Need help planning the details of your wedding ceremony? Overwhelmed with wanting a meaningful ceremony but don’t want to share personal vows in front of a crowd? Don’t worry! We’ve got an episode full of wedding ceremony tips and tricks, just for you!
In this episode, we chat with special guest, Victoria Wick, founder of Something New Ceremonies. She is a wedding ceremony coach who specializes in all things wedding ceremonies, including full-service ceremony design, vow coaching and writing, and custom ceremony rituals (just to name a few). She also helps first-time officiants create personalized ceremony scripts and teaches them the ins and outs of performing a ceremony and filing a marriage license.
Victoria: Yes! I came to officiating and now wedding ceremony coaching by way of being a progressive Christian pastor. I went to grad school to learn how to officiate weddings and decided I wanted something of my own, so I founded a business called Something New Ceremonies. My mission is to help couples design the ceremonies of their dreams, especially if they want a friend or family member to officiate.
I think it’s amazing when people add that kind of personal touch to their ceremonies and there just aren’t that many resources out there to know how to do a really good job of it.
I help couples write their ceremony scripts and even write their vows if they need it. I also coach them through navigating all of the parts of the marriage license process, which can differ by county.
It can all be really overwhelming, but by taking some intentional time to plan your ceremony, it can help enrich the entire wedding planning process and turn it from something that could have been stressful into something that will even deepen your connection and make your wedding day all the more memorable.
Victoria: It’s a big job and people feel a lot of pressure to do it right, and are nervous that they will stress the couple out if they ask them for any guidance. When I have frantic new officiants come to me, I do encourage them to go to the couple who asked them and ask why they chose them.
Often the reason is that they have a special relationship with you and feel like you can speak to the different aspects of their relationship. They feel that you are capable of researching the role and they want your personality to shine through during the ceremony!
I also make sure to teach the couple what parts of it are their responsibility, like making sure they tell their officiant friend the things that they really want to be included in the ceremony, because it’s a lot to ask them to anticipate the things that would be special to you.
Victoria: Unfortunately, it kind of has been the case for a long time that you need to have an experienced officiant in order to have a wedding because that has been the domain of pastors and priests for so very long. However, the internet has made this option accessible to people for the first time because you can get ordained online.
That being said, we still don’t have the really robust resources that make it really easy for someone to pick up, and that’s why I want to step in and help make it really accessible for them!
Victoria: This one is starting to change more recently, and I think that’s great. Couples are bringing more playfulness in so many ways, but there is still this underlying idea that you need to have heartfelt words with a certain tone in order for them to be sincere.
We are starting to see larger expressions of playfulness, such as replacing the flower girl with a beer boy, but even just a little funny story at the beginning to lighten the mood and get a little chuckle can be really nice.
Victoria: I want to clarify this because I’m not the kind of person who says that your wedding should or shouldn’t be anything, except, when it comes to being timeless. I think your wedding should not be timeless, and here’s why.
I think we have this sensibility culturally that you’ll want to be able to look at your wedding pictures 10 or 20 years from now and still think that it looks good, like you would make the same aesthetic choices then, and I think that’s a silly way to plan a wedding.
I believe the whole idea of a wedding is that it’s rooted in a time and a place. It is this present moment of your relationship. There’s nothing you can do to try to anticipate the decades of your relationship that will come down the road, so why try to do that in your ceremony?
Also, looking back on the photos and seeing how dated they look, that’s the fun of it!
Victoria: I love live music and I think it’s incredible, but it might not be what you want, and that’s okay. It also may not be the best option for your venue.
You might want the exact live concert version of your favorite song, and you can do that. I think it’s been amazing, Dominic, how you’ve been playing processional clips for people too. You can have the exact 30 seconds of the song you want for your processional or for whichever part of your ceremony, and there’s no reason not to do that.
Victoria: I hear this one all the time from officiants and vow coaches that you have to write your own vows. That they have to come from the heart and be in your own words in order for them to be meaningful, but I think there are so many other ways your vows can be just as meaningful!
I don’t know how we forget that when it comes to writing vows, it can be just as meaningful for someone to share vows that maybe their parents shared for their wedding or even using something they’ve found online.
If they found something that captured it perfectly and they couldn’t say it better themselves, then who am I to say that it would be better if they wrote it themselves?
And I also don’t think the vows need to be a surprise. If you wanna collaborate with your partner, I think that’s wonderful. If you want them to be a surprise, that’s fine too, but I think it also makes sense to talk with your partner about what you’re promising each other before the day actually comes. Collaborating can also make it feel way less intimidating.
Victoria: I’m here to tell all officiants (first-time officiants included) that you don’t need to have anything profound to say in your message on marriage. A message on marriage can be as short as six minutes.
What I tell first-time officiants is that they should try to do two things:
One, you should try to talk about how this couple has been changed by their love for one another. Ask them this, and use their words. Tell the story back to them.
Two, what can all of us learn about the way that these two people love each other? What can we learn about love and the ways that human beings can be there for one another?
That’s all you have to do. Keep it simple on yourselves, and just don’t make it harder than it has to be.
Myth #7: You need to have something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue
Victoria: You don’t have to do any traditions if you don’t want to do them! I think it’s amazing that people can choose now and have way more options, and what I love about traditions is that they are always able to tell a bit of a deeper story than words alone can. But also that you can tell whatever story about your relationship you want to tell.
It’s a really exciting moment to be planning a wedding or to be a wedding vendor because there are all of these exciting couples who are making it possible for the wedding industry to expand and have creative ideas. Couples are wanting something new, and I’m excited to see how they are going to lead us in new directions and push the envelope of what it is they want for the wedding of their dreams.
Victoria: As a first-time officiant, I know there’s a lot to research and learn, but here are just a few simple ways to take your officiating to an entirely new level.
It seems obvious, but trust me, it’s worth saying! It can be tempting to have a couple drinks to loosen up your nerves, but it’s so much better to find a way to relax that doesn’t impair your judgment or motor skills. Save the drink for after the ceremony.
Before you invite the couple to share their first kiss, step to the side so they can get that amazing shot. The photographer will appreciate it and the couple will love that little extra touch of not having you in the photo.
First-time officiants in particular always end up doing an amazing job. The guests are really excited for you and come up and compliment you and tell you what a phenomenal job you did.
I just want to remind you, you’re gonna be so swept away in the moment, just remember to direct attention back to the couple. It’s their special day. Just say something simple like, “aren’t they so easy to celebrate? Thanks so much for the compliment”, and then keep on celebrating. Try not to make it about you.
As the officiant, your job isn’t done once the wedding day is over. It is actually your responsibility, whether you are an amateur, first-time officiant, or a professional to file that signed marriage certificate, get it in the mail and then that gets filed. They aren’t officially married until it happens.
Keep it really stress free for the couple by filing it immediately after the wedding, and sending them a text letting them know it’s done and you hope they have a wonderful honeymoon!
Thank you Victoria, you have been amazing! This is such helpful advice for any couple planning their wedding.
Victoria has generously offered an exclusive DISCOUNT for all Wedding Duo listeners! Any services booked before 2023 will receive 20% off! Click here to redeem offer!
To hear the entire interview and more details about how Victoria can help, be sure to check out this episode on YouTube or wherever you listen to podcasts! Links below!
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