In order to solemnize a wedding in Ontario, one must be a judge, city clerk or registered religious officiant. With that being said, you have every possible religion, culture, and tradition represented among this vocation. This is a tribute to our multicultural society, a place where people are encouraged to honour their heritage while embracing the future.
Before going further, I would like to clarify what the term “religious officiant” means. Perhaps you are familiar with the term Humanist, or someone who adheres to a secular worldview. Like their theist counterparts, they have developed their own governing body and ordain clergy to serve people with similar values. In other words, many people choose a religious officiant, even if they lack a personal (or determined faith).
It is important to note that many religious denominations have rules about marriage, setting their own specific rules and regulations. For example, Roman Catholic weddings must take place on Church property, sealed between a baptized male and female. Alternatively, some Hindu clergy will prohibit marriages between certain castes, forcing the couple to go outside the community. Rather than going to City Hall, many prefer someone neutral who is willing to incorporate some aspects of the culture/religion.
While it is super easy to score a wedding officiant in the winter, it is much more difficult during the summer months (AKA wedding season). As crass as it may sound, “a wedding without an officiant is just a party”. You do not need a big gala to get married. In fact, all you need is a wedding officiant, valid marriage license, two witnesses and a willing couple! That is not to say that anything needs to be boring, quite the reverse. Your wedding is a reflection of the couple, not the amount spent on the function.
Considering the intimate role of the position, it is important that you take your time in choosing the best fit. You may have to speak with 2 or 3 before feeling truly comfortable with someone. If you come across someone that you like, feel free to reach out and arrange a Zoom meeting. With that being said, here are some hypothetical questions to ask yourself (and the officiant that you are considering).
- Do you need to take premarital courses?
- Do you need to be of the same religion/caste?
- Do you believe in God (and want to include scripture)?
- Does the officiant’s gender matter to you?
- Is the price within our budget?
- Will the officiant come to our chosen venue?
- Will travel costs be additional (or included)?
- Does the officiant’s personality reflect our own?
- Does the officiant understand us as a couple?
- Can the officiant take control of the ceremony and make everyone feel at ease?
If you have any questions at all, click here and you will be directed to my wedding website. Even I cannot personally make your function, I will be happy to offer guidance and clarity. I am a second generation officiant, being the son of a rabbi.
I wish you the very best on your new life together!
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