Our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, Amanda Rosenberry, had only been married for a year when her husband, Jason, went into end-stage liver failure. But, thanks to a life-saving live donor liver transplant, he was able to recover. Almost losing her husband gave this former EMT a different perspective on how quickly everything can change, so she decided to make a change and became a stay-at-home mom. Yet when friends of hers asked her on a whim to officiate their wedding, she happily obliged, and as more couples asked, Amanda found herself relishing being a part of a couples special day. It was then she knew she found her calling and launched Oshan Ceremonies as a professional wedding officiant, helping couples create a personalized ceremony for the most important moment of their lives. We chatted with Amanda on how being an EMT relates to working in weddings (and the humor she finds in it), the most unusual request she’s faced as a wedding officiant, and why her family loves the off-season down the shore.
Featured Photo Credit: Work of Art Photography
Please share a little bit about your family and background. My husband, Jason, and I got married in 2013. The following year, he went into end-stage liver failure but was fortunate enough to get a liver transplant from a live donor. On the first anniversary of his transplant, we found out we were pregnant and now have two beautiful children, Ace (5) and Veronica (3). We purchased the Monroeville on Lake Gilman home that he and his father were raised in and couldn’t be happier. We love living in a private community where everyone knows you and helps each other out.
Please share a little about your career background and how you became an officiant. I was an EMT in the Emergency Room at Inspira Hospital, but when I went on maternity leave for the second time, my daughter was very attached, and I felt it was in my family’s best interest that I stay at home with the kids. I grew up going to church and especially loved listening to the sermons, so when two friends who didn’t belong to a particular church asked me to marry them in 2011, I got ordained and performed the ceremony. I enjoyed it so much that I continued to do it for family and friends over the years and quickly realized that it made me so happy to be there for people on their happiest day. Because of that, I decided to make a business out of it. I enjoy public speaking and being there for people, but what I love is the sanctity of marriage and being part of a couple’s special day.
How has your past career as an EMT helped you be an officiant? While working in emergency medicine, I learned the importance of listening and realized that it’s not about you but the patient. You have to be able to step away from yourself and listen to what they’re saying. And working in weddings, it’s the same thing so that I can deliver a uniquely personal ceremony. I listen to my couples and discover their expectations for what is probably (up to this point) going to be the most important moment in their lives. I ask them how they see this day unfolding. And I might throw in a little humor that since I was an EMT, I can also help them if they pass out at the altar. Seriously though, when I launched Oshan Ceremonies, I realized that every ceremony should be personal since every couple has a vision of what feels right for them. In general, listening is a great skill to have for life.
What is something that you think every couple getting married should know? The number one reason that married couples fall into hardship is that they believe that love is enough. When I ask why they’re getting married, I’m hoping to hear it’s more than just love since it takes a lot more to get through the struggles that can and do present themselves during a lifetime together. Though there is no correct answer, along with love, I like to hear additional reasons like they’re a good team, communicate well, or give each other the hard truth. When this is shared, I know it’s a more mature level of love with a stronger foundation.
What’s the funniest or craziest request from a couple you’ve received? A couple wanted me to read an excerpt from a hot and heavy favorite song of theirs, including all the profanity in it. It was extra uncomfortable because the groom was a family member, so my entire family was in attendance, including my grandparents and my children. I had to prep myself for weeks so that I could get it done for them without flushing!
How supportive is your family of your business? My husband is my biggest supporter and advised me to go all-in if I wanted to do it. Neither of us would do something without the support of the other. And though the kids are very attached to me and don’t love how I’m away from them at times, they understand. They see I’m making money for the family, too, which will benefit them both somehow.
Please share some of your favorite local shops in NJ. Mullica Hill Florist is where I always go for my son’s teacher gifts because the flowers are beautiful, and they’re affordable, too. We are big fans of Cherry on Top, a local ice cream shop. They make their own delicious ice cream, plus their ice cream cakes are always a crowd-pleaser. And, without Ben’s Barber Shop, I’d be cutting Ace’s thick, cowlick-y, tricky hair myself, and the result would not be good. The owner, Kristine, is the only stylist he’s ever felt comfortable with, and the lollypop thrills him as much as his great haircut thrills me.
What are some of your favorite things or places to visit in NJ with your family? We are shore people and enjoy going to Ocean City and Wildwood with our kids. Growing up, my mom worked in Atlantic City, so I also really love it there. Off-season, the crowds thin out, and you can catch us all riding our bikes on the boardwalk. Jason and I are also fans of roulette, comedy shows, and many of the casinos’ Imax movie theaters. Another favorite family thing to do down there is going to amusement parks, like Castaway Cove in Ocean City and Storybook Land in Egg Harbor. They have rides and entertainment from the classic stories from our childhood like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Alice in Wonderland, and Jack and Jill, and has been there since 1955.
What is your best piece of advice for an NJMOMpreneur thinking of taking the leap to own a business? Embrace change—no matter what field you’re going into, you’ll go in with expectations, but it’s essential to remain flexible.