10 Tips for How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows

(Reposted from BRIDES, Written By Allyson Dickman and Jillian Kramer, Published on July 3, 2017)

How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows: 10 Tips

If you’re writing your own vows, you’ve chosen an incredible and meaningful way to personalize your wedding ceremony. It’s a chance to tell your story, give guests a peek into what makes your relationship tick, and to share meaningful, sweet words with the person you love. It can also be a pretty challenging task because it’s so intimate—you are really baring your heart to your fiancé, and you’re doing so in front of your family and friends. If you’re struggling to come up with the right words, read on for ten tips that will help you get through writing your wedding vows.

 

Getting Married? You Are Not Alone!

This very short video is a placeholder for a video currently in production that talks in much more detail about the topics shown in the graphics.

I’m working on the complete video between rehearsals and ceremonies right now since we are at the height of the wedding season here in the Portland/Vancouver area.

Comments and questions welcome. I’ll try to address them in the completed video!

It’s All About the Sound!

A Plea to Venues, DJs, and Musicians

Wedding guests often complain that they couldn’t hear the bride and groom recite their vows or the words that go with their exchange of rings. This is especially true for outdoor weddings, which are very popular in the Pacific Northwest from June through September.

Image result for wireless microphone system

Image result for wireless microphone system

 

 

 

 

 

 

As an officiant, I carry my own wireless microphone setup: lavalier microphone, body pack transmitter, and receiver with cables for connecting to the audio system in use by the vendor hired for music and sound. Just in case they don’t have one for me. And because a handheld microphone is virtually useless when you are using two hands for the script and vows. And also because many handheld or on-stand microphones are useless unless they are within an inch or so of your mouth.

Try taking that one virtually useless microphone and handing it to the bride and groom, most of whom have never used a microphone before, so that their guests can presumably hear them speak while they are trying to choke out vows or exchange rings and you just add to their stress without success.

Before I became an officiant I did seminars all over the world. Carried my own wireless lavalier microphone setup. A transformer for European and Asian power. A box full of cables and adapters for the various connection needs in multiple countries. And it usually worked flawlessly.

Not always so for weddings. Sometimes mine has frequency interference issues. If the sound person has his or her own wireless lavalier for me, I’m a happy camper. But my microphone won’t pick up the voices of the bride and groom. A fairly important pair of people whose guests would really like to hear them, and not just me!

So here is my plea: Invest in a SYSTEM with at least three wireless microphones and a mixer so that you can provide body packs and lavalier microphones for the bride, groom, and officiant. It is not prohibitively expensive and it will drastically increase your customer satisfaction.

I just did a wedding today at a famous popular venue. That venue provided a useless microphone on a stand and a small amplifier and speaker with the quality of a child’s karaoke machine. It was pitiful, and far below the level of service that I would expect from such a prestigious venue at such a significant price.

I’ve seen vendors, many of whom appear to be real professionals, with thousands of dollars worth of turntables, computers, mixers, amplifiers, speaker systems and other fancy equipment who somehow don’t even think about making sure that the couple being married can be heard.

Please, people, make the needed investment. I’ll bet your client satisfaction scores will skyrocket!

And one last bit of advice for brides and grooms: When you select your venue, or your DJ, musician, or other audio professional, make sure that you ask them if they provide the equipment that you comfortably need in order to be heard (and also maybe connected to your videographer).

I’d love to hear from you folks, vendors and brides and grooms alike. Let me know what you think. And thanks for reading.

 

OMG! He Popped the Question! Now What Do I Do?

I got to thinking last night as I reflected on this past weekend’s two weddings where I was privileged to officiate. I’d met with both couples well before the weddings and customized the scripts and vows for them. I also advised them on the processional and talked to them about staying calm on their wedding day because it was all going to be fine. I am an optimist, after all.

Both weddings went beautifully. And when I spoke to the brides they were both happy with the ceremonies and happy that it was finally done! They both confessed to being a little overwhelmed with planning and details between engagement and ceremony time. So I put together a little 55-second video with some slides and put it up on YouTube. You can watch it below.

As I was editing the video above, I was inspired to create a longer version of the presentation so that I could reassure future brides that as panicked as they might be feeling at the moment, everything would work out just fine, at least as far as the ceremony and the officiant — me! — were concerned. We had that part of the ceremony fully under control. You can see that longer (8-minute) video starring yours truly below as well.

I would love to have your comments on these two videos. And a description of your experiences from when he “popped the question” to when your ceremony had been completed. I think other future brides would like to be reassured that what they are feeling is normal!

Thanks for reading and watching. And feel free to share this blog post.

 

How Big Should Your Wedding Be?

