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 280. recorded on Tuesday, July the 28th 2020. My name is Clint hufft. And with me is a gentleman who has discovered Netflix, the one and only J. P. Reynolds.
JP Reynolds 0:21
I have Clint. I have discovered Netflix, it opens up a whole new world.
You can get lost in that world. I'll tell you that right now. It's a never ending pit of entertainment.
JP Reynolds 0:37
I hear you.
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 the businessofconfidence.com. His wedding website is JPRweddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com or ClintHufft.com for all the things that I do.
JP, I have started putting transcriptions of our episodes up on our website.
So just for everybody who's listening, you can go to WeddingCeremonyPodcast.com and if you click on other information, they'll have transcripts there. So for those of you that are curious about that, great.
I have started two other podcasts, which makes the total of six now but they they are divided into categories like you and I do this one, which is obviously my favorite. And you know, when we talk about ceremonies, No, I'm serious. This is my favorite. There's no doubt the other ones have their own purpose and And that sort of thing, but this is, by far. Oh my gosh, I look forward to this so much.
Anyway, the the other two that I've just begun, my next door neighbor is an Orthodox Jew. And he is a great guy has a very successful in advertising and that sort of thing and, he's invited me over for Shabbat dinner and we've talked about just stuff and I said, You know what? You're telling me stuff that, I grew up in a pretty fundamental Christian environment and I studied the Bible a lot. But you're telling me stuff that I had no idea. I had no idea that this even existed in Numbers or Deuteronomy or Leviticus or whatever it is. And so we've started the podcast and the name of the podcast is the Jew Next Door Podcast.
JP Reynolds 2:44
Ah ha ha ha.
And he's great. I asked him I say, Okay, tell me about what is kosher. And what is this and why did you then and and we go back and forth because he kind of has lived in that world his entire life. And so I'll say thanks. And he says, Wait a minute, what is that? And so we've discovered this kind of back and forth thing that's really really cool. And, and it's just really a lot of fun. That's the Jew next door podcast.
The other podcast is Spiritual Cake Podcast. And that's with a wonderful person and a very successful event planner down in Orange County, Wendy Dahl. Spiritual Cake Podcast, and it's exactly what you think it would be. We have we've been talking for a while about things that interest us. She grew up Mormon. And there's a lot of things about that I don't understand. And then, because we're both in the event industry, we have interacted with people of all different faiths and cultures and philosophies, traditions, theologies, and we just talk about things and it's not a definitive thing. It's an exploration of everything that we think would be in the spiritual realm. We get really into the base things that people do. And sometimes we kind of explore other things. We had a whole episode we talked about meditation and prayer. And it's been fantastic. And that's the spiritual cake podcast. And I just wanted to introduce that to our audience and let them know that it's out there.
JP Reynolds 4:19
Oh, wonderful, Clint. Wonderful. Congratulations on those. Those two new endeavors.
It's a lot of fun JP. What that brings me to today's well, launching point, because yes, you and I both know, we begin. We don't know where we're gonna end. So Wendy, who is an event planner, including weddings, and she does a lot of multicultural things. She really specialized in the South Asian market, where and they do huge weddings right there. It's she said the biggest wedding she's ever done was 1100 guests. So we're living in a different world now. But she got a call for a date in October and It's a guest list of 150 people.
And I said, How does that work?
I mean, considering the pandemic and the quarantine and all that stuff. How is that going to work? Then she said there's a hotel, a resort in Orange County that has figured it out. Because they do big weddings. They've done those multi hundred guests list weddings, and they have a big lawn where they do ceremonies and they have huge ballrooms. And so first of all for the ceremony, they're gonna have 150 people, but they figured out a way to socially distanced people so that they can observe the wedding ceremony, but not be crammed in together. Does that make sense?
JP Reynolds 5:46
Did she describe the the logistics of what that will look like for the ceremony?
I don't know the exact like formation of the chairs of the seating arrangement. But it's my understanding that they won't be the traditional single aisle and a row of chairs.
