Welcome to the wedding ceremony podcast. We talk about anything and everything that has to do with wedding ceremonies. This is episode number 275. recorded on Tuesday, June the 23rd 2020. My name is Clint hufft. And normally with me is JP Reynolds, but JP is taking the month of June often. So that means we bring in what has become a fan favorite. Joel Curtis?
Yes, a fan favorite.
Well, it's all it's all relevant.
And I know who that fan is very happy to be in it.
And I'm standing outside his window right now.
Joel's website is ReverendJoel.com, and mine is ReverendClint.com. You can see the similarities. And which brings me to Oh, and also Clint hufft Hu FFT dot com for all the things that I do.
Joel, you said something to me. I don't know if you sent me a text Next, I don't remember exactly what it was. But it was a compliment to JP, a really, really well respected and very successful event planner. Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I think I remember is sent out something into the WebSphere that she loves JPS ceremony because he memorizes another December ceremonies.
Well, it's funny, it was actually more simple than that. She said, Do you know that JP memorizes all the ceremonies, very succinct.
Comment, whatever. Yeah.
And I just kind of assumed that it was, it was a praise, it was a compliment. It was something that she and the reason I say that is because years ago, I don't remember how many years ago, more than 10 years ago, I worked with a guy who's a DJ entertainment company has become a trainer of DJs well respective. And he's voiced a preference to me talking about officiants in general. I don't think he really understood what my process was. But he said that he mentioned some guy says, and he doesn't hold anything, he doesn't read anything during the entire ceremony. And he said it like, I really like that. I like it when they're not reading.
And so that when you when you showed me that text or that message or that notice, or whatever it was, that said, Did you know that JP memorizes, the ceremonies, I know JP’S process, we've talked about it on the podcast,
but it kind of like pushed a little button in me.
You don't I mean?
And because I, the way I work is exactly the opposite. We're actually You and I both have the same system, which is the couple is hands on, and we give them a ton of resources and they build their own ceremony, which means that we have to read it unless unless it's a thing that we already know by heart. But okay, first of all, are you following me? Does it make sense what I said so far?
No, exactly. In fact, I tell my brides and grooms I also print out your ceremony and I will refer to it because I have never done that ceremony. I never do the same ceremony twice. Right however having said that coming from you, you are the king of you know there are so many different choices out there and story different weddings, whatever people want. You know, yeah, you're absolutely you're absolutely right. The surprising that it struck a chord with you whether I don't know if it was a negative chord or positive chord. Let's wait and see everybody.
But first a word from our sponsor. We'll find out after the break.
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Okay. I'll tell you what, I will admit that I have a silly grade school ego. I do about certain things. I do. For instance, when I first started officiating wedding ceremonies, I really wanted to do them all. I mean, all, all over the world, I wanted to do them all. And if somebody else got to do one, I felt a little slighted. Like, no, I wanted to do all of them. Thank you very much. You can please take a seat. But obviously, you know, we are limited by our physical capabilities. And so, but I still had that feeling. I really wanted to do them all because I love it so much, right? But I'm not everybody's cup of tea.
That that's the first thing. The second thing is I've told the story of the videographer who told me the story of an officiant that he worked with and, and so he's in the editing booth, and I really can identify with this because I was editing videos for a couple of years of weddings and bar mitzvahs and stuff and The ceremony that he was editing, the audio dropped out. And more and more people who are now having getting training in videos because you know, people are doing so many like videos from their house and they have to do zoom videos, and they have to do webinar presentations and stuff like that. And the one thing that is really hammered home, and unfortunately, it's not up front, they talk about lighting and cameras and stuff like that. But then they say and the most important thing is your audio. Because you can cover bad video with like an image or something like that. But if your audio drops out, you're tanked. You know what I mean?
I've never used No, I know exactly what you mean my the video that I have. One of the videos I have embedded on my website is it's just me doing the voiceover and there's other footage.
Oh, yeah, most video production companies will write like that.
Well, yeah, it's not a video for me. But it's I've actually had brides oh my gosh, and want that guy didn't even see me.
