My uncle pushed me to enter the ministry. And by “ministry,” I mean get ordained over the internet.1 My uncle was registered and was having a ball presiding over the weddings of his less-religious friends. He loved creating these personalized rites of passage and thought it might be something that would interest me as well. I have always loved weddings. And this looked like a great opportunity to participate in many more. So, I signed up and became a celebrant in the Universal Life Church. I am now legally authorized to marry, bury, and baptize in all 50 states. To date, I have been honored to unite 14 very different couples in holy(ish) matrimony.
I have married friends, relatives, friends of relatives, relatives of friends, clients, and the caretakers of my children. I have performed ceremonies in parks, backyards, event spaces, lodge halls, living rooms, and once over a kitchen table. I have worn a nice suit, beachwear, and twice I showed up in full religious vestments. I have helped light candles in high winds, dodged rainwater spilling off a tent, and assisted a grandparent suffering from heat exhaustion. I have integrated children into ceremonies, had grooms break glassware, and tied both figurative and literal knots.
I typically spend four to five hours — including interviews, research, writing, and rehearsals — to prepare for a fifteen-minute event.
If I can get the congregation to both laugh and cry during the ceremony, I feel I’ve done my job.
So, yes. I became a minster so I could attend more weddings. I love weddings. And I cry at every damn one.
Consultation, research, writing, copy editing, interviewing, event coordination, public speaking
- Lindsey Ellis & Benjamin Dewey
- Michael & Robert Hulshof-Schmidt
- Rylee O’Brien & Corey Branstrom
- Nate & Jessica Kittleson