Every day I receive a flurry of messages and emails asking the usual questions about my services – most often starting with “How much?”. I love when couples dig a little deeper and ask questions that are more important than just what the ceremony will cost. Let’s see if we can answer some questions you didn’t even know you had!
Do you have a script or do you personalize the wedding ceremony for each couple?
I do work from a ceremony template that shows the order of your ceremony, all of the elements that will be included, choices for vows, what you would like to be called, and where each reading will go.
I send this out to every couple as a working copy and get their input on the ceremony for readings, friends and family taking part, prayers, land acknowledgments, moments of silence, and any additional elements.
Your ceremony will be a unique reflection of the two of you based on the information I get from you in the intake form I send out as soon as you book me to perform your marriage ceremony.
How will you create the ceremony and how much input will we have?
The intake form I send to all of my couples includes a section for your vision of your ceremony, and your story – how you met, what you enjoy doing, your life in general. I combine all of this information to choose readings I feel suit you both. Of course you have complete editorial control when you book a full ceremony so any edits you want are welcome. The more information you give me on the intake form, the better your ceremony will be.
Can we write our own vows? Will you help us with that?
Yes! I often see couples on social media asking others for help writing their vows – this tells me the officiant they chose isn’t helping or supporting them at all! I send all of my couples my ceremony template which includes lots of options for vows you are welcome to mix and match, and I also send my Guide to Writing Your Own Vows when I know that is your plan. My Guide walks you through the process of writing vows and helps you ensure you have met the requirements of the laws of the province of Ontario. I also go over your vows ahead of time to make sure they flow nicely and include everything we want to say.
Once we have your vows all written and perfect, I print them off and bring them to your ceremony so there is no need for you to memorize them or remember to bring a piece of paper with you.
How long is a typical ceremony?
In my work as an Officiant the thing I find most interesting is what expectations couples have for their ceremony length. Almost every single couple tells me they want a short ceremony – around 20 minutes. In my line of work, that’s a full ceremony!
My ceremonies tend to last around 20 minutes if we are doing a full ceremony with lots of readings. I don’t recommend longer unless we are including extra elements like a sand ceremony, wine ceremony, ring warming, rose ceremony etc to bring the ceremony up to 30 minutes. Keep in mind it is usually very hot and humid during wedding season in Southern Ontario and rarely are we shaded at outdoor ceremonies.
I am always happy to accommodate your preferences when it comes to timing and have performed ceremonies as short as 5 minutes and as long as 40.
How long have you been an officiant? How many weddings have you done?
I was ordained in April 2018 and have been performing marriage ceremonies for the Province of Ontario since August 2018. The number of weddings I have performed changes every week – in 2019 I performed 41 ceremonies and am on track to perform at least 50 in 2020.
How many times will we meet?
Trying to get 3 people in the same room at the same time is pretty much impossible with all of us having busy schedules. I keep things super simple and make it easy for your to book your ceremony from the comfort of your couch. I know how busy we all are, with work, kids, families, hobbies – bookings are done all online with documents and e-contracts from anywhere you have internet.
I know many religious officiants require meetings to decide if you should get married and if they are willing to perform your ceremony. My attitude is…we are all adults and know what we are doing. I don’t need to judge whether or not you should be getting married.
If you want to see and hear me, visit my podcast, and my Instagram!
Do you do rehearsals?
At a wedding rehearsal you are simply practicing the logistics of walking in, walking out, and where to stand, but not the ceremony itself. There is really no need for me to be there unless we are doing something really unique that we all need to practice together. Should you really feel you need me there as your Officiant to run the show for you, the rehearsal fee is $150.00 plus travel. If your rehearsal is Monday – Thursday we can book it in advance. Friday and Saturday rehearsals are booked no more than 2 weeks in advance and are based on my availability.
What do you wear?
I normally wear a black dress, scarf, black pumps, and some nice jewelry.
Occasionally I wear my Chaplain robes and stole if we are doing a religious ceremony.
If you would like me to wear something like a specific colour or costume, please let me know so I can accommodate that for you. If I have it in my closest I will wear it (within reason, I am still clergy after all) and if there are pieces that need to be purchased, my couple covers that cost.
What time will you arrive?
I arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled ceremony time so I can get the licence prepped and on the signing table with my marriage register. I then speak with the groom or bride about what the plan is for us getting to the altar and any other last minute details I need to know. Normally I organize the wedding party members who will be at the front before your ceremony starts, mother(s) of the bride, mother(s) of the groom, and the groom and when we are ready to start I make sure everyone ends up exactly where they are supposed to be.
I also often spend this time pinning boutonnieres on the guys!
Do you offer premarital counseling?
My services do not require premarital counseling, and I am not a qualified or licenced counselor. The only advice I offer is this…just be kind to each other.
Will you fill out and file our marriage license?
Yes! I get your licence as soon as I arrive to get it prepped and ready for your ceremony. When I leave I take your licence with me, fill it in completely, and mail it to the Office of the Registrar General within 2 business days of your ceremony which is what the marriage act requires.
The only exception I make is when we are in the middle of holidays and we don’t want your licence sitting in a mailbox for a week – like when my couples get married over Christmas – I wait until the 27th to mail the paperwork or the Monday following your ceremony.
What does your contract contain?
I have a 2 page contract I send to all of my couples to be signed through a secure, online contract service. My contract protects all of us and covers the basics for your ceremony.
Here is the list of headings in my contract:
The services provided
Changes to ceremony times and dates
The ceremony schedule
Fees and deposits
Any additional fees such as parking etc.
Forms of payment
Cancellations and refunds
Additional items needed for your ceremony
Injury by guests
Do you have a back-up?
Should I find myself unable to get to your wedding, I have a team of officiants across Ontario I can send the Bat Signal too and fingers crossed someone can get your ceremony from me, and take my place at your wedding. I will be there unless I’m unconscious in the ER and should I break down on my way to your wedding, I will call you right away to let you know there might be a delay while working on getting someone to pick me up. Life happens, and we all work together to solve any issues that arise – should YOU be late for your ceremony we will also work something out to make sure you are married that day or as soon as possible.