Hey everybody. Welcome to the wedding ceremony podcast. We talk about anything and everything that has to do with those wedding ceremonies. This is episode number 305, recorded on Tuesday, March the ninth 2021. My name is Clint Hufft. And with me is a gentleman that I can guarantee he watches the clock seconds tick down till exactly 10:30 and then he joins the zoom, the one and only JP Reynolds.
JP Reynolds 0:29
I am always watching the clock and anticipating.
With with eager anticipation.
JP Reynolds 0:38
Absolutely. That's the way I feel. Absolutely. Absolutely.
JP is an accomplished author. His books are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle store in Amazon. He is a communications expert. thebusinessofconfidence.com is that website. His wedding website is JPRweddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com. Or ClintHufft.com For all of the things that I do. Speaking of which, JP correct me if I'm wrong, but have you also done baby ceremonies and funerals?
okay. Because not everybody is comfortable with either one of those things. I love them. I think the babies are magnificent. And then yesterday, I did a funeral.
JP Reynolds 1:33
I don't know. I have to say I held my breath. Because when you said the babies are magnificent. I was waiting for you to say the corpse is magnificent also.
JP Reynolds 1:47
So yesterday, I did a funeral. And I got caught by surprise with my own emotions. Now not about being around somebody who's passed away and the people that are grieving. I've been doing this for years. And I was surprised, my first one, I was a little nervous about it. But it turned out to not be a thing. It turns out for me to be a very positive experience. I grew up going to church a lot. I went every weekend. And then in our church, we would do Lent and Advent. And then my social group was the youth group. And I went there every Sunday afternoon. It was just like a thing. It was very much a thing for me.
JP Reynolds 2:39
Excuse me, if I recall, you grew up in the Lutheran Church.
yeah. And I'm going somewhere with this, so bear with me. So all of that is really familiar to me. It's very much a part of my upbringing and that kind of stuff. But then, when I became an adult, I didn't have a specific church. I moved away and then also became familiar with a lot of different theologies and philosophies. And, then, about 10 years ago, maybe a little bit longer than that, I was invited to a baptism at a Catholic Church, a magnificent, big, beautiful Cathedral. And they have this separate alcove that had the baptismal font. And when I walked in, it was so familiar, even though the church I went to was not big like that, but just the trappings of it was so familiar and felt so comfortable. And then prior to that, I was watching, you're gonna laugh at this, I was watching Sister Act, the movie with Whoopi Goldberg. When they started singing gospel music in the theater, I started to cry. Because, I don't know, gospel music just does that to me. It just makes me very emotional. Yesterday, I found a Bible passage that was really relevant to the family and that kind of stuff. And when I was reading it, I felt emotions coming up again. And it made me think of you, because every time we talk, I get emotional. No, because I was wondering, with all of your experience, have you ever found yourself, while you're performing a ritual or ceremony, Getting caught up in the emotions of the moment or something triggers something in you?
JP Reynolds 4:27
Well, that's a a really intriguing question. And let me say the answer is yes. Okay. Let me directly answer your question. The answer is yes. Of course. Part of our responsibility is to be the anchor for The folks present in whatever ceremony it may be. So I'm always concerned that I, it's this balance between to be an emotionally aware and emotionally sensitive anchor. But there are moments where the anchor almost wiggles free and I find myself moved by an image or a piece of music or somebody else's emotions while doing the reading or whatever it may be that is for people who I don't know. When I officiate my god daughter's wedding, last May. And it was converted into a micro wedding. I was very concerned that, it's like, oh, my God, how will I get through this? And it was very interesting at what parts in the ceremony, I choked up. And the first time I choked up in the ceremony was on the word “the”. I literally said the and I looked at Meredith and her husband, and I found myself like having to look away.
Oh my goodness.
JP Reynolds 6:46
Yeah, I just loved the idea that I had worried about all these different moments in the ceremony. And I was fine. Find the best was okay. I pulled this together.
