Your Ceremony Has the Power to Change Weddings for the Better

I’m entering the wedding world, as a wedding officiant, genuinely enthusiastic about the prospect of some serious paradigm shifting. I knew I would love working  with my couples, but after meeting some amazing wedding professionals over the past few months, I feel confident that we can make the wedding industry work for ALL of us in ways we have yet to conceive.

It’s Time to Change Our Mindset

It feels like we’re at a powerful transition point and the wedding industry is in a position to direct the collective mindset toward redefining marriage and relationships as a whole. How? We do it by steadily dismantling the falsehoods that our industry packages and sells, and that the rest of us aptly buy into — the limited and limiting concept that “your wedding day is the best day of your life.”

Aggrandizing of this one day can reduce our relationships with our partners and with ourselves to some really basic shit whilst setting ourselves up for disappointment and disillusionment when things don’t go as planned. This impacts some of us more than others. For example, it’s hard to escape bride-centrism because, among other things, it’s a business strategy that has served the wedding industry well, albeit one that is rooted in misogyny and capitalism.

How You Celebrate Your Love Story Is Up to You

Don’t misunderstand me. I 100% believe that your wedding day is special, but the how and why is and should be up to you. You, and you alone, get to define the significance of your wedding day for yourself.

If you have the budget and want to go all out, then do it! I encourage it! Your wedding day is a celebration, and everyone is entitled to celebrate as they wish. It’s meant to be joyful and fun.  Some of us like to party; so, bigger may be better. Some of us want something quiet, and simply want to be with our beloved.

You, and you alone, get to define the significance of your wedding day for yourself.

It doesn’t do anyone any good to be stressing out to meet some deeply ingrained need for approval because we’ve been force-fed this idea that this one day is both a reflection of our partnership and an indicator of where our relationship is going. That is way too much pressure for one day, but most of us find it very difficult to escape it. So, instead of fighting it so hard, let’s flow with our tendencies and just be more thoughtful about what we want our wedding to say and how we want to say it. What kind of pronouncement are you, together, making?

Change Starts with the Ceremony

Now, I know I’m biased given my role, but I think this paradigm shift starts with an increased focus on the details of t h e  c e r e m o n y.

As an officiant, there is nothing more fulfilling than to be able to learn about and share the story of individuals that have decided to merge their worlds in a very specific way. No couple I know that is or has been married has ever said to me that “marriage is a breeze.” It’s not. Relationships aren’t easy. We’re complicated stubborn humans. Even the most evolved and zen among us are going to have our moments when we don’t show up as our best selves. Marriage is far from perfect because it is a union of imperfect humans. And then you throw life at it…which makes it a worthwhile ride!

Who wants perfection anyway? Perfection is boring and the process of striving for it leaves us defeated. Instead, let’s focus on the journey that brought you to “one of the coolest days of your life” and go ahead and embrace all the feels because, when you stop to think about it, you’re committing yourself to another human and that’s a big deal — a big deal you want to make because you know the rewards far outweigh the risks.

Choose Your Officiant, and All Vendors, Thoughtfully

Carefully choose an officiant  who can share your story. Tell your story to me. Tell it to my sister, Daniela VillaRamos, officiant and owner of Once Upon a Vow, and we’ll wordsmith our way into the hearts of all in attendance, especially the people that matter most — you and your bae.

If our focus is on our stories, we can begin to to dismantle the falsehoods we’ve been fed about how things should be and live more in the moment, trusting that it’s all part of the experience. Remember, it’s your wedding day; the day that starts a new chapter of your lives together. It’s important, but, in the end, only one piece of your love story. Choose wedding vendors who can focus on your full story — one of where you’ve been, where you are, and where you’re going, together.


Karla is a Brooklyn-based wedding officiant and love storyteller. She’s the queer/immigrant half of the sister-duo at Once Upon A Vow. She’s excited about the prospects of traveling and marrying more rainbow lovers in NYC and beyond.