This past Saturday I had the pleasure of officiating my good friends wedding. How did this come about? Well…the bridal party was settled at 3 on each side. But they still wanted me to be part of the celebration.
The Beginning: The summer of 2010 the bride and groom-to-be came west for Comic-Con and we decided to join them. It is in San Diego so we drove down and picked them up from the airport and then headed off to lunch. The soon-to-be groom kept razzing the soon-to-be bride to ask me already. I had no idea what they were up to. And then she popped the question, “Would you officiate our wedding?” My husband and I almost fell out of chairs with laughter because we thought she was kidding. Me, a minister? Now that is something. They knew it was a big thing to ask me. I really wasn’t sure what to say. I was absolutely shocked. But my curiosity was peaked. I told them I would look into what my obligations would be and I would let them know by the end of the week.
To be honest the second we dropped them off at their hotel I jumped on the computer and started my research. There are many routes you can take. I figured, Why the heck not? I like being the center of attention. Plus I don’t mind speaking in public. The next day I told them I was in.
I had 18 months to prepare. But it wasn’t until I got laid off that I started the process. March 2011. I didn’t want to become a Minister with any church that would have me. I did my research. I wanted to be able to have access to a good site with resources. I knew I would have a lot of questions. My husband and I eloped so this whole process was completely new to me.
The wedding bug kicked in around September 2011. I began watching You Tube video after You Tube video. Reading wedding vows. Starting folders on my desk top of things I liked. Readings, tons of readings… They gave me carte blanche. They had no idea what was up my sleeve and didn’t want updates. After Thanksgiving they decided they wanted to write their own personal promises to each other. Whew! That was a relief. Really wasn’t sure how personal to get and with no input from them it was stressing me out.
I had the entire ceremony written by Christmas and I just took a break.
One week out…I needed to approve the readings. I didn’t get them until the week before the wedding. I ended up sharing my collection and we picked from there. I also didn’t have the personal messages from the bride and groom. Grooms arrived first. DENIED!!! I sent them back with a message and a few standard relationship questions. “Be yourself, answer these questions and then write your vows.” The brides vows were on point. Down to the wire I get the grooms second attempt and they were perfect!!! Made me cry, so I knew we were good. Did I mention that my initial dress that I bought no longer fit because I lost so much weight that I was ordering dresses online and having them shipped to the house so I could just be done with it. The perfect dress arrived and I could now breathe easier with that off my list.
Now that I had everything in hand I started to fit it all together and I no longer liked what I had written. Back to the drawing board for me. I completely re-wrote the entire ceremony in one afternoon. and then re-wrote it again the next. One week until the wedding and I am freaking out because I want it to be perfect, personal, light and different from anything anybody else has seen/heard.
My husband and I arrive in NYC on Wednesday and we have a few days to explore. It was a great way for me to unwind before the big day. At the rehearsal dinner I met the bridal party and we hit it off at the word Hello!
Last minute change was made to what I was to call the groom during the ceremony. He had 3 different names from different walks of life and he wanted me to call him by a name I was not familiar with. Really messed with my head. I kept saying it over and over again and couldn’t get it right.
The big day: At the risk of sounding like a Diva I decided to do my own hair and make-up. I just wanted to be able to blame myself if it wasn’t exactly how I wanted it. I reviewed the vows over and over with the addition of the new name I was to call the groom. Meanwhile the bride-to-be was getting dolled up in one room and the rest of the bridal party was in another room. They decided to do pictures before the wedding and we only had an hour to get everything done. The bride-to-be had the jitters and we were just trying to get through the pictures so she could just BE.
Minutes before the ceremony is to start: No podium? What do you mean no podium? I need a podium. Voila! Podium appears. Now I have to decide how I am going to put this song in the ceremony that a friend of the family recorded just for this occasion. I hadn’t even heard it. I was flying blind. I gave it to the DJ and I told him I wanted after the first reading. I made sure I told everyone not to lock their knees. I watched so many videos of someone passing out that I just needed to be sure I informed everyone. Although it makes a great story.
Enjoy the show: Weddings are a production. I was the Director, the Bride and Groom were the Lead Actors, then the supporting cast with the Bridal Party and the lovely ladies doing the readings. I typed up all the parts on cue cards and handed them out. I had the best time. The opening greeting was all about love. I chose an exert from “The Art of a Good Marriage.” The first reading was Union by Robert Fulghum. Tears had taken over the entire bridal party and the bride and groom and as far as I could see into the crowd. Not what I was going for, but then the DJ played the song entitled “You are so lucky you met me.” OMG! the song was lighthearted and catchy. I actually started singing and the groomsmen starting doing the doo-wop. The groom even swayed back and forth. Laughter was heard from the crowd. Awesome! The tears have passed.
I knew the “I do’s” were up next and I really didn’t want to cry. So the placement of that song was genius. Yep! I am patting myself on the back. I wrote the “I do’s” using words that they both used in their personal messages to each other. Unbeknownst to them. The personal promises are up next. On the front of the cue cards I wrote “Take a deep breath. and now take another.” There was a long pause before the groom got started. He ad-libbed and really rocked it. Received a great reaction from the crowd. Not good for the bride. She was a mess. She sobbed her way through her promises and made him cry. Unfortunately much of what she said was missed by the rest of the crowd. But I heard it and had a single tear run down the side of my face.
May I have the rings please: Now for the comedy part. Wasn’t meant to be comedic. It was a repeat after me section. “May this ring forever be to you the symbol of my growing love.” The groom didn’t get it on the first try so we tried again. And he flubbed it the second time and I said “Close!” I would have moved on but he wanted to get it right. So I broke it down for him word by word. He finally got it and the crowd ROARED!! The bride got it on the first try! Probably because she had heard it 4 times already.
One more reading: I like this reading very much. “On Your Wedding Day” Author unknown. I have no idea where I found it but it worked great with the rest of the service.
The final blessing was back to LOVE.
You may kiss your BRIDE!!!!
I really enjoyed being part of their special day. The feedback they got after the ceremony was amazing. Heck, the feedback I got was amazing. My husband even took compliments for me.
The reception was fabulous. Water’s Edge in Long Island City. With a backdrop of Manhattan. Sweet! The appetizers were fabulous, the dinner was fantastic and the dessert plate and cake were delunktious. I danced all night becasue the DJ played one song after the next that I LOVED!
So the moral of the story is this…if you are getting married you might consider asking a close friend to be your officiant. Or you can ask me. I would be honored.