Hey everybody, welcome to the Wedding Ceremony Podcast. We talk about anything and everything that has to do with wedding ceremonies. This is episode number 277, recorded on Tuesday, July the seventh 2020.
My name is Clint hufft. And with me is the one and only Oh my gracious, He's been traveling the cosmos. JP Reynolds.
Glad to be with you.
Yeah, your brain was working overtime right there for me.
JP Reynolds 0:37
I was trying to come up with something that I thought, let's just keep it just… Yes.
JP is an accomplished author. His books are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle store in Amazon. He is a communications expert. That website is TheBusinessOfConfidence.com. His wedding website is JPRWeddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com or ClintHufft.com. For all the things that I do.
Real quickly, JP, I want to say thank you to Joel Curtis who occupied the chair, so to speak, the digital chair, for you for the last three episodes, and he was wonderful, and I just want to say thank you to him for stepping into your very, very large shoes.
JP Reynolds 1:24
A very large chair
for your enormous seat.
JP Reynolds 1:31
Thank you, Joel. Thank you. There you go.
Now, JP, it's been a little while but I asked you if there's anything you want to talk about, and you said yes. So please do share.
JP Reynolds 1:43
All right. So yesterday, and today, I returned to Instagram, where I had not been posting for way too long. I'm delighted that I was able to return to Instagram by posting pictures from my goddaughter Meredith's wedding.
Oh, that's right. It was at the beach, right?
It was on the beach and I officiated it.
Well, it now seems like a long time ago was, it was the Friday of Memorial Day weekend.
In Marina Del Rey, and that was the weekend that Meredith and Cole were going to have a wedding celebration with 200 guests, north of Santa Barbara. They postponed their wedding until November. But they very much wanted to get married. This is the weekend that they had anticipated in and had set their sights on. And so it was never the goal.
Both sets of parents are married, and Meredith has an older sister and Cole has a younger sister. And then the photographer, who is Meredith's business partner and very good friend, and myself. And well, you can go in Instagram and look at the pics and you'll see the magic of it all. Not only was it sweet, because Meredith is my goddaughter. One of my goddaughters. I have five goddaughters, but 32 years ago, I officiated the wedding of Meredith's parents.
32 years ago, it was no way for us to imagine that there would be a world halted by a pandemic. No way that this exquisite young woman would be standing on the beach with us. marrying the great love of her life. Just a very, very sweet moment.
First of all, I want to acknowledge that you have five goddaughters. That's quite a roster.
I’m a good gift giver.
That’s the criteria is that other parents said, Let's let JP be the Godfather because he gives good presents.
JP Reynolds 4:52
You sound like you're very proud of that of that. Well, is there anything about the the ceremony that stood out?
JP Reynolds 5:07
Yes. Okay. Thank you for asking.
I just have to say it was exquisite. It was exquisite for so many reasons, and not simply because I was so intimately a part of the lives of these folks.
What we really did was strip a wedding ceremony down to its essence. Initially Meredith and Cole, who met in college, dated in college. I'm not even sure if they ever had a time apart. And for them, it was OMG. We've been together for so long. We just have to get married. We have to. We have to have a photo, we have to have an announcement. And there was a certain weariness and determination that we've got to get married this weekend. And I think that as we were planning the ceremony, they were at a loss. Well, what is it that we're really doing here? Because they still have their sights set on November for a blowout celebration.
And they're legally married, correct?
Yeah. You told us about that.
Yeah, right. And I encouraged them to think of this mini wedding as a prelude to the November wedding celebration, and that began last November when they took care of the legal paperwork and got legally married. Now they were having this intimate ceremony with the most intimate of their loved ones, their parents and siblings. And then this coming November would be the culmination. A year long combination. And I wanted to make sure that this particular ceremony had its own character and integrity and wasn't simply trying to mimic what it is that we're doing in November. And I think that approach surprised them.
And I know from speaking with the parents and the siblings afterwards, they were all surprised at the power of this intimate ceremony. I don't think anybody was really expecting anything. It's like, oh, haha, Isn't this cute? We're going to the beach. And the kids are gonna get married. You know? And for me, it reminded me that if you take away all of the animal acts involving talking dogs and singing butterflies. If you remove operatic children. If you strip away everything that we associate with the the full on wedding ceremony that what you're left with two people standing face to face. Surrounded by people who have witnessed their lives for the entirety of their lives. And now bear witness, as these two people pledge to go through this wild and wacky and messy world together with the conviction in the hope of creating a life giving life. That's like, wow.
That there's just nothing, nothing more powerful than that experience.
The way you describe it, because you have a gift for words and storytelling that I think is unparalleled.
