Tag Archives: wedding ceremony


Sep 18, 2012

Performing a Wedding Ceremony is a Thrill and Honor

Tomko wedding

I recently served as officiant for my friend’s wedding. I’ve known Mike Tomko for a few years now, and have gotten to know his now-wife Tabitha over the past year or so. When they asked me to become an ordained minister and marry them, I asked them if they were serious, and I asked them if they were sure. After about 24 hours had passed with no recantation of their request, I got a bit excited. This was new territory for me.

Using the Universal Life Church’s website, I became ordained, and even ordered a certificate to prove it. That piece of paper cost $6.99, plus like $7.50 in shipping. They always get you with the shipping!

After receiving the certificate, I posted a picture of it online and Steve Kaufman of the APA saw it and sent me an email. He’s performed ceremonies in the past and was able to provide me several scripts. I wrote the wedding, shared it with Tomko and Tabitha in a Google Doc, and they were able to edit it. Once we had it finalized, I exported it to a PDF and put it on my iPad in iBooks. I used a large font so I could sufficiently see it. It was an 8-page document – seven swipes to the left and they were married.

The morning of the ceremony, Mike took the wedding script and broke it down into tweets using the hashtag #tomkotember. He loaded up my account on his laptop, along with Tabitha’s account and his own. He then set up a wifi hotspot at The Campbell House Museum, which is where they had the ceremony. Shelley Satke Niemeier of Campbell House used Mike’s laptop and cut, pasted and tweeted the wedding as it progressed. She did a phenomenal job!

Joe Holleman wrote about it on stltoday.com, and Allison Babka put together a Storify that contains the best of the best tweets. Be sure to check it out.

This picture was taken about two minutes after they were married.

One last item of note: in the comment section of Joe Holleman’s stltoday story, a pastor left a comment concerning my willingness and/or ability to be a real pastor to Mike and Tabitha. His comment, in its entirety: “I hope this freshly internet-ordained pastor is willing to do the hard work of helping this young couple with their marriage and isn’t just doing a wedding. Real pastors don’t just help people get married, they help them stay married.” I responded “Don’t worry. I’ll be there for them.”

Without going into too much detail, I’ve noticed a tendency among folks like Pastor Patrick to, how shall I put this, not be able to sit still when happy people carve out a happy life for themselves outside the confines of their purview. It seems to make them downright fidgety. As a human being of 41 years, I can provide people like Mike and Tabitha advice along much the same lines as a pastor of faith. The words, messages and meaning might be different, but they won’t be inherently less effective. Mike and Tabitha made some personal choices that made great sense for them, and my sensibilities largely match up with theirs. Coupled with the fact that I love these people, I was thrilled and honored to officiate the ceremony. I believe they will be quite happy together, and I’ll always be available to offer my perspective on marriage, kids, cats, etc.