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.

 

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.

 

21 Clever Tricks To Make Any Wedding So Much Easier

When people think about wedding planning, they generally think of stress, stress, and more stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way!  If you go into the process knowing what you need to do, it can actually be fun.

But the question is, “what do I need to know”?

We’ve built a list of wedding tips that will prepare you and anyone getting married for what’s to come.  You will also learn what you should do to avoid the annoying problems so many couples complain about.  Additionally, you’ll learn about some of the major pitfalls that can hit you on the day of your wedding and how to do damage control.

For example, what to do if your heels break or it rains the day-of in an outdoor venue?   You have to think about these things!

But it’s not just about actionable things you can do to make wedding planning less stressful, it’s also about the mindset you need to have throughout. For example, many people will try to tell you what to do every step of the way.  And some advice you’ll get will contradict other advice you get.  That doesn’t make any sense.

Ultimately, you are in charge and you need to assert yourself early on.

But it’s not just about being the boss.  It’s also about having a good time and you need to find ways to make wedding planning fun!

After all, shouldn’t the happiest day of your life be fun to plan? So check out the article because we have you covered for all your wedding planning woes!

This summary is posted with permission from EventForte. The full article by EventForte can be found here: https://blog.eventforte.com/17-wedding-planning-tips/.

4 Common Wedding Ceremony Snafus and Exactly How to Handle Them

Photo by You Me Photography

(Note: This article was originally posted by Jaimie Mackey on February 18, 2017, at http://www.brides.com/)

While every bride hopes everything goes right on her wedding day, there’s only so much planning and preparation you can do. With so many moving parts, something is bound to happen! And even with a script, carefully selected readings, and an officiant to keep everything in order, there is always the potential for some little snafu to come up at the wedding ceremony. We asked our experts for tips to handle the most common of wedding ceremony mishaps.

Tripping as You Walk Down the Aisle
Even with a perfectly hemmed wedding dress and heels you’ve painstakingly broken in, tripping as you walk down the aisle happens. But don’t panic! It’s easy to avoid—and to recover from. Before you head down the aisle, practice walking (slowly!) in your full ensemble to get comfortable. Then, if you’re walking with someone like your father or both parents, take a short lap on their arm(s) to make sure everyone knows how to move around your skirt. After a deep breath, head down the aisle slowly. A serene pace means you’ll be less likely to catch your skirt as you’re walking. And if you do stumble a little? Grab Dad’s arm, pause for a moment, and then keep going.

Flubbing Your Vows
With emotions running high during your wedding ceremony, trouble with your vows is pretty likely and thankfully makes for a little comic relief that definitely helps to lighten the mood! Laugh it off, then ask your officiant to repeat the line you’ve messed up. If remembering an entire sentence through the happy tears isn’t working, ask your officiant to break your vows up into shorter segments (“I, Susan” followed by “take you, Mike,” and so forth) that will be easier to manage.

A Ring That Doesn’t Fit
Out of all the ceremony snafus, this is probably the most common. From a change in the weather to water retention after too many drinks at the rehearsal dinner, there’s a chance your ring won’t fit on your finger. And of course, men tend to have larger knuckles, which means slipping your hubby’s ring on his finger could be an issue too! There’s no need to worry, though. Do your best to get the ring on, and if it really doesn’t fit, either leave it above the knuckle or move it to a finger where it fits more easily (like the pinky finger of your left hand). Then continue with the ceremony and wrestle with your ring once you’re back down the aisle. It’s nothing a little hand lotion can’t help with!

Rogue Ring Bearers or Flower Girls
The tiniest members of your wedding party are certainly the cutest but can also be the hardest to wrangle. The best way to get them down the aisle is to prepare early. If their parents or grandparents are sitting in one of the front rows, give them a seat along the aisle and stash nonsticky, noise-free treats like gummy bears beneath the seat as an easy bribe. Of course, once they’re on their way, there’s nothing you can do! From taking an alternate route to rushing (or not rushing) down the aisle, they’ll get there however they please. Make sure your videographer captures the hilarity, put a smile on your face as your guests chuckle, and get ready for your own trip down the aisle! Of course, if a meltdown ensues, ask Mom or Dad to grab their kid, comfort him or her, and head to the back of the venue so the tears don’t distract from your vows.

