The possibilities for personalizing your wedding reception are endless! But don’t forget about all the ways you can also personalize your wedding ceremony to make it your own. You may be hesitant to add your personal touches for the sake of adding time to your wedding ceremony, but a customized wedding ceremony can better represent your love story to your guests, who are gathered to witness the most important day of your life.
Remember that your wedding ceremony can be just as meaningful, engaging, and exciting as your reception if it genuinely reflects you and your partner’s love. From your family traditions to cultural rituals, there are many options you can personalize your wedding ceremony. These personal touches can add more affection and authenticity to your ceremony with just a little creativity.
Having a professional wedding officiant committed to performing a personalized ceremony allows the loved ones a glimpse into how you met, fell in love, and decided to spend the rest of your lives together. The officiant helps you bring your love story to life. Your family and friends are there because they want to witness this special event, and a customized ceremony lets them know what you love about each other and why you are making this public commitment to the other.
Let us introduce you to our favorite St Louis Wedding Officiant, Marilyn Freundlich. Read all about Weddings By Marilyn in this insightful and inspiring in-depth interview!
1. What common mistakes do you see couples making?
Most couples seek advice and hire professionals for their wedding services. The same strategy should be adhered to when hiring an officiant! Couples love the idea of a dear family member or friend officiating at their wedding ceremony, as it’s very easy to become an ordained minister online. In too many instances the chosen family member or friend realizes what they “got themselves into” and back out of their commitment. Your wedding is not the time to take chances. I’ve received too many last-minute calls from bridal couples inquiring about my availability because their officiant can’t participate at their wedding. A professional officiant has experience creating memorable ceremonies, is comfortable speaking in public, and will ensure that the ceremony goes smoothly. I always strive to make a ceremony personal, smooth, and as worry-free as possible.
2. What’s the best tip you have for a couple planning a wedding?
When meeting with your officiant for the first time, have a general idea of some of the elements you’d like included in your ceremony. Would you like it to be serious, light-hearted, warm? Do you want spiritual references (prayers, readings from the Bible) or totally secular? Would you like to include a ritual (unity candle, sand blending) or is there a family tradition that you’d like honored during your ceremony? And importantly, do you want to write your own vows? As an experienced officiant, I can help guide you and make suggestions that will enhance the depth and meaning of your ceremony.
3. What don’t couples know about your business that they need to know?
A lot of work goes into creating a custom ceremony! As an Officiant, I love working and partnering collaboratively with my bridal couples so their ceremony has all the elements they want and don’t want. My couples do not select from a choice of pre-written ceremonies. The core of each ceremony is their love story – how they met, what they mean to each other, what makes them love their partner, and their plans for the future. I also research readings, poems, songs, and song lyrics that reflect what they like. I offer choices for rituals, vows, and ring exchanges that they can select from. Once the ceremony is written, the couple will have the final say over the script and I will make as many changes as necessary. The end result will be a beautiful ceremony reflective of the couple that they and their families and friends will always remember.
4. What questions should couples be asking that they don’t know to ask?
All couples should ask what my process is, how I’ll get to the final product, and how they will be involved in the creation of their ceremony. The ceremony is the reason why the wedding is taking place, (too many seem to forget that!) and both members of the couple should be honest about what they want and don’t want.
5. What your best piece of advice for couples planning a wedding?
Do some homework before meeting with your officiant, or any wedding professional. I love a challenge – and love it when a couple meets me with ideas of what they’d like their ceremony to include. They may not be sure about how all their ideas and requests will come to fruition, but that’s where the professional comes in!
6. What’s the most unusual wedding you ever did?
I officiated at a small, at-home micro wedding in St Louis a few days before Christmas. I met the couple on Zoom as they lived out of the country, and would be in town a few days before their ceremony. The bride mentioned casually that she didn’t know what she’d be wearing and would have to see what she had in her closet in St Louis. When I arrived at her parents’ home, I learned that the bridal couple and all guests would be wearing pajamas! The bride decided to keep it casual and comfy, so she and her groom wore their matching striped Christmas Eve PJs and plaid slippers. The twenty guests (all family) also arrived in robes, sweats, and very comfy attire. No doubt it added a light-heartedness to the event. I will always remember that ceremony, and absolutely fell in love with and enjoyed working with a darling couple.
7. What was the most memorable wedding you ever worked, and why?
A bride with a scheduled summer 2021 wedding called me on a Wednesday and asked if I could perform her ceremony in a local park that Saturday. Her Mom was in the final stages of breast cancer and wanted to see her only daughter get married. We made it happen, and I did have time to spend with her dear parents during the photo session. After the wedding, the bride asked me if, when the time came, I could officiate at her Mother’s funeral. Her mother lived for two weeks, and we then honored her with a beautiful graveside memorial service. Six months later, I officiated at the wedding that was originally planned. Very emotional to say the least. I will always hold that bride and her precious family very close to my heart.
Certified Life-Cycle Celebrant Marilyn Freundlich specializes in unique and authentic ceremonies for all couples and values honest conversations about love, spirituality, and family. Her goal is to create customized wedding ceremonies true to each couple’s background and honor the beliefs, rituals, and traditions that resonate with them. She approaches every new couple as a friend and works to build authentic relationships with them.
You can contact Marilyn on her own site as well as on Facebook and Instagram!