So That guy, that guy.
They thought it was you. But hey,
That's the new t shirt. “I'm that guy.” Anyway, so getting back to the story, so the videographer told me that when the audio dropped out, he had a moment of panic. But then he realized who the officiant was. And he went back to another ceremony that he video of that efficient and because the efficient does the same thing, every single time, word for word exactly every single time that he was able to just take the audio from the other ceremony and just plug it in to the ceremony where the audio dropped out momentarily. And it was seamless because the the officiant does the same thing every single time. Now, what I have told couples is everybody's different. Every officiant is different. You got to find the right officiant that fits you. I said, there are some officiants that have the same ceremony, and they do it every single time and it's brilliant, and people love them. Right? Whereas, you know, you and I, our system is 180 degrees opposite of that where it's never the same I've never done the same ceremony twice. However, I can understand that, like I said, you know, different strokes for different folks. And I can understand where if somebody is reading, and they don't have the ability to get off the page. And all they're doing is reciting something with no personal connection to the couple. I can understand how that would be a total turnoff. You know what I mean?
It's part of the training process. If anybody wants to do like a written ceremony, what we call sight reading is critical. When I was acting, we learned sight reading for cold auditions, where they hand you a script, and you've never seen it before. And five minutes later, you're performing that script. And so the only way you can really do it with any kind of emotional authenticity is you have to sight read it you have to be able to adjust to the idea that your brain is capable of seeing something and then remembering that image, as you move on, as you start looking at something else, your brain has retained that image. And so I mean, right now, there's the long term memory and the short term memory, the short term memory is, you know, you can look at something and then you can look away and you can still see it in your mind's eye. And so, you put that capacity or the capability to work in your favor when you look down at the page and you're able to pick the words up and then you look up and make eye contact, as you recite those words. Recite is has bad connotations. But the point that i'm i'm saying is that is that you have to train yourself in order to do that.
And then obviously, if you've never done the ceremony before, there is a certain amount of preparation so that you're familiar with what you will be saying, you know, before it comes out your mouth, so you make that human connection while you're doing it. It takes a lot of practice, but that's the key, I think, in order to make the ceremony because I have another wedding event planner that came to me and said, I always refer you Because every single ceremony seems as if you're the couple's best friend, and you've known them forever. And I attribute that to Well, number one, how I interact with them between the words of the ceremony, but number two, being able to get off the page and look at them and make sure that I'm addressing and I, I just coached, man, I'm going on a long rant here. I just coached a neighbor who did a ceremony for the second time a friend asked him to officiate and I helped him the first time, which he did about two years ago. And then he did the second one this last Saturday. And he said, Where do I look? And I said, because he had he was written he had it written down right. And so I took the ceremony I wrote in all of his his cues of here's where you ask them to stand Yes, we asked them to be seated. Here's where you get rid of the bouquet you know, stuff like that. And I said you as much as you possibly can, you're talking directly to the couple. Because that's, that's the human connection that the guests will connect with. I said, but if it's something in the text says, you know, that is directly relatable to the guests, then you look at the guests and you talk to them, but 90% of the time, you're gonna be talking directly to the couple.
Does that make sense?
Now, yeah, I've, I've never written that down in my notes. You'll have brides and grooms do that, you know, he would go back to the ceremony. And they'll say, they'll put a little note in there. This is where you ask songs or this, or you will look at the guests. And I always take that out. Like, yeah, I know. I know who I'm talking to there. You know?
Yeah, I modify that stuff a lot. If they Yeah. And it makes me think it makes me think they're not. I can understand how an officiant would say it would. It would bruise their ego, you know, and kind of Don't tell me what to do. I'm not I'm not a rookie, I know what I'm doing. But on the other hand, they are rookies and they don't know. You know, they don't know what you're gonna do. And so if they they add in stage instructions or something like that? I don't care.
