Why I Became A Wedding Officiant

October 31st, 2014

Why did I become a wedding officiant? This is a popular question that I get asked by many couples that I marry. And even though the story behind why I did begins with sad events, I’m always happy to tell it, because it paved the way to where I am today. Of course at that time, I had no idea it would lead me to becoming a wedding officiant.
It began with my father-in-law Francis’ passing in 2005, which was a tough loss to handle–not just for me, but especially for my husband. Francis and my husband, Bryan, who was his oldest son, were best friends; one of the nicest people in this world that you’d ever come across. Very humble, respectful and a sweet sense of humor. The evening before his funeral, we were at his wake and I was asked by the family, if I would like to write his eulogy. Of course, I said yes; but little did I know it would have me planted in front of the computer into the wee hours of the morning. I could have written a book about this man, but after finalizing the eulogy with writing a short poem at the ending, I finally had to stop and get to bed. While lying in bed as I drifted to sleep, my mind was racing with other thoughts that needed to be put to paper about this wonderful man. It wasn’t too many hours later that I had awoken and immediately sat myself back down in front of the computer only to find there was so much more that needed to be written. Knowing that I didn’t have too much time, I decided to only add a bit here and there. It was four full pages, single spaced, barely any margins and the font size was pretty small…the need for reading glasses wasn’t an issue for me.
At the church, I was eventually asked to come up and read the eulogy. When I stood up, I felt confident I’ll be able to get through it without totally falling apart; but that thought quickly passed, as I began to walk my legs wobbled so much I thought they would fall off any second. Once up at the pulpit, I regained my strength…just a bit…but it didn’t last long. As soon as I started to read, I lost it. Now, wondering after all that time I spent writing the beautiful memories of such a memorable man, and I’m not even going to be able to share it with everyone. Finally, I dug deep down within myself and found all the strength I could muster and began reading…and reading I did. When I finished, it felt good to honor my father-in-law in this way.
After the funeral, the priest had mentioned to one of the family members that in his 40+ years as a priest, he had never heard a eulogy as riveting as this one and it even brought tears to his eyes, which never happens. I had also received a lot of compliments from many family members that day.
Fast forward to 2012, the year my mother-in-law Judy passed away. Once again, I was asked to write a eulogy. Several pages later and writing a personalized poem for her as well, after the funeral the compliments ensued. When Bryan and I arrived home that evening, he asked me if I’d like to do something positive with my writing and speaking talents. I said sure would, but where could I use my talents and have fun at the same time? He responded, “Well, I’ve got a co-worker whose wife is a wedding officiant and has a few people working with her as well.” She had been in business about three years at that point. Bryan suggested I get in touch with her to find out what it entails being an officiant. And so I did just that, had lunch with her and ran with it. Here I am, two plus years later with 207 ceremonies under my belt. I must say, I am so blessed with having a successful, rewarding profession that I love at this stage in my life…something I can take into my retirement years. One thing I usually mention when I have my first meeting with a couple is that I dare not call what I do work, because it’s way too much fun being an officiant. Even the preparation and emailing and coordinating and traveling is completely enjoyable. And the best part of it all is after every ceremony I officiate, I come away floating on a cloud; not only because it uplifts me, but also because I’ve helped make two people’s special day a joyful memory.

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