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 hereOriginally, 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
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