Tim’s Eleven Rules of Officiating
The following are my core philosophies and processes with regard to the customer service aspects of officiating, in no particular order.
1. I am a service provider, and you are a customer. The duties of the officiant are the most intimate and important of any of the vendors in a wedding ceremony. While I strive to make each ceremony more of an experience than a transaction, that’s really what it is. I never fail to provide the best customer service – just check out the testimonials page for proof.
2. It’s about you, not me. I have my own spiritual views and ideas on what makes a ceremony great. I share those views and ideas with you here. However, my beliefs and tastes are irrelevant when it comes to planning, writing and performing your ceremony – because it is yours. I’m happy to offer up suggestions when asked, but I’ll never “overrule” you, change things without your permission or say or do anything that you haven’t expressly approved.
3. No surprises. There’s no better way to rattle nerves or ruin a vibe than by surprising the bride and groom in the middle of the ceremony. Once we have rehearsed, I don’t change up the order of things, alter wording or do anything that you won’t be expecting. Knowing what to expect during the ceremony is vital to soothe the natural anxiety of the day. The calmer you are, the more capable you’ll be of truly absorbing the gravity and the joy of the moment.
4. I don’t nickel and dime. Wedding planning can be harrowing and painful on the pocketbook – and especially frustrating when hidden costs spring up. My fee is all inclusive and I communicate it to you up front. I don’t charge extra for mileage, attending rehearsal or adding components to the ceremony, such as a unity sands ceremony or special readings – these are already taken into consideration in my rate.
5. I don’t riff. Merriam-Webster defines riffing as “a rapid, energetic, often improvised verbal outpouring.” A lot of officiants will go “off script” – or worse yet, bring no prepared remarks at all – and the results are usually boring, painful and groan-inducing. That’s when they begin talking in circles, stumbling over words and thoughts, and getting details wrong. I prepare the ceremony carefully and deliver it purposefully. In short – I don’t riff!
6. Long ceremonies are not necessarily beautiful. There’s no requirement, societal or legal, that a wedding ceremony must last a minimum length of time. Longer ceremonies are usually the result of officiants who gum up the works by rambling (see above) or performing too many “ceremonies within a ceremony” that are redundant, trite and devoid of real meaning. A great ceremony is rarely shorter than fifteen minutes and never, ever longer than twenty. That’s all the time a skillful officiant needs to profoundly move the bride, groom and everyone in attendance, and it’s the window of time to which I commit myself.
7. I watch your clock, not mine. Weddings are complicated and intense events. As such, they rarely start on time. Are there friends or family who have not arrived yet? The best man had to stop and change a flat tire? Toddler-aged ring bearer or flower girl having a meltdown? Don’t worry about me. I’m ready whenever you are.
8. I don’t know you, but the least I can do is try. I wish I had the time to spend many hours with my brides and grooms before the ceremony to hear their stories, learn their narrative, enjoy their company and see them at their best – but it’s just not realistic. However, there are ways we can get to know each other as best we can before the ceremony – specifically via my ceremony questionnaire, Facebook and by meeting face-to-face. On one of the most (if not the most) important and intimate days of your life to date, I don’t want you to feel as though I’m a stranger – and so, I do my best to make you feel as though you’re being joined in marriage by a friend.
9. The details matter. In my effort to get to know you as best I can, I provide you with a detailed questionnaire prior to the ceremony. While some details may seem trivial, getting those details wrong – details that are well-known by you and your mate, as well as many of your family and friends – is jarring and insulting. It’s not unreasonable to expect your officiant to get these details correct during the ceremony. I ask for those details ahead of time in writing, and I double check that I’ve got them right.
10. It’s got to feel right. If you don’t think I’m the right person for the job, you’ll find someone else. Likewise, if I don’t think I’m the right person to meet your expectations, I’ll let you know. My aim is to exceed all of your expectations – and if I can’t do so, I owe it to you to be honest about it.
11. I treat the bride and groom with the consideration that my wife and I wished we had received on our wedding day. My wife and I have a lot of gripes about our wedding ceremony. While our love for each other and the joy of the event eclipses them all, we still remember a lot of little things (and a few big ones) that went wrong, and they add up quickly. We were given none of the courtesies I’ve listed above – and so, in the spirit righting the wrongs of our wedding day, I extend each of them to the brides and grooms whose ceremonies I perform. Accept no less of the person you choose to perform your ceremony!
If you’re looking for more specific information about my ceremonies or the ceremony planning process, check out my FAQ, or click here to learn about how I tailor the ceremony to the bride and groom’s tastes, preferences and beliefs.
Or if you’re simply ready to book the date, click here!