Part confessor, part older sister, part favorite high school teacher. I help you remember what the day is really about. I listen to the parts of your story you don’t want anyone else to know. I find the most important part of your story to share. I step in when your friend who was going to officiate for you drops out. I help you plan a ceremony in a week because you discovered the pastor planned to use your ceremony as a platform to preach about the sanctity of heterosexual marriage. I marry you even when the law says you can’t get married because you are both the same sex because I know real marriage happens in the heart. I help you write your vows together. I discover the ritual that feels right for you. I help you transform a ritual that you kind of like but isn’t quite right into a ritual that feels like it was made just for you. I tell you when your secret vows to each other are awkwardly different so neither of your will be embarrassed on the day you stand in front of everyone and read them. I find a way for you to honor both your dad and your step-dad. I help you brainstorm options when you need more. I help you sort through the overwhelming options. I herd your unruly bridesmaids and groomsmen through a rehearsal. I help you run your own rehearsal. I keep your wedding a secret. I keep the fact that you are already married a secret. I help you plan a surprise wedding that is a secret from the guests. I find a way to include your children. I help you overcome stage fright. I arrive early so that you can relax. I set up your guest book table when your friends get distracted. I help set up the flowers and candles. I pin your boutonnière. I dry your dripping bouquet. I tuck in a curl that comes loose. I’ll tell you that you have pepper in your teeth. I help you tighten your corset. I hold your train. I bustle your dress. I tell your fly is open (before you step out in front of everyone). I tell you your makeup fine. It is fine. I get you a glass of water. I track down the wedding planner, your mother, your sister, the DJ, the photographer. I listen if you need to vent. I deliver a message to your intended when you don’t want to see each other before the ceremony. I help you finish icing the wedding cake you decided to bake entirely by yourself. I stay calm when dad gets lost and is an hour late. I find a reading at the last minute because your friend who was supposed to bring one didn’t quite understand and they don’t have anything to read. I chat with you about something else to calm your nerves. I sit with you in silence because you just need a minute. I make sure the best man has the rings. I keep your mother talking so you can finish getting ready. I spray you down with bug spray. I wipe the mud off your shoes and the water off the seats. I give you scissors to cut the string hanging off your dress. I make sure the DJ knows when to start the recessional music. I welcome your guests. I set the tone for the day. I remind everyone to be present—and to turn off their cell phones. I cue your attendants. I laugh with the guests when the robot ring bearer needs to be rebooted. I’ll hold your vows until you need them. I hand you a Kleenex. I have an extra copy of your vows if you forget. I make a joke when the mosquitos threaten to ruin the moment. I bring you a beer when your groomsmen get distracted. I take pictures for you when you elope and the batteries in both of the cameras you brought are dead. I remind you that the only rules for a wedding ceremony are that you marry someone you love. Because this is all about the love. And the most important thing I do help you remember what the day is really about.
As a wedding officiant, the most important legal aspect of my service is correctly filling out the marriage license and making sure it is filed. A marriage license is one of the few requirements in Texas for a legal marriage.
Now, with the TWOTOGETHER program in Texas, you can save the $60 marriage license fee!
The website offers a list of providers. Some of the programs are free; others have a fee associated with them. Some are faith-based, others are not—so look carefully for a program that fits your needs. The programs range from single-day, to weekend retreats, to multi-week programs. If you have the time and inclination, taking a pre-marital counseling course could save you money!
Bonus: It waives the 3 day waiting period after you get the license—one less detail to worry about. As always, this advice comes with a caveat—read over the website carefully & make sure you are following all Texas state procedures, guidelines, and laws correctly!