Oh, yeah, no, I don't say anything to them, I just take it out, especially when I send the finalized version to the party planner, I, you know, I take that out, I go over my notes, you know, I send the party planner, you know, the coordinator, I send them when I send this final ceremony, I just kind of do highlights, you know, you can see that we're gonna need a table here, we're gonna need a goblet, or we're gonna need wine or, you know, whatever we need, or as you can see, we don't need anything. You know what right case maybe? Right? Yeah. So they don't have to peruse the entire ceremony and, and, you know, just make sure there's anything they need that kind of let them know that.
Yeah, you know, you and I both have that same practice of the week of the wedding, we send the actual ceremony to the event planner. And I don't know if there's a logistical thing that that's in a separate email, exactly for what you're saying is that you don't have to go through the whole ceremony. Try to figure it out on your own. We're going to need a table, we're not going to need a table and we need a table. It's for this, this, this and this, right. And then if there's going to be Second microphone, you know, just stuff like that.
You and I were both in the room in the officiant breakout at wedding MBA in 2018. Last year was the first time that we had an organized panel presentation discussion taking questions. But prior to that, it was it was an open mic scenario that I would run, where we would have a roomful of 40, between 40 to 50, officiants from all over the place. And I would just bring up a topic, and then we would kind of share ideas throughout the room. And it came out it wasn't one of the questions but it came out that I sent email the ceremony to the event planner, the week of the wedding, and I was really surprised. I didn't think it was that big of a deal. I thought it was actually like professional courtesy and staying ahead of any logistical problems. I just thought that yeah, it just makes total sense. But I was surprised and Do you remember this? I was surprised people protested. They said I would never send my ceremony to the event planner that and some people said that that I really respected and it caught me totally by surprise that they would be that adamant about rejecting the concept.
Do you remember that?
Yeah, no, some people were indignant. I can't believe you send your ceremony. I was like, wow, okay.
Yeah. No, it was I was just as shocked as you were. I was looking at you and you were kind of like, wow. Yeah, we talked we've talked about it. We talked about it afterwards. We talked about it since it's um, yeah, I don't I don't know. I don't know. I mean, even though they they spoke a lot about it. Talk. I don't, I don't recall.
There was one guy. I can still picture the room. Remember kids sight reading will help you. I can still picture the room as the guy to my right. And he was from I forget exactly. I think he was from the east coast. And I didn't get the impression that he did a lot of weddings. But he did say, I asked him, I said, What are you worried about? What are you afraid of? And he says that they'll hand that ceremony to somebody else, and they'll do my ceremony. And then I thought, oh, okay, so this, you have a ceremony that you do. And so you think that if somebody else says those words, they're going to be stealing your business. I mean, that's, that's the thread that I was connecting. You know what I mean? We didn't talk about that. I did ask him later on. Just as the conversation was flowing across the room, I looked at him, I said, Has that ever happened to you? And he very quietly said, No.
And I thought, I'm not gonna belabor it, I moved on from him, but in my mind, I'm thinking He’s just afraid of the hypothetical. You know, and, he doesn't have any like, practical experience. You know, and and I understand that it you know, knowledge is When you learn from your own mistakes, but wisdom is when you learn from other people's mistakes. Wisdom is not when you imagine a scenario and then adapt your behavior accordingly, when the scenario that you're imagining is not based on fact.
I know I remember that one, specifically, because we've talked about that. It's like, yeah, oh, well, this might happen. Okay. You know. And I honestly, I think I've kind of, I don't recall, specifically because it doesn't really, it doesn't apply to me, and I'm going to keep doing it. And they don't and I guess I don't really care why they don't. Yeah, yeah, I get that.
Oh, you're right. But I think that we have a, we have a forum here with this podcast that most of our listeners are officiants. And so I like to kind of put out into the world.
Oh, absolutely. It's so great to hear when they when they would say anything on a topic and we have that that's a great thing, the wedding MBA and to have that to be in a room, and officiants from all over the world, not just all over the country, and to hear their different takes and not just, you know, oh, I had a bride who did this or groom who did that, or a mom who did this. It's, it's just nice. No, this is how I work. This is what my clients expect. This is what the people in our area like, and it's always great to hear just different takes from all over. It's wonderful.
