Reverend Joy Burke is a full-time interfaith minister who specializes in personalized wedding ceremonies. She shares her thoughts on the ministry she has provided to several hundred couples that have become like family to her.
Describe your style and what distinguishes you from others?
When a couple hires me, we begin a dialog that will evolve over the months leading up to their wedding and culminate in a wedding ceremony that will be sacred and unique to the two of them. I encourage them to share stories about their love for one another, the evolution of their relationship, their beliefs and values, and their vision for the future. I suggest readings and ritual elements, and assist them in crafting their vows to one another. As a result of our collaboration, I compose and officiate a ceremony that is designed to confer the peak experience of the marriage ritual while at the same time keeping their guests engaged and entertained.
What’s the most important thing you’d like potential couples to know?
The ceremony is the reason for the celebration. It sets the tone and intention not only for the wedding reception, but also for the rest of their lives together. They only have one chance to get this right, and there are so many ways it can go wrong in inexperienced hands. I urge couples to consider the wide range of skills and abilities that go into creating and officiating a wedding ceremony. A great officiant will speak from the heart with wisdom, spirituality, insight and humor, having created a ceremony that is original and unique to the couple. At the conclusion of the ceremony, guests will be inspired for the couple and enthusiastic for the celebration to follow.
Best advice you’d give couples…
They will likely never again have the 100 or so people they love the most in the world, gathered in one place. So at the end of the ceremony, once the couple is pronounced legally wed but before they begin the recessional, I suggest the couple take a moment and look at the amazing faces surrounding them.
Who or what most influenced you?
I have long been fascinated with the many ways people of different faiths connect with the divine. And I have always been enchanted by a good love story. My extensive interfaith training and practice and my work as a wedding officiant bring these interests together and offer me the blessed opportunity to share my gifts with couples who are at this most marvelous stage of their lives.
What keeps you doing your job?
My job never gets dull or boring. Because I specialize in crafting ceremonies specifically for each couple, I get wrapped up in their love and their vision for their day, and am entrusted with the honor and responsibility of bringing their commitment to life. I form relationships with my couples and watch them grow into their future together through the magic of social media and personal interaction. My work turns strangers into lifelong friends. Every Sunday night as I am completing my marriage licenses from the weekend, I reflect on the relationships I have formed with my couples, and think to myself, “that was my all time favorite wedding.” I truly fall in love with each and every one of them.
You can learn more about Joy and her services on her website and Facebook page: