Updated: Oct 30, 2018
When planning our wedding, my husband Cameron and I chose to work with a professional officiant for our ceremony. We worked closely with Matthew Thuney of Weddings with Spirit and Wit to create a ceremony that truly reflected our love story. We were so happy with the end result - our beautiful, heartfelt ceremony! - that I’m happy to divulge the behind the scenes details of working with a professional officiant to create it.
First things first, we picked an officiant whose style we liked. Since Cameron and I decided to go the route of hiring a professional officiant, we researched and reached out to multiple officiants in the area. When we found Matthew of Weddings with Spirit and Wit, we felt his business approach and personality aligned with the type of officiant we were looking for. We wanted a ceremony that would blend our different backgrounds and honor the influence and tradition of religion, spirituality and love, even though we didn’t have a specific denomination in mind. Our hope was that our ceremony could balance the heartfelt sentiment with a dash of good-natured humor.
Before moving forward with having Matthew as our officiant, we met with him in person. Meeting in person was important to us, because it gave us a chance to interact with Matthew, get to know him better, and allow him to get to know us as well. While email correspondence definitely helped us set a foundation, we knew it would be important to sit down with him before working on our ceremony. After all, officiating a wedding is a deeply personal and important task!
We told him our story, including sentimental and humorous moments. Meeting in person gave us a chance to share more about our relationship and what we hoped to have included in our ceremony. We started with how Cameron and I met, and filled in milestones and anecdotes along the way. It was important to us to include the love and support of our families, so we shared with Matthew some of the ways they showed that - including Cameron’s grandfather telling me at our first Thanksgiving that I passed inspection!
We also shared our proposal story, which was a Christmas proposal that came as a bit of a surprise, and includes me opening the engagement ring box upside down. Matthew wove these anecdotes together seamlessly for our ceremony. Sharing this much with our officiant meant that the ceremony was personalized, and allowed for our wedding guests to get to know our relationship on a personal level. We wanted our friends and family to feel included as we shared our vows.
To build on our personal stories and anecdotes, we picked readings that reflected our feelings for each other. I researched popular readings, welcomed suggestions from our officiant, and even pulled from Game of Thrones for what to include in our ceremony.
Our officiant also suggested a unity ceremony, with several examples of what previous couples had done, and encouraged us to pick something that spoke to us and our relationship. Cameron and I decided on a salt ceremony, because it drew from older wedding traditions and incorporated both religion and nature. It also perfectly complemented one of our readings! We each had small bottles of salt that we poured into a wood and copper salt container, symbolizing our unity and a bond that cannot be broken.
Once all of these bits and pieces were compiled, Matthew got to work on the first draft of our ceremony! After our initial meeting, the majority of our correspondence was via email. We saw the initial draft, and then provided input for small changes and additions. It felt like a work in progress at the beginning, and Matthew incorporated our feedback, made suggestions as he worked on it, and ensured Cameron and I were pleased with the final result. He was flexible and understanding when it came to changes, and worked through a couple drafts before the ceremony was finalized.
When it came closer to the wedding day, Matthew stayed in touch with the finalized ceremony and last minute details. As we had a smaller wedding without a bridal party, we opted out of having him at our rehearsal (Emily of Prudence & Sage handled the rehearsal for us seamlessly, start to finish!).
But he was there, early and prepared, on the day of our wedding! He worked with our videographer and DJ to make sure the microphones were set up and everything was in its place. It gave us such peace of mind to know he was ready for the ceremony.
Even though we saw each draft of the ceremony and gave input along the way, Matthew brought our ceremony to life. With spirit and wit, he incorporated our family and friends into our ceremony. My dad, mom, and stepdad did the “giving away”, and Matthew wrote a beautiful beginning to the ceremony that honored that. He also knew the perfect time for a lighthearted anecdote. Our wedding ceremony felt personalized and sincere, and we were so happy to share it with our family and closest friends.
So, if you’re hoping to work with an officiant to create a unique and memorable ceremony, make sure you do your research! Meet with potential officiants in person and make sure you find the right fit. Once you’ve chosen your officiant, work closely with them to personalize the ceremony so that it reflects your love as a couple!
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