Reflections on Being a Professional Wedding Officiant

A Marriage Made in Heaven

My fourth anniversary as a wedding officiant occurred this month on the 15th. I remember my first officiating experience vividly and I cherish it for leading me to this happy and rewarding vocation. I also cherish the over 300 ceremonies I’ve been privileged to perform since that wonderful August day when I pronounced Chong Pak and Lily Jeung as husband and wife at the Sentinel Hotel in downtown Portland. Thank you, Lily!

I can think of no more rewarding a profession than marrying two people in love and sending them forth to what will hopefully be a lifetime of love, laughter, and happiness together. Sometimes it’s been a couple of young people just starting out and sometimes it’s been a melding of long-established families with sometimes grown offspring.

Often, like that first one four years ago, they’ve been grand affairs. Other times they’ve been simple elopements in apartments, private homes, or parks with just the bride and groom, two witnesses, and I. And most times it’s been somewhere in between at a chapel or a wedding venue. But they all share one common characteristic, and that is love. Coupled with happiness at the moment and hope for the future.

I get to be the leader of the ceremony. I help craft the order of the ceremony, any readings or special elements, and the words and the vows that will be said by the couple and heard by their guests — few or many. I also deal with the mundane, where I advise my grooms to avoid locking their knees so that they don’t faint, my brides and grooms to breathe when they get emotional, and that I carry extra tissues in my back pocket should there be waterworks.

I am a calming, reassuring presence during what is inevitably a stressful event, no matter how well-rehearsed or happy they are. And I let them know that if anything goes wrong, there will be only three people in the world who will ever know that it happened — them and me! With the exceptions, of course, of young flower girls and ring bearers, where anything can  — and often does — occur to add laughter and joy to the event.

I often say, when posting new reviews, that I love my clients. And that is not hype or schmaltz. I do love them and I am thankful to them for giving me the privilege of solemnizing their unions. I’ve not had a “bridezilla” nor a crazy relative or ex create a stir at a ceremony. I have another 19 weddings left to do this year — a dozen in September alone — and have five already on the books for 2020, which I expect to be my busiest year yet. So I’ll say it again: I Love My Clients.

And I’d Love To Marry You!™

 

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