Archive for May, 2009
I often get asked what is an officiant and what exactly do they do? Officiants, primarily officiate weddings, funerals and other ceremonies; meaning they say the words that unite a couple in marriage or sends an individual to their final resting place. Many Officiants work part-time, very few work full time.
Most of what an officiant does is behind the scenes, the 10-30 minutes they spend talking in front of an audience is just the finished product of all of the background work that can take an average of 10 hours of work per ceremony. This can and does include consultations, scheduling appointments, dealing with no-shows of couples and families who are often busy(they forget or are late due to illness or grief); fielding inquiry emails and phone calls to check availability. Writing the ceremonies can sometimes can take months of work including facilitating couples to write multiple drafts, proof-reads, approvals, updates, modifications, last minute changes, re-approvals, researching special rituals, writing vows and reading choices for weddings and other special ceremonies. Conducting research for particular non-traditional ceremonies; knowing where to look and of course obtaining the education and experience related to finding the right information. Ceremony practice time, both privately (on your own; such as reading the ceremony outloud) and at the rehearsal for the wedding. Travel time to and from the rehearsal and ceremony, waiting and interacting with other vendors before and after the rehearsal and ceremony. Following ceremonies, actions such as signing legal documents like the marriage license and certificates for a variety of ceremonies are also part of the job. Managing the business of officiating, such as advertizing, bridal shows, networking and other things associated with running a business. Filing the legal documents collected from the ceremonies with the appropriate county office either through mailing or personal delivery. Financial management such as collecting deposits, fees and payments due; paying fees for legal and insurance coverage.
Conducting a ceremony requires an officiant to: read the words uniting the couple in marriage; stand the entire time during the ceremony; reassure the nervous bride and groom that everything will be FINE; conduct last-minute free marriage counseling; communicate needs and wants between the couple, the DJ, photographer and other vendors; greets people as they arrive for the wedding; answers questions about “What church do you preach at?”; pins on corsages and ties men’s ties when they have no clue how to do so; carries any and all items that may be needed by the bride/groom such as tissue, aspirin, bug spray, safety pins, stain remover and lots of other items; acts as child psychologist for reluctant or shy children in the wedding party; says “no problem” when the groom forgets the wedding rings and now I have to think of an excuse to delay the ceremony for ten minutes without the bride finding out exactly why; ad-libs as children decide they don’t want to do what the bride/groom wanted them to do; ad-libs as the weather decides not to cooperate; uses a “big voice” when the audio equipment does not cooperate; gets to see the love and joy on the bride and groom’s faces as they repeat their vows to each other; gets to say, “I now pronounce you husband and wife”; gets hugs from bride and groom before leaving. Finally, the personal sacrifices–time lost with significant others on the weekends. Typically officiate work is on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The most important part:
Your Officiate is a consummate professional without which there would be no marriage.
It is the least expensive cost in a typical wedding, yet the only required part.
You can have a wedding without flowers, DJ, expensive dresses and fancy food. You can’t have a legal marriage without an Officiate, Minister, Priest or going to the court house.
An personally, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE!!! Officiating weddings! I’m just saying!