As I write this, 2021 is going to be another unpredictable year! Lots of advance bookings up till now. And the musical chairs that has become part and parcel of the Co-vid experience. Remember, the only thing you actually need (other than someone to marry you) is someone to marry you…:) I’m guessing from the requests I am getting that there could well be a shortage of officiants on prime Saturday afternoons, and especially if you are pulling something together on short notice. The purpose of this post is to help you find someone (beyond me..ha ha) to marry you.
This is NOT a recommended list….I’ve NEVER seen ANY of these folks in action! But I do know that they can ALL legally marry you.
Door #1: Marriage Commissioners
I won’t go into a lot of detail about Marriage Commissioners, since most people are already familiar with them. In my 10+ years of leading weddings, I’ve found that they are either exactly what you want, or exactly what you don’t want.
Here’s the link on the government website.
Also, Vital Statistics posts recent updates about covid and marriage commissioners here.
Door #2: Wedding Officiants
When you think of ministers, you may think of the centuries old traditions of the Catholic, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish or other religions. But there are actually over 700 registered spiritual and religious groups certified to offer wedding ceremonies in the province of BC. Some do community outreach through Lay Chaplains or Youth Pastors. Some are retired folks. The range is wide, and each group runs on its own. So you can get a broad range of ceremonies. Here are some of the ones that I come across in my travels.
Wedding Ceremony Companies
Most officiants are better at delivering ceremonies than marketing themselves…:) So a few businesses have jumped in to market wedding ceremonies. These are the established ones
Young Hip and Married from Vancouver has officiants in Victoria (Chris-Ann Lake) and Nanaimo (Brian Pankratz.)
All Seasons from Ontario has officiants all over the Island. You can request a specific one. I’ve found that Cecelia Penner is quite responsive.
You’ll work with the company, and can pick the officiant you want. Both will do a simple legal ceremony, and something more personalized.
There’s also Vancouver Officiant, who I haven’t run across yet (and the contact links don’t work as I write this) but I am sure they will get them fixed…:)
Inclusive and broad-minded, each congregation has 2 Lay Chaplains who offer ceremonial services. In Victoria, there are 2: Saanich and James Bay. Amanda Tarling is a Victoria Unitarian Lay Chaplain with her own website. You can also find Unitarian Lay chaplains in Nanaimo and the Comox Valley.
Within the Metaphysical community, you can check out Reverend Michael Ireland in the south Island area. And Adrienna Lankoff in Courtenay.
And the Centre for Spiritual Living has Jill Brocklehurst in Campbell River. Oops, not anymore…:(
Door #3: Celebrants
Celebrants are ordained officiants with a twist…specifically trained in the art of ceremony. If you want something different or really personal, you will be in good hands with a celebrant. If you are blending faiths or cultures, we can do it (we’re Metaphysical Ministers, which includes a broadly spiritual focus). Some of us come with extras i.e. our own PA system, a musical accompanist, pre-partial counselling, etc. as part of our service package. There are enough celebrants on the Island now that you can likely find someone who is a good fit for you.
If you want a marriage preparation package along with your ceremony, Sarah Nakatsuka is a Victoria-based therapist/minister who provides that.
And in the Comox Valley, check out Jennifer Lee.
Looking for someone who travels to the West Coast (other than me?) That would be Jane Good, James Latour or Jennifer Lee. Jane and I have both travelled to Port Renfrew. And to places like Strathcona Park. (we’re the adventure gals…:)
If you have chosen a popular date and are having trouble finding someone, perhaps check out these celebrants, who are either new in their practices or not as visible on social media:
South Island: Elaine Stuart, Susan Blackwood
Cowichan Valley: Wendy Wawrysh Gail Peekeekoot
Central Island/Oceanside: Shannon Rosnau,
Central Island/West Coast: Lianne Fitzpatrick, cell 250-203-1203, email: Fitz [at] Shaw.ca
Door #4: Do it Yourself (sorta)
In some parts of the United States, you can get a friend or relative to marry you with a special one-day pass. It doesn’t happen here in Canada.
But if you’ve booked everything other than the one thing you need to get married (hey it happens), and now you are stuck, consider this option. Use one us legal folks to marry you ahead of time (when we are open), and then ask one of your people to deliver the ceremonial ceremony the day of. Just a little heads-up that officiants have the chops to make it look easier than it is, the first ceremony you perform is utterly terrifying (so ask someone who is up to the challenge), and many of the ceremonies you can lift off the internet, frankly, are pretty beige…:)
That said, I write ceremonies that can be delivered by someone with little/no experience and even let them shadow me at the legal ceremony before handing them my script. More on that here. I may be able to help you with that. Or ask your officiant of choice if s/he/they will do the same for you.
I hope you find your best fit! And if you have any questions or feedback, just post below!