I had the opportunity to answer a question on Quora today and I wanted to share the question and my answer to the question, and some advice for all of you spouses-to-be. The question posed was:

My future in-laws want a huge wedding and want to spend a lot to keep their 400+ guests happy. I want a simple wedding because I care more about the marriage than the wedding. Their idea of the wedding is financially straining on my family, because what we saved up is not enough.

My answer was:

Jon Turino, Wedding Officiant (2015-present)

 “Weddings can be incredibly expensive if not properly planned. I think 400+ guests — unless you live in India — is going way overboard. You and your fiance will be going forward in your lives together and your responsibilities to your future in-laws are minimal. If they want to pay for the wedding, you might acquiesce; otherwise going into a large amount of debt to satisfy them is a very bad way to start your new married life.

There are dozens — or more — checklists available for choosing wedding guests. Close family, close friends, close coworkers, people who might be upset if not invited, etc. Beyond that list there is no reason to spend $100-$200 — or more — per guest just so the in-laws can impress their friends.

You don’t mention how your fiance feels about this situation so I suggest that you two have a serious conversation about what you and he want and how you view the situation together.”

My advice is:

If you want to start out right then start with your guest list. Then get the event planner/coordinator who can help you find a venue that fits that list and your desires for a theme and location. Then you’ll want to get the caterer, the DJ/musician(s), the photographer, etc. And, if you are the bride, don’t forget the dress! And don’t forget to book your officiant early. He/she will probably be the least expensive, but most important, person you choose! Find out more at http://yourminister.org/the-ultimate-wedding-checklists-list/.

As always, your comments are welcome anytime.

Ask the Officiant

A new live interactive forum to answer your wedding questions.

Please note: This service has been discontinued. But I am available one-on-one via phone, email, or live Internet video chat and I’d love to answer your questions.

announcing-a-new-free-interactive-resource-for-brides

Join us live on Tuesday evenings for this great new resource.

Do you have questions about your ceremony? About your vows? About your venue? About wedding planners and wedding coordinators? You can get answers to these questions during a newly announced series of live interactive video chat session hosted on the Zoom.us platform.

The plan is to have people interested in both getting from and providing answers to prospective brides and grooms regarding virtually any topic. Thus I encourage wedding planners, wedding coordinators, wedding venue managers, photographers, musicians and DJs, caterers, cake makers and anyone else who would like to contribute to participate in these sessions.

These sessions are not a place to provide sales pitches for products or services. They are meant to provide actionable information to help future brides and groom make their special day as perfect as possible. So if we can help them by identifying and providing solutions to common problems we’ve seen occur during other ceremonies and receptions I think we’ll be adding a lot of value. And my experience tells me that if we provide value then we may be considered when they are making hiring decisions.

So please join me on Tuesday evenings at 7:00 PM Pacific time at https://zoom.us/j/7993445506 for the next sessions. If you are a bride or groom to be, we’ll all do our best to provide you with great information that will help you in your planning efforts to make sure that your wedding day is as perfect as possible. If you are a vendor who can provide valuable advice to prospective brides and grooms, your participation is welcome as well.

FYI, you may CLICK HERE to watch a recording of the first session that was broadcast on October 25, 2016. You missed this event but you can see what I’m trying to accomplish by watching the recording.

As always, your comments and thoughts are more than welcome. Thanks for reading and I hope to “see” you at an upcoming session.

The Ultimate Wedding Checklists List

This gallery contains 14 photos.

How to make sure you don’t forget ANYTHING! With so many things to think about for your wedding, checklists can be of huge help. See this ultimate list of checklists to make sure you don’t forget anything. One of the … Continue reading

20+ Special Tips to Make Your Wedding Day Wonderful

Some good information for lowering your stress level!vince-and-elena-longview-wa-sept-10-2016

1. Decide how many guests you’ll have
This is the single largest item that affects your wedding reception cost. If it costs $100 per person for food and drink and you cut 10 people you’ll save $1,000.

2. Determine what’s important
Is it the ceremony itself, or the venue, or the reception? Make a list as large as you’d like and then whittle it down to the top three. If you get those right most everything will flow from there.

3.  Listen to Mother Nature
While an outdoor wedding may seem ideal, watch out for summer heat, winter cold, bugs, travel conditions and blackout dates.

4.  Lock in a venue before the other details
This is critically important. Most planners and coordinators recommend book the venue 10-14 months in advance to avoid disappointment. This is especially true during the peak wedding season (May to September in the Portland/Vancouver area).

5.  Hire vendors you like
Meet with, or at least talk to, prospective vendors. You can get recommendations from the venues, your planner/coordinator and many of the other vendors you’ll be using. Check ratings from past clients.

6.  Book vendors early
Just as you need to book your venue at the earliest possible moment, you don’t want to wait to select caterers, DJs/musicians, florists, printers, cake makers, etc. And don’t forget the Officiant!

