Vendor Spotlight: Chance Dillon Weddings & Coaching
We met Chance last year when he officiated an elopement we photographed (David & Jessie- they are up on the blog too!). He did such an amazing job, and we loved how he crafted their vows to be customized to them. We also had the opportunity to work with him on a styled wedding shoot, and he was such a blast to get to know better- and we think you should get to know him too!
Tell us a bit about yourself!
My name is Chance Dillon of Chance Dillon Weddings and Coaching and I specialize in custom wedding ceremony development, premarital preparation, and marriage coaching (ie. I tie knots and help them stay tied).
What lead you to become a wedding officiant and marriage counselor, and how long have you been doing it?
Prior to becoming a wedding officiant and relationship coach, I was a congregational minister exercising the educational training I received from both Belmont University (B.A. in Religious Studies) and Vanderbilt Divinity School (M.Div.). In addition to that work, my primary interest was community organizing and teaching around issues of interreligious engagement and religious literacy—helping individuals and congregations representing (among others) the Hindu, Jewish, Sikh, Muslim, Christian, and Buddhist religious traditions grow in understanding and community with one another. Bringing people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds together has been some of my most challenging and fulfilling work and actually led to the birth of Chance Dillon Weddings & Coaching. When a local mixed-faith couple couldn’t find a rabbi or minister willing and able to marry them, Vanderbilt Divinity School referred them to me. Having to that point only performed one wedding, I was hesitant at first, but my educational background and love of bringing people together made saying “yes” to helping them say, “I Do,” one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I have been officiating and coaching for about three years now—‘no matter who they love.’
What about your job/service/craft gets you the most excited and passionate to be doing what you do?
There are so many aspects of the job that excite me and inspire the passion I have for what I do. For example, I am drawn to “real moments"—experiences of emotional authenticity that are unmistakably life altering in their scope and profundity. There is no denying the fact that a couple’s wedding ceremony is a life altering event; indeed, we call the space where the couple stands during the ceremony an “altar.” The definitional and etymological connection between the words “alter” and “altar” is unmistakable. It is truly a joy for me to get to witness these “real moments” of emotional authenticity, as two lovers step onto the altar together to alter their lives forever. I am deeply moved every single time!
And this is to say nothing of deep satisfaction I get working with couples to develop the wedding ceremony itself—creatively deploying my knowledge of the historical, psychological and neurological functions of ceremonial practices; furthermore, shaping the ceremony components in such a way so as to inspire in the couple the most authentically life altering experience they can have. I find this process intellectually exhilarating!
Or the fun I have with the couples I see for premarital preparation and/or marriage coaching— getting to know them, familiarizing them with the contours of their unique compatibility set, and offering them tools and concepts that enhance their relational satisfaction. Seeing the difference this makes in their lives is tremendously rewarding for me!
Is there a specific aspect of your services that you specialize in?
Haha! I am tempted to say that I specialize in every aspect of my services!
What should brides (and grooms) be thinking about when looking for an officiant?
The simple answer is that they should be on the lookout for someone who makes them feel comfortable. If that person resembles the following list of attributes, than chances are good that they will feel comfortable partnering with that person. (By the way, I got this list of attributes from one of my reviews; not because I believe I am the only officiant that fits this description, but because I think all officiants should!)
The officiant that they decide to partner with should be someone who will: “Always be respectful, courteous and professional in their interactions with you. • Listens to your thoughts, feelings and concerns about your wedding with kindness, patience and absolutely no judgement. • Knows how to make you and your partner comfortable. • Asks insightful questions and has a deep understanding of the fundamentals of how and why relationships work. • Has a compelling academic approach to helping you and your partner create the best possible foundation for your marriage. • Will give you incredibly useful tools to navigate some of the stickier aspects of being a human in a relationship with another human. • Will help you create a ceremony that is completely and unequivocally perfect for you and your partner […]• Is well-spoken, fun and pretty masterful at weaving humor and levity into the serious business of marriage. • Offers incredible value for what they charge for their services.”
What is your biggest piece of advice for brides/grooms in regards to planning a wedding, and also staying happily married?
My advice for planning a wedding would be this: Hire a professional wedding planner! Depending on the size of your wedding, doing it all yourself can amount to the workload of a semester in graduate school. Even if you don’t hire a full-service wedding planner, save yourself some grief and book a day-of coordinator. Having an experienced professional on-hand to keep things running smoothly and manage any unforeseen problems that may arise will allow you to relax and actually enjoy your own wedding day.
My advice for staying happily married would be this: Hire a professional marriage coach!!!!! Marriage is a lifelong process of self-discovery and personal growth that requires us to know and communicate our needs and desires more precisely and intimately than we ever have before. While the love that attracted us to our partner came naturally, the ability to communicate at this level simply does not. For this reason, the need to obtain tools for self-actualization and more effective communication simply shouldn't surprise us! Added to this, the benefit of having the insight, resources, and experience of non biased professional is well worth it.
Thanks so much for chatting with us Chance! We can't wait to work with you again soon! And if you're in need of a wedding officiant and/or marriage coaching, you can find him here: