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Who Should Officiate My Wedding? | Interview with Christa Andrews | Wedding Secrets Unveiled! Podcast

This stage in your life is about so much more than planning your wedding. You are beginning a marriage! Today on the Wedding Secrets Unveiled! podcast, we are talking with Christa Andrews. Christa is a Certified Life & Marriage Coach, Wedding Officiant, and author of the book “We Still Do”. She shares her passion for equipping couples to build strong marriages as well as her tips on making sure your wedding officiant actually legally marries you! If you are struggling with who should officiate your wedding or considering the benefits of premarital coaching, definitely don’t miss this episode! 

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding? Interview with officiant, pre-martial coach, and author Christa Andrews on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

Meet Christa. 

I’m a wedding officiant, a marriage coach and the author of the book “We Still Do”. I’ve been a marriage coach for about four years and prior to that I became a wedding officiant quite by accident. My niece asked me to officiate her wedding, and I looked into it. It wasn’t very hard to do so I wound up officiating my first wedding. From there, I worked with three other couples – and that’s where my business started. Then, I quickly began to realize that couples getting married needed marriage coaching. So my husband and I, who have been married for 25 years with 4 kids, realized we could be helpful! We’re a real life couple who has been living this for a long time – the good, the bad, the ugly. So, I created a course for those struggling in their marriages. 

My husband and I really put a lot of effort into being those role models for people. Because years ago, even 50 years ago, life was very different. So what your mother and your grandmother or your grandfather or father are telling you about a relationship isn’t what’s going to work for today’s couples. We really try to educate our couples so that they can not only get married, but stay happily married for forever after.

Let’s talk a little bit about choosing a wedding officiant! What should couples be doing to find their officiant?

First you’re gonna want to know your date, time and location before you reach out to your wedding officiant because it’s really not serving anyone well if you don’t know any of those three things. You’ll also want to talk to your wedding officiant about the type of ceremony you want: religious or not, humorous or not. Those kind of things. Begin thinking about how you want your ceremony to go. Of course, you’ll want to ask their fees so that you can make sure it’s in your budget. Another question you may want to ask is if they charge for travel or not. 

That is all great advice for those who are looking for an officiant! How about for the people who want someone to perform their ceremony – like a friend or family – in the way you did?

Yes, that is exactly how I started! I think you can have a beautiful ceremony if you have a family member or friend officiate your wedding because they know you best so they can get in, telling stories about you two. So when you are going to have a family member or friend officiate the wedding, you’re going to want to make sure that they contact the court or the clerk’s office to find out if they’re legally able to perform that marriage because you want your marriage to be legal. Different states and different counties all have their own rules. You also want to make sure that they know how to fill out the marriage license afterwards and know how to file it so that the legal aspects are taken care of. Some people will hire a wedding officiant just to perform the legal part of the ceremony. And then the family member or friend can just perform the ceremony and it’s already legal. 

Another thing that you can do if you want a family member or friend to do this is to hire a wedding officiant to be at your rehearsal, because they can orchestrate exactly like what you’re going to do during the ceremony. They can even assist you on showing you where to sign these documents and assist you on how to file them afterwards. So even though the wedding officiant might not perform the ceremony, they’re great to have around, especially during your rehearsal, because if you’re just doing this as a family member, friend, you don’t have, you know, all that experience behind you. 

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding? Interview with officiant, pre-martial coach, and author Christa Andrews on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

What other tips do you have for a family member or friend who’s officiating? 

Share your scripts with the couple. You don’t want any surprises on your wedding day. Some people want funny ceremonies and others don’t. It’s important that you’re doing what the couple wants! 

If you are going to have a friend or family member officiate your wedding. I personally find that reading off of phones isn’t great. I encourage a binder – personally, I use a leather binder with my logo so it looks very professional and nice in the photos. 

How far in advance a couple should book their officiant?

I would say six months to a year. However, we do get couples who have gotten their marriage license that morning and just want to be married. So if that’s what you want to do, then that’s great. But if you’re planning like a bigger wedding at a venue that you’re planning for months, make sure you book your officiant early. They’re often one of the last vendors booked and they’ll be too busy or not available. So, book early! 

You mentioned a little earlier about rehearsal dinners and rehearsals in general pertaining to when you have a friend and family member do it but what about yourself or an officiant? Should your officiant be at your rehearsal? 

I definitely do recommend having a rehearsal. Some people don’t want them and in my business, I leave it up to them. I don’t require it. But, I do recommend it! Most of my couples do have one and I have to say that it makes everyone more comfortable and confident for the next day. During a rehearsal, you have time to ask me questions – when you’re relaxed and not a bundle of nerves. We spend time going over where people should sit and stand so pictures go well, and it just helps everything go more smoothly. 

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding? Interview with officiant, pre-martial coach, and author Christa Andrews on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

Can you give us a little bit about the biggest myths behind being a wedding officiant?