8 Ways You’re Annoying Your Bridesmaids Without Knowing It

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(Note: This article is by Jillian Kramer and was published on February 7, 2017, at http://www.brides.com/)

You’d never purposely annoy your ‘maids, we know. But sometimes, well, it just happens. 

Even if a bride doesn’t mean to annoy her bridesmaids, it can happen. What with all the decision-making, etiquette rules, and other specifications a bridal party needs to follow, no amount of good intentions can stop the inevitable. To help you be more cognizant of your ‘maids during the wedding-planning process, here are eight ways you might be getting on their nerves without being any the wiser.

1. You talk about your wedding nonstop.
Your wedding is pretty darn exciting, so who could blame you for wanting to talk about it 24/7? But “even though you’re just excited to share all of the details, you may be unintentionally annoying your bridesmaids by talking about the wedding nonstop,” warns Jaclyn Fisher, owner of Two Little Birds Planning in Philadelphia. So remember to ask what your friends have going on too.

2. You’re blowing up their phones with wedding-related messages.
Dress news? You text your ‘maids. Caterer drama? You send ’em an email. “You may be a slave to your iPhone and your email, but that doesn’t mean everyone else wants to read 10 emails a day,” says Amy Nichols, owner of Amy Nichols Special events and cofounder of the Poppy Group. Send succinct, necessary messages only.

3. You won’t let them bring a date.
You’re trying to keep your guest count down—and we get it. But Fisher says, “A surefire way to irritate your bridesmaids is inviting them to your wedding without a date. They’ve shelled out a pretty penny being your bridesmaid, so let them share your special day with someone who is special to them.”

4. You expect them to spend a lot of money.
Weddings are expensive—for your bridesmaids too. “If your bridesmaids’ dresses are $300 each and you’re insisting that they also wear matching $250 shoes, that may turn a few ‘maids a shade of green,” warns Nichols. “Be respectful of everyone’s budgets where possible, and if need be, offer to help any bridesmaids who might truly be in a money or budget crunch.” And if they need to bow out, make it easy.

See More: 7 Major Bridesmaid Pet Peeves, as Told by Real Bridesmaids

5. You’re micromanaging their duties.
If you’ve hijacked the planning of your own bridal shower or bachelorette party, you’re micromanaging your ‘maids to an annoying degree. “Let your bridesmaids do their job and plan something nice for you,” says Fisher, “because trying to take the reins makes you seem ungracious and annoying.”

6. You’ve booked them for too many DIY days.
Yes, bridesmaids love to help. “But if you just crafted a giant to-do list that included DIY flower day, program-folding day, menu-ribbon-tying day, and more, they might be calling you a bridezilla behind your back,” says Nichols. “Consider leaving the DIY days up to them as an option instead of a requirement. Some aunts or cousins might jump at the chance to help.”

7. You’re treating your bridesmaids differently.
You have different relationships with all of your bridesmaids, but that doesn’t mean you can treat them all differently. “It’s annoying when you treat them differently in terms of wedding planning,” says Fisher. “If you have a small bridal party, consider inviting all of your bridesmaids to check out your venue or go dress shopping, not just your two childhood besties. All of your bridesmaids should feel special and included in the same ways.”

8. You picked a bridesmaids’ dress that you like, not one that looks good.
Just because it looks pretty on the hanger—or even on you—doesn’t mean a dress is right for your best gal pals. “While you may have gorgeous olive skin and can rock a peach bridesmaid dress, your paler bridesmaids may feel like they’re going to disappear,” explains Nichols. “When in doubt, stick with solid colors in more saturated tones. White, pale pink and nude can be really tough for many people to wear, but a pretty blue or even a deep red can work on a variety of skin tones.”

What Are You Waiting For?

Spring, Summer, and even Fall are coming up fast!

Statistics from WeddingWire.com last November indicated that Officiants are almost the last to be hired as a necessary vendor in the wedding ceremony planning process. That may have been true in 2016, as I received dozens of requests during July, August, and September and was able to accommodate those clients for the most part.

But this year seems to be different. People are planning their weddings earlier and requesting officiants much earlier in the planning process than I’ve experienced before.

The graphic above, with March on top and November on the bottom, shows the number of bookings for which I have confirmed dates with paid deposits for the rest of the coming year. By my count, there are fifteen on the books already. What is more interesting, though, is the increase in the number of requests that I’ve experienced over the last week or so.

