Pop quiz! What is one of the very first things you should do when you get engaged?
We know what you’re thinking — find the dress! Which is way up there, but the answer is likely found not in what you’re thinking, but what you’re asking: Who will actually marry us? Finding and booking a licensed officiant for your ceremony is of utmost importance in those early engagement days.
Our friend, Marty Younkin, executive director at LoveNotes, knows that many couples don’t know a minister, priest, rabbi, or judge who can preside over their event. Because of this, LoveNotes provides officiants to make sure all who want to get married can.
Marty was kind enough to share his insights from nearly 50 years of officiating weddings as well as how LoveNotes can help simplify your wedding planning process.
The Laurel: Can you tell us a little history of LoveNotes and how it came to be?
Marty Younkin: I have been officiating weddings for 48 years, but LoveNotes, as an organization, has officially been in business since 1990. LoveNotes actually began as a music business by my sweetie, Carol Sage. When I retired from years as a singles pastor, she asked me what I enjoyed most about the ministry. I told her that I really loved seeing people fall in love, wanting to get married and being invited to share in that special moment in a couple's life as an officiant. Carol said, “OK, put an ad in this little wedding magazine.” And so I did (about 27 years ago now). I got one call, then another call and another, until I was booked all the time. So I had to hire another minister, then another and another.
TL: What need does LoveNotes meet for engaged couples?
MY: We don’t want anyone to “fall through the cracks” just because they aren’t connected to some place or to some person. LoveNotes—DFW Clergy Services was founded in order to provide ministerial services for people who don’t have a connection to a church or who don’t know a minister, priest, rabbi, or judge, but need someone to preside over their special event.
(cont.) There are presently 22 wedding officiants on the LoveNotes staff, all of whom are licensed, ordained, experienced Christian ministers who perform both religious and civil ceremonies throughout the metroplex. Each of us at LoveNotes is trained the exact same way, so we are interchangeable in case of emergency or scheduling conflicts.
TL: What do the officiants at LoveNotes love most about the role they play in a wedding?
MY: I think we all feel like a sacred trust has been given to us by the couples who invite us to “tie the knot” for them. Not only are we honored that they would ask a complete stranger to be a part of one of the biggest days in their lives, but we also are blessed to get to know them and their families, and even become a part of their family in a unique way.
The Laurel: What kind of important details do you tell brides and grooms to remember when thinking through their ceremony?
MY: There are so many details to consider when planning your ceremony, it’s impossible to remember everything. So we wrote a book to help couples design their ceremony from entrance to exit and everything in between, A Wedding Ceremony To Remember—Perfect Words for the Perfect Wedding. It is complete with choices of ceremony styles, vows, readings, blessings and special touches. Also included are program samples, order of service, and diagrams for entrance, exit and altar formations. There are worksheets to help you pull it all together to give to your officiant or wedding coordinator. It’s very easy and user friendly and takes a lot of worry and guesswork out of the equation. It gets couples thinking about the words they want spoken to tell their love story best.
(cont.) We also just released a new book of traditions, rituals and customs called, Tying the Knot—Symbolic Ceremonies to Celebrate Your Union. It allows couples to include a special ceremony within their wedding ceremony that reflects their unique love. It tells them exactly what to say, what to do, and what they need for their symbolic ceremony.
TL: It is obvious you and all the LoveNotes officiants take your role in a couple’s wedding day very seriously. Do you tend to keep in touch with the newlyweds?
MY: Many couples will call us when they have children for a christening or a baby dedication ceremony, or years later when they decide to renew their vows. Sometimes we are even asked to preside over one of their loved one’s memorial service. So we get to be a part of all the important events in a couple’s life. It connects us to them and them to us. And it connects us all to something even greater. After all, isn’t that what the ministry is all about?
Thank you, Marty! We appreciate how LoveNotes has helped make so many wonderful weddings possible here at The Laurel. Learn more about LoveNotes—DFW Clergy Services here.
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