You know, what's weird is yesterday, when I felt that coming up. I was aware of so many things simultaneously. Yeah, I was aware of Wait a minute, this is my job. I can't lose it. This is ridiculous. Because what I'm feeling has nothing to do with the moment, right? It's my own internal thing. For some reason, this is triggering something in me. I'm thinking this while I'm reading. Right? And, then I also am thinking relax. Where is this coming from? What's going on? But I'm still reading, I have to keep going. And then this The third thing that came into my mind was, can they tell that I'm going through this? Can people look at me and think, wait a minute, is he getting emotional? It wasn't like, I felt it. And I don't know if any little bit like leaked out in my delivery or my facial expression or whatever. I'm hoping that no, because it all worked out great.
JP Reynolds 8:01
Oh, no, let's say I'm hoping Yes, yes,
I know you're hoping.
JP Reynolds 8:06
No, in the sense that we have a responsibility to be able to guide people through a ceremony. So we have to be an anchor. However, what gives us credibility is that we present ourselves as vulnerable, as human and any show of emotion reassures people that we're not treating this like a production number, where it's like, oh, this is just wedding number 1500. It's that there's a real connection being made. So I'm not going to manufacturer emotions. However, if they come, I hope that whatever flicker people pick up on doesn't distract them. Rather, reassures them.
Right, exactly. I didn't want what I was going through to get in the way. And another thing that makes this very frustrating is that one of the things I've done in my life is I was an actor for quite a while. And, we train ourselves to let all of that stuff come out. That's part of the art form or the craft, if you will, is that if something comes up, then you're supposed to just let it out. Right and the other thing that I've learned about myself is that I can't be trusted. When it comes to like, with my daughter's Bat Mitzvah. There's a part in the ceremony where the parents are supposed to get up and talk to their child and I just lost it. And so when my mom passed, it seemed like I'm the public speaker, I'm the professional, then I should get up and say something. And I politely declined and said, No, because I can't trust myself, emotions just all of a sudden explode out of me. And that's probably going to happen. I didn't cry at her bedside when she passed. I don't know, that wasn't the moment. I knew that if I started to talk about it, that probably something will come out. So it made me really, I don't know, almost not paranoid, but kind of like, my senses were alerted. Because I mean, obviously, you and I have both done more weddings than we can count probably. And, I'm thinking back that there might have been one or two moments where I was reading something that a couple included in their ceremony that kind of caught me a little bit. But I've never showed that kind of emotion. I remember one time at a baby ceremony, I was looking directly at the baby and talking to the room about the future of the baby and all the possibilities. And the same kind of emotion started to come up in me. And I had to pull that back as well. Maybe that's part of officiant training, is how to recognize and pull back when your emotions start to well up. What do you think?
JP Reynolds 11:56
Oh, you see, that's interesting that you put it that way. I think what's more important is knowing how to be comfortable being emotional. And it's when couples tell their stereotypical horror stories about an officiant. If you examined the stories, I think I can virtually guarantee you that they're telling the story about a person who was not emotionally connected to what was going on. And a ceremony is an emotional experience. It is not a TED talk. It is not a lecture on what is a marriage or what is the existential meaning of life? or What does it mean to raise a child? A ceremony plays out on an emotional plane. It's not simply about knowing how to pull back. It's knowing how to recognize what you're feeling and manage your feelings in that moment, without trying to become a robot or an automaton.
Oh, yeah, I agree. 100%. And I think that there's this middle space. First of all, I agree. It has to be a human connection. Absolutely. But I want to protect and enhance and serve the emotion without distracting from the emotion.
JP Reynolds 14:02
No, that's beautifully put. And that's what I mean, when I say manage your emotions.
Right. So maybe I said pull back, maybe we're saying something similar. But I think what you're describing is if somebody is so afraid, as an officiant, that they become completely closed off. And I agree that that's not a good thing at all.