You know, I received a note what the reason we modified at this last conference is because some of the people in the room were frustrated that some other people that were given an opportunity to speak, didn't have enough experience. And then they also kind of went off because one of the things about officiants is that we love the sound of our own voice. Oh, we love it. And I'm gonna just keep talking.
So it's up to me to control that. You know, as the as a moderator, but that's why we did a panel with Alan Katz and Bethel Nathan, who are both, you know, brilliant at what they do. But I do miss that open dialogue, you know. But it was legitimate complaint, you know that there are some people and that that was frustrating for me because when we did the open room, I wanted to identify the people that had done not only a lot of weddings, but were very successful. There's a woman that is working the Santa Barbara market, for those of you that are not from Los Angeles or Southern California, it's about Santa Barbara is a is definitely a high income demographic. And it's about 40 miles, say 40 miles north of Los Angeles.
Yeah, but it's definitely a different socio economic demographic and so, she charges charges in the higher spectrum of officiant fees and, and she does really well. And I see her almost every year, but she's very quiet, she's not pretentious, or any of that kind of stuff. I just I know her and I know about her. And I wanted that's why sometimes I would direct the conversation. Tell me what you think, you know, and I would want to identify those people in the room who have that level of experience and success, because, and this is no disrespect to anybody else. But those are the people that we really want to hear from, you know, because what happens is sometimes, somebody who asked a question, well, they'll launch into like this story, and then they're going to start answering their own question and then they got it and I
guy that drives me crazy. So that's why I tried I say right up front. Listen, if you ask a question, don't tell me a story. Just ask a question. If you're gonna comment on something, give it to me in two sentences. Do not tell me a story. Just so that we can kind get as much information out as we possibly can.
No had to modify it a lot. That's what you do when you start something and, and then you make changes. I was one of those people that complain that, like, Who is this person? Oh, you know, they're out there pontificating and, you know, versus done like three ceremonies. Right? Like, well, have you seen any more than that? No. Okay. Well, My Brides, I do so that's great. You know, you're you're wonderful.
I'm sorry, I didn't really connect with the sincerity of that last date.
But, yeah, I was just like, What are you? You know, we you know, I you know, running dialogue in my head. Yeah, never say that out loud. Oh, wait, I just did my But no, it's, you know, I, I get it and I understand the other people, you know, there there are people in the room that that are that come from a seminary background and they are very upset, disappointed with people like you and I?
I don't think that's as true now. I think that when we started, you know, and the whole idea of getting online ordinations and that kind of stuff. I think when that concept first hit the market, there was a lot of frustration and resentment, you know, because how could you pretend to be, but then I remember having these conversations with Well, I give them a lot of credit when I say them, I mean, these officiants that used to run a congregation and you know, come from that place. But once I explained that it is not my intent and never was my intent to run a college congregation or present myself in the same category as somebody who has a masters of divinity or anything like that. I don't go there at all. I don't present myself is that at all. I'm a person that loves to officiate wedding ceremonies. And there you go. Go, then a lot of them, were able to accept the concept. So it wasn't they didn't feel, as slighted for want of a better word. But getting back to the way a person performs their ceremony, or, yeah, I guess that's a good way to say it. The way we present there, that's a better word we have to wedding ceremony. To each their own. I just think that there are certain tools that come with practice. Like for instance, if you have a set ceremony, then there are certain things that come with practice where you are given the era of personalization.
You know, even even JP who has a ceremony that he frequently does, or at least segment somebody frequently does. He has admitted that he'll have an index card with the personalization notes that are necessary for that particular couple.
I think no matter what you do, no matter what style you do, whether you do it like With a couple builds a ceremony, and so you have to read it, or you have a set ceremony. And then the question is, how do you personalize it, then, because there are some officiants, who get into that performing mode. And to me, there's a disconnect. You know, there's a disconnect from the personal humanity of the ritual that's taking place, as opposed to watch me now.