I saw a concert. It was a comedian. This is on Netflix Just so you know, my gosh, we're gonna start getting emails of all these things on Netflix that you're supposed to watch. But it was a comedian and they set up the chairs in clusters, because they figure if people arrived in the same car, there's no reason to distance them. So the chairs were in clusters of 2,3,4 together, but spread out from each other. And that's how they did the seating arrangement. So I could only imagine this is just a phone call that that Wendy got. They haven't gotten into the nitty gritty of how they're going to actually do all this, but the resort has done this. And they figured out a way to make it work so that they live by the guidelines. And there's different guidelines depending on what county you're in, in regards to how People can gather and so on and so forth.
And she said, and this is something that intrigued me because I was a DJ for a long time and I DJ’d at a ton of weddings and bar mitzvahs. The tables are going to be spread out not that many people are going to be at the tables, but they're going to set up like four dance floors around the room. So people can dance, but they're not going to be all crammed into one big mob. Right? And I thought, Oh, the idea of different dance floors. I think that's a good idea.
Anyway, what it said to me, the joy that I found in it is that when there's a will there's a way. Where these constraints have been put upon us. But if we have a little imagination, and we really assess the, What do they call it the things that we have available to us, the assets that we have available to us, then usually there's a reasonable solution to whatever the challenge is. Does that make sense?
JP Reynolds 8:06
Yeah, I'm just kind of lost in my thought here and it because it's it is. It is fascinating. And the reality is that the wedding industry as an industry is going to have to make an energetic commitment to experiment. Because nobody knows there's there's no blueprint going forward. There's a lot of desire to go back to what was but this is this is a call and a summons to, to creativity and it's about How to reimagine what a gathering looks like. And what this couple is doing and what Wendy is guiding them with is we want to approximate as much as possible. What a contemporary traditional wedding celebration looks like. on there are other there are other ways of celebrating with large people in the sense that you know, I read of one couple who however it was they decided to have 1010 groups of people during the course of six months, host them for different themed dinner parties. So that they’re getting married
in a while they had their wedding celebration, their ceremony in front of parents and siblings. And it was zoomed. And then to share it to celebrate their commitment. They spent six months going from dinner party to dinner party, and each dinner party had a different thing. Based on whoever was hosting the dinner party.
Imagine what that would feel like, where you are a celebrity for six months. Wherever you go, whenever you show up. You're the reason people gathered and they're really happy to see you. Yeah, wow. What would that feel like? I would say less than point 00 1% of humanity knows what that feels like, no matter where they go, you know? Oh my gosh, that is really cool.
JP Reynolds 10:57
You know, so that that's how they Have they reconfigured what it was to have a wedding celebration? It's, it's, um, this weekend. On Saturday I did a backyard mini wedding for the couple was in the backyard of the bride's parents home. It was the couple. And it was 20 people. And they had hired me to do to officiate their wedding. This coming August. They then postponed their blowout wedding to next August. And then they circle back and they said, you know, we just don't want to wait a year to get married. And so they had this intimate celebration on on Saturday, and then we're going to have another ceremony next August or whatever. But I feel like you know again, it's another way of quote figuring it out. And I said to them let's just think of this as a year long celebration that kicks off in your parents backyard and culminates at a lovely resort in Santa Barbara next August. And you know, that's that's where we are right now is people having to be having to really look inside themselves and Sarah, what's up? Do I want what what do I want my celebration to be about? And taking the core elements and and creating something that we're really not familiar with.
I always believe in the silver lining, you know, to every challenge to every cloud where Something might Oh, I can't do it the way I want to do it, I'm really frustrated. But then then the enough time elapses to where you can process it and realize that there are opportunities to experience things that you otherwise never would have been giving yourself the opportunity to. And, and I like the like, there's a guy that I know who's a travel writer, and he married a woman, and then they have gone to, I think, 30 different countries long and and gotten married. So they obviously were already married before they left the country, but they went there and had wedding ceremonies in the tradition of that culture wherever they were. And he said, the wonderful byproduct of that, especially for his wife, who's not a travel writer, I think she's a I'm not sure exactly. She's very much involved in social media and motivation and that sort of thing. But for her, he said that he recommit himself to her no matter where they go every single ceremony there's an honest recommitment to the marriage. Which I think, isn't that spectacular. And so, which makes me think of, you know, people talk about when they come to me and they'll say, Well, if we get legally married, we're worried about, you know, what, what is the wedding day going to feel like and I and I always tell them, it's going to be, it's gonna feel completely different. Even if you're already legally married, when you look at each other in that environment where you're dressed up and you have, you know, the people that you want to watch. And you recommit yourselves to each other. It's going to have this deepness. You know, that that, I don't know, that's the way it feels to me. Like, I'm just imagining, well, I've been through that scenario, but the thing that you're just describing where they got legally married, but they're imagining next year, they're going to have a big wedding. And when they look at each other, and all of a sudden, it reminds me of the movies where where the camera will zoom in for a close up on a person or a couple, and the rest of it all kind of fades away goes out of focus. So you really I concentrated on the two people in the moment that they're having. That's the way I feel about a ceremony. If the couple decides that they're not performing, but they really are connected to each other, then they get to reaffirm and and have that spark. Again. Does that make sense?
