When my family and friends started hearing about me officiating weddings, of course their first question was, "how did you get started doing that?" I always tried to make the long story short but in doing so, I never told the complete story and didn't do it justice. When I meet with my wedding couples, they ask me the same question because I don't have the "typical look" of a minister or officiant and often times they think I'm also a wedding planner or coordinator. Well, to set the record straight, I'm not a wedding planner or a coordinator, however, that was my first introduction to the wedding industry - 18 years ago!
Here's my story...
In 1999 my interest in the wedding industry peeked after I planned my own wedding and a friends wedding. The process was seamless and came naturally for me; organizing everything and ensuring all vendors were on time as agreed. I'v always been somewhat of a task master so this wasn't difficult.
I was so committed, and I wanted to me more "legitimate." I started to study the industry and joined the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) and the Association is still going strong today! I attended conferences and workshops and learned as much as I could so I could be the best! I also had an opportunity to met and study under Colin Cowie (Wedding and Party Planner Extraordinaire). Unfortunately I only lasted less than a year as a Bridal Consultant.
What I wasn't prepared for and had a very hard time handling was the fact that couples change their minds LOL. Don't they know they aren't allowed to change anything after I write it down! LOL. This is what was happening - couples were coming to me (from word of mouth, there wasn't Facebook back then) and they were planning their weddings 9, 12, sometimes 18 months in advance. The only issue with this is that the longer you plan a wedding, the more money you tend to spend causing you to go over budget. And when you start to go over budget you have to make changes along the way. So a lot of my couples wanted and elaborate wedding which was great but they didn't have the budget to support their vision. This caused problems and I often found myself in the role of financial advisor (which I'm not good at). I'll spend someone else's money real quick! Suddenly my excitement as a Bridal Consultant was deflated. It became a dreadful task that I had was no longer interested in so I left the industry all together.
Why didn't I do something else in the industry?
At the time I really didn't see myself doing anything else. I had no interest in being a photographer, videographer, florist, hair or makeup artist, DJ, caterer or even an officiant. Back then when you got married, it was mostly in a church by the Reverend, Bishop, Priest, Rabbi, etc. and I wasn't any of those.
Fast forward to now, 18 years later...
My purpose to serve was revealed to me during a time of meditation. I practice Transcendental Meditation (TM) and it has absolutely changed my life! My husband and I experienced financial hardship in 2016. To earn extra money I started delivering groceries to families in my neighborhood. This was a very humbling but rewarding experience. I loved it more than I thought I ever would. I had no shame either. I discovered that many people who have their groceries delivered are not snobs who want to be waited on. They are people who have small children with disabilities, they are elderly who take care of their elderly partners who are barely mobile, they are blind, they are under a doctor's care after returning home from surgery, they have agoraphobia (fear of being in public places which could cause panic attacks) and they have other physical limitations. Sure some do it for convenience but it's not the case for all. The extreme sense of service and fulfillment that I felt each time I made a delivery was like nothing I had ever experienced before. My entire adult life I had been starting businesses, selling stuff, following and working with coaches all over, subscribing to their email lists, joining their webinars, podcasts, conferences, etc. and who new my purpose to serve would be revealed out of the act of delivering groceries and meditating! I continued to meditate and looked around for confirmation of what my next move should be. Guess what? I found it! One of my Facebook friends posted a picture of her performing a wedding. It immediately got my attention. I messaged her and ask, "how did you get into that?" She was so nice and open and told me exactly what she did. Well...it just so happened that I obtained my ministers credentials from the same place she did, a year prior but I never did anything with it. I knew I was on to something. There was no doubt. I continued to pray, seek guidance, meditate and silence my distracting thoughts and received direction, step by step. After I made the conscious decision that I was going to perform wedding ceremonies as a Professional Wedding Officiant I came up with a business name and put my website together (on my own). I knew I wanted to serve those who were not affiliated with a church or who had church membership because at the time, that was me. My last church experience did not end well, and I was done. One evening during my meditation in mid December 2016, I started to have a conversation with myself. I was telling myself, "Kim, you need to be ready. You need to have everything in order just in case someone calls you. You need to be ready with only a 24 hour notice." I was all into this conversation with myself. I was like, yep, if someone needs to me on an emergency basis to marry them I need to be ready to go within 24 hours. Well...it happened. I got THAT phone call. Two days after this conversation with myself, I received a phone call from a young lady named LaKeshia. LaKeshia was calling me on behalf of her sister LaShonda (the bride). It was a Friday evening and she found me by doing a Google search she says. LaKeshia explained that her sister LaShonda and her fiance Brian were at the Texas Medical Center and they needed someone to marry them the NEXT DAY! I told her, yes, I'm available. OMG...when I got off the phone, my heart was racing. This would be my very first wedding and under very unrehearsed circumstances. The couple was supposed to be married on a cruise that they planned for two years but LaShonda became sick and the doctor's didn't know what was wrong, they had no diagnosis. See more details about this very special wedding in my next blog post.
I became an ordained minister May 19, 2015 and I officiated my first wedding December 17, 2016 at the Texas Medical Center Hospital in Houston, Texas. I average 2 -3 weddings per month. Since I've started officiating weddings I've met some of the most beautiful people each with a unique love story.
I hope you continue to follow my journey as a Professional Wedding Officiant on this blog. This is where I share everything.
And btw - I was Kimberly Beason when I was married the first time.