When it comes to dream jobs, being a professional wedding officiant has got to be on the list. Not only do you get to preside over one of the most meaningful events in life – the joining of couples in marriage – you can also earn some decent money doing it. In fact, experienced officiants can make up to $60k a year (and sometimes more).
Whether your plan is to officiate a few ceremonies a year or make it into a full-time career, becoming a wedding officiant is a meaningful way to earn some extra cash. Ordination from the Universal Life Church allows you to transform your passion for people and love stories into a significant source of income that is both flexible and scalable.
So, how do you start a career as a wedding officiant? This guide will outline the key steps to success: how to become qualified to officiate, how to build a brand, and how to market your services. Let’s talk about what you’ll need to do to get started.
To be eligible to officiate wedding ceremonies, you must first get ordained as a ULC minister. Your new title will grant you the legal authority to perform marriages across the United States. After you’ve been registered in our system, check out our popular wedding officiant package which comes complete with a set of official credentials, marriage certificates, and a how-to book for performing ceremonies. Quick note: although not all states require officiants to register, having a physical copy of your ordination credentials on hand is always a good idea.
Practice Your Craft
Now that you’re qualified to officiate, it’s time to think about strategies for becoming a pro. Developing your skill and reputation requires hard work, but if you are willing to invest in yourself and improve your abilities, good things will naturally follow. The ULC has plenty of resources to assist you in your professional journey. Whether you need help on brushing up your wedding script skills, or wish to view some example templates to put your own spin on, there's so many things at your disposal as an officially ordained minister. Below are a few tips from ULC-licensed officiants who’ve already established themselves in the field.
- Try to make every ceremony you perform unique in some way
- Learn to establish trust when you interview couples
- Research prices in your area for similar services so you know what to charge
- Schedule as many ceremonies as you can reasonably handle
- Ask for constructive criticism from your clients
- Hone your public speaking and presentation skills
- Honor your own values, and do what is right for yourself
- Ensure that each ceremony follows all the local laws.
- Take care that all marriage licenses you sign are correctly filled out.
Build a Website
Having a website is integral to running any successful business. Because getting the word out when you are just beginning can be challenging, having an online resource where people can learn more about you is crucial. Fortunately, creating a website has never been easier. And if for whatever reason you don’t have the time or don’t feel confident doing it yourself, you can hire someone to help with the technical details for a reasonable fee.
A few pointers: take care when deciding on the theme and visual design of the site. Use photos that convey the feel and atmosphere you will help couples create on their wedding day. Explain how you will work to incorporate each person’s core values into the ceremony. And don’t forget to tell your story! People will be eager to learn about who you are, not just what you do.
Once you have done a handful of weddings, consider adding testimonies from satisfied clients. Seeing how others have benefited from your services will encourage new couples to hire you. Remember: you need them to trust you with handling one of the most important moments of their lives.
Develop Your Brand
A huge part of building that trust is developing a clear and engaging brand that people will want involved with their ceremony. One of the basic principles of marketing and advertising is identifying a unique selling proposition. What makes you stand out from everyone else who is available? With thousands of qualified marriage officiants to choose from, what would make a couple pick you? You have to answer that question honestly if you want to succeed.
One strategy for creating a unique brand is to focus in on two or three of your core values – the ones that you believe fundamentally define who you are – and incorporate them into your promotional materials. By highlighting who you are, you will tend to draw like-minded clients who appreciate and desire what you have to offer.
When crafting personalized wedding ceremonies for your clients, endeavor to go the extra mile. Go beyond the physical aspects of the ceremony. Offer to include additional elements they might not have thought of. Make the couple feel valued as fellow human beings. When you infuse the celebration with personal touches in this manner, it encourages happy clients to spread the word about the services you provide.
Take Advantage of Social Media
To reach the majority of engaged couples, you will also need to have an active social media presence. Facebook and Instagram will be your bread and butter, so making officiant-specific pages on these platforms should be a priority. Using a mixture of imagery, short descriptions, and narratives, you can express your unique vision and what you bring to the table. Potential clients should be able to get a feel for your brand, who you are as an officiant, and find contact information if they want to get in touch.
Keep in mind that consistency in your brand and messaging is important. To ensure that each item you publish is relevant and consistent with your message, it’s a good idea to use an editorial calendar to keep track of your posts. If you ever need ideas for content, don’t hesitate to poke around and see what other officiants are doing on their pages!
Follow Your Passion
At the end of the day, much of your success as a professional wedding officiant will hinge on how much you enjoy the work. Being happy with what you do is the biggest driver of achievement. As any entrepreneur will tell you: even the best marketing strategy in the world can’t make up for a lack of passion.
Not every ceremony will be easy, and not every speech will be perfect. It’s during those difficulties and challenges that you’ll need to rely on your love for the process. As you grow in your experience, you may find that being a wedding officiant can teach one more about life than ever thought possible.