JP Reynolds 15:18
Oh, absolutely. And you know, in terms of the couple that you just spoke of, I know that you interviewed them on one of you or any podcast, and they were in the news. It was what a year ago year and a half ago.
Well, that's a different couple. That's a different couple. Oh, this is this is another couple. Okay.
Yeah. Well, but this guy did interview those two people. They were amazing. They should be married by now.
JP Reynolds 15:47
Okay, but with either of those two couples, either both of those couples, you know what's now remarkable is it will be years before any other couple can do what they did. Simply because of the pandemic, and simply because, as Americans, there aren't a lot of countries that are going to let us in, in their borders. So what those two couples did is now you know, sets them in the, in the wedding books. And it was another way of you see, it's there's two paradigms here. One is the traditional where boyfriend where we're dating books now we're engaged. Oops, now we're married. And it's, that sense of a hard definition in the change of the relationship. And it's when you're going to get married. When you're going to get married, when are you going to get married. And, so in with that mentality, that wedding day takes on a paramount importance because Ah, finally now you can, quote, start your life together. But the other way of looking at this is, is what I say to couples is that your wedding gives thanks for the past, celebrates the present and blesses the future. Oh, that's beautiful. And, that, therefore, you're celebrating, not the oh now we're finally married. you're celebrating the life that you have created it together, and the promise and we're celebrating the promise, your promise to continue to create a life giving life. And that's a different kind of so you're celebrating something different there, because it's more holistic. And if you have, I think, that belief, then it really can influence how you create celebrations celebrations that you create.
Well, the thing that's contingent there is the attitude of the couple on what they're experiencing at that moment, depending upon which phase they're in, you know what I mean? And it's tough because
JP Reynolds 18:15
yeah, all of this is determined by how a couple understands who they are, and what it is that they're doing. Absolutely. My niece has been with a fellow now for, I don't know, six years, whatever, they live together, and my brother is very upset. And he says that my niece is simply is he's very disappointed, not married. And he says, she's just a surrogate wife.
What? I hope he doesn't say that to her.
Yes. Oh, of course. Yeah. She does. Just she's asleep. surrogate wife sees a surrogate wife. And I think that's a great title for like a TLC lifetime series “surrogate wife”.
You like Sister Wives, you'll love surrogate wife?
Well, I told you that one of the TV shows that I've done for weddings, you know, as an officiant, it was called hitched or ditched, and the whole concept. This is a 2008. And the whole concept was a couples that have been together for a long time, but they hadn't gotten married yet. And so then it was kind of like, they would apply under, not necessarily clear premises. But then they'd get a knock on their door and they say, you know, they're already living together and they say, Hi, remember that thing you audition for? Are you signed up for whatever? Well, here we are. And there's a there's a camera crew, looking at them and recording the entire experience. We know that you've been together for a long time, but for some reason, you haven't set a wedding date. We're curious about that. So here's an invitation to your wedding in seven days or six days. And now we're kind of curious as to why you haven't set a date. So let's find out. But, but they had a date. And that's where I showed up because they, you know, after they'd gone through interviewing everybody that the couple knows for six days, and finding out what are all the you know, and then of course, reality drama, it's edited so that it's dramatic, and then stressful and whatever. And then they, they show up and they get in front of me, and I say, all right, do you want to get married? And we had six episodes, and four of the couples got married, which is great. And then two of them did not, which is great because they shouldn't. And but it was that same kind of a thing. I don't know if you go through this. But I really have to bite my tongue when a couple says that. They've been together for a long time. And I have to resist the idea of, well, are you starting to make plans now? You know, like, so what's going to happen and it's none of my business, but I can't help it. I just, I just that's what goes on inside me. It takes a lot of mental discipline, anguish, if you will, for me not to say out loud, so you're going to get married.
