By: Br. Daniel Chapin, ULC Monastery Vice-President

Since 1977, the Universal Life Church Monastery has sought to empower both visitors and current colleagues alike with opportunities to legally engage in and oversee the ministries of their choosing. We have done so successfully to date. And, we are Proud & Honored to learn of the numerous Ministries currently being run all over the World by you the ULC Minister.

Perhaps the most Daunting & Powerful call in Ministry is when one is requested to Officiate over a couple’s Wedding Day Ceremony. To a large degree, most of those who seek out our Ordination services do so with the intent to do just that. Indeed, for all of our duties as Ministers, regardless of our Denomination, the opportunity to play such an integral and intimate role in a couple’s love story truly can stand out as the most daunting and yet rewarding of services.

We here at the ULC Monastery provide on our Main Site, and through other venues, as much direction as possible to empower you to perform such a duty. We offer Study Guides & Limited Information on Various State Legal Requirements of a Wedding Officiator, etc…

This message seeks to empower & encourage you on an even higher level. Think of it as not so much a message about Officiating over a Wedding alone; but, more so, a message about growing and grasping the importance of providing personal attention to the couple before you and, hence, increase the quality of your service as a whole. I have included some Wedding Ceremony Semantics of course, some of which may be redundant; but more so, I have hoped to provide you with more intimate, less well known details which truly deserve attention when it comes to providing Wedding Ceremony Officiating services. This is done as a service to you, the ULC Minister – That as you journey down the alter with your couple you & they will find it truly blessed.

One critical aspect of Officiating over a couple’s Marriage is planning the actual ceremony details with them. Many couple’s will come to you, the Officiant, with at least some idea of what they desire to include in their wedding day ceremony. Ask them – Listen to them… One mistake many Officiants make in this process is simply providing a list of Ceremonial options such as Readings, Vows & other Ceremonial Semantics like the Unity Candle Ceremony or the Sand Pouring Ceremony, etc.. They provide the options, ask the couple to select from this list and then that is simply where it ends. This has its place. Options provided to a couple are a good start to allow couples an opportunity to get their “Creativity Flowing.” However, do not Box a couple in. Ask them what they are dreaming and thinking of when it comes to their ceremony. What is the theme? Where is it to be held? You will find that most couples, particularly the Bride to be, have been planning their wedding day in their minds for quite some time.

You are encouraged to tailor the ceremony to each couple’s individual Love Story. Get to know your couple. How did they meet? Where Did They Meet? How did the Groom to Be Propose? How can these truths possibly be incorporated into the ceremony message for example? These are all ways to develop the ceremony that each couple both desires and deserves.

More so, you are encouraged in this because truly you must realize that you have a unique opportunity as a couple’s wedding Officiant to Minister to the two that have come before you. Take interest in them, encourage them, and share with them. If you do these things you will find that they will appreciate your services even more. And, they will surely remember their special day that much more because of the personableness you provided. They have come to you not simply for you to sign a legal document. If that was their primary focus, well they could do that at the County Court.

Take your role seriously and personally.

Some other ways to increase in your Officiation services is to offer when possible a “Back-up” Wedding Officiant. Create alliances and open communications with other Wedding Officiants and Services in your area. Address those often unasked questions which might rest on the mind of the Bride & Groom to Be. For example, what happens if you, the Officiant, face an emergency and are struck by lightning the day of their wedding ceremony. Will they still be Wed?

Additionally, I always encourage Officiants to provide couple’s with a “Script” of their Wedding Day Ceremony prior to the Wedding Day or Rehearsal. This outlines all the ceremonial details that have been selected by the couple and further assures them that you understand their desires for their wedding day ceremony. Also, when a potential couple comes to you to Officiate over their ceremony, do not be afraid to lose their business. This is to say that you want to encourage a couple to find their perfect match when it comes to their ceremony. Yes, you wish to service them. However, you will find that if you present your services and then give them time to decide and even look around at other Officiants, they will more than likely return to you.

A little elaboration. Years ago, the Superstore Macy’s began a campaign which caused their business to Skyrocket! Mr. Macy told all his store associates that should they not carry an item that a customer was looking for, then they should help the customer find it elsewhere. Imagine – Sending a customer to another store!!! Hmmmm…

This created trust and loyalty… Do you see?

So many other details can be imparted to you as you seek to Officiate over a couple’s wedding, but I close for now with perhaps the most important aspect of this message…. As you seek to Officiate, search your heart sense, not simply your business sense. Do you believe in what you are doing? Do you understand its significance? Do you grasp the impact you will potentially have on a couple’s memory, much less on the memory of their family and friends? Love-The greatest of all things…

In a world which far too often falls in and out of love, you have an opportunity to set a couple on the right path to a lifetime of Growing, Not simply Falling in Love…..

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