This page used to feature a lot of unimportant details about me: jobs I once held, committees and boards I served on, schools I attended, and the like. While those details are important in certain contexts, these are the things about me that are most important for you to know as your potential wedding officiant.
I stumbled into this role. In my youth, as my friends began to get married, every ceremony felt the same to me – they were all deeply religious affairs for my deeply heathen friends, where the ceremony itself took a backseat to a much longer sermon about entirely religious matters. There was no heart, no personal touch, and no effort made at all on behalf of the minister to really connect with the couple. And so, on a whim and with no intention of making it my career, I became licensed to solemnize marriages by the Ohio Secretary of State's office in 2009. But demand for my services soon became high enough that I was able to quit my day job and make officiating weddings my full time job.
I love my job. The privilege of having a job I love so much isn't lost on me – especially when compared to the boring, tedious office work I didn't like and never felt especially good at. Officiating weddings is the only job I've ever had that I'm genuinely eager to do. It's the only job that has ever made me feel grateful for the opportunity to do it. And it's the only job that I would ever do for free if I had to. (Don't get your hopes up – you still have to pay me!)
I do my job a lot. Since becoming licensed and performing my first ceremony in 2010, I have performed over 600 ceremonies. This wealth of experience, aside from its clear benefits, has one that may not be immediately obvious: the energy that I bring with me to ceremony is one of calm, confidence, and reassurance. Inexperienced officiants or first-timers bring an energy too – you can guess how it contrasts with mine.
Public speaking is my jam. Glossophobia - the fear of public speaking - is the most common phobia ahead of death, spiders, or heights. I have no such fear. My knack for public speaking developed as a teenager at summer camp, where I had to perform skits and speak to groups of my peers. Audiences of dozens turned to thousands when I began an eight-year career in public radio fresh out of high school, which helped me further sharpen my rhetorical skills. The spoken word, when delivered with passion and purpose, will take an audience – one that includes you and your partner – on a deeply rewarding emotional journey.
I am a nonbeliever with no agenda. As an atheist and a secular humanist, my life and beliefs have been shaped by thinkers and scientists like Petrarch, Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins, Bertrand Russell, Carl Sagan, and many others. However, my worldview has no place in your wedding ceremony. I stick to these three topics at my ceremonies: love, commitment, and how very much in love the couple is. A wedding ceremony is not a time to espouse religious or political beliefs of any kind, even if the couple shares those beliefs.