And then if they're engaged, I will allow myself to say if you set a date, and if they say no, and
I do it, then I just have to just let go.
You know what I mean? Even though I want them to set a date, and I want them to let me marry them, but But yeah, I just have to let it go. That also reminds me of kind of like what your brother's going through with the circuit. That's funny. Because I remember when I first started, you know, way back over 20 some years ago, there were a couple people that just assumed that a wedding was this thing, xy and z, this is what a wedding is. And then as you and I have experienced through all the, you know, the years that we've been doing this, a wedding isn't necessarily X, Y, and Z, you know, every couple brings kind of like their own vision to whatever the wedding is supposed to be. And, and it was a transition. When somebody like me comes along and says, well, not necessarily that's not what the couple ones There was pushback like, what that's what's supposed to happen? well know, what's supposed to happen is that they're supposed to do what they want. So, and it was a transition. And it was a cultural transition from the beginning. It's much more,
JP Reynolds 22:13
I think, and I would say, Clint, that that that is where we are in the beginning of a cultural transition of understanding how we gather to celebrate the life and love of a couple.
I love that a couple that's doing the over six months ago, and I just love that.
JP Reynolds 22:40
Yeah. And there's a book I want to highly recommend to anybody listening, who is in the wedding industry who is in the event industry. This is a book that everybody should read. And I may have mentioned it before, but let me emphatically mention it now. The book is called the Art of Gathering. And it is written by a woman whose name is Priya Parker. Priya Parker is not an event planner. She is not in the wedding industry. She is. I forget what her what her graduate work was in. It might have been sociology or anthropology I forget. She actually is a business consultant. But this book really examines what the title suggests, which is, you know, how do you how do you meaningfully gather to celebrate pivotal moments in a person's life a couple's life, a family's life, a company's life. How how do you how do you gather? And how do you what do you do when you gather and she's been on national programs book is a best seller. She has a great research resource filled website. I bow before this woman, I love this book. And this really is what's happening. We are at the beginning of a cultural shift of understanding how we gathered to celebrate. It will only be successful if we approach it with creativity, ongoing generosity, ingenuity, and an openness to to explore. What is it that we're celebrating.
The other thing is How do we adapt to the logistics of the situation? Like, I know that you've done ceremonies in the round, and you probably have felt what I have felt where there are certain parts of the ceremony where you have to address the guests directly. Most of the ceremony probably, talking directly to the couple is appropriate and actually serves the romantic purpose of the ceremony. But there are times where you’ve got to look at the guests. And, if you're in the round, there are people behind you as well. And it's a struggle for me to figure out that ratio of how much do I address? You know, when I'm speaking at a particular point, I've got a paragraph that I've got to say, How much do I do I physically address everybody in the entire circle? Have you gone through that?
JP Reynolds 25:48
Well, okay, You're speaking to the underlying issue of of What is your approach, my approach, any officiants approach to understanding what is this gathering all about? What is the purpose of this gathering and I now understand more fully than before that I am tremendously influenced by my experience of having been a priest. Because a Sunday Mass only makes sense within the context of community. It is a community that campus and I, I call the community to to worship. And so, for me, and we've talked about this before, and we do, I think, very interesting shading in our approaches is that for me I am the voice of the community that has gathered around this couple. So I suspect that I actually spend more time talking to the guests because I'm caught on summoning them to bear witness. So what this couple is doing. And for me, the wedding ceremony is an act of doing that the couple are gifting each other with their values. And the community is bearing witness. So it's all about the doing. It's not about lecturing on what is a marriage. It's not about getting bogged down with rituals and symbols that clutter up what the Vows are about. It's about witnessing the giving of words. And so, whenever I can, I will bring the gathering into the sermon, in my comments to them.
And that's why I continue to have theological, anthropological, wedding-logical issues with a couple who told us before they turned their wedding into an open event. They invited prospective buyers and real estate agents and it's like, now you can't do that. And I understand that. I can't do it because it's their wedding in their house. But this is where I find now that I've done a couple of these, call them whatever you want to call them, intimate weddings pop up with things, many weddings, I'm fascinated by how I'm falling in love with the under 20 wedding, because it just stripped everything away. It just corrupts it all away. And, and it just is that it's the essence of what this couple is about. And I'm finding it to be more powerful than then than ever before.
