Today we’d like to introduce you to Rebecca Wiglama.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My story as a wedding officiant starts when I was ten years old. I had just moved to a new state (yet again) and would be starting the fifth grade at my fourth elementary school. Unbeknownst to me, Mrs. McIntyre asked another little girl, Carly, to please try to be friends with the awkward new kid with a bowl cut. Fortunately, Carly took her assignment seriously: A decade later, we were college roommates, and two decades later still BFF’s despite living completely different lives on opposite sides of the country. When Carly started planning her wedding she asked me to officiate it, and you don’t say no to your best friend. I had never done anything quite like this before so I researched, asked questions, revised, practiced, and eventually felt I had crafted a really exceptional ceremony.
During this time, I was in Raleigh, North Carolina, staying home with my four kids and a multitude of hobbies. I had been married for 12 years, had a BA in Humanities, experience in editing, and an intense thirst for learning and creativity. I was feeling the itch to re-enter the workforce in some meaningful way but needed flexibility for my children. It all came together on my best friend’s wedding day.
As the hour of the ceremony approached, I was pretty nervous: while I had done some public speaking, I really didn’t want to screw this up! But as it turned out, aside from some really intense wind trying to steal my notes, the whole thing went beautifully. There was laughter, there were tears, everything was gorgeous and it was just so much fun. I didn’t want this to be the last time. And after more than one guest asked me how many weddings I had done previously, I started to think that maybe it didn’t have to be.
I have since worked hard to build a business, gain more experience, and grow better at understanding what couples want so that I can create perfect ceremonies for them. I love getting to know people from all different backgrounds and helping them to make beautiful memories and sacred vows. I’ve performed marriages in family homes, scenic locations, at bedsides, and, thanks to Covid, even done drive-by weddings! I have loved every one of them.
My business focus is to serve others and to help people create ceremonies that express their uniqueness as a couple. It has been a ton of work and a ton of joy.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Getting started was the hardest part: I looked at the competition and knew I was up against people with 20+ years of experience and hundreds of weddings under their belts. Also, I’m a lot younger than many local officiants, which I think can be a turn-off for people who expect a look of seasoned wisdom. But as time has gone on, I think I’ve proven that I have both the wisdom and the heart as I’ve done my best to be understanding, flexible, and capable in the field.
The other big struggle I’ve encountered was getting harassed by another local minister. He texted me out of the blue on Christmas Eve without identifying himself and asked me detailed questions about my ordination and qualifications. Since he wouldn’t tell me his name, I didn’t feel comfortable giving him specifics but assured him that I had everything in order. Unfortunately, he didn’t believe me, so he started sending me periodic harassing texts, stalking my website, and even smearing me on Google reviews. In a business like mine having solid five-star reviews is really important, so this was really harmful. After Google refused to take down the review, I finally had to get legal advice. Fortunately, the minister decided to take his review down and stop contacting me rather than face a lawsuit for libel, but it was a stressful few months with that hanging over my head!
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I have always been a creative, introspective person but have struggled to find my niche. I love painting and drawing, singing, writing, woodworking, and I’ve even baked a few wedding cakes! But I also love serving and working with people. I majored in humanities in college because it engaged many of my broad interests, and then ended up staying home with my kids and supporting my husband through nearly a decade of nomadic student life. Weddings have been such a great fit for me as I get to talk to people, try to understand what they want and what makes them unique, and write it into a wedding ceremony. And then I get to go to weddings nearly every weekend! I think what sets me apart from others is my intuition for what people need for their ceremonies. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve received emails that say things along the lines of, “Wow, we didn’t really know what we wanted but this is it! Just reading it brought me to tears.”
People tell me their stories and I get to write something meaningful that expresses that for them. I’ve officiated in a lot of unique situations– a woman who lost her first husband and wanted something that would both celebrate her and her fiance’s love but not remind her of the pain of her first loss; a man who was dying but wanted spend his last few weeks married to the love of his life; couples trying to make new mixed families work– it’s been such a pleasure to be able to put all that into words and to see the couple’s reaction when I get it right for them.
How do you define success?
I think success is being confident that I gave every couple my very best and knowing that it was meaningful to them. Living a service-oriented life has always been important to me and I love that that can be part of my business.
- Custom Ceremony — A fully original ceremony that tells your story as a couple, $400
- Standard Ceremony — A traditional ceremony, personalized to you, $250
- Elopement — Short and sweet, we get the legal requirements taken care of, $60
- Email: Rebecca.Wiglama@gmail.com
- Website: RaleighNCWeddingOfficiant.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rebeccawiglamaweddingofficiant/
Hallifax Hill Studios, Justin Redd, Stormi Rhodes Photography, Megan Rose Photography