Getting married in BC

Who do you want to marry you?

Here in beautiful British Columbia, you have wonderful options when deciding who is the right person to create and perform your wedding ceremony.

Good to know: ‘Officiant’ is a word for someone who officiates a ceremony; priests, ministers, chaplains, rabbis, imams, celebrants, marriage commissioners are all officiants and are an integral part of your wedding day.  It’s a very diverse group of people who can perform a wide variety of wedding ceremonies. Always remember that you can’t get married without an officiant!

Here, Michele Davidson of Modern Celebrant talks about Celebrants and about Marriage Commissioners.

Professional Celebrants are unique among officiants. We have a formal education specifically in reflective wedding ceremonies and frequently serve interfaith and or multicultural couples. Celebrants who perform weddings have gone through BC’s very strict approval process to be legally authorized as Religious Officiants, grounded in whatever tradition is part of their own background. Modern Celebrant’s officiants all practice in interfaith ways but must abide by the structure of their authorization, e.g. your ceremony cannot be devoid of meaning and significance.  Celebrant ceremonies are deeply meaningful and completely resonant of the couple’s beliefs, whatever they are. Celebrants not only study the ceremonial wedding traditions of many cultures and faiths but also everything from baby blessings to funerals, making them well-suited to create weddings for couples of different backgrounds. The most important criteria we ask for in our clients is, “Are you willing to share your hearts with me?”

Government appointed Marriage Commissioners fulfill a valuable need for couples who want a civil ceremony. Marriage Commissioners are flexible as to location and time, and in some cases allow the couples write their own vows. Beyond that, there is an approved wedding ceremony written by the government, with some text that is mandatory for all civil ceremonies in BC. Click here to view the standardized approved ceremony for Marriage Commissioners.  It is my understanding that just as Religious Officiants must take into account faith and culture, Marriage Commissioners must provide a secular service.  BTW, the term “Marriage Commissioner” has replaced that of “Justice of the Peace”. The BC government recruits Marriage Commissioners from candidates who reside in the communities where the services are required. The criteria for eligibility include being retired or semi-retired from steady employment; being known and active in the community; and maturity, self-reliance and good grooming. They must have their own transportation, and know how to use the Internet. Beyond that, interested applicants are short listed, interviewed and then appointed by the government.

Do your homework. MEET your Celebrant, Wedding Officiant, Rabbi, Priest, Imam etc or Marriage Commissioner before you decide.  Very important.


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