I agree 100% which is why I think that no matter how many guests are invited, if we can create that sense of intimacy that you're you know, that we experience with the really small weddings, the micro weddings, if we can create that sense of intimacy with with a couple and communicating directly with each other. That even if you Got 1000 people if they're observing that, and in my opinion, they can't help but emotionally gets sucked in because of the authenticity of the moment. I always strive for that, you know what I mean? I understand. Okay. I think I understand what you're talking about in regards to speaking on behalf of the guests, did I understand you're like, you represent. Yeah. Okay. So but there are certain moments where the guests want the intimacy between the couple, and that's where the transition kind of lies in regards to where your focus is. Right.
JP Reynolds 30:41
Well, that intimacy between the couple. That's what I am summoning a gathering to bear witness to the intimacy so it's not going to To speak to the couple and I'm going to speak to the audience I'm going to speak to a couple of them speak to the audience. It's always me, reminding the audience that they are witnesses to the intimacy that's being created by the couple in that moment. Well, that feels to me.
Like there is that transition of where do we direct our energy, our spoken words, where do we direct them? And there is that balance of explaining to the guests what's happening. And then it happens. I think it's similar to what you said in terms of the doing, you know what I mean? There's a setup, and then there's the the deliverance of the moment. So I think we're talking about basically the same thing.
JP Reynolds 31:46
Right, I think, yes, yes, I would just say that I never want the audience to feel like they are at a theater, watching a performance.
But there is a theater, a theatrical, to a ceremony.
JP Reynolds 32:13
Ceremony is drama. All ceremony is rooted in trauma. So yes, we're all part of a drama as it were. But I don't want the audience to feel like they can sit back and think about what they mean to buy at the grocery store after this is all over that they are so present.
You know, I had a couple one time tell me that. A couple of guests told them that afterwards that that they put their phones down in the middle of the ceremony, because they wanted to listen to what I was saying. And it's like Yes, thank you, madam, thank you for putting your phone down. That's what you're supposed to do. You are supposed to listen and bear witness. That's a tremendous come here. Oh, JP has been bled emotionally distant from all of this, and you can do your grocery list within a ceremony. You know, the ultimate hope is that people are riveted on the couple. There's no perfection. There's no purity is no totality. But that is what what you're aiming for.
Right on that we completely agree. Yeah, absolutely.
By the way, that was a huge compliment for people to get so attracted to what you were saying that they they decided to change their focus. That's a tremendous compliment,
JP Reynolds 33:53
No, I was very, I was Thank you, Jesus. But again, let me say to folks, you must buy the art of gathering by Priya Parker. I don't know the woman. I don't get a kickback on the book.
This is what Wendy is experiencing. Wendy is experiencing what everybody is experiencing now all of the event planners is we are at the beginning, or at the beginning of a reimagining of what a wedding celebration can look like. And it's a very exciting time in that regard.
I agree. I agree. And then some people can look at it with grief, and other can look at it as a rebirth. Yeah, I absolutely agree with all of that. And I will put the name of the book and I'll look it up and and I don't know if I can put a link in there, but at least I'll put the name of the book Can the author in the show notes so people can reference that? Oh, well, there you go. JP, I think we have, we've done what we set out to do. Amen. By the way, listener, if you ever expect us to articulate what we actually set out to do, that's never gonna happen. All right, everybody. There you go. Remember, all of our episodes are archived on the website that I referenced earlier in the podcast, wedding ceremony. podcast.com. The most recent one is at the top, they're all chronological. There is a big button there that says email us and that is how we want you to reach out to us. ask us a question tell us a story. Or bring something to our attention perhaps that needs to be you know, needs to be included in the next episode. Wedding ceremony podcast comm click on the email us button. Also remember that JPS books are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle Store and Amazon for communications coaching that website is the business of confidence calm, his wedding website is JP our weddings. Calm mine is ReverendClint.com or ClintHufft.com for all the other things that I do. We would like to once again thank the incredible musicians that play our theme music that are capo players da ca p o players.com. That's it for this episode of the wedding ceremony podcast. This is Clinton on behalf of JP We will see you next time.