Book Review – By the Power Vested in You (By: Brother G. Martin Freeman)

By the Power Vested in You is a book published by the Universal Life Church that is available for sale on their website by itself and with several “packages” of various ministerial and wedding gear. Basically, the book is “weddings for dummies” but with only 43 pages of content from the table of contents to the page before the appendix. It’s more like “performing a wedding for people who might not have any idea what a wedding even is”. That is to say, the book is a very basic one.


It is a well-written one, though, I was never left confused or feeling talked-down-to at the end of a sentence or paragraph. And the information presented about the basics of a wedding ceremony, what questions to ask the bride and groom, and the reference charts for keeping information are all a necessary foundation. It just feels a bit lacking in material. I feel that someone shooting from the hip for their first ceremony (as I basically was) could easily check off most of the boxes of the checklists from the book without thinking about it. But I might be giving people too much credit, as I have experience in many things that would relate to the job a minister has to perform, and the bride and groom had much of it organized themselves.

It is certainly nice to have the conformation of reading a book someone else wrote on the subject and being able to check off all of the boxes, and as a way to ease your mind, it would definitely get my recommendation. By that token as well it works as a pack-in item to a “wedding kit” and the price for the book on its own is reasonable (but I wouldn’t buy it on its own). The most useful parts of the book are the little bits about ceremonies in different cultures (but it’s really only enough to remind you to research more about it if you’re doing a wedding for someone to whom it would be applicable) and the appendix where you can write down the names of family members, those in the procession, and the couples answers to any questions. This is more useful the first time one is handling a large wedding party, and I think people would quickly develop their own way of keeping this information, but it is a good jumping off point.

In the end I would say that it’s a middle-of-the-road book. I did like the clear and concise language as well as the charts and checklists in the appendix, but I did not like the lack of much real information and the overuse of stock photos (I don’t think I mentioned that before, there are way, way too many). It does what it set out to do pretty well, but it’s no manual for sure.

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