As a shy kid growing up, it was easy for Allen to fly under the radar when it came to his sexuality. In the middle of five siblings, someone older or younger was always getting attention. Allen didn’t see the need to “come out” to his parents. Allen’s brother, however, came out to his mother one day while Allen was sitting in the room. His mother looked at Allen and said, “What? Are you gay too?” to which Allen replied, “Think about the question you’re asking; if you want me to answer, I’ll answer it.”
She never asked again.
Allen attended a private Catholic school, and his mother hoped Allen would someday end up in the Priesthood. After receiving his undergraduate degree, Allen worked toward his Masters's Degree at a private Christian School studying Data Science. Allen remembers his roommate studying Theology, and they would talk about his classes; Allen always thought they were nice stories.
College expenses add up fast, and anything extra was out of the question. To earn extra money, Allen devised a plan. With his tuition already paid, Allen took his leftover financial aid money and purchased a used Rolls Royce, and opened a Limo Service for weddings. Allen loved the idea of working in the wedding industry, but what would he do? Driving a limo was perfect for the time being.
Allen said he always wanted to be an enterpneurer but never really knew how to go about executing the plan because he is so shy. (I would say purchasing a Rolls Royce is pretty entrepreneurial in itself!)
Allen loved listening to the couples talk in the back seat. Sporting a stylish chauffeur’s cap, Allen was ready to be the best chauffeur he could possibly be. He realized when he was chauffeuring couples that he truly loved to help people.
After graduating, Allen took a position with a company for thirty years. After thirty years of loyalty, Allen was laid-off.
Remembering his chauffeur days, Allen began to carve a path to something he would enjoy doing. Allen’s younger brother was asked to officiate a friend's wedding. Without any formal training, Allen’s brother did a fabulous job! Allen was curious how if his brother enjoyed it. Everything his brother shared began to resonate with Allen.
“I could do this,” Allen thought.
Allen’s desire to help people was his number one focus. After spending thirty years behind a computer, it was time for Allen to shine doing something he enjoyed – helping people.
After much research, Allen enrolled in the Celebrant Academy’s Master Celebrant six-month program. Allen’s goal was to jump in completely and give it his all!
The curriculum was intense. Allen found himself writing ceremonies from the resources he was given. This was new territory for Allen, and he loved it. “We were taught to use resources and create our personalized services for each couple, and I liked that,” Allen said. “I wasn’t going to use scripted ceremonies; I wanted to create my personalized ceremony for each couple.”
The public speaking classes helped Allen to overcome his shyness. “I’m speaking directly to the couples,” Allen said. “I know there are other people in the room; I see their faces, but I imagine I’m only talking to the couple and not to the entire room.”
“It’s better than I thought it would be,” Allen said when I asked about how he was enjoying his second career. “I didn’t set out to be an Officiant when I was in college. I got ordained on my birthday, which was special. My mother still wants me to be a Priest. She says, “If you enjoy this so much, why not be a Priest?”
Allen wants to connect to his couples and create a personalized ceremony that is unique and moving.
Allen was officiating a wedding where the mother of the bride was rushed to the hospital the night before the wedding. With only half of the guests in attendance, Allen was able to deliver a message that was so meaningful and personalized to those in attendance that they cried. “No tears of sorrow,” Allen said, “but tears of hope and joy.”
Allen’s ceremony gave them peace about the situation.
“I like that,” Allen said.
“I love touching people on an emotional level.”