Sunday, September 28, 2008

Making it Official

I'm happy to announce, we've booked a marriage commissioner to officiate our wedding ceremony; another item checked off the list. Woohoo!

cartoon found here

Originally, we hoped to have a friend officiate the ceremony. In the US, anyone can legally marry a couple, if they become ordained through an online course offered by the Universal Life Church. Quick. Simple. Painless. However, after some quick research, I discovered that not just anyone can legally pronounce us "husband and wife" in BC.

Unfortunately, Canada does not recognize this simplified method of becoming an ordained minister. The protocol is more stringent, more time consuming, and more uhhhh "particular" up here; back to the drawing board we went.

In the Province of BC there are two categories of people licensed to perform weddings:

1. Religious Representatives - of which there are two types:
  • a pastor/priest/minister/rabbi associated with the specific house of worship where the wedding ceremony will be held
  • an ordained reverend or minister not associated with any specific house of worship
2. Marriage Commissioner (replacing the justice of the peace) through the Government of BC.

We decided to go with a private marriage commissioner as appointed by the Marriage Act of British Columbia, mainly because there is a set amount they are allowed to charge for their services. For a very reasonable fee of 75.00 (additional 25.00 for rehearsal), plus a mileage fee of .49cents a km, a BC marriage commissioner will perform your wedding ceremony. You can search for marriage commissioners in BC here

After reading through various recommendations on the "west coast" section of the weddingbells forum, we decided to give Bob Buzza a call. He had our date free, and asked for our pertinent information. He mailed us a basic wedding ceremony booklet, but encouraged us to create our own unique ceremony. For no extra fee, he meets with the couple before the wedding day to discuss their wishes, and perform a mock run through of the ceremony; he also encourages questions by email and/or phone.

Bob was a pleasure to speak with over the phone. He was warm and friendly, and made me feel comfortable right away; all good attributes to have in a marriage commissioner. He chuckled when he learned Huxley is our "best dog" and prefers when a couple creates a wedding ceremony unique to their personalities. All in all, he sounds like a great guy. I'll let you know more once we meet with him in person in the spring!

For further information on how to get married in BC, take a peek at the Vital Statistics of BC website.

If you prefer a more hands on marriage commissioner, and are willing to pay a bit more money for the experience, I've heard a multitude of good things about Reverend Brent Sheppard. The Rev falls under the second category of religious representatives. He is not governed by the province of BC, and therefor sets his own fees (350.00 + travel fee for ceremony and rehearsal), however, I've never heard a single complaint about the cost. If we had it in the budget, I would definitely have given him a call! Find out more at his website: Hey Rev


Universal Life Church said...

I wish you the best of luck!

In Ontario things are changing, we are working to get ULC ministers their rights.

Pelaez Photography said...

We've worked with Bob before! He's cool and easy to work with. He probably doesn't remember us, though!

An Atlanta Bride said...

Doesn't it feel great when a task is accomplished?

Kate said...

Just came across your blog and am lovng all the information! We're considering using the venue at SFU too, I'm curious as to how everything went. Please, update with your final review!!

lilygal said...

I'm considering SFU as well, but I can't seem to find many pictures of the venue or the weddings that have taken place there. Are you able to share any pics?

echo said...

Well lilygal and kate, the wedding is over and it all went amazingly well!! Your comments have inspired me to write up some more blog posts, including detailed reviews and pics! Keep in touch and I'll try to have something up in the next few weeks. My photographer will be entering our wedding to "real weddings" magazine, so I won't be able to share the photos publicly for a while, but I will eventually put them up - I promise!

lilygal said...

I'm really curious what you thought about your wedding there, and any tips you have for using the Diamond for a wedding. Pros, cons, tips... I fell in love with it while reading through your blog.

Donna_Smith said...

We had Bob Buzza as our officiant at my daughter's wedding just a few weeks ago. He was a very warm and friendly person but also very professional at the same time. He made us all totally comfortable and I am glad that he was recommended to us by a friend. "Gramma" who was concerned that it wasn't a church wedding with a preacher even commented how impressed she was with him and how he made it relaxed yet impressed upon "the kids" how serious this was and that it was a lifelong committment. Totally recommend him for anybody who is looking for someone in the tri-cities area (Burnaby, New West, Coquitlam)

Andrea O'Connell said...

We used Rev Brent Sheppard as our wedding officiant. He was marvelous ! We wanted a light, energetic, fun, but still classy ceremony. Rev Brent delivered beyond our expectations :-) Thanks, Brent! -Andrea & Brendan O'C, Vancouver, BC Canada

Sheri A. said...

Does anyone know if there's a legal age requirement to get ordained in BC? I'm looking into having my son preform our ceromny but he'll only be 17 at the time. Any insight would be greatly appreciaed.