Is Officiating Right for You?

Officiating for Jess and Charlie


Officiating as a Career

A mid-life crisis doesn’t always feel like a crisis. Nor specific only to men. The angst is more of a glitch in a predictable way of doing things. In my case, I didn’t have the urge to splurge on a new red sports car. Sailing around the world on a yacht getting a new love in every port didn’t seem particularly appealing. Although actually that sounds pretty good now … But my crisis began when I knew I had to find occupation that suited me after I ended my tumultuous career as a church minister.

Getting a “job” wasn’t very appealing. Yet like everyone else, I had bills to pay. Probably because I was raised by two people who had “jobs”, getting a job rather than becoming an entrepreneur was the automatic go-to thought. But what kind of job would give me as much free time as possible? I was about to become my mother’s primary caregiver.  She couldn’t live alone any longer. Her moving in with me was the best alternative.

My “druthers” in any kind of work I might do was to be helpful at the very least and inspirational at best. Oh, and being paid well was a must-have, too. Isn’t this the universal job description?

Officiating All Along

You know how the answer is usually right in front of our face? We can’t see it because we’re looking at our life from a point of view that blinds us to it. Then one day an intense desire is born and that same desire opens us up to looking with new eyes. That’s what happened to me.

Ever since I was ordained in 1989, I conducted wedding ceremonies, not often, but enough to make me aware of the process. I did an okay job, but nothing very original. The basic ceremony I used had good bones. I was just so nervous and bound to my script that I’d never considered doing wedding services professionally before. What bride and groom wants to be married by an officiant who has a flat voice and is glued to words in a little white book they’re holding?

Meeting My Druthers

But from my fresh perspective, I already had the credentials to officiate. Practically speaking, I loved that I could meet with couples over the internet or in my home, and I could put their ceremony together from home. This gave me the time I needed with my mother. Once I actually performed the ceremony, I wasn’t away from home for very long. Being inspirational was definitely a possibility and certainly, I was being helpful to a couple who wanted to make their union legal. I got to meet usually very loving and kind people. But because I didn’t do it very often I wasn’t sure I could do it, or anyone would hire ME.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Unexpectedly, an only friend of mine called me one day. She was an experienced officiant but I’d forgotten that part of her life. After our conversation she advised me to give it a try, after all “what do you have to lose, you might really like it.”

Good point. There must be some kind of cutsie bi-line here but I don’t like “No Pain, No Gain” but how about “No Try, No Rely”? Hmm. Nope. But I think you get the jist.

The icing on the cake came when she gave me pointers on what I needed to get together to have a better chance of succeeding and enjoying being an Officiant.

I’d asked for help, and through her I’d received the answers I needed.

Step by Step

During the next few months, I created a name for my the business. The new business name I created got onto every free wedding website I could. My basic wedding ceremony continued to improve with some perspectives on love and marriage so my ceremony was unique.

I waded through hundreds of vows and readings available on the internet and created a packet of selections. I’d give the packet to the couples I booked so they had a “done-for-you” place to start to make their ceremony more reflective of them.

More Advice

Another friend appeared who’d been a professional caterer and he gave me even more advice. When I implemented his advice, and began to market my services, I booked almost 35 weddings that summer and fall.

I made decent income AND I was having fun.

The next year I booked 40, the year after, I topped off at 56. With that number I was pretty busy during our 5 month wedding season.

The Evolution of Officiating

I had to add and subtract, search and find the bits of pieces that improved my ceremony. Because couples came to me with a variety of religious and spiritual beliefs (or had none), I put together several ceremonies so it was relatively simple to address any couple’s needs and beliefs.

I developed a checklist that helped me organize ideas around the two people I’d be joining in marriage. In an organized manner, I could fashion a ceremony that reflected who they were and why their love was important.

The packet became a 17 page document of all kinds of examples that seemed to really be appreciated because it saved time and had an ever growing set of options. Being in Love is like Owning a Dog is one of my personal favorites.

Finding Meaning and Purpose

What I wanted from being an officiant changed over time too. My confidence grew though in the beginning the nervousness and being script bound was hard to shake. But I kept at it. I got so good at being an officiant, that my couples began to get wonderful comments about how great their ceremony was. When my couples felt genuinely represented in their ceremony, and their people were inspired, the couple was happy, the guests were happy. I finally felt appreciated and had made the right decision to transform my midlife crisis to midlife resolution.

Officiating became a very rewarding and purposeful experience.

And it all took time.

I continue to learn and grow and enjoy what I do.

Is Officiating Right for You?

If you’re looking for something to give you more meaning and purpose or more free time, consider officiating. Surely get paid well is a important or to at least stop trading time for dollars. It’s all good.

Based on my experience, I’ve put together a new officiant training program. It’s called the Ready, Willing and Able Officiant training program. It’s a great place to begin. This program can save you from making the mistakes I made, and learning the hard way.

I hope you’ll join me in one of the most fun and enjoyable professions in the world.

All the best,
Rev Crystal
Northern Michigan Wedding Officiants &
I DO – Wedding Officiant Training

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