Vendor Feature: Weddings with Spirit & Wit

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What do you find most important in a wedding officiant? Perhaps a religious or spiritual knowledge, outgoing personality or a sense of humor? With Matthew Thuney, of Weddings with Spirit and Wit, you get all three. 

While attending church as a child, the Deming officiant said he preferred to listen to the sermon with the adults instead of attending Sunday school. Thuney enjoyed philosophy and theology and grew up to attend Yale Divinity School where he studied to become an Episcopal minister. Then, after completing a ministry internship in his early twenties, he realized he “wasn't ready to minister to anyone.”

Thuney decided to leave the church and moved to Bellingham in 1985 to open his own business, which he ran for 16 years. In 2010 he relocated to Deming and retired, but continued to study religions from around the world and volunteer in his spare time. With his background as a minister, Thuney gave eulogies at several funerals before he finally found his calling in 2013 when he was asked to officiate a neighbor’s wedding. 

“It’s a special kind of calling, and I'm glad it found me,” Thuney said with a chuckle. 

Now, seven years later, Thuney travels around the state to officiate all varieties of weddings, from the most traditional to non-traditional. To be an officiant, Thuney believes it’s important to be a good public speaker, to have empathy and to understand different religious backgrounds--adding that a sense of humor doesn’t hurt. He enjoys working with couples to create the ceremony of their dreams as well as facing challenges as they arise. For Thuney, being a wedding officiant means more than just receiving a paycheck.

“I refer to it as a job but it’s not really. It’s something I’m so honored to be able to do,” Thuney said. 

With the onset of Covid-19, Thuney said navigating weddings this year has been challenging but also a learning experience. What started off as a typical year in the wedding business turned into an uncertain time for Thuney and engaged couples alike. 

“It became a game of scrambling to reschedule, to cancel, or to do an elopement this year and hopefully celebrate with a big bash next year,” Thuney said. 

But as weddings (albeit smaller ones) continue to take place during the pandemic, Thuney has stayed busy officiating. Cross-border weddings have become popular at Peace Arch Park, a mutual zone where Americans can meet their Canadian loved ones, and Thuney has officiated over eight weddings there. He said he has become familiar with the process of obtaining marriage licenses for couples of the two nations. 

Weddings with Spirit and Wit is appropriately named as Thuney sees the importance of the two aspects in a ceremony. With each wedding, Thuney believes in honoring all traditions — or “non-traditions” — and always adds a little bit of spirituality in the sermon. He has also been a writer for 40 years and enjoys engaging the audience with humor. 

“It is a spiritual ceremony, but you can have fun with it,” Thuney said. 

Matthew Thuney can be contacted via email at mdthuney@gmail.com. For more information visit the Officiants tab under our Vendor Directory on the Pacific Coast Wedding website. 

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