How many of us are familiar with the childhood chant “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Well, the intentions of those words were simply to help you as a child then, to dismiss the hurtful taunts of the other children. That is a far cry from what we know in today’s society and now that we are adults.
Words can hurt if not chosen correctly. But words can be healing and uplifting, empowering to the hearer. For the purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the power of words as you plan to tie the knot.
For many the vows, they are about to recite to their beloved goes beyond merely saying ” I do”. Today’s couples are more expressive. They have more they want to say. I recall on my wedding day to my then-husband and we chose to say our own vows unrehearsed. We wanted to wake up that morning and say what was on our hearts. As I was told by a dear friend who was present– there was not a dry eye in the room. Even the DJ had to get up and leave the room, it was so emotional. Proving my point, words have weight and you need to choose our words wisely.
But what if you are not expressive. And it may be most difficult if you are a shy person. Fret not my lovelies. We have found you what you need– The Vow Whisperer. Tanya Pushkine, her sole purpose is to help you find the RIGHT words to express to your beloved on this special day. Her occupation is that of a Vow Consultant, Coach, and Officiant.
I was introduced to Tanya by a dear friend, the connector of people, Lisa Silhanek, and the rest is history.
How long have you been providing such a unique service?
I’ve been doing this for over 10 years as a gift to friends and friends of friends. I launched The Vow Whisperer officially in June 2019.
What was the inspiration behind it?
I’ve had an incredible career in PR and Corporate Philanthropy for luxury brands, but started out as a Juilliard trained actress. Life sometimes takes you on paths that you never thought would lead you back to where you started.
At my second wedding this past April, which was featured in the NYT, the response to our written vows was so extraordinary that it compelled me to turn this side gig into a full-time profession. I now use my acting skills to coach couples in saying their vows….enunciation, projection, body language, eye contact and more. I also help anyone who wants to give a speech. Again, it has to be in their own words.
How many couples have you worked with
Probably over 50-60
How do the couples find you?
Referral from friends or other wedding professionals, various wedding platforms, Instagram, and some wonderful press.
Do you work with the Officiant if they have their own already?
Absolutely. And I often consult and advise on the couple’s ceremony, as more and more people want a truly unique experience.
What are the key points you share with your clients on the marriage, and wedding day?
What comes out of the sessions are often the guideposts for their marriage. It’s not just preparing for a wedding…you’re digging into your soul often discovering parts of you that you didn’t know existed. We sometimes unearth nuggets that are used as some cornerstones of the marriage. What comes of this can be the shared values and philosophies that are weaved into the basis of your lives together. It sounds therapy-like, but all in a positive way. The process is a happy one, all leading up to getting ready to not only get married but be married.
Often, I am asked to attend a wedding and rehearse up to the last minute. The planner, the photographer, the family are way too busy to do a run through with the couple (individually, as they cannot hear each other before), so I’m there quietly taking the time to go over their vows one last time and if they are super nervous, guide them through some breathing techniques.
I do emphasize that after the work we have done together, they need to let go and let happen whatever may. It’s really ok if they stumble on a line or cry through a few sentences or even forget to say something.
I also love being asked to stay for the speeches, if I’ve worked on them, as well so I can see my work come to life.
What is the core value of your services?
Because this is such a niche business, no one knows they need me until they find out there is help out there. According to several studies, about 60-65% of couples today are choosing to write their own vows. There is an additional large percentage who would like to but are terrified and have no idea where to start. People do not want to repeat their parents’ wedding. They are writing their own rules and creating an experience that is unique to them as individuals and as a unit.
I essentially hold their hands the entire step of the way up until they are standing in front of each other. From the first conversation with the couple together, we establish the tone, length, and vibe of what they want to do and then I begin to work with them separately. It usually starts with a questionnaire that is a big brain dump. It doesn’t matter what it sounds like…it’s the basis of the vows. From there, I ask very specific questions to get them to divulge their innermost feelings, thoughts, memories, experiences, joys, hurdles and what they would like to promise to each other. It’s collaborative, fun and stress-free. We write the vows together. I am not a writer. It’s crucial that these are their words, not mine. They have to come from their hearts, not mine. Of course, I edit, make suggestions, put structure to it, help with timing, etc. Once the vows are finalized, we work on the delivery, which I believe is even more important than the vows themselves. Most people are not comfortable speaking in public. In the few hours it takes, I get them to a point where they are confident, proud and not too nervous to stand there in front of all their guests. I’ve been told by many of my clients that they use the skills I teach them in their everyday lives, which is an even bigger perk!
Many of my clients are not in NYC, so we work on Facetime or video. Whether it is in person or remotely, we rehearse standing up and I stand in as the bride or groom.
Ideally, this process should start at least 8 weeks before the wedding. It allows for time to really reflect and think through everything with a relaxed approach. Unfortunately, the ceremony is often an afterthought, when in fact; it is the most important part of the entire event. People will remember the vows forever..more than the food, the music, the flowers, the venue.
So in closing, saying the right thing doesn’t have to be challenging with the right coach that will assist you to bring out what is in your heart at the right time.
Over the past several years, Myrdith Leon-McCormack has evolved from one of the nation’s most successful Celebrity Manicurist, represented by Factory Downtown, to one of the most sought after branding experts with her firm MLM Represents and as a Huffington Post blogger.
Leon-McCormack, founder of MLM Represents, oversees all practice areas and is involved in providing strategic direction to select clients. Her particular area of expertise is advising clients on how to best leverage their brand as an asset to serve as a powerful leadership tool and drive business performance.
Leon-McCormack’s innovative strategies to connect consumers more effectively by associating them with the world’s most influential celebrities, musicians, arts, film and personalities has been part of her incredible success to collaborating with some of the industry’s most influential people in the world of the arts, music, and film. MLM Represents client list includes: Isaiah Washington, Sheryl Lee Ralph, Lois Samuels–the Vessel, and Justin Davis. Her new business has afforded her the opportunity to travel the world to great countries such as Egypt, Qatar, Dubai, London, France, Ireland, to name a few.
Leon-McCormack’s creative vision and strong knowledge of the entertainment and arts has created yet another venture with the weekly radio show, Keep It Moving w/Marsha Jews on WEAA 88.9 FM, a national public radio station, as Executive Entertainment Producer.
As the Editorial Director of World Bride Magazine, she drives the magazine into the 21st century where visions of people of color are seen in a more positive and progressive direction.