Our answer: consider that a trained officiant is comfortable speaking in front of crowds, and a master story teller. A family member will know you best, and may add a special touch to this moment in your life. We reviewed the pros and cons in this blog here.
Wondering if you should hire a professional officiant, or would it be extra special to ask your Uncle Steve who took you skiing every winter to help you tie the knot? Hiring an officiant, a Justice of the Peace, or a Chaplin, Pastor, Father….etc. the list goes on, is a critical part of your wedding ceremony, and may be the one task you spend the most time considering. For those of you pondering the question, “Should I hire a professional officiant or use a family member or friend?” This blog post is for you. Here we interviewed Shelby and Rich of Let’s Knot and Say We Did, Phoenix, Arizona’s most popular officiants what to consider when making the decision to hire a pro or enlist a family or friend. Here’s what they had to say:
How would you describe what you do for a living?
I chase joy and create magical moments for couples on their wedding day.
What made you decide to be an officiant?
Honestly, I never saw this as a career until it was. My wife, Shelby, and I eloped in Canada where we had an officiant we had never met officiate our elopement. His name was Aiden and he was full of joy. I couldn’t believe that he did this for a living. When we returned back to the states, I thought, “Hey! I bet I would really enjoy that and it really fits my personality. Let’s try it!” I was already ordained from my time in the Army as a Chaplain, so I started to advertise and test out the market.
I wanted my ceremonies to be more personal so I take all of my couples out for coffee or drinks to get to know them and plan out their ceremony. The first time I took Christine and Chad out for coffee, I was hooked! It was the first time in my life that I could be myself while working. The tattoos, the beard, and out-of-the-box thinking doesn’t fit well in the corporate environment. I remember coming home to Shelby and saying, “This is it! I loved that!”
That was a huge turning point for me. I mean, I didn’t even have a name picked out or anything, but started to pour myself into the business and came up with Let’s Knot and Say We Did, LLC. It wasn’t until after starting Let’s Knot that I realized my WHY. I spent so much of my life asking, “Why am I here?” and “What is my purpose?” I know my why! It hit me when I was at a coffee shop with a beautiful couple, Laura and Hope. They were telling me about how they fell in love and I immediately went outside my mind, where I felt like I was transported to another realm. It was at that moment I knew.
My wedding day is a day I would live over a million times. I even smile at the memory while writing to you. I want to give other couples a memory they would want to go back and live a million times over. Mine is a memory I can go to anytime I want a boost of happiness or bliss.
And what started out as just officiating has blossomed into so much more. I noticed that couples were using bluetooth speakers at their weddings, which usually never went as planned. So I asked Shelby if she would be up for playing and using her talents in that space. Having your own custom song choices played on acoustic guitar by a beautiful woman? I mean can it get any cuter?
Shelby also teaches yoga and I thought that it would be a great addition to Let’s Knot. Some of the memories she creates with either the couple or the bridal party are of so much happiness and laughter. Such an amazing way to add a layer of peace to your packed day.
This dream continues to unfold in spectacular ways.
Is it difficult having to speak in front of large groups on such an important day?
Not really. I had a lot of experience speaking in front of large groups in the military. But honestly, when I get up there, whether it’s a large or small wedding, my focus is on the couple. I don’t really focus my energy outside of that space.
Which do you think are better, traditional vows or when couple’s write their own?
I’m in the camp of couples writing their own vows. I tell couples that there are a few intentional moments in the ceremony where you can add to the moment of getting married. One of those is the vows. I even offer to help couples write their vows if they need it.
Do you ever tear up at weddings, or have you gotten used to all the love and mush?
Yep. I’m a cryer. I think it’s a healthy sign to cry, especially as a man. I don’t ever want to get used to it.
How far in advance should couple’s book their officiant?
Personally, I want to change the game of officiating. I don’t see what I do as something any person can do. I understand couple’s enjoy having a friend or family member do it, but I have had plenty of calls from people who chose a family member or friend, and they got cold feet.
I don’t see that officiating a wedding should be looked at for cutting costs either. It’s insane how much people will spend on their wedding day and then cut corners on the officiant. It’s my job to make the ceremony as special and unique as each couple’s relationship. I’ll get off my soapbox now LOL Couples should book as soon as they know their date, like they would with their venue, DJ, or photographer.
What do you usually do to get to know each couple before the wedding day?
Depending on the package, I will either video call with the couple or take them out for coffee or drinks. This time is so special to me because it gives me all I need to write the perfect script.
Describe what your job is like the day of the wedding.
It never feels like a job. My goal is to bring a presence of peace into the ceremony space. I arrive early to help with any last minute needs and to check in with the other vendors. I then do my best to focus all of my energy and attention on the couple for the duration of the time I’m there. After the ceremony, I sign the license and take care of the filing for them.
What makes you better than other officiants?
I have something you can’t replicate. The energy I bring into the sacred, ceremony space is one of authenticity, joy, and love. It is a knowing within that I am here to make a magical and unforgettable memory for others. I am also different in my approach. My one rule for couples is to throw all of the ‘shoulds’ out the door. This is YOUR ceremony so let’s make it reflect you.
How did you get your name out when you first started?
I started on Thumbtack, and then moved to Wedding Wire and The Knot. It took a while to break into the industry, but now I have other vendors referring their special couples to me, which is so humbling. Shelby designed a beautiful website that really speaks to who we are and our intention.
What is the absolute best part of your job?
I get to be myself and get to be a witness to all of the ways love brings people together. I also get to work with my wife at some of the events! Sometimes I have to pinch myself and ask if this is real life.
If you have more questions like these, are looking for the best vendors to work within your area, or are wondering how in the world you’ll have time to research the answers like this one here and still plan your wedding, no worries… we can help with that! Find us on Instagram @kaymaedesignxo or contact us here. Planning a wedding should feel fun, easy, and stress-free. If it isn’t, call or email us, we’ll give you back your time, freedom, and energy during this wedding planning process.
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