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The Bigger Picture when Planning a Wedding

Rev. Erin Goodman - Wedding Ceremony

Photo: Skylinix Photography

Happy Spring and (almost) Wedding Season!

I am very grateful to be featured on Elise Dolen of About Time Photography‘s beautiful blog with a Q & A about one of my favorite subjects in the world:

Helping engaged couples to plan for what happens after the big day. 

I hope you enjoy it.

And as always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback.


Rev. Erin






Rev. Erin Goodman | Photo by Carlos De La Rosa

Photo: Carlos De La Rosa

ATP: Hi Erin! Can you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about what you do? 

EG: Hi Elise. My name is Erin Goodman or Reverend Erin. I am an ordained Interfaith Minister who works with individuals, couples, and families of all faiths, no faith, multiple faiths, and those who identify as “spiritual but not religious” during times of transition, celebration, sorrow and reflection. 

I have been officiating weddings here in Southern New England since 2010 and I absolutely love my work. My specialty is creating warm, personalized, custom wedding ceremonies and supporting engaged couples emotionally and spiritually as they prepare for their wedding day and create a healthy, loving marriage together. 

ATP: I’m so delighted to chat with you! So far I’ve interviewed wedding professionals to help couples in their wedding day plans. But more important than that one special day is planning for a strong marriage. This is so often overlooked in our extravagant-wedding-obsessed society. How do you work with couples before the wedding to set them on the path to a strong marriage? 

EG: This is a great question, Elise, and it really gets to the heart of my work with couples. 

Right from the first meeting I have with my engaged couples, I try to help them to view their wedding day and their engagement leading up to their wedding day from a larger perspective. If we allow it to, the wedding day can easily become a be-all-end-all event, which can create a tremendous amount of stress for the engaged couple and their families. But really, what a wedding is — or what it can be — is the joyful, ceremonial celebration of the beginning of a long, healthy, loving marriage. 


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scenes from a wedding :: tillinghast farm

Tillinghast Farm, a private property owned by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), in Barrington, RI was the setting for Geoff + Julia’s beautiful June, 2015 wedding ceremony and reception.

(Yes, I am playing catch up on blogging. Big time. Thank you for your patience.)

One of my (many) favorite things about this gorgeous wedding was the handmade ceramic bells that Julia designed as wedding favors. Everything about this day was just so lovely.

Congratulations Geoff + Julia. Thank you for inviting me to be part of your special day.

An Anniversary :: Five Years


September 11, 2010

While this is a somber day of prayer and remembrance for our world, and like you, I have been feeling all the feelings that it evokes, it is also the anniversary of a day of profound joy for me.

Five years ago, on September 11, 2010, I officiated my first wedding ceremony at Channing Memorial Church in Newport, Rhode Island.

My training was a combination of a communications degree, years of professional writing, yoga teacher training, Reiki training, an online minister’s certificate, a year of mentorship with the amazing Rev. Deborah Catherine Faith and a deep desire to serve this world as a (different kind of) minister.

Five years later, as I sit here reflecting on this journey, my own marriage has ended (earlier this year), I am about to begin my second year of Interfaith Seminary and I am pursuing additional training so that I can offer a formal marriage preparation program to my clients.

I really don’t know how many couples I have worked with over the past five years (I am SO not a numbers person) but I do know that each of my clients have touched me in a deep and personal way and that I have grown so much through our work together.

Tonight my heart is filled with peace and deep gratitude for all who have guided, supported and walked with me on this path.

Namaste, friends.


Rain – on your wedding day


Several years ago I scribbled these words on the back of a ceremony script while the rain poured down and guests stepped over puddles:

“Nobody plans for rain on their wedding day. But I actually believe it is a blessing to be juggling umbrellas and discussing “Plan B” as you begin your marriage.

This is what marriage is.

We don’t get to control all the external circumstances in our life, but we do get to choose how we react and how we relate to those we love.

We get to choose to focus on what matters most. And what matters most is right here, right now.”

I’ve carried these words tucked in the back of my wedding binder ever since — for days like today, when the sky opens up moments before an outdoor garden ceremony is scheduled to begin.

I believe these words with all my heart.

(Today, I’m happy to say, we were able to have an outdoor ceremony…after the rain passed.)

So you want to write your own vows?

Wedding eve private vow-writing session for a bride-to-be with writer’s block. She spoke from her heart and I gently crafted her words into vows. If you are a wedding client of mine — whether for a custom wedding package or a distance ceremony-writing package — one-on-one support with writing or editing vows is included with my services!

* * * * *

Writing your own wedding vows can be tricky work. Luckily, there are a lot of resources out there on the Internet for writing your own wedding vows. These are three of my favorites:

10 Steps to Writing Your Own Wedding Vows | The Knot

My favorite tip from this article:

“Take some time to reflect on your fiancé. Think about how you felt when you first met, what made you fall in love and when you knew you wanted to get married. Write it all out. Here are some questions to get you started:

  • Why did you decide to get married?
  • What hard times have you gone through together?
  • What have you supported each other through?
  • What challenges do you envision in your future?
  • What do you want to accomplish together?
  • What makes your relationship tick?
  • What did you think when you first saw your fiancé?
  • When did you realize you were in love?
  • What do you most respect about your partner?
  • How has your life gotten better since meeting your mate?
  • What about them inspires you?
  • What do you miss most about them when you are apart?
  • What qualities do you most admire in each other?”

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How to Write Your Own Wedding Vows | Jessie Blum for Offbeat Bride

My favorite tip from this article:

Begin by talking about something you love about your partner, or something they have contributed to their lives.  This is a great spot to include an anecdote or story that brings this moment to life.  For example, in my own wedding, my husband talked about the day that we met, and how that was the day that his whole life changed.

Next, include some promises. Ones that you will look to guide your marriage.  These can be serious: “I promise to stand by your side, and bring out the best in you, in all adventures.” Or a little sillier: “I promise to laugh at your jokes (most of the time).”  In fact, I think the best vows are a beautiful balance of seriousness and humor.

And now, let’s end it with a look to the future.  What do you look forward to sharing in your marriage?  What are your goals, your aspirations, the qualities you want to embody as a couple?”

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Six Steps to Writing Meaningful Wedding Vows | Rev. Laurie Sue Brockway for Huff Post Weddings

My favorite tip from this article:

Connect to the feelings. Before you write, take a moment of to reconnect to the energy and magic that made you want to get married. Remember the moment you recognized your relationship was meant to be; reflect on the excitement of the day you became engaged.  Think of the little things that your beloved does to make you happy. Let the feelings flow and the vows will likely flow out, too.  Start writing down the thoughts that surface.”

( Read More )


How about you? Did you or will you write your own wedding vows? Any tips to add?

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