Welcome to the Officiating-as-a-Business page on my Web site! Thank you for reading as far as page 95 in the book, and for choosing to come further.
If you want to be a professional officiant:
Remember, you must always show up Weddings require your presence, and when you add interviews, drafts, rehearsal, ceremony, and travel, performing them can be time-intensive work, too.
It is a brilliant strategy to form a relationship with another officiant so you have a backup. If you are gripped by illness or circumstances beyond your control, alert your backup as quickly as possible and pray that they make it safely. Otherwise your credibility is over, possibly along with your career.
I recommend against scheduling two weddings in a weekend. People do, but they always forget that the rehearsal schedules might crash into each other, or that the NASCAR races are clogging up the freeways just as you want to get from wedding A to wedding B. I have even known my Dad to schedule two weddings on the same day, but that always added anxiety, tension, and exhaustion to his day. I never do it.
Build a library A library contains archives and resources to help you become better at your job.
Archive your copies of the wedding licenses, perhaps stapled to your notes about that wedding. This will help you far down the line, when, for example, someone calls you from a wedding several years in the past and wants to return something to the groom.
You might also reserve a section of your library for maps of the regions around you. Keep a binder ready with copies of interview forms and local regulations. Always keep an eye out for books and websites that will help you perform interesting and culturally-specific weddings. They don't always need to be NEW books. When you find them, add them to your resources.
You can build an outfit library, too: business wear for interviews, business casual for rehearsals, something plain and tasteful for the ceremonies. Look for new and lightly used robes; stoles are nice to have on hand, too. And start gathering handkerchiefs.
Hang out your shingle If you’ve had so much fun doing this wedding that you’d like to consider it as a form of livelihood, know that there is a lot of room for you in the field of wedding officiants. You can call your work ‘consulting’ and set up a Schedule C so that you properly pay your taxes.
It’s smart to create a business card that effectively shows who you are and how to get a hold of you. Share your card with musicians, caterers, florists, wedding coordinators and site facilitators. If you can create a simple website, and put the URL on your card, the site will function as a full-color cyber-brochure, something that is easy to update as you get better photos and more relevant information. That way, you only need to print the card.
If you decide to expand your reach, start reading all those wedding magazines and make notes as you develop your own networking and advertising strategies. In California, one of the best sources for wedding vendors is Here Comes the Guide, a combined website and print guide. To be accepted in Here Comes the Guide, you’ll need a number of testimonials from couples and coordinators, and you can expect a lot more wedding requests to come your way. The guide's publisher, Hopscotch Press, is wonderful to work with as well.
Joys and challenges of the business I keep performing weddings for so many reasons.
It’s very positive, high-energy work. I get to perform a useful service, and at the same time remind people of what it takes to make a good marriage.
I travel to new and often beautiful places, whether they are old architectural treasures, landscaped parks, hidden beaches, or gorgeous mansions.
I have the chance to dress up, and to feel the excitement and enjoyment of being part of good theater.
Whether I’m driving to a weekend wedding in sunny wine country, or a foggy day on the coast, it can be great chance to get away with my husband. Sometimes, it’s a welcome chance to visit family or friends in the area.
I’m very good at it, and I like doing something I can do well.
A wedding season can bring in a decent income.
Hmm, that’s a lot of joyful reasons. Truthfully, I can’t list a lot of challenges. If you plan to officiate professionally:
Plan for a lot of waiting time: waiting for rehearsal to start, waiting for the wedding to start.
Plan to write drafts of weddings and have the couple change your words into words they prefer—and don’t take it personally.
Plan to be very organized as you prepare for the rehearsal, the big day, and filing the license. Always take road traffic and weather into account.
If you enjoy the work and are flexible enough to roll with the inevitable surprises, wedding officiating may be just the career for you.