Today, more and more couples are creating “customized” ceremonies. A customized ceremony is a reflection of who a couple is. For each other, and for their family and friends. In other words looking at what has you want to get married, how the ceremony can mirror that, what you want your guests to get out of it, and what you’ll want to remember about it years later. Today’s couples have a desire to have a ceremony that reflects who they are, what they are committed to, and the life they are creating together.

This is surely a break from the past but not one that diminishes the power and significance of what two people are committing to. It simply allows the ceremony to be one that has an impact on the participants as well as those attending. Because it is different to the ear, people listen to what is being said. Everyone is engaged which means everyone gets something for themselves out of it! What more can you ask for… A ceremony that you love participating in, and, one that everyone will remember because of its singularity.