I have had to turn down three requests each for June 10th and June 17th, two on July 7th, three each for August 12th and 26th, and another for September 9th. Those seem to really be the most popular dates coming up.

I hate turning people down when I’m already booked, but when I am booked for a date, time, and venue I honor those commitments. And I feel sorry for the folks I’m unable to serve because, frankly, I love marrying people! So if you are planning to wed in the next 6-8 months, I suggest that you select your officiant once you’ve secured your venue, rather than waiting until the last minute. That way you can avoid disappointment by having to settle for someone who would not be your first choice.

There are literally hundreds of checklists, many in previous posts on my blog, that can help you with your wedding planning needs. Please take advantage of these resources and remember: If you fail to plan, you may be planning to fail! You don’t want to subject yourself to any more last minute stresses than you need to, so proper planning and early hiring are critical to accomplishing that.

If you have any questions at all about scripts, vows, rehearsals, or other ceremony elements, I’m available by phone, email, or live video chat on multiple platforms. Have a wonderful ceremony!

 

 

Why I Love To Marry People

Let me count the “Whys”

I’ve been asked many times why I became a wedding officiant and I’ve usually answered by telling the story of how I became a wedding officiant, and not necessarily the why. The how is pretty clear: a friend asked me to get ordained and marry her and her fiance and, because she was a good friend, that’s what I did. And I loved marrying her and her fiance. It was one of those moments that said to me that I had found a new calling. And I am not a young man, so a new calling was an extraordinary revelation.

Joyous Occasions

I have seen a lot in my life. A lot of good and a lot of not so good. I’ve been fortunate enough to travel the world and share my knowledge and experience with thousands. But with all the wonderful evaluation form results, nothing was as satisfying to me as seeing, in real time, the smiling faces of the first couple that I had the privilege of marrying. What an absolutely joyous occasion. I usually cry at weddings when I’m a guest, but I couldn’t do that when the bride and groom were depending on me to perform a ceremony according to a script that we had worked on carefully so that it was exactly as they wanted it. This first wedding had 200+ guests in one of Portland’s most prestigious venues. And when I pronounced them man and wife and presented them to their friends and family it was absolute magic! So why to I do what I do? Because from that moment I realized that I love marrying people. They are so happy. Their guests are so happy for them. How can you not feel happy, uplifted and yes, even proud of yourself, for facilitating such a joyous occasion? I love marrying people!

Teaching and Coaching

Most of the people who hire me as their officiant fall into two categories: young couples who are getting married for the first time and more mature couples who are tying the knot with new partners, sometimes including kids from one or both first marriages. I spent many years in the seminar and consulting business and I always found that what made me successful was my ability to listen before speaking, teaching, and coaching. So when I work with couples who have no idea what kind of ceremony they want, how a ceremony usually goes, what kinds of vows they want, etc., I’m happy to guide them and offer suggestions. That’s why the up-front in-person consults are so important. I find out what they really want and suggest ways to make sure that their ceremony meets all of their needs, wants, and desires.

Exceeding Expectations

Many years ago I was profoundly influenced by a boss in my high-tech days. He said that the most important thing that you could do for customers if you (a) wanted them back or (b) wanted them to recommend you was to under-promise and over deliver. To exceed their expectations. To deliver services from the beginning to the completion of the relationship that provided not just customer satisfaction but actually provided customer delight. And I have always strived to do that in all of my endeavors. I think that is one of the reasons that I have been privileged to receive so many wonderful recommendations from so many of my clients. And I love my clients! They have been universally great people who have depended on me to make their special day as perfect as possible. I love making that happen!

Each Ceremony is Unique

I don’t think that “cookie cutter” approaches are the best way to serve my clients. While I have resources to provide “canned” scripts and vows for religious and non-religious ceremonies, and for elements like unity candle, sand, hand fasting, and others, I really like to make sure that I understand where my clients are coming from and what they want their ceremony to convey to their family, friends, and other guests. I know that they — and you —  have a choice of officiants, some more and some less expensive than what I offer. But I don’t quibble with folks who want a “quick and dirty” cheap canned ceremony. There are lots of officiants out there who can provide that. I want clients who value personal service, in-person up-front consultations, and ceremonies that fulfill all of their unique needs, wants, and desires. All at reasonable price points. Those are the clients that I love to marry!

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.

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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

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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