We’ve got another GREAT episode of Wedding Secrets Unveiled! for you today, thanks to the incredible Mike Egan of Heavenly Weddings. Today, we’re talking about how to hire the perfect wedding officiant as well as some practical advice when it comes to planning your ceremony.
I’ve been a wedding officiant for 17 years working in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. It all started because at that time, I held a position where I could marry couples by statute so I did a few weddings here and there. Then, when I got married, I realized so many couples don’t have the option to customize their ceremony. We didn’t – we had a big church wedding and were basically told what to do with no customization. I wanted to give couples the option to personalize their ceremonies without a lot of hoops to jump through and that’s really why I got into being an officiant!
What is your philosophy on weddings?
Personally, I love to keep wedding days super relaxed. I know couples are really anxious, nervous, and excited. And it’s not often that you’re the center of attention with 150 people looking at you! So I try to just keep things nice and easy for them. I give my couples cues under their breath to help them out, and do quick run throughs with them before the actual ceremony. It seems like most of my couples appreciate the extra reminder to relax!
Tell us about your prep beforehand. Do you do rehearsals or show up ahead of the ceremony?
I do rehearsals with probably 80-85% of my couples. Again, I think they like to know what’s going to happen and have that extra peace of mind for the big day! It’s a really great time to just review the whole ceremony process with everyone involved, too. However, I don’t typically rehearse the actual ceremony pieces because I want those to be fresh to them the day of the ceremony – things like their vows or any special ceremony components. I can’t speak for all officiants, but many do offer rehearsal services for a small fee. Mine is only $100 and really just to cover gas and my time to be there. But I do think it’s helpful!
On the day of the wedding, I try to show up at least 45 minutes before the ceremony so I can see the couple (whether they’re together or not at that point) and go over everything one last time. I also do my best to have the marriage license completed ahead of time, if possible. Tasks like that can be done before the ceremony so we don’t take away from the rest of their celebration or portrait time! I also make sure I connect with their planner, photographer, and DJ if needed for a mic and music cues. At the end of the day, all of your vendors are working together to make your wedding day happen and I want to make it easy on everyone – not just my couple.
How has COVID-19 impacted your job and weddings?
Even with COVID-19, I was still able to marry many couples in 2020. A good number of couples pushed their wedding to this year or 2022, so that’s been an adjustment. But otherwise, I just worked within the restrictions we had – and brought LOTS of hand sanitizer! I’ve worn my mask and I’ve started standing a little father back from my couples. I try to be mindful of how it looks though and don’t want it to be awkward in the photos for them. But, everyone’s health is most important. When it comes down to it, all of us vendors really did our best to make their days special, no matter what was going on!
How do you suggest couples make sure personalities match for them and their officiant? Especially now since so many people aren’t doing in person, face-to-face meetings.
In the last year, like so many of us have, I’ve done a TON of FaceTime, Zoom, Skype and other video meetings. I still believe it’s important to meet with your potential officiant, even if it’s just on a video call. On the videos, it’s pretty easy to see people’s personalities and we’re able to have a nice conversation or joke around like we would have if we went to have coffee together in pre-COVID times. Take the time to make those phone calls or video calls with your possible vendors. It really makes a difference in your decision.
Do you have anything that couples should think about when it comes to their ceremony? Any words of wisdom or tricks?
After doing this for 17 years, I’ve seen a lot of things happen on wedding days. One of my biggest tips is if you’re going to use mics for your ceremony (which is fine!), don’t use stand mics. The stand will be in all of your photos and it’s just not pretty! Another simple thing is to eat a few Tic-Tacs at the very start of your ceremony. You’re nervous, it’s hot or windy, and you’re going to get a dry mouth. The last thing you want to do when you read your vows is have to cough or sound like a teenager going through puberty again because your mouth is dry! Let the Tic-Tacs help you out. And always, always make sure that everyone eats and has water before the ceremony!
Wrap Up Question
What are some key points that couples should be asking a wedding officiant when they are inquiring to make sure they are working with a professional to ensure that their wedding day is a perfect event?
– What is the Pricing & Fees?
– Can we set up a meeting to make sure our personalities match?
– What other services do you offer? After the honeymoon, can you help with name changes or marriage licenses?
Links Mentioned in the Episode
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