The only way to modify that if you really are if you really want to, I mean, if your gig is I'm going to perform and that's okay, but if you want to make that human connection, and you want the guests or everybody that is observing this to feel like they've witnessed something that's really unique and special, then it takes practice to include all the elements and skill set that would be able to project that sort of experience. Does that make sense?
Yeah, uh, my favorite compliment is how long have you known the bride and groom?
Do the friends with the bride and groom it's like, and I've, I've had that not to boast. I've had that when I never met them until that day. Yep. You know, they came from out of state you did a zoom call or FaceTime meeting and you know, it's just been me when you do it as it's just being you but you have that ability, I guess for lack of a better word, to do exactly what you just said.
It's a skill set. Yeah.
Well, the reason I went to you and said, You should be an officiant, you would be great at it. Because we had a similar background. We had a similar kind of life experiences where we had done a lot of public speaking, we have emceed a ton of different events of all different kinds. And we have a sense of humor and we both have big hearts, you know, and that's a key component to have a big heart where you can emotionally connect with the couple at this moment in their lives, but yet have the mix of professionalism and the skill set to be able to do what their ceremony requires. While never losing that heart.
Does that makes sense?
Yeah. And it's it's funny, I did a ceremony A while back and the maid of honor was like, God, I was so nervous and, and but then you just made me calm right down and I said, Well, how did I do that? Because I never really there hardly spoke to her before the ceremony that she said no, as soon as you started talking, I knew everything was gonna be okay. Oh, that's an unlikable. I'm like, Oh, I was I was a little baffled in the beginning. It's like just and she's like, Yeah, what she was standing up there nervous. And once I started to talk, and the great news is she said that right in front of the party planner, so that was certainly
There you go, you know, but yeah, I was literally confused as to why she felt calm. But it was not until after I spoke, which I have a theory about that.
I have a theory.
There's a lot of surveys that say the number one phobia in America is public speaking, right. And we've seen a ton of people when I was, both as disc jockeys, both of us. And then again, when I was editing videos, I saw a lot of officiants that were nervous. Even if they have a lot of experience. They're still nervous because a wedding ceremony is a different environment. Right? And, and that nervousness just translates to everybody and immediately now, we're not focusing on the the power of the moment. We're all scared that, you know, the person's fears are going to come to fruition.
You know what I mean?
I know exactly what you mean.
Yeah. And so you have somebody like you who obviously really confident. And you know, what's great is that you're gonna you know exactly what I'm about to talk about.
We're on the inside, we can be like less than confident, I guess is a great way to say it.
Like, I don't know what's about to happen, but you just kind of go forward with some faith. I was going to emcee some big event, and I the communication between me and the promoter, and that was not very good. And I, I seriously, minutes before I'm about to walk out on stage, somebody says, Are you ready? And I say, Well, I don't really know what's gonna happen. But here we go. You know, and, and I think that to have a level of confidence that just exudes, it's going to be alright, you know, we're going to get fine, we're going to be fine. I tell couples, on rare occasions, but when it comes up in a conversation, I'll say, listen, the bottom line is you're gonna get married. You know, all the logistical stuff. That's alright. We'll figure all that out. But you're gonna get in front of me, you're gonna get married and leave, and everyone's gonna be happy. And so Just that that's what I'm picking up from what the maid of honor said when she you started talking you had this level of confidence and, and I don't know that just kind of exuded and and touch something that was important to her and then she was able to relax. I think that's great. Because you and I have both seen the other side of that with officiants.
Yeah, we you know, I never I never just kind of extrapolated out beyond the bride and groom. I've always because I you know, me I've, I've always told brides and grooms I tell a lot of my couples. You know, once if this was gonna happen, you're gonna come down the aisle. Yeah, that'll be the, you know, the groom. It'll be you and I first and whatever. And if I'm talking to you a lot, that means you're nervous. And, you know, and I said, once you're both up there, I'll talk to you for a few seconds before we actually start the ceremony. And I tell them because there'll be nobody they're more calm than me. And I just want to exude that calmness upon you, but I've never thought about that beyond the bride and groom.
