Why I Officiate Weddings. By Ian.

Hi. This is Ian. Official “officiant” of Watassa Photography. I am here today to share with you a bit about what I believe in officiating weddings and what that means to me

Since Emily and I began providing elopments in 2012, I have officiated a total of ten weddings.  If there was one simple statement to be made regarding what I have observed, it would be that the marriage ceremony is self-defining.  From this observation, I also believe that marriage itself is self-defining; it is defined and created by the two individuals who choose to be joined.  I believe this from both experience and observation. In publically declaring a life long commitment to each other, the couple is agreeing that declaring one’s dedication to another is the first step in creating a lifelong partnership.  


The strength of the partnership (or the strength of each individual) always defines how the marriage functions and  plays out, doesn’t it?  If couldn't be any other way.  Each couple is self-defining and only becomes more themselves through and once the ceremony is complete.  The wedding vows are, of course, only the beginning of this commitment. The act of declaring devotion to one another is what gives the act power, allows it to stand on its own.  

Marriage then truly becomes the creation of the the two individuals acting together. Part of officiating weddings consists of finding the legalities for each individual county, state or parish.   

In truth, all of the government officials I have asked regarding the officiating credentials and legalities have answered me by stating that if the couple has allowed an officiant to sign their marriage license, that is proof enough of the credentials to officiate.  It literally just takes the trust of the couple in the officiant to be enough credential. This goes as well for the location of the marriage.  There is often a belief that in order for a ceremony to be “real” it must occur inside a church, or at least a building. In fact, that is the opposite of what I believe and what we hope our couples believe. A marriage ceremony can be anywhere--a field, a beach, a hill, an art museum, a backyard, a living room--as long as the couple believes in their partnership and believes in their love.

It is a fascinating example of how open-ended cultural arrangement actually is.

As marriage was originally contracted between humans as way of legally joining families and ensuring the transfer of wealth, this still remains a reason two people might marry.  More often, though, a desire to dedicate oneself to another person is the pure modern rationale for getting married.  This desire is what I have witnessed in the weddings we have held.  As mindset of society has shifted, at least the tier of society in which I participate, getting married has become a public and cultural statement about devotion, choosing, desire, commitment, participation, love and hope.  

I view our experience as humans as beautiful, strange, full of wonder and a representation of the chaos that surround us.  The act of dedicating yourself to another human being for the rest of your time on earth is a powerful act, declaring that you will both have at least beacon amongst this chaos, another human to engage with in this odd, tender, exciting and wild experience. This outcome alone is enough to marry in my opinion.

In this era, those choosing to marry have the right to define what that means.  

Marriage is not about an institution or a specific church.  In truth, what institution is more important than the commitment they are professing to each other?  Whether you are gay, straight, transgender, queer, binary, or bi-sexual is fairly irrelevant in my opinion regarding your decision to commit yourself to another human for the remainder of your time on earth.  The commitment itself and the time you will spend together navigating what we call life is of what marriage is actually composed.  

Let yourself be your own guide in this journey and trust your instincts.

I hope I get to be a part of this beautiful journey.