Giving Permission to Choose Yourself: A Conversation With Maureen Cotton

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By Jenn Monaghan

Maureen joined Sale-A-Day in August after hopping into the Launch It Challenge. She walks us through the path that led to her career in the wedding industry, why navigating the true purpose of your wedding is so crucial, and how she’s using Mini Workshops to expand and transform her business, The Soulful Wedding. 

Location: Beverly, MA   
Business: The Soulful Wedding 
Latest Mini Workshop: Mini Vow Writing Retreat 

Meet Maureen 

Maureen lives in Beverly, Massachusetts — just North of Boston along the coast. 

If you were to meet Maureen, you’d be quick to learn that she lives in a home full of warmth and love — she shares her home with her wife, her children, her corgi, and her cat. 

Ever since she was a child, Maureen has been guided by a deep-rooted sense of spirituality. In the last few decades, this spirituality has led to wearing several hats in her career — a hospice chaplain, a wedding photographer, a Kripalu yoga teacher, a wedding officiant, and a minister for the spiritual-but-not-religious and non-dogmatic people of faith. 

Nowadays, Maureen is merging all of the passion and knowledge from her prior experiences into her current role: a spiritual wedding coach and officiant.

This is when Maureen’s journey with The Soulful Wedding officially began. 

It wasn’t always in the cards for Maureen to become a wedding coach and officiant 

When she was working as a wedding photographer and in the process of being ordained, she felt called to grow her wedding practice further. 

For many of the non-religious couples she was working with, she noticed they were facing one common roadblock: without the guidance of religion to inspire their wedding day, many couples were feeling lost in how to curate a meaningful ceremony. 

This struck a chord with Maureen — as someone who identified as spiritual but not religious, she felt inspired to help like-minded couples find meaning and purpose in their wedding journey. 

When some of the people in her life began asking her to officiate their wedding, Maureen accepted their invitations with glee. She refused to follow a traditional “how-to” guide and officiated countless weddings according to her spiritual-but-not-religious path. 

Eventually, this led Maureen to where she is today: a coach and officiant with The Soulful Wedding. 

In her business, Maureen helps engaged couples define and navigate the real purpose of their wedding

Maureen found that many of her couples didn't actually know how to create a cohesive day that felt meaningful to them

She realized that modern-day couples were confused about how to navigate old-world traditions vs. their true wedding day wishlist. She wanted to help couples abandon the wedding traditions they felt pressured to adhere to and find newfound traditions that felt felt personal. 

In The Soulful Wedding, Maureen guides couples through finding the true meaning and intentions behind their wedding day. Instead of looking at the traditional rituals that define many weddings, Maureen helps her clients understand which elements of the wedding day they truly want to incorporate. 

After much of her time spent working one-on-one with couples, Maureen became interested in expanding her coaching online. This is when she began pondering how a Mini Workshop could fit into her business model. 

Maureen stumbled upon The Challenge in a Facebook ad and committed to launching her very own Mini Workshop 

When it came to her workshop, Maureen knew exactly what topic she would target. Of all the engaged couples she had worked with, she knew that vows were a common sticking point for many of them. 

In toasting to their love, many partners were wrought with anxiety and uncertainty when it came to writing their vows — they strove to celebrate their union with transformative vows, yet they felt lost in how to find the right words to communicate that love. 

This is where Maureen’s workshop, Mini Vow Writing Retreat, was born. 

In this workshop, Maureen wanted to help her clients reconnect with the purpose of their wedding. While she helped her clients find clarity in their own vows, she also strove to take the pressure off creating the perfect vows. 

Maureen didn’t want her workshop to feel like yet another anxiety-inducing task on the wedding to-do list — so she referred to her workshop as a “retreat”. During this retreat, her goal was for her attendees to feel relaxed and at peace while writing their vows and getting back in sync with their partners. 

On August 18th, Maureen delivered her Mini Vow Writing Retreat 

All in all, Maureen’s retreat was about two hours in length and divided into two sections. 

During the first hour of her retreat, Maureen discussed the complicated art of wedding vows — What are wedding vows? Why is everyone freaking out about them? How can you articulate your values and tie them into your wedding day? 

“Being a spiritual wedding coach, I know what kind of baggage and internal things are getting stirred up when people are planning their weddings — so much of it can be put on the vows.” 

The second hour of her retreat involved a guided meditation and an open study hall. At this time, Maureen invited her guests to write, reflect, and talk openly with their partners — if they had any questions or were in need of advice, Maureen was readily available for guidance. 

Maureen chose to turn cameras off and host her retreat as a webinar — she didn’t want her attendees to feel distracted or self-conscious. Instead, she wanted them to connect with both their inner soul and their partner. 

Reflecting on her retreat, Maureen feels incredibly proud of the content she delivered 

A few days after delivery, Maureen watched the recording and saw the true value in her delivery. 

Rather than scanning for mistakes, Maureen was able to see her retreat for what it was: a rich and powerful source of guidance for engaged couples. Despite her initial nerves, Maureen knew that she had delivered a valuable and helpful resource for her guests. 

“I was in my zone offering guidance I know isn’t out there for engaged couples.” 

Afterward, the couples who joined said they felt more joy and connection than they had in months. Of course, these positive experiences helped to form the baseline of future testimonials. But it also reiterated to Maureen that this was, in fact, a prized retreat for her guests. 

This is just what Maureen needed to feel the utmost confidence in her content and make future plans for her workshop. 

What’s coming up next for Maureen? 

With the success of her Mini Vow Writing Retreat, Maureen is looking forward to turning it evergreen. 

With that and future workshop ideas, she wants to expand her reach and help even more engaged couples find and reconnect with the true purpose of their wedding. Looking into the future, Maureen isn’t ruling out the idea of launching both a master class and a membership. 

We can’t wait to see where life takes Maureen and The Soulful Wedding.