JP Reynolds 14:24
Well, it's either They're so afraid or they approach officiating like it was a sales job. I always say that is nothing to compare, in the realm of public presenting. So the role of being an officiant is not giving a toast. It's not giving a roast. It's not giving a classroom experience. It is its own beast, its own experience. And you have to approach it with great respect and almost tentativeness because you're tapping into power. It's a powerful experience. And it's calling people to the sacredness of the moment, whether it's a moment that celebrates new life, or a moment that celebrates life that no longer exists on Earth, or it's celebrating two entities who have bumped into each other in this universe, and are pledging to go through the universe together. That is what I mean by sacred and so yeah, yeah, you tread gently and respectfully of your emotions and everybody else's emotions. Fascinating.
You bring up something really interesting and important. I think there's a skill set to what we do that can be transferred to and from other responsibilities. Like, for instance, if you're a public speaker, then it makes sense that you would be able to officiate a wedding ceremony?
JP Reynolds 16:42
Oh, no, no, wholeheartedly. Yeah.
What I'm saying is that, here's my kind of analogy. When I was a DJ, I learned doing radio. And then I got into nightclubs. And even though the technology was the same, the equipment was the same. It was a different beast. And I had to do something really different. But fortunately, I already had that skill set, technically. And then when I got into social events, and that sort of thing, same equipment, same music, but a completely different set of circumstances that required a different level of craft, so to speak. And so I think that's what I mean by when we officiate, in essence, we are doing the role of a master of ceremonies and a public speaker and that sort of thing. But you're absolutely right, it is so different. It's great to have those skills to bring to the job. But it's so different. And all of the nuances and requirements are unique to that specific job. I agree. 100%.
JP Reynolds 17:49
Right, I think one would be best served to have done some public speaking before they begin.
JP Reynolds 17:58
Right? And you see, this is the issue with when couples say, Well, I'm going to have my college roommate, officiate our wedding. Because we want the ceremony to be personal when he or she knows us. And in my book I wrote love alone will not give you a wonderful ceremony. Love alone is just not enough in crafting and executing a ceremony. It's this very unique experience. And we know that I've worked with other folks who say, Well, I'm the uncle of the bride and groom, and I'm a college professor. And it's like, okay, I'm impressed that you were published, in MIT's daily newspaper. However, this is not MIT. Well, that's where you have to be able to tap into your emotions, not being ruled and held hostage by your emotions. But you have to be able to tap into your emotions to understand this is an emotional experience That is not about you. However, your emotions are a part of the experience or your emotions allow you to participate in the experience. This is fascinating. I've never really thought about this. I'm thinking aloud right now.
No, you’re right. I think that we ruminate about a lot of different things in connection with our job as officiants but to articulate it and get into the weeds so to speak. We're almost out of time. But the thing about being emotional, it's more along the lines of opening up to a human connection and to the significance of the moment as opposed to, because you and I both seen officiants that will pretend, who will put on a show, will say their words in a specific way, because they think it has more dramatic effect.
That isn't the secret sauce, and you and I are saying the same thing. The secret sauce is having a real emotional connection to the people that are going through this milestone. I don't know if I'm saying it any better. But there it is. Right. Right. And I don't know how to learn that. I don't know how how, if you coach people on it being an officiant, how do you get them to go to that place? Because it takes a certain amount of confidence and trust to be able to go to that place and still do your job.
JP Reynolds 21:12
Right. That's another great question. And then ongoing series of great, great question. It's a Yeah, how do you?
It would be interesting to have a hierarchy, a list, if you will, what's the most important part of the job? And then kind of go down the list to everything that's included in the job, but prioritize them in terms of the actual emotional impact of the job. And maybe I shouldn't even add that but that would
JP Reynolds 22:00
Yeah, that's, Well, number one. The most important part of the job is reading my book.
Yes. Of course, let's not lose our heads here.
JP Reynolds 22:15
Number two is listening to this podcast, number three is going on a shopping spree in our gift shop.
