as a wedding photographer, i get a lot of questions about local vendors from my brides. who i recommend, what i think about so-and-so, etc. to help them and others out, i’ve decided to start a weekly blog interviewing local wedding vendors. i’m very excited about this and i hope it’s helpful to everyone involved.
mostly these vendors will be from north carolina, but occasionally they’ll be from out of state. i’ll be asking them business questions, personal questions, and practical questions that could benefit everyone (like you out-of-staters) when shopping around.
today, my first interview, is with rev. barbara lodge. rev. lodge was the officiant at a wedding i photographed last year (below) and we loved her service. not only was it beautiful, it was also very tailored and personal. when geoff and i became engaged, we decided to have rev. lodge preside over our wedding ceremony later this year.
let me tell you, we are so excited! she is very professional yet incredibly friendly, and when we reunited at her house for the consult it was like talking to an old friend. she’s fabulous! so without further ado, here are the interview questions and rev. lodge’s answers.
Reverend Barbara Lodge
For weddings, vow renewals, commitment ceremonies in Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, NC and surrounding areas.
1. How and when did you decide to become a Reverend and work as a wedding officiant?
I decided to become a wedding minister after I had moved here, thinking I would be retired from the ministry, but finding myself bored with retirement pretty quickly. I was asking God to show me what kind of work would be good for me when I learned I could perform the sacraments in NC without having a congregation. All that was required was to be ordained with a church, which I was already. That was great news because then I had the freedom to do exactly as I would want and I could tailor wedding ceremonies (and christenings) around each couple.
I thought I would only be doing this work part time but learned pretty quickly that there are many couples in our area who do not attend a church or who have different faith or belief backgrounds and many of the local churches turn these people away for a variety of reasons. Many of the ministers of those churches cannot perform ceremonies outside of their own sanctuaries so that is also limiting for couples who want a ceremony in nature, or their homes, or hotels and bed and breakfasts. Someone like me, who writes ceremonies for each couple based on what is important to them and who can travel to any location chosen by the couple, fills an important niche in our area. In many ways, I have come to see that my calling is a wedding ministry and I love what I do.
2. What is your inspiration for writing ceremonies?
Always the couple. I learn what is important to them, who they are as partners, their plans for their futures and weave all of that into the ceremony in a variety of ways. I believe the ceremony becomes far more rich and compelling when you see the couple expressed in the words and symbolism of a ceremony that reflects them, their love, their cultures and dreams. I have always thought that what was missing in a wedding was the couple and this is my way of correcting that.
3. What is the most unique ceremony you’ve written?
There have been many, but I think the one with the most unique perspective would have to be the ceremony I wrote for a couple who were avid golfers. Golf had played a huge part in their lives and courtship and was sure to continue in their marriage. They even planned to be married on a golf course in Pinehurst with a golfing honeymoon so I wrote them a ceremony that compared marriage to the game of golf.
4. What is the cutest or funniest thing you’ve seen happen at a wedding?
The cutest – so many to choose from, but the first that comes to mind are the two little flower girls wearing fairy wings at the wedding we did together at the Raleigh Rose Garden.
The funniest – the 4 year old Ring Bearer who got so nervous as he was coming down the aisle that right before he got to the front row of chairs he went down on one knee and threw the ring pillow (holding the actual rings) with all his might in an incredible diagonal throw. Luckily, the Best Man had the presence of mind to jump out and catch the pillow as it flew by and saved the day.
5. What is the most rewarding part of doing this job?
Being around people who are in the bloom of love – and those who love them.
6. Who has encouraged you to start your own business and helped you along the way?
My husband and children encouraged me right from the start, even when I was unsure of myself in this new arena. My husband, particularly, has the patience of Job when so much of my work takes time away from him and our time together. He often rides with me to rehearsals and weddings so we can be together, which touches my heart.
The one who helped me get started was my dear friend and mentor, Rev. Kayelily Middleton, a local wedding minister with a long background of doing this work. Kayelily had married my daughter, Becca, a couple years earlier and Becca had always told me once I moved here that I should call Kayelily because she thought we were so similar that we would be good friends. Becca was certainly right about that and when I spoke with Kayelily about how to get started doing this work she was a fountain of good information, always giving freely of her time, ideas and resources. I will always owe her a debt of gratitude for her help and she is indeed a wonderful friend.
7. Where is the most interesting place you’ve traveled to in order to perform a ceremony?
We hiked through the woods to a wonderful old rock outcropping above a small river and stood on the rock to have the ceremony. The couple had spent many a romantic afternoon on that rock and the groom had proposed there so it was very important to them that they marry on the same spot. As we began, the sun started coming through the trees, dappling us and the rock with sunshine and it was a spectacular scene.
8. What is the most challenging part of being a wedding officiant?
Time constraints. Because of the travel involved between locations, you can only fit in so many weddings a day and there are many couples looking for ministers for their weddings.
9. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Family time, Date Days with my husband, time with the grandchildren, teaching myself photography.
10. What advice would you give young couples searching for a wedding officiant?
Trust your instincts. Our area is blessed to have so many wonderful wedding professionals in every field. When you meet with someone and have a good feeling about them, you should trust your instincts and sign with them as soon as you are sure, particularly for weddings in April, May, June, September and October. Those are the busiest wedding months in our area and tend to book in quickly.
For wedding ministers in particular, that person will be overseeing your ceremony and launching your new life as husband and wife so you want someone with whom you feel comfortable, who can provide you with the services you need or want and who is accepting of everything about you.
**thank you so much, rev. lodge, for agreeing to be interviewed for the blog! i can’t wait to work with you on more weddings in the future and, of course, to see you at my own wedding in a few months. :)