Kristie + Matt
New Gloucester, Maine
Kristie + Matt
A blog for couples getting married and especially couples getting married in Maine jammed-packed with useful information!
Kristie + Matt
New Gloucester, Maine
Ben + Jordan
Maria + Brandon
Do you want the answer to how much a Maine wedding officiant costs? Well, like a lot of other things, the answer is: it depends. Sorry, I know that's so annoying, but, like many other things you're trying to define in your wedding budget, when it comes to wedding officiants, the cost depends on a number of variables.Read More
I'm delighted to introduce you all to my fellow wedding officiant and friendor, Erika Hewitt, who is a Unitarian Universalist minister here in Maine. Erika and I share a similar passion for wedding officiating and often refer couples to one another when we're booked. In this post, Erika talks about a phenomenon which is sometimes called "ghosting." Read on to learn more.
As a wedding officiant, I’m in the relationship business in more ways than the most obvious one. I don’t just lead the celebration of your relationship; I also want to create a relationship of trust and collaboration with you, as a couple — even if we never have more than an introductory conversation.
When I meet with a couple so they can learn about me, two things happen: I feel a thrill of “I like you! I hope you choose me” and I pencil in their date on my calendar so that other couples can’t hire me out from under them.
Fortunately, many couples get back to me with the happy news that they’re hiring me. Sometimes, though, couples disappear for months, leaving their phantom wedding date on my calendar, and me wondering whether they’ve found another officiant… or whether they forgot to hire me (believe it or not, this actually happens!).
"We have big hearts and thick skin."
I speak on behalf of all wedding officiants when I say that we hope you hire us — but we hope even more that you’ll find an officiant you feel excited about. We have big hearts and thick skin; it’s okay to email us and let us know we’re off the hook because you clicked with someone else. We won’t feel insulted if you write a short note saying, “Thanks for your time, but we’re going in another direction.” In fact, it saves us the awkward step of reaching out to you to ask, “I’ve been saving your wedding date for three months. Should I keep holding it?”
From the officiant to the florist, from the lighting pros to the band, all of us in the wedding world will go out of our way to make you feel valued, respected, and understood as you plan your perfect day. Paradoxically, one way you can reflect that back to us is to just say no — instead of disappearing — when you decide that we’re not the one for you.
Rev. Erika Hewitt
These were questions posed to me for an interview I did with another wedding professional. I'll post a link to that interview when it goes live, but in the meantime, enjoy the answers to these questions. I hope it helps you get to know me and my unique process a little better.
I’m originally from New Hampshire and moved to Maine in 2007 (by way of Utah, California and British Columbia). I’ve always been a “people person” and have worked in hospitality, retail, and nonprofits for years. I have three adorable kitties and consider myself a crazy cat lady. My cats even have their own Instagram account! My husband and I moved to Bath (from Damariscotta) in 2014 into a sweet little cape on the New Meadows River. I love Maine so much! I love Maine almost as much as I love weddings!
I've got married in 2006, which is what started my career in the wedding industry. After planning my own wedding I just knew I wanted to work in weddings. I wasn’t really sure what that would look like, so I just kept it in the back of my mind for a couple of years. When I took the certification course to become a notary public, it was like the planets were finally aligned! The instructor explained during the course that, in Maine, notaries are authorized to perform wedding ceremonies. I’m now going into my fifth season!
My main responsibility is to help my clients mark this significant moment in their lives with a heartfelt ceremony that reflects the couple, their personalities, and their love. I do this by guiding them through the process of envisioning the ceremony from start to finish. Many of my couples know they want a unique ceremony that reflects their relationship, but they don’t always know how to go about it. That’s where my experience is really important. I can help them pull in readings or songs or other interjections that are meaningful to them. I can guide them through the process of writing their own vows. I can offer them advice on music, the flow, the pairing of attendants. All of that. And finally, my responsibility is to manage the entire ceremony on wedding day so that they can let go, relax, and be totally present in the moment.
Sure! The process of creating a completely unique and totally customized Super Sweet Wedding Ceremony requires collaboration from the couple. It starts about three months in advance of their wedding. I send them a link to a Dropbox folder filled with all kinds of goodies: sample ceremonies, readings, elements to add into the ceremony, and other information to help them start picturing their ceremony. I ask them to pick out the bits of pieces from the sample ceremonies they like (maybe the introduction from this one, or the ring exchange from that one). I also email each of them a list of questions to help them reflect upon their relationship. Questions like why are they choosing to marry each other, what does marriage mean to them, the qualities they find endearing in each other, and a few other questions. I weave their responses into the ceremony to make it completely custom and really personalized. I’ll write a completely unique ceremony for each couple so no two are ever alike.
We’ll go back and forth with the ceremony until it’s perfect. I like to have the final copy a month before wedding day, because that’s when we meet again to start planning the rehearsal.
