We're so excited to be adding the Officiant category to our website, for those of you aren't using a favorite-childhood priest or rabbi.  And today we want to introduce you to Sharon Rose LaVerda, who has officiated hundreds of weddings in the Berkshire area.

As per our usual Featured Member format, we've asked Sharon our favorite interview questions, which we'll get to a bit later.  But before we do that, though, I wanted to talk about the latest trend (over the past few years) of having a family member or friend marry you.  Is it more personal?  Yes, of course!  But sometimes, it's also a bit confusing--and stressful--for the person you've asked to preside over your ceremony.  I asked Sharon her thoughts on this, and here is her response:

"The ceremony is the focal point of your wedding...the reason you are having the party. You might have NO flowers, no music and NO wedding cake or special clothes, but the Officiant is the one thing you MUST have there.

Sharon Rose LaVerda, Berkshires Wedding Officiant

Sharon Rose LaVerda, Berkshires Wedding Officiant

Sometimes couples have a family member or friend officiate at their wedding. When a friend is officiating at a wedding for the first time there are many things to consider.  Are they comfortable in front of a large group of people?  What kind of ceremony are you going to have?  Are they experienced to deal with things that may go wrong? 

Similarly, a Justice of the Peace is not given a personalized ceremony with all the elements that make a good ceremony. This day has taken a lot of work and has cost a lot of money because the couple wants it to be the day of their dreams.  A professional officiant meets with the couple and finds out what kind of ceremony they are looking for and makes one for them which they then approve. There is communication on tweaking the ceremony and including side ceremonies like a Unity Candle, Wine box, Lasso, etc.  The “one-day” person isn’t experienced with those ceremonies. If you are hiring a professional DJ or floral designer--not a friend without any DJ or floral experience--to work on your day, doesn’t it make sense to have a professional ceremony Officiant?" 

And now....let's move on to our interview, so you can get to know Sharon a little better!

Tara:  Tell me how you first got involved with (your business).

Sharon: I worked in a church parish setting for many years. I saw people who wanted to get married outdoors, or who didn’t want to attend classes, or had previously been married and were all being told “no” to their wishes. I didn’t feel that was right, and with my background, it just felt right to become a wedding officiant and help couples have the ceremony they were wishing for.  I also wanted to do something happy and I have not been disappointed.

Tara: What is the most surprising thing you’ve had happen to you on the job?

Sharon: Once, I was asked to speak like the bishop in the movie The Princess Bride, using his lines!

Tara: What is your ideal Friday night?

Sharon: Spending it with my two Yorkies (one is a teacup) watching TV.

Tara: What is something you like to do during your free time?

Sharon: What is free time? :)

Tara: When you travel, what do you like to do (adventure, relaxation, food, etc.)?

Sharon: Go to the beach!

Tara: What is the last book you read?

Sharon: Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben

Tara: What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

Sharon: My sister is a wedding officiant in New Jersey, and she suggested I do the same thing here in Massachusetts.

Tara: Which movie genre do you prefer?

Sharon: Drama

Tara: What is the last movie you saw?

Sharon: Cars! I see it every day with my toddler grandson, who I take care of three days a week.

Tara: Which music genre do you prefer?

Sharon: Classics

Tara: Your idea of adventure is:

Sharon: Going to a water park.

Tara: How do you like your steak cooked?

Sharon: Medium rare.

Tara: If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want with you?

Sharon: Something to make a fire with, a fishing pole, and ax.

Tara: Tell me something that most people don’t know about you.

Sharon: My mother had PTSD.

Tara: What is one thing you’ll do this year that will make you step outside your comfort zone?

Sharon: I have a wedding at Jiminy Peak, which means I will have to go up and down the chairlift.