The biggest difficulty I faced when learning to officiate weddings was the old “eyes-glued-to-page” syndrome. It was embarrassing to break eye contact with the Bride and Groom and look down as much as I did. Whenever the photographer snapped a picture, my eyes, invariably, were looking for more words to snatch up.
The fact that I now perform three different ceremonies by memory was the outgrowth of trying resolve this dilemma. It was more of a by-product rather than an objective and, since it took six years to complete, you have proof that I was not gifted with a natural-born ability to memorize. It took hundreds of weddings and hundreds and hundreds of hours of preparation to make it happen. Was it worth it? You be the judge.
As for me, it gives me a great sense of achievement. Down through time, the most gifted orators have delivered their sermons or speeches without relying on notes. And this is what I wanted to accomplish, not build a vast organization or wedding empire but, rather, learn how to communicate the spoken word powerfully in front of a crowd and the written word effectively in front of a computer screen. (I do freelance writing/editing.)
The feedback I now receive stands in stark contrast to the terror I used to feel when standing in front of crowds—dry mouth and quivering knees. One of my biggest moments of personal satisfaction came when a mother-of-the-bride told me: “You should have heard what the groomsmen were saying about your ceremony.”
All of this to say that I want to do an outstanding job for the Brides and Grooms that come my way—not in the sense of “stealing the show” because we all know the Bride is the center of attention. But I want to do a good job for her and her Groom, as well as for members of the audience who may need a fresh breath of encouragement about their own marriages—maybe even a word of guidance for those who seek to be married in the future.