7.  Seriously consider hiring a videographer
Research from WeddingWire.com, and others suggests that one of the biggest, if not the biggest, regrets mentioned post-wedding day by brides is not having hired a videographer. No matter how great a job the photographer does, nothing will replace a video.

8.  Don’t leave hiring your Officiant to the last minute
I mentioned this in “Book vendors early” above but it bears repeating. 5-star rated officiants get booked early and you won’t want to settle for someone who won’t be caring enough, flexible enough and skilled enough to help you make the ceremony and vows as perfect for you as possible.

9.  If you can’t hire a wedding coordinator, let your bridesmaids handle some of the day-of logistics
Putting a wedding together can be a daunting task. But you don’t have to do it all yourself. If your budget is too small to hire a coordinator for the day of your wedding, delegate as many tasks as possible to your bridesmaids so that you have time to concentrate on enjoying your day.

10.  Learn about marriage licenses
These vary from state to state. Many have 3-day waiting periods. Most are valid for 60 days from the date of issue. You’ll need to get the marriage license in the state in which you are going to actually be married. If you are planning a destination wedding, this could impact your costs by requiring an extra trip or arriving early.

11.  Eat a breakfast that is high in protein and complex carbs
You’ll need energy that lasts during the day, from early preparation through the actual ceremony itself. You don’t want to end up being so tired from lack of sustenance that you can’t enjoy your day.

12.  Eat something later
If your ceremony is more that 6-8 hours after breakfast, eat something else. At least maybe a nutrition or energy bar. The last thing you want to do if faint from low blood sugar!

13.  Get plenty of rest the night before
This can be problematical since you’re likely to be both excited that your wedding day has finally arrived and worried about the myriad things that will need to come together to make the day as wonderful as you’ve planned. But don’t drink alcohol to put yourself to sleep. Having a hangover will not enhance your enjoyment of your special day!

14.  Give yourself plenty of time to get ready
To avoid feeling pressured or rushed you are going to want to plan to start getting ready as early in the day as possible. If you start late it’s likely that everything else could be impacted and you don’t need that stress! Set up a timeline, working your way back from the ceremony start time, so that you guests and vendors are not inconvenienced.

15.  If you bought new shoes for the big day, be sure to break them in ahead of time
It’s hard to enjoy anything when your feet hurt! If you can have a pair of comfortable shoes dyed to fit your dress, that’s a great alternative as well.

16.  Don’t forget a wedding day survival kit
There are a great many sources for buying one of these or you can put one together yourself. Check https://www.theknot.com/content/the-brides-emergency-kit for a great list of what needs to be in it.

17.  Take pictures before you say, “I do”
While it is traditional for the bride to be unseen by the groom before the ceremony, the practical aspects of getting the best photos often dictate that you arrange to have the photos taken before the ceremony. Things will get hectic after the ceremony and there is paperwork to be done with your officiant as well. So give this serious consideration.

18.  Speak up during the ceremony
Guests often comment that they couldn’t hear the bride – or the groom, for that matter – as the vows and rings were exchanged. With small audiences in fairly intimate settings, I recommend that you speak loudly. For larger groups and venues, consider asking your DJ or sound person to provide wireless microphones for you, the groom and the officiant (if he/she doesn’t normally bring his or her own).

19.  Breathe during the ceremony
I always remind my brides and grooms when they’ve arrived at the front of the venue to remember to breathe! It is exciting and can be nerve racking, to be in front of a large group and be worried about flubbing your lines. A good officiant will feed you your lines a phrase or two at a time so that that won’t happen. So take your time, breathe and even take deep breaths while the officiant speaks, guests perform readings, etc.

20.  Pack flats for the reception
Why not be as comfortable as possible as you eat, drink, and dance during the reception? Alternatively, if the shoes you wore for the photos and ceremony are comfortable you can keep them on but my experience is that most brides – and bridesmaids! – want to change into more comfortable shoes.

21.  Reapply lipstick after the ceremony
Kind of a silly tip? Not really. There’ll be lots of photography going on, and maybe videotaping as well. This was mentioned more than once as being important in hindsight in more than a few of the lists I consulting in coming up with this list.

22.  Arrange for group photos at the reception
You don’t want to keep guests who won’t be in these group photos waiting before the ceremony or even the start of the reception. So do the group photos during the early part of the reception before the food is served (or the buffet is opened).

There’s much more information available
Find thousand more tips at https://www.pinterest.com/explore/wedding-day-tips/ and hundreds of other boards on Pinterest. And there’s an excellent very comprehensive set of lists in an article you can find at http://www.boho-weddings.com/2013/10/23/real-brides-advice-from-their-wedding-day

Got questions?
Please feel free to call or email me and I’ll be happy to answer what I can and point you to other sources where I can’t. Have a wonderful wedding!

