On December 21st I officiated my last wedding of 2019, which was also the 71st wedding ceremony that I’ve done this year. However, as great as that is, upon planning for Josh & Taylor’s much anticipated wedding, I also realized that the finale to a great year would also be The 100th Wedding Ceremony (that’s right: 1-0-0) that I’ve ever done. Naturally, the first thought that popped up in my head was, “Dang, that’s A LOT of weddings. I’m ready for a little rest and downtime this Christmas!” Then, my second thought (which took a lot longer to formulate in my tired brain) was one that really stayed and hasn’t left. And that is exactly why I’m sitting and typing these words on Christmas Eve 🙂
As I prepare for my own wedding on February 1, 2020 which will be officiated by my best friend and cousin, I have been reflecting on the significance of the role that I’ve gotten to play again and again in making couples’ wedding day truly the Best Day Ever. In my life I’ve witnessed some great wedding ceremonies officiated by clergy, family members and close friends; and I’ve seen some really awkward and off-putting ones as well. Sometimes being charismatic, a good public speaker, deeply spiritual or simply knowing the couple well isn’t enough when it comes to officiating a good wedding ceremony (none of these are bad). Although on average of only 15-20 minutes, the wedding ceremony is a celebration of the love between a couple that is meant to go on forever. It’s this incredibly delicate moment in time where an officiant is tasked with celebrating the unique, eternal love between two people and charging them in presence of family and friends to prioritize, above all others things, keeping that love and companionship alive for a lifetime. The wedding ceremony not only aids in setting the tone for the rest of the celebration that is to follow with loved ones, but more importantly, for the love-journey that the couple will travel together everyday of their lives together. A best day ever wedding is not meant to be just a celebration of the couples’ union, but a public declaration of their unique love and what they do that makes that love work and grow. That’s not only a weighty thing to think of as an officiant; but also a humbling honor that I’ve been given time and time again.
As I’m wrapping up 2019 and reflecting on the many loving faces (some covered with tears of joy and all covered with contagious smiles) during all those 100 ceremonies, here are some Simple Key Ingredients that are always present and instrumental in every Best Day Ever Wedding Ceremony I do:
What would a wedding ceremony be without this key ingredient? It’s kind of an over-obvious thing to start off with, but sometimes we can be so bad at it. Celebration really takes intentionality and purposefulness. Every couple has a very unique and interesting love story that is meant to be celebrated on their wedding day. Even if a story doesn’t seem “crazy intense” with all sorts of compelling parts to it, that very love has compelled the couple to enter into a marriage union that says, “I value you so much in love, that I would lay myself down no matter what the cost to see you lifted up in this life’s journey!” Now, that is something worth celebrating! The individuals in the marriage are always worth celebrating on their own as individuals, but on this most special day where they are truly becoming one in marriage in the sight of friends and family (and God too if that’s your thing), their life together is truly beginning that will continue to beautifully grow through all life’s twists and turns! My number one aim is always to weave the spirit of joyful celebration throughout the whole ceremony!
Dovetailing on the spirit of celebration, you kind of need people to celebrate with, right? I don’t believe guests at the wedding are meant to be just spectators who show up to eat some cake and have a good time. Guests are meant to be participants that are literally part of the wedding as well. Dear family and friends have played a role (whether big or small) in helping the couple to become who they needed to be to find each other and walk their journey of love together. Therefore, I love this process of initiation where I charge the guests as witnesses not only to celebrate the couple day-of, but also to bless, support and encourage the couple in their union in the days to come. As a witness, it’s a pretty amazing role you get to play in reminding the couple of what’s most important in their life’s journey: honoring their love, prioritizing one another and growing together as perfectly suitable companions throughout all life’s changes!
As a storyteller, this is always the fun part where I get to make the ceremony fun and personalized. It goes like this: “Here’s the love story that we celebrate today!” This is the point of revelation where we get to focus our sights on why this love is so worth celebrating. Starting with how the love story began, the unique way that it progressed, highlighting some of the funny speed-bumps and surprises along the way, revealing silly quirks, we arrive at the beautiful conclusion that, although imperfect people, the couple is perfectly suited to bring out the best in their partner for a lifetime. Every revelation always has the same ending: “There’s no companionship on earth like the one that you have found in one another. There’s only one YOU! You as a couple are so richly blessed to have one another and we are all benefactors of your love and story as well in this life’s journey!”
Lastly, a Best Day Ever ceremony is always meant to be an activation of the couple as they enter an eternal bond of love together. Whether it’s the vows, the charge, the rings, a word of blessing from family and friends or any other special element, everything in the ceremony is purposed to inspire the couple into laying hold of and experiencing every blessing that their journey of marriage has in store for them. I love charging the couple with remaining true to their unique identity as both individuals and as one together and striving to do everything to keep that love burning brightly everyday! Closing with, “To the extent that you do all these things [mentioned above] this living love that you have will bind you, warm you and bless you in all that you do!”
As I write these closing words, I’m already getting excited for the next 100 weddings and beyond where I get to again and again aid in making couples’ day truly the Best Day Ever!