Oh, the curio shop? Yes.
JP Reynolds 22:25
Okay, if you’re tuning in for the first time we'll be searching for the gift shop.
Yeah, you got to load up on the T shirts. That’s it?
JP Reynolds 22:33
No, you know, it's fascinating. I know, we're running out of time. But this was outside the realm of officiating. However, I had a woman take my class at UCLA. And afterwards, she reached out and wanted to do some one on one coaching with me. And I learned that she is a marriage and family therapist. So in the first session, exploratory sessions, well, how can I help you? What are you looking for? And she said to me, her issue was that she did not like talking to people.
It's like, am I on candid camera? You want me to coach you, because you are a therapist, because you don't like to talk to people. And she explained, she clarified that what she really doesn't like she said, I'm fine For the 45 minutes, the 45 minutes that insurance is paying me to talk to these people that she says, I don't want to talk to them, like when they arrive, and they're doing the chit chat. And it's the Oh, hi, Doctor, how are you? I'm not interested in that. And when the session is over, I want them to leave immediately. I don't want them to speak.
I have blogged about this woman on LinkedIn. And on my communication site, I have talked about her in workshops. I remain fascinated by her, I bow before the mystery of the human mind and being and soul. I just throw that out there just to to say that there are all of these nuances.
There's a part of me that I get it. There's a part of me that understands that. No, I'm serious. There's a part of me that says, enough of the baloney. Let's get to the heart of the situation. Sometimes when people call me, the normal, I guess, social norm is to chitchat a little bit before you get to the purpose of the call. And I try to cut through that. I try to get right to so what's up as quickly as possible, because I know that the other chat will happen afterwards. I know that there's a reason that they called me so I get that whole thing about chit chat and that kind of stuff. Yeah.
JP Reynolds 29:02
Yeah, that is where we are, our style is different. Because at the beginning of the conversation, I am out to seduce the people.
Oh, I'm not talking about potential clients. I'm not talking about that. I'm just talking about like friends when they call me and that kind of thing. I'm an open book of whatever's going on is going on. There was a comedian that had a one man show. And it was called “only the truth is funny” a guy named Rick Reynolds and he said something in there that I thought was just amazing. He said that he also couldn't stand chitchat. He just can't stand small talk, that sort of thing. He would like every conversation to begin with: Tell me your emotional pain. And that's the way he wanted to just to get to the heart of who the person is. And I thought, oh, that would be awesome. every conversation Tell me your emotional pain.
JP Reynolds 29:58
I need to now email you the contact information for my coaching on communications. We have to coach you. I have a lot of people it's so funny I have a lot of people reach out to me and who say that they don't like small talk and they asked me to teach them how to do small talk.
Can you give us just like one suggestion that you know for small talk?
JP Reynolds 30:46
No, I can't.
JP Reynolds 30:54
I'm emotionally drained at this point in the podcast. We did earlier in the podcast, I might have been able to.
Okay, well, that's enough anyway. Alright, everybody, remember that If you have something that you would like to talk to us about, reach out.
JP Reynolds 31:18
Small talk, please.
Yeah, of course, you can go to our website, weddingceremonypodcast.com and click on the email us button. It's right there on the landing page. And just let us know what you're interested in or anything that we said that you would like to comment on or any of that kind of stuff. That also is where you can listen to our episodes, they are archived chronologically, the most recent ones are always at the top. You can also go to the Apple iTunes podcast store or Stitcher and you can subscribe to the podcast, click on that little button. And then every time that we put a new episode out into the podcast world, it'll automatically come to you, which is fantastic. And remember that JP’S books are in the Amazon store and in the Kindle store in Amazon. He is a communications expert. thebusinessofconfidence.com is that website. His wedding website is JPRweddings.com. Mine is ReverendClint.com. Or ClintHufft.com For all of the things that I do. Thank you again to the incredible musicians that play our theme music thedacapoplayers.com. 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.