JP Reynolds 10:11
Can you explain the difference between what you did on the beach there compared to what you anticipate doing in November with the big ceremony? I understand. I mean, we've all done the ceremonies that were very intimate with just a couple perhaps or, immediate family, that sort of thing. But what what did you say that felt different or how did you purposefully structure a unique ceremony?
JP Reynolds 10:39
Right, right. Great, great question.
Whether it's an intimate ceremony or a large ceremony, of course, you and I are always focused on how can we incorporate people into the ceremony? How do we honor the people that need to be honored? And in this particular ceremony the whole beauty of it is that it was six people.
It was two sets of parents and two siblings. The six most important people in the lives of Meridith and Cole.
So, did they do repeat after me vows?
Well, okay, so for November, they want to do personal vows, right? I said, Why don't we keep the personal vows for November? Why don't we stick to traditional vows for this ceremony? I always give couples a selection of traditional vows because when we talk about the traditional vows they're different versions of the traditional vows, different wording, and so they selected a traditional vow, I printed it on a card. And they gifted each other the vows without repeating after me. The reason why I did that is because I didn't want to turn this into like a ventriloquist sort of thing. But what I did was I, I suggested that they select two readings. And I have a packet of readings I give to my couples. That they select two readings and they give a reading to each family unit. So that Meredith's mother, father and sister, read one reading, and then Cole’s mother, father and sister read the other reading. So each reading was divided into three parts. And I offered some words of gathering then Meredith family gave the reading because it was light and funny and sweet. And I offered some words of encouragement, good cheer, and then as a prelude to the vows. Cole's family offered the second reading because it's more
romantic and more philosophical about love and commitment.
And that was the prelude. By having the six people do readings, it was a form of blessing. Because I think you can bless someone without actually saying I bless you. So the readings were a form of a joyful affirmation blessing. And then it was the two sisters, the siblings who presented the rings. And again, just that symbol of affirmation and blessing. But also in terms of just the energy, when you're, as a officiant standing in front of 200 people, you have to tap into the energy of that crowd and it's an energy that is rocking and rolling up on its own. And there's a lot to be aware of. But when you're standing in front of six people you're not whispering but it's it's a different kind of energy. It's intimate. It's there. I say seductive. Because really, I think in this ceremony, who I was speaking to was not simply Meredith and Cole. I was speaking very directly to the parents and siblings and reminding them that it's their love that helped to bring Meredith and Cole to this moment in time.
That's really well said. There's a phrase that sometimes my couples will choose That you learn to love by being loved, Kind of the same sentiment. Yeah. They it's interesting how that whole nature or nurture argument about whether or not a person just is who they are, or whether or not their behavior is influenced by their upbringing and their environment. It's the latter. I mean, it could be it's a combination of both, but in that particular case, and I think the way, if I understand correctly, what you communicated to the families is how important their role has been in where Cole and Meredith are right now. Did I understand that correctly?
JP Reynolds 16:38
Yes. Yes, that's beautiful. Yes. And I mean, and that's what that ceremony was about as Meredith and Cole take a year to celebrate the life that they have created and the life that they're going to continue to create. But there's different moments with different emphasis, right? And the emphasis in this ceremony was on how their life is lodged firmly within the love of their families. And then my words of encouragement and good cheer to them was inspired by a poem I had read a few weeks prior by a woman named Mary Oliver. Oliver died last year. Very loved and respected poet here in America. And I had gotten a copy of her Collected Poems and I read one poem where This this line was something like, rules for living. Oh, and it was something like: pay attention. be astonished. Tell about it. That was it. I love it.
That's great advice for a young couple. Absolutely.
Or for an old couple.
Yeah, that's true. Yeah. Now that I'm thinking about it, yeah. Because maybe they didn't do that the first time around. Yeah.
JP Reynolds 18:34
I just love those that command. I love those words. I used that as a springboard for my words to Meredith and Cole. And as I did, I had the copy of the book with me.
It was one of the few times that I did not buy a Kindle edition of the book and is this thick bound copy of the book and I held it in my hand and then as a gift I gave it to them.
Oh, that's awesome.
Oh my God, shameless. I can be shameless.
No, that's beautiful. JP Oh, my gracious. I’m moved by the way every story you tell me, it just affects me in one way or the other, I'll just leave it at that. But, the intimacy of and the way you're able to evoke such strong emotions. There was also the added advantage, so to speak of the fact that you already knew these people. You watched her grow up so there is that added dimension of emotions. You and I have both agreed that when we get an opportunity to have these intimate weddings and the world that we live in right now that's kind of like the only weddings that are happening. Are these intimate weddings and we should revel in it. I’m saying we the general, like the all the officiants should revel in the intimacy of these weddings and really soak up how how wonderful it is to be able to speak directly without a feeling of performance.
