As I put the finishing touches on a Signature Ceremony that I will officiate this weekend, I can’t help but reflect on why I chose to become an officiant a year ago and what it means to me today.
A year ago I became an ordained wedding minister. I owned a large photography studio, and I loved the idea of officiating weddings as an adjunct to my main business. One month after my ordination, I officiated my first wedding. One year later, I’ve switched gears and have made my wedding officiant business my number one priority.
I’ve learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to getting married. In fact, my Sign-and-Go ceremonies (often called “just sign the paperwork” weddings) have just as many tears of joy as my customized Signature Ceremonies. The moment I pronounce a couple married, their family tree instantly changes. I love that. I love being part of it. My biggest surprise is how often I have to work hard to “keep it together” so that I don’t burst out in tears, as well. It is certainly an emotional and humbling experience to do what I do.
I have performed a variety of weddings this past year. I officiated a ceremony in a hospital room as the groom’s mother had only days to live. I married a military couple who traveled from China to marry in front of their closest family and friends. I’ve married same-sex couples, one of which was denied by 10 ministers before I said I’d marry them.
If I had to do it over again, I’d say “Yes” to this newfound business I’ve created. My only regret is that I waited so long to do it. As I make plans to expand my service options, I’ll keep you informed of my progress. I’ve worked in several careers ranging from counselor to copywriter/editor to photographer to college instructor to now an ESL teacher for Chinese students. All of my choices have been rewarding, but I can honestly say that watching two people make a life commitment to each other–and their families–has been my greatest reward of all.