All the best,
Will Taylor 512-775-2371
I totally stumbled into being a wedding officiant. In 2004 I came across an article in the New York Times about the growing need for celebrants willing to marry couples who weren’t religious, or who came from different religious backgrounds. The idea of the job appealed to me—I already had decades of experience as a writer and a public speaker and I love being useful.
Some generous friends offered themselves as my guinea pigs. That first wedding was so fun I knew I wanted to perform more. I found another officiant willing to train me and get me started with sample ceremonies. Soon enough, both because I am a writer and because couples I work with want unique ceremonies, I started super personalizing ceremonies.
By “super personalizing” what I mean is, I didn’t just use readings that held great meaning for the couple, though there was that. I also put my twenty-five years of journalism experience to use, interviewing my clients, taking highlights of the story of their life together, and adding in a Personal Story section to the ceremony.
I still do this for many, many couples—it’s not mandatory but so many people ask me to include it. Yes, sometimes their guests already know the story, but it bears repeating, a happy and romantic way to really consider why the crowd has gathered. In other cases, a wedding will be the first time some of the guests have met the bride or groom, and the personal story catches them up on how we’ve come to be here on this day.
There are occasions when the personal story includes hardship a couple has faced together—grief, grave illness, separation due to work or deployment. I like including these elements, too, as a reminder that life is always going to throw curveballs, so remember to stand together.
No matter how many serious elements I include in a story, I also include levity. Because a couple’s wedding is a day to celebrate and be joyful, plus laughter is the best medicine as the saying goes. So it’s important to me that a ceremony includes a range of feelings to reflect how life covers a broad spectrum of emotions.
I love my job so much. I’m about to start my ninth year of being an officiant. Sometime in the middle of 2015 I’ll pass the 1000th Ceremony mark. I never get tired of my work and I never get bored. Because while yes, there is always some repetition (beginning, middle, kiss!) there is also always a unique story behind every union, and I love finding out what that is and including it in the ceremony.
More about Spike Gillespie’s wedding can be found at www.SpikeGillespie.com She was voted Best Officiant in 2013 by Austin’s A-List.