I want to add that aspect to every ceremony that I do. I don't know if I ever told you the story of a meeting with a couple. And this is years ago, obviously. And, it's one of those Starbucks meetings. We’re shooting the breeze and I said, so tell me what you have in mind. And they said, well, we're both real estate agents. And we have this really nice house We work the luxury market, and we have this beautiful house. And we thought, well, we want to get married anyway. So how about if we have the wedding at the house, and let's invite everybody that's on our client list. Let's invite everybody. So their guest list was over 300 people and then we'll also get married. And he looked at me and he said, I'll be honest with you I don't care about most of these people. I don't care. This is a business decision. And I said, Well, okay.
What about if it was just the two of you? What would you do? And there was nobody else, what would you do? And he said, Well, okay, that's different. I would take her to the beach. She's sitting right there listening to this, right. I would take her to the beach. I would hold her hands, I would look into her eyes, and I would tell her that I can't live another day without her
as my wife.
And I said, that's what I want. That's exactly what I want. And quite honestly, that's what everybody else wants. I tell every couple Listen, when people sit down to watch a wedding, I mean, no matter what kind of sarcastic remark they make or cynical attitude they might have or Come on, just get it over with I want to go eat. When the ceremony begins. Everybody in their heart of hearts, they really honestly want to believe. They want to believe in the romance. They want to believe in the love. They want to believe that these two people are adults and they're going into it with their eyes wide open to the best of their ability. They want to believe in all of that. And that's why I always tell the couple, you're going to be in my bubble, and it's going to be the three of us and we'll pay attention to whatever needs to be paid attention to. But the connection between the two of you is the most important thing. And when we are able to have this intimate setting with less than 10 people, were you able to bring them close? Because, you know, they're all family and so you weren't as worried about social distancing?
JP Reynolds 22:27
Right. It was kind of a compromise. Yeah. So nobody was wearing a mask. Maybe not quite as close as in the good old days, but closer than distancing with strangers.
The biggest thing is that you're at the beach and so just as long as they could hear you so they really do feel connected. I don't remember the last time I don't know if you heard this story, but I did a wedding at the beach, and everybody stayed like 15 feet away. Oh, we used to move closer. Yeah, that didn't have the intimacy that I was hoping for. Right. But I still connected with a couple and and yeah.
JP Reynolds 23:16
Well, I was consistent. Meredith and Cole referred to it as a pop up wedding.
I like that image with a mini wedding the pop up wedding Have you referred
I've heard micro wedding
JP Reynolds 23:41
Micro wedding, mini wedding.
Shame on any of us for not taking advantage of doing things within the intimacy that would be awkward to do in a larger wedding setting.
That's interesting. What comes to mind?
Well, for instance, having the parents and the siblings each each do a shared reading.
Oh, okay. Yeah,
JP Reynolds 24:18
Because in the wedding in November, it's going to be Cole's grandmother, who does the reading and she'll be doing just the reading on her own. So, come November the focus is on the grandmother representing family tradition, continuity. And at this wedding, she wasn't because of Covid-19.
Well, I'm so happy you're back. And I'm so happy that you came back with that lovely story. And I'm really happy for you that you were able to experience all of that with these people. That means so much to you. That's awesome.
JP Reynolds 25:10
And you can all see photos on Instagram.
What is your Instagram handle?
Ah, the handle for all aspects of my wedding life. JPR Weddings.
Okay, excellent. Yeah, well, JP , it appears that we are back in the saddle again.
JP Reynolds 25:33
I was thinking we're in a surrey with the fringe on the top.
I love that just as much. All right, everybody. There you go. Thank you again for joining us in the wedding ceremony podcast. Remember, all of our episodes are archived on our website, WeddingCeremonyPodcast.com. There also is a big yellow button where you could email us and we'd love that. Thank you to everybody that reached out requesting a copy of my wedding ceremony choices and I'm glad that I was able to share that with you. And remember, if you have any suggestions, things that you'd like us to talk about, stories you want to tell. That's the way you do it WeddingCeremonyPodcast.com and click on the email us button. Remember that JP’s books are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle store in Amazon. His website for coaching is TheBusinessOfConfidence.com for communications coaching. And his wedding website is JPRWeddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com or ClintHufft.com for all the things that I do. Thank you again to the incredible musicians that play our theme music The DaCapo players. That's it for this episode of the Wedding Ceremony Podcast. This is Clint and on behalf of JP, we will see you next time.