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Want to get inside the heads (and hearts) of modern couples? 5 book recommendations for the enterprising wedding officiant

Published Friday, Apr. 9th, 2021

Stylized editorial illustration by Jessica Levey shows a figure in green against a pink, blue, and yellow background. There is a heart in red in the figure's chest, symbolizing emotion and thought.
Cover illustration by Jessica Levey

From neuroscience to marketing innovations, these books unlock the secrets of the modern mind -- and the modern couple.


If you’re new to officiating, books that offer step-by-step instructions on how to perform wedding ceremonies are the best place to start. 


For this, we recommend our comprehensive guide:  Asked to Officiate.

Hands down, it’s the most helpful book you’ll read as a newly ordained officiant!


But for those of us with a little more real-world experience, a deep-dive into the mind of the modern couple can be a fun change of pace.


With this in mind, our favorite booklover, AMM Minister Liz Rae, has given us an exciting new list of books that lie far off the beaten wedding path… books that shake up our usual perspectives, help us communicate better, improve the services we offer, and write more creative ceremonies. 


These books go beyond the everyday sphere of wedding planning and officiating. Spanning topics from neuroscience to modern marketing strategies, they explore the ways we engage with the world around us, and what goes into the making of a memory, or a million dollar idea.

Enjoy, and happy reading! 


New officiants: For an easy read on the fundamentals of performing a ceremony and writing a wedding script, we recommend you start with Asked to Officiate



Officiant Liz Rae’s recommended reading for the enterprising officiant: 


(Whenever possible, we’ve linked to, an organization that supports local, independent bookstores by helping them sell their titles online.)



1. Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become?

by Michael Schrage 


Book cover of Who Do You Want Your Customers to Become? by Michael Schrage



Looking for ways to expand your wedding business, or better understand the needs of your couples? This book offers a new take on the right ways to innovate.


“Schrage’s primary insight is that innovation is an investment in your client, not just a transaction with them. To truly innovate today, designing new products or features or services won’t get you there. Only by designing new customers—thinking of their future state, being the conduit to their evolution—will you transform your business.”


Just getting started? 

Read Putting Yourself Out There, Pt. 1: How to Build Your Portfolio and Gain Exposure as an Officiant





2. Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action 

by Simon Sinek 


Book cover of Start with Why by Simon Sinek, white book with bold red lettering



If you’d like to become a more successful or confident business person, or learn new ways to engage an audience, this might be the book for you. 
“Sinek starts with a fundamental question: Why are some people and organizations more innovative, more influential, and more profitable than others? Why do some command greater loyalty from customers and employees alike? Even among the successful, why are so few able to repeat their success over and over?” 




3. Story Genius: How to Use Brain Science to Go Beyond Outlining and Write a Riveting Novel

by Lisa Cron


Book cover for Story Genius by Lisa Cron, outline of a human head with a red background, lettering of title inside the head


At first intended for those writing lengthy manuscripts, this book offers surprising storytelling and organizational tools that can be used by all types of writers (including officiants!). 


“This writing guide reveals how to use cognitive storytelling strategies to build a scene-by-scene blueprint for a riveting story… Story coach Lisa Cron has spent her career discovering... what our brains are wired to crave in every story we read (and it's not what you think).”


Writing your first wedding ceremony? 

Read How To Write a Wedding Ceremony Script in 9 Steps





4. The Naked Brain: How the Emerging Neurosociety is Changing How We Live, Work, and Love

by Richard Restak M.D. 


Cover image of the Naked brain by Richard Restak MD



If you want a futuristic, behind the scenes look at modern marketing, this is it! This book offers insights into the ways brain science is being used in marketing, politics, and other areas of daily life, including how we communicate, create trust, and love. 


“Consider a world in which marketers use brain scans to determine consumer interest in a product, politicians use brain-image-based profiles to target voters, a test could determine your suitability for a job or to whom you will be romantically attracted… Innovative researchers... have revolutionized our understanding of how we process information, communicate, trust, sympathize, and love... ”





5. The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons: The History of the Human Brain as Revealed by True Stories of Trauma, Madness, and Recovery

by Sam Kean


Book cover of The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons by Sam Kean



Curious about how the human mind works, and how we know so much about it? Take a walk through the history of neuroscience! 


“In The Tale of the Dueling Neurosurgeons, Sam Kean travels through time with stories of neurological curiosities: phantom limbs, Siamese twin brains, viruses that eat patients' memories, blind people who see through their tongues. He weaves these narratives together with prose that makes the pages fly by, to create a story of discovery… Kean explores the brain's secret passageways and recounts the forgotten tales of the ordinary people whose struggles, resilience, and deep humanity made neuroscience possible.”




Visit our bookstore to see our favorite books on weddings and officiating, by and for AMM Officiants! 


For more of Liz’s favorite books and officiating tips : 






Jessica Levey
Jessica Levey

Lead Staff Writer & Illustrator

Jessica loves exploring the history and magic of ritual, the connections between people and places, and sharing true stories about love and commitment. She's an advocate for marriage equality, LGBTQ+ rights, and individuality, and is an ordained Minister with AMM. When she’s not writing or illustrating for AMM, she enjoys city hikes, fantasy novels, comics, and traveling.

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