You know, ever say that to them? That's interesting. I like that.
I do and I'll tell them you have one of the greatest party planners, the greatest coordinators, your coordinator is rock solid. However, they will not be as calm as me because all I have to worry about is a ceremony and they have to worry about everything else. So as calm as they are, and you know you can come to some people you've actually talked about it on the on the podcast, that what seems like something disastrous will happen and the planners is calm as a cucumber and just, you know, I guess it's cool as a cucumber. I guess cucumbers, I guess they're calm.
Well, they're calm. They don't do a lot.
But you know, but they still have so much more to, you know, for lack of a better word worry about. Then you were I with the ceremony and I and that's it.
You touched on something that I thought I always thought is really funny. We've only got a couple minutes here left. But it's when the wedding party gets more nervous than the couple. I've seen that so many times. I mean, you occasionally a parent, like a dad, I can see the nervousness and that kind of stuff. That's not that, you know, that's not that big of a deal. But which is why I think talking to whoever's escorting the bride is really important to give them that sense of, you know, like, you confidence, that don't worry, I'm gonna take care of you. But it's funny to me when somebody in the wedding party will get really nervous. And the thing that I like about that is that most of the time, the bride or the groom, knows this person and knows that's the way they are, and they're not affected by it. But I always think it's funny, and I'll look at them and I'll say, you all right? You know, the person that's nervous in their wedding. I said, you’re all right. Yes, I just saw you. And I said, Yeah, but it's all gonna work out. It's gonna be fine. And just you know, because to me, you're a pawn in this chess game. You're
not I'm not really worried about you, I will calm you down right now but then I will forget
But how many times you're gonna have to say, look, you can't screw it up. You know? And you're talking about you're going to get married, everything's fine. And whether it's a bridesmaid who's freaking out about where she's supposed to stand or groomsmen or whatever, you know, or how many times you ask the best man, you know, do you have the rings? And he says, Yeah, and he pulls them out in his hand quivering, shaking his hands and he'll shows them to you. Would you like me to hold those for you? Yes. You know.
Have you done that? Have you actually taken the rings on their best man because he's so nervous?
Yes. Well, I made that offer. Would you like me to hold those for you? And the immediate yes would be you know, you watch his shoulders come down. You watch the tension release. Yeah. I've made that Most of times they go, No, I got it. It's like, Okay, then I tell them look, just relax. Don't worry about when it's happening. When I want the rings, I will ask you for them. You know, and if you're zoned off, I'll put my hand on your shoulder and I’m depending on you.
I always I've never, I always try to tell people, if you're going to do a reading, people are doing readings, whoever you're talking to just sit there and relax and enjoy the ceremony. And when I want you to come up, or I want something from you, I'll ask you for it. I look right at you or ask you, I people can sit and fret What am I supposed to do this? Okay, it's right after this right after this. And all they're doing is waiting for that. And they totally miss out on the ceremony.
I think if they're in that mindset, you know that because I get it, I get it if you if you're not used to public speaking and you have to, you know, but yeah, I'll tell them. Sometimes, if I'm feeling a little wacky, I'll say, will you call me up? I'll say no. I'm just gonna stare at you with my hands on my hips.
And that should that should ease their tension a little bit.
All right, we have to wrap this one up.
Well, you have one more guest appearance with us this month, Joel. Whoo. I'm very excited about it. All right, everybody. That's the way this works. The wedding ceremony podcast. All of our episodes are archived on our website, wedding ceremony, podcast calm, and they're chronological. The most recent one is always at the top. You can also just subscribe to the podcast, just go to the Apple podcast store. We're also in Stitcher, and click the subscribe button and every time we post a new episode, it magically come into your world. Remember, Joel's website is Reverend Joel comm mine is Reverend clint.com. Or you can go to ClintHufft.com for all the things that I do. We want to thank the incredible musicians that play our theme music that a capo players da ca p o players calm. That's it for this episode of the wedding ceremony podcast. This is Clinton. On behalf of Joel We will see you Next time