So most people think that you just show up, say a few words, and leave. But there’s a lot of detail that goes into writing the script for a couple’s wedding day. You could be going back and forth with this couple several times perfecting that script. That’s honestly how you want it to go! 

The wedding officiant is also the person who should guide you about your marriage license – when to get it, everything you need, and those type of things. There’s so much that goes on behind the scenes of being a wedding officiant. Probably 90% of our work goes on behind the scenes before the actual ceremony. 

Are there any other legal things couples need to consider when hiring an officiant? 

Yes, I can’t stress enough how much pressure is put on the wedding officiant to officiate and make your marriage legal, because that’s why you’re here. That’s why you came together to get married is to be legally married. And if you’re not filing the paperwork on time, if you’re not signing all the documents in the right color ink, or something like that, your documents can get thrown out. Could you imagine going to be divorced and finding out you’d never actually been married? The officiants get really tied up in that – so seriously, just make sure they know what they’re doing. 

I also tell the couples to always reach out to the clerk’s office where they got the marriage license, probably about a week after the ceremony, just to make sure that everything’s all in order. 

Let’s talk about your relationship coaching! 

I offer premarital coaching with couples prior to getting married. Past that, I work with mostly women who are struggling in their marriages. I knew from the start I didn’t want to just be a wedding officiant – I wanted to be a guide. It is important to me to have a well rounded business to support my couples. 

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding? Interview with officiant, pre-martial coach, and author Christa Andrews on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

What are some of the issues you see during premarital coaching? 

One of the biggest things that I find is that couples have a lot of expectations for what their marriage is going to look like after they’ve been married. I did the same thing. I expected my husband to mow the lawn and take care of the pool each Saturday because that’s what my dad and brothers did. But, I never expressed that expectation to him so I was disappointed before we even really started. While couples may not experience that exact thing, it’s something that comes up a lot and so we definitely talk about those things with our couples. 

The first year of marriage is an adjustment and we really try to prepare our couples for those first few days, weeks, and the year. 

Some of the common problems or expectations that people run into is communication. I think that’s one of the biggest problems: couples do not communicate with each other. It’s not their fault, really. They just don’t know how to communicate with their partner. You have to learn how your partner processes thoughts and works through things. 

Are there any key points that you go over with your couples during their pre marriage coaching to help them in their journey of their marriage?

Absolutely. I teach my couples the three elements of marriage and I also write about it in the book as well. But basically, it’s you, as a person – are your needs being met and are you able to be yourself in the marriage? Are you allowing your partner to do the same? And are you considering the WE or US factor of your marriage? If you can consider all of those elements during bumps on the road, you’ll be able to work through them a bit easier. 

You talked about the in-laws during one of your examples. Do you find that in-laws can be a common problem for your couples?

Absolutely. I think almost 100% of my couples have an in-law issue at some point. During their marriage, it could even happen as early as the wedding planning, because I see that so so often, or it could be after you have children. I think when these issues arise you want to work through them with those three elements. It may take time, but the answers will come more easily. 

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding? Interview with officiant, pre-martial coach, and author Christa Andrews on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

I love those three key elements that you keep going back with. What are some common issues that you find people run into after they’re married? 

Actually one of the biggest ones and it might be kind of a shock to people, but after you start having children, you lose focus on your relationship. Then, you’re not meeting expectations or communicating with your partner well, and that’s when people start having issues. 

When do you feel that couples should start reaching out to you for their marriage coaching?

That’s a great question because honestly, most people reach out way too late. They come to me when they’re having trouble – and it could have been years of the same issue. Many couples feel they can’t be helped or they’re alone, like no one has gone through what they are. Reach out before that. I always offer a free hour call to see if we’re even a good fit. But, don’t stop trying to find someone to help you. Reach out as soon as you think you might be having trouble, don’t wait years. Life is too short for you to be miserable and not have a beautiful relationship or marriage.  

Wrap-Up Question

What are some key points that you would give our listeners regarding relationship coaching to make sure that they are setting themselves up for marriage success?

Seek out a marriage coach or even a marriage counselor who has a great marriage themselves. Don’t take marriage advice from somebody who’s not in a good relationship. You want somebody who walks this road every day, who is going through all this and models a great relationship. So surround yourself with people that have a great marriage. 

Who Should Officiate Your Wedding? Interview with officiant, pre-martial coach, and author Christa Andrews on Wedding Secrets Unveiled!

What We Discussed

How to find your officiant (7:37)

What to think about if a family member/friend is officiating (8:58)

When to book an officiant (18:00)

Should officiants come to rehearsals (18:41)

Legal things to consider when hiring an officiant (21:20)

Pre-marriage coaching (29:28)

Wrap-Up Question (37:20)

Links Mentioned in the Episode

You can find Christa : Website | Instagram | Facebook | Amazon – Book

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