Searching for the Right Officiant
April 26, 2012
My Aunt gave me this book a few months ago called A Practical Wedding. When she gave it to me, I thought to myself, ‘well, yes, I do want a practical wedding, but I don’t want to sacrifice the ideas we’ve already dreamed up.’ This book doesn’t tell you to do that. This book has actually been the support system I need during this whole wedding planning process. When I have doubts, when I need someone to bring me back down to earth, this book has done just that. Basically, it says ‘Do whatever you want, just make sure the wedding is oh-so-very you, and not what anyone else wants it to be.’ Thank you A Practical Wedding. You’ve saved me from wedding insanity several times.
The most recent time this book has reassured me and given me that perfect ‘Don’t worry, I’m here for you’ squeeze was last night, when I was feeling down about our so-far-unsuccessful search for an officiant.
Kyle and I do not belong to a church, or affiliate ourselves with any particular organized religion (or lack of one, for that matter). Therefore we are looking for a friend or non-denominational officiant who will be the one to usher us into our new life as husband and wife.
You may remember several weeks ago, I mentioned that Kyle was typing up a letter on our 1920 Underwood typewriter to the person we were going to ask to be our officiant. Well, very unfortunately for us, he said ‘no.’ He said he didn’t want the pressure of officiating the ceremony and would prefer to be a guest. This was a big disappointment to both of us, as we were positive he would say ‘yes.’ We didn’t have a backup plan at all.
So, where do I turn? I started searching Yelp reviews for non-denominational officiants in the San Francisco area. I found three I was interested in, and Kyle eliminated one of them. That’s fine. Listen to your gut. So then we were down to two.
A few days ago we met with one of them. He had dozens of great reviews, and we were looking forward to meeting him. We did not click with him at all. He was far too focused on what he would be eating at our wedding and his new “Chinese wife.” (Seriously, who announces their partner’s ethnicity every time they speak about them?!). He insisted on keeping our ceremony to a specific length and discouraged us from writing our own vows – something we were really looking forward to doing. He spoke about our ceremony as though it was a performance for our guests, and we better be sure not to bore them, even if that meant not doing what we wanted to do. We walked away from that meeting saying ‘Well… not that great.’ Over the next few days, I started to get this sick feeling that we would be stuck with this guy. The other officiant we had contacted, my first choice (from what I could tell on paper, at least), hadn’t gotten back to us.
Photo by Tinywater Photographer
I just so happened to have reached the section of A Practical Wedding called “The Ceremony.” The author, Meg Keene, assured me that I should listen to my gut when it comes to the officiant. If you don’t like someone, move on. She also told me to give the ceremony the attention it deserves. It’s the most important part of the wedding day for the couple. Agreed on all accounts. This is what I needed to hear.
Kyle then followed up with the other officiant, and this time she responded. She sent her layout for a typical ceremony, which she personalizes for each couple, and Kyle immediately told me that he didn’t like it. It was too new age-y for him. Great. Now what?
I don’t know what to do at this point. Maybe I need to consult my wedding bible again. It’s just… it seems that if you are trying to hire someone to do a non-denominational wedding ceremony, they either don’t care about the significance of what this wedding ceremony means to the couple or are way too hippie-dippie for our taste. So I don’t know. We’re stuck. Although I’m trying to stay positive, and I know we have 7 months to sort this out, still… I’m afraid we’re going to be stuck with someone who isn’t representative of us at all.
So, that’s it. No real questions this week. Unless you know a great non-denominational officiant in the Bay Area. Just some venting. Thanks for listening :)