Hear the power of a compliment
I love to hear this: “After our ceremony was over, multiple people commented on what a wonderful job [Rev Crystal] did. ” Or “Reverend Crystal was incredible! Everyone in our wedding party commented on how she did an amazing job.” And dare I toot my horn just a bit more: “I had so many people come up to me and my husband complimenting us on how beautiful our ceremony was, and how it spoke to who we are. From the devote Catholic guests to the not so religious, everyone enjoyed our ceremony.”
Happy as clams
These are comments my couples got from their guests. The reason I’m highlighting my couple’s friends and family’s words is because honestly, while I love making my couple’s happy, this one thing is true: They’re so glad standing in front of people is over with! The body of their ceremony could’ve been, “Love is good, love is grand, seal your vows with a kiss and be forever happy as clams.”
Truly, I mean no disrespect. Some ceremonies I can tell the couple is really listening to what I say but I have to remember, I’m used to standing up in front of people and speaking (since 1987). I have to dig deep to remember how freaked out I was when I first learned to get up in front and speak. I have to recall the feelings so I can walk down the aisle in my couple’s moccasins and understand their awkwardness.
Back to the guests
I love hearing compliments from guests at the ceremony because they aren’t under the pressures the couple is. They are either interested in what’s being said in the ceremony OR (worse case scenario) they’re sleepily looking at the landscape, and wondering how long they’ll have to wait in line to get a drink.
Some guests dread, even avoid the ceremony completely because it’s kind of expected to be boring or pious or spoken in a language only the stuffiest of the snootiest can understand.
And when it’s not, when guests are pleasantly surprised, I love it when someone seeks me out, let alone comments to the couple after I’ve left the scene, and says, “That was the best ceremony I’ve ever been to.”
Unique and engaging wedding ceremonies
More and more officiants are getting into the swing of creating unique and engaging wedding ceremonies. And when they do, it’s such a great gift to give them and compliment the officiant.
Maybe we’re changing the feel of weddings because the spirit of celebration is taking over the outdated belief that ceremonies must be serious, that humor is out of place in the same space as reverence.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m NOT for frivolous commitments being made, or diminishing in any way the importance of the vows that are shared. I am not suggesting you compliment the officiant if there’s nothing of substance to appreciate.
But here’s two people who’ve found each other out of all the millions and millions of people in our country. (Not to mention if they’re marrying someone from another land.) That’s pretty darn awesome when you think about it.
Despite any feelings of worry, they’re standing up in front of people and making a public commitment. Surely making the decision to say, “You’re my favorite and you’ll know that by my actions until the end of our days” to each other can be a bit unnerving.
I’ve never had the nerve to say it…
ANYWAY… I digress.
Love those compliments
The first point of all this is I love being complimented by guests. It makes me feel good. And yes, of course, I also love being appreciated by my couple. People are so kind to let me know they’ve been touched, surprised, delighted.
I get a kick out of the kind of macho-ish man who shakes my hand and has this look of amazement in his eyes and he says, “You really did a nice job.” His tone of voice has that I really never expected a woman could be good at leading a wedding ceremony. I can hardly believe it!
Yep my friend. Women DO know how to lead a wedding ceremony.
Then there’s the people who look like a deer in headlights. They look like they don’t know what to make of me. Here’s a couple of the stories I may up about them in my own head: 1. They think because I’m fulfilling a traditionally religious role that I’m going to ask them if they’ve been attending church regularly. If their answer is no I will severely reprimand them. 2. Ugh. What’s a woman doing a man’s job for? How dare her. She’s going to burn in hell. And 3. I have no idea how to talk to you so don’t even think of saying anything more than hello.
Returning the compliment
The second point I want to make is when someone compliments the officiant, (in this case, moi), I think of how kind they are to say something that predictably makes me feel good. Thank you for thanking me, I want to say. But I always return the compliment. It’s so much nicer than being passed by a deer.
One of the reasons I was glad to leave church life behind was because for the most part, it’s a pretty thankless job. After the honeymoon with its attending projections of holiness have worn off, it can get pretty contentious and competitive. Everyone seems to know they best way to run a church who has no training and has a ton of unmet needs operating unconsciously.
I sound harsh, don’t I? Well, that’s probably true. I fess up. A minister has to have a very strong character and connection to their Source that lets them not care who likes or doesn’t like them.
Me, I’m a glutton for compliments.
Reach out and say something nice
Which is the third and last point I want to make. Please compliment the officiant. Don’t be afraid of her or him. You don’t have to gush or be insincere. A simple “thank you” is enough. The majority officiants that do more than only lead the vows and sign the marriage license – we want to reach into the heart of a couple’s love and let it shine brightly so it touches our love birds AND their guests.
I used to tell my couples when we’d have our planning meeting: You’re giving your guests the gift of introspection. When they see how much you love each other, you’re giving them the opportunity to reflect on their own relationships. Your love may inspire them to make new decisions about how to reach out to their partner, be more open or maybe even admit the relationship isn’t working and it’s time to move on.
It’s hard to say how people will respond. But I know appreciation is good for the receiver AND for the giver.
At the next ceremony you attend, whether it’s your own or a friend or family members, take a second and compliment the officiant with, “I enjoyed the ceremony.” Even if the ceremony was flat, find something good to say. “You led those vows beautifully.” (Almost every officiant can do THAT well!) And if you really aren’t the complimenting type, a little nod of the head and smile will do.
I speak for all officiants when I say, we appreciate it. That was very kind of you to say so.
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