Every engaged couple is seeking an original experience for when they say ‘I do’. From jumping on the latest trend to unique venues and event spaces, there are so many ways to make your wedding a customized creation.
But one way to truly tailor-make your wedding day is by having a professional wedding officiant perform your own ceremony.
Lori Gersh is a certified inter-faith officiant through Open Ministry. She has been in practice for six years and has officiated over 150 weddings. While the number of weddings Gersh has officiated continues to grow, each ceremony is different because, or course, each couple is different.
After that popped question has been answered, it’s time to start planning. “A couple should contact an officiant almost as soon as you get engaged,” said Gersh. Many wedding to-do lists vary on what the soon-to-be-wed couple should tick off first. Before the spring and summer wedding season begins, an officiant’s schedule will fill up quickly. Gersh said she is often booked six months ahead of the ceremony date.
Just like booking your ceremony and reception venues, contacting an officiant early on in the planning process will help the couple solidify their wedding date. Many stars need to align to make sure you get the wedding day of your dreams.
Getting to know you, before the ‘I do’. Contacting a professional officiant early on in the wedding planning also helps the person presiding over your ceremony get to know you and your fiancé. Gersh takes a very professional approach to making a personalized wedding ceremony.
“The first thing I do is meet with my couples through Skype or Facetime,” Gersh said. She understands wedding planning can be time consuming on top of working full-time or other commitments, so a digital meeting can fit easily into a busy couple’s schedule.
Weddings, much like tuxedos and gowns, need structure. While chatting with the couple about their wants and needs for the big day, Gersh creates a ‘wedding ceremony outline’. “They’ll get an idea of the flow of the process of the day," said Gersh, “from the introduction all the way down to when I pronounce them married.”
The couple will receive the first draft of the ceremony, four to six weeks before their ceremony date and can finalize the day’s proceedings with her. “I often remind my couples to take their time together to look over the ceremony — you and your fiancé should love it” Gersh said.
Speaking from the heart There are many unique inclusions that Gersh has worked into wedding ceremonies. For two sailors, Gersh was asked to tie a “fisherman’s knot” during their ceremony: an angler’s take on the cliché phrase. The physical knotted rope became a souvenir of the couple’s ceremony, as well as an analogy for their union.
A professional wedding officiant can masterfully incorporate things like hobbies, shared interest, relationship anecdotes and weave the couple’s love story into their ceremony. Gersh’s goal is to have a ceremony that speaks what their hearts feel.
Wedding day bliss, not blues. Knowing your wedding ceremony is set and managed can eliminate a lot of stress. “The ceremony is the most important part of the wedding day. It should be memorable and enjoyable,” said Gersh, “I will often tell my couples “to stay in the moment.’”
Beyond presiding over the ceremony, a professional wedding officiant can also sign a marriage license at the ceremony.
“The good friend who does the funny toast is good for the reception – however when it comes to the ceremony, it should be personalized and professional,” said Gersh.
“I love what I do”. It’s also important to have someone who wants to be a part of your wedding day. From the first steps of planning until that final pronouncement of the married couple, a wedding officiant should be enthused to make your day perfect. “I feel like I am the butterfly on my clients’ shoulder on the happiest day of their lives,” said Gersh. Experience and professionalism are key to creating a perfect wedding ceremony with an officiant. “Every wedding I do is brand new. There’s nothing that becomes old for me, because my couples are so excited and they so want to be there in the moment at their personal ceremony,” said Gersh. “I don’t think you could have any better occupation. It just brings so much joy. “
If you or someone who know Is looking for a wedding officiant, you can check out Lori Gersh’s website at lorigersh.com