As always, comments are welcome. And please feel free to share this post.

 Sources:

http://www.brides.com/blogs/aisle-say/2014/05/wedding-advice-from-real-brides.html
https://www.buzzfeed.com/mikespohr/31-tips-to-make-sure-you-enjoy-your-wedding-day
http://kellyboitano.com/15-wedding-tips-from-a-photographer-turned-bride/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/19/wedding-planning-regret_n_4564186.html
https://www.theknot.com/content/expert-wedding-planning-tips-and-tricks

How to Avoid Becoming a “Bridezilla”!

You CAN be in Control Without Going Crazy!

Image result

Did you ever watch this old reality show? It was on We TV from June 1st, 2004 until October 11, 2013 — an incredibly long run for a low budget reality show. The billing description reads: “Godzilla has nothing on a bride-to-be planning her dream wedding, as evidenced by the aptly named “Bridezillas.” The docu-series follows women who were perfectly normal before wedding planning took over her life. Grimly determined to realize their “dream wedding” at all costs, these out-of-control brides make the time leading up to their day of days an utter nightmare for everyone around them. In the end, they hope all the stress and meltdowns are worth it and they have the perfect wedding they’ve been dreaming of since they were little.” 

Like most reality shows, this one found the absolutely worst examples of brides who represent only a tiny portion of the brides who marry each year. And, like most reality shows, it tried to make its audience think that all brides exhibited the characteristics of its “stars.”

My experience with brides is that most are very reasonable, very smart women who want their ceremony to be as close to the wedding day they’ve dreamed of during their childhood and that they want everyone — the wedding party, the parents and the guests, to have the best experience possible. So what goes wrong?

I’ve spent many years in the business consulting world and have always told my clients that a failure to plan is akin to planning to fail. And my recent experiences as a wedding officiant have led me to believe that what has been true in the business world is equally true in the wedding world!

I think that what may turn a perfectly reasonable bride-to-be into a “bridezilla” is simple panic. “Oh, my God! The wedding is only (insert number of months, weeks or sometimes even only days here) away and we still haven’t booked (insert venue, caterer, DJ/musician, cake maker, hair and makeup specialist, officiant, etc.). HELP!

If you are a bride-to-be, the best thing you can do to avoid becoming a “bridezilla” is to begin the wedding planning process as early as possible after your fiance has “popped the question” and you  have said “Yes!”. In a previous blog post, I provide some guidance about engagement length versus wedding date selections and I do recommend that you take a few minutes to read it. Beyond that, here are some hints to help you stay calm, collected and in control so that you can have the best wedding day experience possible.

  • As mentioned above, start the planning process early!
  • Set out a timeline of things that must be done and people/organizations that must be hired.
  • Consult wedding related websites and blogs for lists of things you may want to consider so you don’t forget anything.
  • Delegate what you can to your fiance, your family, and your friends if they are willing to become involved to that level.
  • Keep a current list of the things that need doing and their status so that you don’t have to think about them constantly.
  • Don’t procrastinate! You’ll go nuts!

Also remember Murphy’s First Law: Whatever Can Go Wrong Will Go Wrong! But you know what? Your world will not come to an end if there is a glitch or two. This is normal. The hair and makeup artist will be late. Or you’ll be late because you stayed up too late worrying about the things you might have missed or that you might be late! See the list above to avoid those pitfalls. If you start the planning process early, make your hiring decisions on a timely basis and — very important — don’t “second guess” yourself — or make last minute changes that could have a negative impact on all of the other things or the overall schedule.

Sequence of Research - WeddingWire - 08-15-2016As an ordained minister who serves as a professional wedding officiant, I’m usually one of the last people to be hired (see chart at left courtesy of WeddingWire.com). But I can provide you with an up-front consultation to let you know that the vows, ceremony elements and any special features (e.g., unity candle or sand ceremony, remembrances, guest comments, special songs, etc.) will be handled exactly as you want them to be. Venues are obviously first priority. And good photographers need early booking as well. You can see the other major elements in the chart, but these are only a small portion of the things, people and organizations that you may want to consider for your special day.

Don’t try to do it all by yourself! You have a spouse-to-be who should take on a full share of the planning tasks. And actually planning the wedding together can be a great test of whether or not  you’ll be able to “work together, share together and support each other, for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, …”

Thanks for reading this post. I’d love to have your feedback on it and please do feel free to share it on your social media channels with everyone you feel might find it interesting. And if you are in the Portland/Vancouver area and need an officiant for an upcoming wedding, please do keep me in mind. I’d love to marry you!