“You Can Do That!?” Transform Your Friend into a Polished Officiant with Coaching Services

This post is brought to you by Celene de Miranda, Desert Wedding Officiant, Joshua Tree, California.

Photo by Matthew David Studio

Imagine the best of all worlds. Your wedding, your way: you’ve selected your dress, cake, music, food, reception, traditions (or not) all with conscious decisions. You’re super excited about all your choices. And you’ve even asked a friend or family member to officiate your wedding. Here’s the sweet new twist: your chosen officiant didn’t have to go to the internet to look up a generic ceremony script, but rather is reading confidently from a personalized ceremony about you and your partner, and your officiant’s relationship to you. You’ve got sweet and funny references that are making your guests laugh, touching moments that are unique to the two of you, and a ceremony flow that feels organic and is real reflection of who you are as a couple and as individuals. Imagine that your officiant is standing up there with you in total confidence because he/she didn’t have to go it alone. Your officiant had the support and experience of a seasoned professional officiant by their side the whole way through. This is called officiant mentoring, or coaching services, and it allows the couple to have their wedding cake and eat it, too: a deeply personal officiant experience with the benefit of professional guidance and polish.

These days, almost one third of couples are bringing their own personal officiant to their wedding ceremony, so you’re in good company if you go this route. How great to have your special friend or family member standing with you in your wedding ceremony photos! And how special for all to have that person’s John Hancock on their wedding certificate! But officiating a wedding is a tall order for most people. The job of officiating is part public speaker, part legal representative, part emotional anchor. Many people report feeling overwhelmed by having to pull together so many roles and responsibilities. Not to mention managing what can be the most challenging part of officiating – writing a unique and personalized ceremony in the right tone, with all the elements unfolding as they should.

So here’s how you can have it all: once you’ve asked your friend or family member to accept the honor of officiating your wedding, you get him/her ordained (a simple and inexpensive process.) Then you contact a professional officiant who offers coaching services. The officiant does the same prep they would as if they were actually going to solemnize your wedding, for about the same fee. This includes several phone or video conversations about who you are and how you want your wedding to go (formal, light, spiritual but not religious, religious but not denominational, alternative but not outrageous, etc.) The officiant can also offer guidance on writing your own vows. And take note, when you select your officiant – you must feel “heard” and sense that your wishes are respected and supported.

Your professional officiant will also interview your chosen officiant, to get a sense of their personal style, your relationship to him/her, why s/he was chosen for this honor, and any anecdotes or events that played into your coming together as a couple, using that to write a customized ceremony script for your wedding day. A seasoned professional will understand the personality of your chosen officiant and can write in a style that sounds like their voice. S/he also understands the flow, the elements and the order of events that go into creating a satisfying ceremony. After the script is written, your chosen officiant gives feedback and confirms it works, making any necessary adjustments.

In the last step of the process, your chosen officiant actually walks through performing the ceremony via video coaching, rehearsing timing and tone (of humor and of tender moments) and cues (any ceremony elements like candle lighting or handfasting, the presentation and ring exchange, etc.) with the supportive feedback from the professional. The coaching officiant will make sure that your friend or relative is so well rehearsed so that there’s little left to do on the day of your wedding but speak the words and feel the wonder of the day.

When you hire a coaching officiant for your friend or family member, you are ensured a meaningful, poignant and smash-hit wedding experience that will live on in your memory, for as long as you all shall live.

Celene performs weddings in the uncanny beauty of Joshua Tree, CA. To learn more about Celene’s officiant services or officiant coaching services, please contact her at weddinginthedesert@gmail.com or visit her website.