Baylor staff lead ‘I do’s’ as officiants at the altar

Bailey and Jana Goyette — former Baylor athlete — had their wedding officiated by head volleyball coach, Ryan McGuyre. Photo courtesy of Jana Goyette

By Olivia Turner | Staff Writer

Springtime at Baylor is, like most other places, a season of love. It seems everyone knows at least one person who got down on bended knee, received a ring or said their “I do’s” during these last few months on campus. It’s all in good fun to watch the relationships and marriages bloom, and the topic of officiation is not really on anyone’s mind — that is, until asked to be one.

So, when Bruce Evans, associate librarian and director of cataloging and metadata services in Moody Library, was asked by one of his colleagues and close friends to officiate his wedding years back, the pressure was on. The first step was certification.

“It seemed a bit strange to be me, but evidently it was legitimate,” Evans said, referring to the website through which he achieved his certification. “They sent me a bunch of literature through the mail, and supplies, plus a card that shows that I’m certified.”

In terms of overseeing and officiating, Evans said the process was not too complex. He said he led the couple in their vows during their outdoor ceremony at Lovers’ Leap in Cameron Park, a lovely and relaxed setting with mostly just close friends and relatives.

Evans said the bride and groom incorporated traditional Celtic folk elements like jumping over the threshold in order to make the wedding more personal to them. He said he believes it was for this reason he was asked to officiate instead of the typical pastor or minister, something he said he wishes was incorporated a bit more into his own wedding.

“It was a very beautiful wedding in a very nice church, but we barely knew the pastor,” Evans said. “Make sure that everything about the ceremony would be something that you would remember and cherish and value.”

According to Evans, this means people included. In addition to making the wedding personal, Baylor Volleyball Head Coach Ryan McGuyre said he suggests taking the officiating position as an act of responsibility over the couple, even after they walk down the aisle. Just because anyone can become a wedding officiant, doesn’t mean everyone should, according to McGuyre.

When one of his volleyball players, libero Jana Goyette (then Jana Brusek), was adamant about him officiating her wedding after being proposed to during her senior year, McGuyre said he was honored but unsure.

“I’ve coached big, national Final Four games, but I was probably more nervous during that than any coaching I’ve ever participated in,” McGuyre said.

After accepting the role, McGuyre was ordained at his home church in California and was certified on what he called a “sketchy website.” The wedding was held in Chicago, Goyette’s home city. With friends and family present, McGuyre looked at it as an opportunity to bring the gospel to those of Goyette’s family who did not have faith in Jesus.

McGuyre said the experience to him was valuable, especially because he was able to watch Goyette and her husband grow during their college years, so witnessing a major milestone in their lives was a blessing. He said he would encourage anyone else who is asked to officiate a wedding for young couples like the Goyettes to be prepared to care for them for years to come.

“Part of the point of the weddings is that, as a family, part of the extended Christian family, we’re called to be witnesses and support for them in their marriages as well,” McGuyre said.