What is Your Standard Process for Working with a New Client?
Once I am in communication with a client, I e-mail to them an introductory letter which describes my style, and lists both the packages and services I offer. If the clients are interested in gathering, in person or via Skype, to discuss their vision for the ceremony, I submit to them a “meet & greet agenda”. I invite potential clients to meet at a coffee shop to review the agenda and provide me with their input and goals for the wedding ceremony.
We review agenda, discuss the core elements of a wedding ceremony, and evaluate scripting options. I set expectations, describe our communication timeline, and review our discussion with a follow-up e-mail.
Once a client has retained my services, I send to them a copy of the ceremony scripting for review, as well as a questionnaire document to glean details of the courtship and engagement so I will be able to reconstruct their timeline and tell their story as part of the ceremony.
We remain in contact via e-mail, and I send a 30-day reminder alerting them they are now eligible to apply for their marriage license and inquire about the progress of the questionnaire responses.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Inquire regarding what the provider offers for the price or package you have selected. What does that price NOT include? How early will be officiant be onsite the day of your wedding? How soon does he or she need to exit to following to meet a subsequent appointment? You will need time to collect hugs and pose for photographs while the officiant completes the license, then collects your signatures. What follow-up is required?
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Too many to mention. Look on-line for existing lists. Consult your wedding planner. Or, ask a recent bride what went horribly wrong. Or, what she would have done differently. Google the phrase “wedding disasters” and determine which may confront you.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I have learned officiating wedding ceremonies is not about being ecclesiastical; rather, it involves creative writing, leadership, and public speaking. I practice all three throughout every week. I have also studied the cultural significant of marriage and familiarized myself local marriage laws.
I am also working on my MBA at the University of Utah, scheduled for graduation in Summer 2018. Not only is the program geared towards business, finance, and ethics, but also, it is about building relationships with fellow students and working as a team on projects. Being prepared for class and team meetings is critical. This is not middle school; rather, it is time to be an adult. The same is true for a wedding. Although everyone wants to have an enjoyable time, preparation is required. As is keeping commitments. And being professional. I consider myself a “ceremony consultant” and I need to ask, know, and deliver upon my clients’ expectations. I want brides and grooms to love their ceremonies.
Explain Your Standard Pricing Model.
Presently, I quote a flat rate fee based on the package the client selects. For example, meeting with a client three times, a county away, consumes more effort than a meet once situation, in town, for a five minute ceremony.
Who Are Your Customers?
My clients are usually between mid-twenties to mid-thirties. Although their lives may have included religion at one time, they have stepped away from that rigidity and appear to be happy-go-lucky agnostics. They seek a reverent, non-religious ceremony; or, they may want a non-denominational service which touches only softly upon their faith. Their ceremonies are less deity-focused and more human and family centric.
Describe a Recent Project.
I booked a wedding officiation on March 5, 2016 for a ceremony on May 17, 2016. The couple lived in Boise ID, I lived in Salt Lake City UT, but they wanted the ceremony conducted at the Temple of Siniwava inside of Zion National Park. This was the first client I ever booked. We polished the details and maintained communication. The day prior to the wedding, I drove to the nearby town of Mt Carmel and stayed at the Golden Hills Inn, an old-school motor lodge. The day of, I positioned myself in the lobby of their hotel and talked with the father of the groom for close to an hour while the others finished preparing. I had told the bride I wanted to meet them at the hotel because I did not want to try and located them within the park itself, that was stress no one needed. The wedding party was small; the bride & groom, her parents, his parents, and their photographer. Bear, their dog posed for photographs in front of the hotel, but stayed behind in the bridal suite. We rode the city shuttle to the park entrance and rode the park bus the 40 minutes to the end of the line. The ceremony was brief, on the banks of the Virgin River. Overall, this required six, but not from an effort perspective.
The ceremony was small; I was able to chat with both sets of parents who were the only witnesses in the party, plus their photographer.
How did you get started doing this type of work?
What was the most moving wedding you celebrated?
Name a Mistake You Hope Never to Repeat?
Have you ever declined a request to officiate a wedding?
No. The closest comparison would be a scheduling conflict.
What is your main responsibility as an officiant?
What’s the best compliment a wedding guest ever gave you?
Any compliment is a great compliment. Some are spoken as a guest is existing. Sometimes, a guest will pull me aside and offer a compliment. Some of the most meaningful compliments are expressed by the couple’s parents.
What is your biggest challenge when officiating a wedding?
Described the Oddest Wedding You Officiated?
The oddest ceremony I performed took place at the Salt Lake County Metro Jail. The groom was incarcerated, the bride was not. The bride was not able to bring her own witnesses; instead, a Corrections Officer and a civilian employee served as witnesses. It took place in the “line-up” area. The groom was in an 8’ x 20’ room, behind plate glass, and the wall behind him had a height chart which ran the length of the wall. It was a non-contact visit, they were not able to hold hands or hug. For me, it was a sad occasion; however, the bride was happy, as was the groom.
What is your rock bottom wish for every couple?
Many, many years of health and happiness.
What do you love about celebrating weddings?