What started out as a favor for a friend, has become a labor of love for Andrea Ivins.
“It’s not a hobby, it’s not a job; it’s an honor to be a part of one of the most important days in a couple's life,” Ivins said.
In December 2017, Ivins was asked by a friend to serve as the officiant of the couple's wedding.
Taking the matter seriously, Ivins looked at various online certificate programs and found one that best represented her beliefs, while remaining open to all other beliefs.
She is now certified for life to officiate over weddings. To date, she has served as an officiant at 10 weddings, and has already booked two more for this year.
“At first, it was friends, then people started reaching out to see if I would do their weddings, too,” said Ivins.
Now Simon Webster at Sabor a Pasion is recommending Ivins when couples book weddings at his bed and breakfast in Palestine.
Ivins said weddings are special to her; she cries every time.
“No matter if this is your first or fifth wedding, love should be celebrated,” said Ivins. “There are no other bonds more sacred.”
Prior to each wedding, Ivins discusses the details of what couples want. She then frames the ceremony and vows to their liking.
She has a check-list she goes through with each couple to ensure the big day goes smooth.
Ivins helps couples incorporate standard wedding traditions with their own preferences.
She also works with each couple to ensure they dress to fit the wedding’s color concept.
“I try to blend into the wedding party and not ever take away from the bride,” said Ivins. “It’s their big day. I don’t want to take away from that.”
In her message, Ivins tells each couple marriage is perhaps the greatest and most challenging adventure of human relationships. No ceremony can create your marriage; only you can do that – through love and patience; through dedication and perseverance; through talking and listening, helping and supporting and believing in each other; through tenderness and laughter; through learning to forgive, learning to appreciate your differences, and by learning to make the important things matter, and to let go of the rest.
After the ceremony, she makes sure the couple’s paperwork is in order. Then takes a selfie with each couple she weds.
She can also sing, and has served a wedding photographer.
And for everything she offers, she charges a nominal fee of $75.
Out of her first ten, only one has dissolved.
She has not done any destination weddings or themed weddings, but she is open to it.
When she’s not serving as a wedding officiant, Ivins, who is married with a pre-teen daughter, works as a professional actress and fitness instructor at Anytime Fitness.