On July 5th of this year, Beyond Illusion Wedding Officiants celebrated our 600th wedding. We started on this matrimonial journey on March 31st 2007 with Mandi and Brandon's wedding and have averaged almost 50 a year since.
Before we started performing wedding ceremonies ourselves, we attended the wedding of some friends in Chicago, where the officiant was another friend of ours. During the ceremony Susie elbowed Tom in the ribs, whispering "You'd be good at this!" It took several years for Tom to heed this advice, but an ad went into the Lincoln phone book's Yellow Pages in 2007 and we were off and running. Eventually we upgraded to a website, Facebook page, Twitter feed and now the blog.
That first year was quite an adventure. We were learning as we went, accepting advice from other officiants, scouring the internet for tips and developing our own style. That first year Tom officiated at eight weddings. In 2008 Susie began doing her own, starting out with two on 8/8/08! The number of weddings increased quickly - one year we even did 75! There were times when we were officiating three times in a day! Last year we set two records: 5 weddings in one day (2 for Susie and 3 for Tom) and 16 weddings in one month (October 2018)
Unlike many officiants, we do not use the same liturgy for everyone, but provide a method that we call "semi-customized". Upon meeting the soon-to-be bride and groom, we go over a checklist with them that helps to come up with an outline for the ceremony. As we review the checklist together, the couple have the opportunity to add or take away items that we suggest. Occasionally they have everything figured out ahead of time and just hand us the completed ceremony. That is extremely rare!
Once we have the outline worked out, the couple is sent an email with the outline, as well as a selection of options for each item on the outline. We like to give them the opportunity to think through their choices without pressure. We are available for follow up visits, or subsequent communication can be by email. Once they have made their choices we put everything together in a final draft so that the bride and groom know exactly how the service will go, without concern that we'll go off on a tangent.
We also offer fully customized ceremonies, short, non-customized weddings, or we can just sign the paperwork for you. Tom has even branched out to doing Spanish ceremonies.
Tom likes to tell people that officiating at weddings is "the best part time job in the world" - we've met many wonderful people over the last thirteen years and 600 weddings, and look forward to 600 more!