Yesterday, I spent the day at WeddingWire World DC, an expo for wedding professionals of all types, to learn about trends, how to be more professional, more effective at marketing, and an opportunity for networking with other professionals. It was a really great event. I learned a lot, and enjoyed meeting many others.
At the end of the day, there was music, food, and the chance to mingle and talk with people. There were about 1,000 attendees total, so it was a big event.
Anyway, here’s the highlight of the day for me: right towards the end of the day, the DJ called everyone to the dance floor to take a massive selfie. I was way in the back, and knew I wouldn’t be seen, but not a biggie. I decided to say hello to the person standing next to me, who I didn’t know, but saw that he was a photographer. I tapped him on the shoulder.
He looked at me with delight and recognition. “Hey!” he said, “You officiated Brock and Sandy’s wedding!” This wedding was around two years ago.
“Oh, yes, I did!” I said in surprise.
“You were so great!” he enthused!
I was amazed he remembered! He told me about several details he remembered from the ceremony, and even recalled that I had given Reiki healing to one of the bridesmaids before the ceremony.
Then, he took out his business card. An entire side of his card was a gorgeous picture of Sandy and Brock. I opened my website on my phone. In the center of the top header, is a picture of Brock, Sandy, and me… that he took.
His name is Ben Hill. Check him out at BenHillPhotography.com
Obviously, we were supposed to connect again!
As the Justice of the Peace gets pretty booked up well in advance, I often get calls to officiate a quick signing of the wedding license for couples to “make it legal.” While that may sound kind of dry and impersonal, I like to add a romantic touch. After all, this IS a wedding, and the date of this legal process will become the couple’s anniversary date far into the future.
These quick weddings don’t usually involve wedding dresses, guests, and flowers. They don’t usually include family members.
We might meet in Panera Bread and talk together quietly at a table. We might meet in a nearby park if the weather is nice. We might meet at the couple’s house or apartment. I even met a couple for beers at Dogfish Head Ale House. (I ended up officiating a bigger ceremony for them about six months later too.)
But, I like to make it special. This is, after all, the moment that the couple transitions from single to married. It’s an important moment and I consider it an honor to make this possible for them. So here’s what I do:
I bring a little ceremony script. It’s really simple. It includes: a brief reading about the meaning of marriage, vows (this is a legal necessity), a ring exchange (if the couple is including rings), and pronouncing them married.
I bring the couple a copy of my book, A Moment for Us: Care for Busy Couples – 101 free ways for couples to enjoy more love, caring, and togetherness in 30 seconds. I sign it for them and date it.
We take a picture.
And of course, I sign their wedding license to make it legal.
Look at these happy faces.
I had a fascinating experience this past Saturday as I was officiating a wedding, and I want to tell you about it.
It was pouring rain. The wedding was outdoors, on a platform with a canopy overhead and side fabric panels. The wedding party and I had to exit a building, and proceed down a brick path (in the rain) to the platform under the canopy for the ceremony.
We were scheduled to start in five minutes. I decided to do a little exercise in intention to try to give us a dry entrance. So, I stepped out under the overhang and I sent a message to the Universe for it to stop raining briefly beginning in 5 minutes, and then it could resume again. I was not joking, or asking, pleading, wishing, or hoping. I was intending and expecting for this to be exactly so. (Note: this really works for me.)
And then, in exactly two minutes, the Day of Coordinator sent me, and the wedding party out to begin the ceremony. Three minutes too early. We ran out in the rain and got into place. The rain stopped. I was annoyed and happy at the same time. It had done what I asked, but didn’t help achieve what I had really wanted.
The rain started again, heavily. As the ceremony continued, about 10 minutes in, I had a short passage to read acknowledging the grandparents of the bride and groom who were joining us in Spirit, shining their love over this ceremony. As soon as I said that, “BOOM!” the thunder clapped loudly. Every one of the guests yelled out “Woah!!”
We could say it’s a coincidence. We could say that was weird. But I see the big picture.
First of all, I got what I asked for. It stopped raining exactly when I had intended. Unfortunately, that was not the time we entered for the processional.
Then, the Universe, or the ancestors of the wedding couple, sent a little bit of applause to say thank you for the mention.
If we had entered later, without the rain, that thunder would have hit a different, and less impactful, part of the ceremony. This moment became a powerful memory. Now it’s part of a wedding day story that this couple will share for years to come.
It was all perfect.
One memorable ceremony in my first year as an officiant, Bob and Sally (not their real names) were standing before me and their many guests in a fancy hotel room. It was decked out with ribbons and flowers, and people all dressed up gazing at the beautifully-dressed couple.
As I was reading through the ceremony, the couple faced each other, holding both hands, and gazing into each other’s eyes. Bob was misty eyed. Then he was tearful. How moving. How beautiful.
Then…his nose started running. Uh oh. No tissue. I didn’t have one either. Finally, he reluctantly disengaged his hand from his bride’s, and wiped his nose.
With a little apology, he took Sally’s hand again.
As the guests began to giggle, I quickly announced, “And with that, you’ve just passed your first test as a married couple!”
Lesson learned: I always have clean tissues in my pocket at the ready.