With the officiant laws in Tennessee ever-changing, it seems like a good time to introduce you to one of our favorite (and legal) wedding officiants! If you’re looking for an officiant with heart, personality, and a really cool beard, Chance Dillon is your guy! He offers premarital counseling, ceremony officiating, and post martial counseling. Check out our interview with him below and if you’re still looking for an officiant for your big day, hit him up!
What was your dream job growing up?
If I admit that I still have growing up to do….can my answer be: “Professional Wedding Officiant and Relationship Coach?”
Yes…No…? I mean, this is my dream job!
What does a typical wedding day look like for you?
Well, obviously there’s a wedding ceremony….so I think I’ll share a few things that may not be known.
For example, I’d say 80% of the day is devoted to beard grooming and styling. Okay, I’m exaggerating…but not by much.
A typical wedding day starts like any other day….Coffee first!
With cup in hand, my attention turns to my calendar to make a plan for the day: Working backwards from my intended venue arrival time (which is generally 45-60 minutes prior to start of the ceremony) to determine and set alarms for things like “departure time,” allocated “preparation time,” etc. I have an extreme aversion to being late…and I don’t like to rush, so I always give myself more than enough time. Once this is in place, I feel less distracted and better able to enjoy the morning with my family.
Taking into consideration everything from color scheme to the level of formality, I usually begin my preparation time by laying out what I plan to wear for the ceremony. I’ve always loved fashion (I was awarded “best dressed” in high school). I get a great deal of enjoyment from this process—pairing each component to create the desired look (selecting from my growing collection of shoes, socks, suits, shirts, ties, tie bars, vests, pocket squares, watches, etc.) Dressing like a gentleman is truly an art form.
After that, it’s off to the showers—followed by hair styling, an extraordinary amount of beard grooming (I mean seriously, most people have no idea how much work goes into this!), getting dressed, and finally it’s time for beard styling….all while listening to ZZ Top, “Sharp Dressed Man”……..on repeat.
Once prepared, it’s time to hit the road (I like to listen to podcasts while I travel).
My excitement builds more and more, the closer I get to the ceremony venue. By the time I arrive, I can hardly stand it….I just can’t wait to see my “soonlyweds!” Inevitably, most couples are a bit nerves; which is completely normal. But I know, with a bit of levity and wit, I have the power to reassure them that everything is going to be amazing….because it always is!!
How long have you been in business?
Chance Dillon Weddings and Coaching was conceived in 2015 and I can’t imagine ever doing anything else!
What is your favorite part of a wedding day?
My absolute favorite part of the wedding day is the wedding ceremony itself!! The decision to do anythingfor the rest of one’s life is impressive; but the decision to do life with another human being until one stops breathing, is absolutely remarkable—and its mutual! There is nothing else like it!! A couple’s wedding ceremony honors this mutual decision and marks the beginning of their forever together. There is little else in the world that inspires in me more hope and awe.
What is your favorite part of the wedding ceremony?
My favorite part of the wedding ceremony is when the couple exchanges their vows with one another. This essential component is arguably the heart of the ceremony—apart from which, technically speaking, there is no wedding!
I am drawn to “real moments”—experiences of emotional authenticity that are unmistakably life altering in their scope and profundity. The vow exchange delivers just such moments every single time. 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 an “altar.” The definitional and etymological connection between the words “alter” and “altar” are unmistakable. It is truly a joy for me to get to witness these “real moments.” Two lovers step onto the altar together, they exchange vows, and their lives are altered forever. I am deeply moved every single time!
What advice would you give couples still looking for their wedding officiant?
Without a wedding officiant, there can be no wedding. Begin your search earlier rather than later! I recommend beginning this process as soon as you have officially set your wedding date. You don’t want to make the mistake of trying to fill this vital role far too close to the very end of your planning effort and force a rushed decision…or even worse, not be able to find a suitable officiant available. It pains me every time, but I myself respond, ‘not available’ to inquiries three times more often then, ‘available.’ This is understandable when you consider the fact that there are only (for example) 52 Saturdays in a year and that it’s assuredly the case that you are not the only couple looking to claim one of those Saturdays as your wedding day. What’s more, while not every couple will hire a wedding planner (though they should hire Vision in White!), or book a DJ, or any other vendor you could suggest……they will all hire a wedding officiant.
Unlike any other vendor that you will hire, your wedding officiant will be inextricably linked to your ceremony experience—’til death do you part. Because you will forever associate them with the public, yet intimate moments that constituted your marital union, at the very least, be sure to find someone that makes you feel comfortable.
Any advice for couples planning their ceremony content?
There are often implied and/or outright directly stated pressures from family and friends to influence your ceremony (what you should or shouldn’t include, etc). Resist the temptation to settle for a ceremony that doesn’t authentically reflect who you are. I assure you—your future selves will thank you.
If you could go anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?
Easy. White Bay on Jost Van Dyke. The smallest of the four British Virgin Islands, Jost is one of the most exclusive islands in the Caribbean. This makes for the most pristine beaches and affords you that, “private beach feel”—the perfect setting to relax and enjoy a cocktail at the best beach bar ever, The Soggy Dollar. If there are any couples out there who would be willing to pay for my travel, I would totally marry them on Jost Van Dyke for free!! Actually…I’d gladly extend this offer to include anywhere in the Caribbean, for that matter!