The Oddity of Being a Modern Christian Marriage Celebrant
I’s not commonplace for you to see a pastor hit the mainstream media. However, Michelle Wahila of Ruffled By Grace was recently featured on Rock N Roll Bride! Undoubtedly, she has arrived. "I was beyond ecstatic to see the feature arrive on the Rock N Roll Bride modern wedding blog. Furthermore, I was over the top excited to see the kind words from the couple about the ceremony. It was also a joy to work with such an outstanding professional team. It occurred to me, however, that I should take a moment to tell you all just WHY I do what I do... In a world where the institution of the church feels like an irrelevant choice for so many couples, why am I a wedding pastor?!", writes Michelle.
Michelle continues..."In 2015, after serving a mainstream Christian denomination for over a decade, I left my full time church role to be a better mom, a better wife, and a healthier “me.” Am I just a rogue pastor, who has given up on the church? Some might think so, but the truth is, my family is invested and involved in a local congregation. I’m just not “on staff” there.
I didn’t really “leave” church, but I did begin to imagine a more creative and less traditional ministry in Paris. Living in Paris is a truly a romantic’s dream. Couples come from all over the world to stroll the cobble stone streets while holding hands, and to say, “I do.” It is one of the most sought after destinations for the modern couple."
Becoming A Wedding Pastor in Paris
The marriage ceremony is a blessed sacred and liturgical moment, and every couple that seeks this kind of soul touching moment should have their chance to have it. Every wedding officiant is unique – they each reach different people, and touch various types of couples. My heart is especially drawn toward those who have walked out of the church doors – for a variety of reason. Maybe stepped away because they don’t feel like they connected, because they don’t feel “enough,” because they have been hurt by the institution, they have seen human hypocrisy that overshadows divine love, or were bored or fed up with the traditional dogma of religion.
As a wedding minister/officiant, I like standing outside of the walls of the church because I get to bless ALL couples. The only requirement is a desire for love and blessing. You don’t have to look a certain way or dress a certain way to receive blessing. You don’t have to be “religious” at all. You can be 100% you, and know that you deserve love and blessing.
In my Christian tradition, LOVE walked among us - to me that means love needs to walk outside of the church doors and make authentic, real love a reality. There is power that comes with speaking love over people’s lives. And when you offer that into the world, you put your hands to work - making the power of love a living reality in the world. And my goodness, don’t we need a little more love in the world?
Paris as a Place of Blessing
Paris is a magical place where art emerges from dreams and where the poetic word is spoken into being. It is seen by many as the perfect place to exchange your vows, and being married for life together. With a wall dedicated to love, the “Mur de Je T’aime” in Montmartre, and the iconic Eiffel Tower not far away, thousands of couples come each and every year to romantic Paris to capture a moment of love that will become a cherished memory to last a lifetime.
I firmly believe that God wants to bless His people with a strong foundation of love and commitment, with grace abundant, and with hope for the theri futures. My deepest wish is not only for the people who ALREADY know this to be touched, but for those who don’t. Marriage is the perfect life-giving moment in which to receive blessing.
See More of Ruffled By Grace
You can check out our full feature in Rock n Roll Bride here.
You can find Ruffled By Grace here.
And be sure to follow Ruffled By Grace on Instagram for more Love in Paris.
Be sure to follow Paris Photographer, Krystal Kenney, who is Miss Paris Photo, for more amazing photos.
Rev. Wahila one of many celebrants, around the globe, taking part in this important conversation. Interested in how other celebrants bring diversity, imagination, and love into the world?
In Toronto: Tade Credgeur @themarryinglady
In the USA: Hawaii Wedding Officiant Rev. James Chun @oahuminister
In the UK: Jane Blackman @janeblackmancelebrant, Deborah Page @truetoyoucelebrancy, Alexandra Harrison @alexandra.celebrant