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Celebrating Ceremony

It was my wonderful wife, Lynda. She was holding out her cellphone so I could see a photo she’d taken. The image showed a poster noting openings for marriage commissioners to serve in Lethbridge. She was right. I’d been considering some changes in my own life, so it seemed like an ideal opportunity.

With the application deadline looming, I updated my resume, secured three letters of recommendation and submitted my information. I was fortunate enough to be invited to Edmonton for the interview phase, which included performing a mock ceremony based on information provide ahead of time. Several weeks later, I received word that I had been appointed as one of five marriage commissioners for Lethbridge.

It’s been about a year and half since I was appointed. I have now performed around 70 wedding ceremonies. Did I know when I started that I would gain that much experience in such a short time? No. But it has been an exciting and enjoyable journey.
Imagine meeting couples as they are planning for one of the most important days of their lives. Imagine having the honour of helping them take such a significant step in their relationship. It’s an incredible responsibility that is a real joy to take on.

Couples are trusting me to help ensure their wedding day goes smoothly and that the ceremony will be something they can look back on fondly in the years to come. That’s my mission. That’s my goal.

One of the things I say to a couple when we first meet is that the ceremony needs to reflect what they want. Sometimes family and friends, with the best of intentions, can put forth suggestions and ideas that don’t really match what the couple desires. I advise couples to thank people for their suggestions, note that they are good ideas, but that they have something else in mind.

And that ‘something else’ can really take on the personality of the two who are getting married. From a simple ceremony in a living room with only the couple and their two witnesses to elaborate scenarios with a multitude of guests at a beautiful venue, I’ve found that no two weddings are ever the same.

One thing that holds true for all, though, is the power of emotion and love. I will never forget a ceremony in which the bride prepared vows for the two young daughters of the man she was marrying. When she got down on her knees to be at their eye-level and promised she wasn’t there to take anyone’s place, but that she would do the best she could for them and thanked them for letting her marry their daddy, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house.

Let’s face it, weddings are all about love. With the changing structure of what a family is today, we are offered unique and wonderful opportunities to simply increase the number of loving, caring relationships we have in our lives.
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