By using this process, there’s a genuine warmth that comes from our working on this ceremony for a few months, and it feels like I’ve known them for years. I’m talking about their love and their marriage and their relationship but using their own words. It’s really magical and meaningful.
I have three packages (Super Sweet Wedding, Sweet + Simple Wedding, and Sweet Wedding Elopement) and my Super Sweet Wedding is the most popular. It includes a fully customized ceremony, unlimited guest list, and unlimited attendants. All my weddings, except the elopements, include a rehearsal.
Absolutely! I actively encourage it! This is their ceremony so I want it to be a reflection of who they are. All of the things you just mentioned (music, readings, vows) are a great way to personalize a ceremony. I have samples and blog posts with inspiration and ideas, so I’m all about encouraging them to add in these kinds of elements.
It all depends on the couple, but I really encourage my couples to not make it too short. I think anything less than 20 minutes is too short. You just don’t get enough time to digest what’s happening. It goes so fast anyway, it’s nice to slow it down a bit. Add in some elements. Add in some other voices. Let there be a nice flow to it so it’s not just me talking for 10 minutes and then it’s over. Like I said, this is a pivotal moment in their lives and it’s worth savoring. That being said, I also think a really long ceremony can loose its significance. If there are too many readings or songs or interjections, it’s hard to make each one meaningful. I think the sweet spot, including processional, is about 30 minutes.
There’s a trend right now to have a wicked short ceremony and then just have a great party. While I’m all for fun parties, I try to remind my couples that the ceremony is what really matters. Pledging your love and devotion to one another in front of all the most important people in your life is what matters. I wrote a blog post about ideal ceremony length!
Absolutely! As a notary that’s my responsibility. The couple is responsible for getting the license from the city, but I get it at the rehearsal and am responsible for it until I deliver it to the town office after the wedding. I also advise my couples on how to get married in Maine; how file the intention to marry document at the town office; and how to obtain the marriage license after the ceremony.
They should contact me as far in advance as possible, because I take a limited number of weddings and book up each summer. But I’ve taken weddings (based on my availability of course) as close as three or four months before. In order to have time to go through the customization process they need to book me at least three months in advance. Anything less than that and I’m not going to be able to offer them a fully customized ceremony. For elopements they can contact me the day before, so that’s a different process.
From 2011 to 2015 I was only taking 10 weddings a summer since I was still working a full time job. Now that I’m fully self-employed, I take 20 weddings a year. I limit the number of weddings I take to one per weekend. My entire being – heart and soul – is involved in each wedding I take, and I find that one a weekend works the best for me. You can read all about how I prepare for each wedding.
Definitely! I love doing this (if the couple doesn't have a wedding planner). I now know so many talented wedding vendors I can even make personalized recommendations to my clients. For example, if they tell me a particular style of photography they like, I can give them names of a few photographers with a similar style. Our industry thrives on vendor-to-vendor referrals, so I’m always happy when my couples ask for recommendations.
My biggest challenge is making sure the site coordinator or wedding planner understands that I work with my couples on every detail of the ceremony from pre-processional to recessional, and because of that I organize and manage the rehearsal. I now know that a lot of officiants don’t do this, but I love it and it’s one of the services I provide my clients. I always appreciate the support of the planner or coordinator and having them there makes everything run more smoothly on wedding day. But asking for their trust while I run the rehearsal is sometimes my biggest challenge.
Bringing an idea of a business from imagination into reality. Creating and growing a successful business is definitely my greatest accomplishment. Working with creative, interesting and engaged clients and collaborating with them to craft wedding ceremonies that have meaning and will be remembered for years to come, that’s rewarding!
Make it all about YOU! Find ways to personalize your ceremony to make it meaningful and engaging. Sure, do the research to see what’s out there, but always come back to the question “Does this reflect who we are?” If the answer is no, keep working at it.
And remember, your wedding ceremony is a magical moment that marks a major shift if your life. Make sure you find an officiant you connect with and one who can hold the gravity and significance of that moment with a joyous heart!
I love social media! I’m on all the big platforms: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram. I write a blog with advice and inspiration. I send out a monthly email newsletter with all sorts of great information. I’m also listed in a bunch of wedding directories. But I don’t really attend wedding shows. I find that my clients are mostly active online so I make myself available through electronic means. I’ve totally embraced digital media and use it to communicate who I am and what makes me awesome to work with!
there is something called the wedding industry experts awards. i've nominated myself (is that lame?) for best new wedding officiant, but i need your votes to win! you don't have to register for anything, you just have to vote. click on the image below to vote. you can vote once per day up until april 23, 2013. and THANK YOU!
i know this is a bit shameless, but it really would be so cool to say i'm an "award-winning" officiant!
UPDATE: thanks to you, i won Best New Wedding Officiant in Maine 2013! and i placed in the top three in the US and worldwide! wohoo!!! THANK YOU SO MUCH!