Wednesday, April 10, 2013

INFO: Your Friend as Officiant - Good or Bad Idea?

An officiant who's a friend of the couple...for real!
Last week, i had the privilege of officiating the wedding of two dear friends. It is rare to have such an opportunity, and an extra special occasion when i do!
This week, you may have seen a story about musician Kelly Clarkson's decision to be wed by a friend, fellow musician Blake Shelton. The Clarkson officiant story was rampant in the social media universe.
CELIA MILTON, a friend, colleague and fellow Life-Cycle Celebrant®, posted this in reply to the article:
"Just because someone legally can officiate doesn't mean they should. Creating and performing an inspiring, meaningful, personal ceremony takes more talent than most people think. Despite the way it looks, it's not 'just 20 minutes", and the fact that someone knows you doesn't necessarily mean that they will be able to craft and deliver a significant ceremony that will start your celebration (and your marriage) in a way that is memorable and exciting for the guests.

As a trained officiant who has performed close to 700 weddings in settings as diverse as Yankee Stadium and various backyards in New Jersey, I think I speak for my colleagues when I say we get really, really tired of hearing that anyone can do this, that merely knowing the couple can assure a personal service, and that this is a great place to DIY.

Very often, it's not. The reality is that when the Champagne is gone, the high heels are under the table and the guests have gone home, the memory of a really terrific, well crafted ceremony remains (along with the license). It's not a place to skimp. And when the ceremony day is looming? That confident family member may just decide that they are too nervous to do the ceremony. And that's when they'll call me..."
Most all the couples who hire me as their Celebrant/officiant are from the Los Angeles and greater Southern California areas. This means a number of couples i have married work in show business: the music, television, gaming or film industry directly, either as talent, writers, producers, executives etc. or in the production, voiceover, post-production, design and technical fields that go into making tv, movies, games and music happen. Showbiz couples have tons of friends and know plenty of people who they have known for years who they trust will show up and can throw a party and give a toast...people who are funny, confident, outgoing and photogenic; people who won't show up under-prepared, choke under the pressure of public speaking, or succumb to camera/mic shyness.
Ari and Barry get married on Beverly Hills Nanny.
i always ask these couples, "Why are you hiring me to do your ceremony?"  Their answer is always a variation of: "Because we want someone who knows what they're doing, and someone who's done it before."
Even if you don't work in Hollywood, even if you want the simplest ceremony, hiring a professional officiant will save you potential headache and future trouble. The true pro is the person who will go through all the steps to make your wedding ceremony happen (at a minimum), fun (if you want), less complicated (cos we know this stuff already) and...legally binding (if necessary).
Most people, even do-it-yourselfers, tend to leave certain tasks to the professionals. Think about the last time you made repairs or improvements to your house or automobile: usually, there is something to be left to a contractor...think concrete pouring, roofing, or your timing belt. Those pros know about how to file for a permit...when, where and why to post signs for their trucks...and how to troubleshoot, because of their experience. And this is why i remind you: DON'T FORGET THE OFFICIANT.  Consider hiring a professional officiant, Celebrant, minister, pastor, reverend etc. to perform your wedding ceremony!

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