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Toronto Wedding Officiant

toronto wedding officiant, brother jeremy wedding officiant

Can any wedding officiant marry you?

Here in the province of Ontario, you can choose any registered wedding officiant to solemnise your wedding. The officiant does not need to be of the same religious denomination as you, as long as they appear in the government list. If you happen to be non religious, you can choose to get married at a courthouse, city hall, or at the venue of your choice. If you are looking for a specific type of ceremony, the best bet is to reach out to someone friendly and see how they respond to your request. 


Why do you need an officiant for a wedding?

If the wedding is not performed by a registered officiant then the wedding will not be legal and not be recorded in the government leger. This can cause problems down the line, either emotionally or legally. There is something magical about “becoming official”, referring to your partner as your lawful husband or wife. This can make things easier down the line, especially when it comes to legal, financial, and social matters. 

Does the wedding officiant have to be ordained?

In the Province of Ontario there are three categories of personnel who are authorised to solemnise weddings; judges, city clerks and registered religious officiants. The term religious can be tricky as it covers a huge assortments of faiths and beliefs systems. For example, Secular Humanism is considered a bona fide religion (with all the tax benefits) despite not believing in the supernatural. Taking this example into consideration, the applicant would have to satisfy requirements specific to their values and doctrines. Does this mean that the officiant is ordained? In the eyes of the secular government, the answer is yes. 


What does the wedding officiant say and do?

A wedding officiant is someone who performs the social and legal requirements for marriage. 

The wedding officiant is responsible for:

  1. Asking the necessary legal questions (a) comprehension, (b) impediment clause (c) intention. 

  2. Sign all the documents and send it back to the Registrar in Thunder Bay. 

  3. Introducing the bride and groom and leading the wedding ceremony.

  4. Discuss entry plans and positioning. 

  5. Crafting the ceremony script.

  6. Working with other professionals to ensure that the wedding goes as planned. 


How do you become a wedding officiant?

I am not sure if you have heard of something called Universal Life Church but it is not accepted in Ontario, nor any province in Canada. The government places a high standard for registration, allowing the applicant to perform weddings according to their chosen denomination. For example, some denominations are more “permissive” than others, giving strict guidelines and perimetres. To put it in simple terms, the Roman Catholic Church requires that marriages take place within their buildings. On the other hand, many Jewish and Christian groups give their clergy full authority to marry couples from all ethnic nations. 


What makes a good wedding officiant?


  1. University (or seminary) degree in theology, pastoral counselling, or Biblical languages (Hebrew for Jewish applicants and Koine Greek For Christian). 

  2. Respect and reverence for the institution of marriage. 

  3. Empathetic spirit, able to relate easily to diverse groups of people. 

  4. Strong in communication, public speaking, and diplomacy. 

  5. A “Servant Leader”, someone who wants to use their gifts (and effort) to serve his or her neighbour. 


The time frame will vary, depending on your personal experience and education. Perhaps you already have a biblical degree, having attended Hebrew University or Moody Bible College. While the Jewish applicant would not be considered a rabbi per se, they may be given clergy status by a community Jewish board (think cantors/hazzans). This recognizes the diverse nature of the Jewish community and the many situations where a rabbi is not accessible for a wedding, with the duties defaulting to the cantor. 


Christian applicants will have an easier time with protestant denominations than with their Orthodox/Catholic cousins. This is due to the structural nature of the older orders, making it very difficult to become ordained in a reasonable timeframe. This is not to say that “traditional” ordination is a waste of time, with many of my colleagues reporting high degrees of satisfaction. My advice would be to find a group that specialises just in life celebrations, the normal rituals that take place at the beginning, middle, and end of our lives. 


How much does a wedding officiant cost?

Did you know that the officiant is often the cheapest vendor on the invoice? This applies to weddings of all sizes, with pricing (generally) independent of how many people are in attendance. If you are strapped for cash–and just need the marriage licence signed–you can meet with a religious officiant and explain your situation. They will often take your unique situation into account and ensure that the rite of matrimony is open to you. If you are not in such dire situations–like being recent refugees from a war torn country–please respect the set fee. This is simply a range of prices one can expect to see in Southern Ontario in 2022. 


*All prices given are in Canadian Dollars (CAD)


  • Simple elopement - $275-$600

  • Full wedding - $375-$1600

  • Rehearsal - $250-$500

  • “In city” travel is usually included with excessive mileage charged beyond a specific limit. (For example, an officiant may not charge from North York to Downtown Toronto but they may charge to Mississauga or Oakville). 


How can I find a wedding officiant?

You can check out Wedding Wire or one of them major sites but they come with a major drawback. I am not throwing shade at the vendors, insteading focusing on the high price that they need to pay to keep their profile active and “searchable”. This cost gets passed onto the couple, having to pay upwards of a thousands dollars per site. If you are looking for a reliable option, check out google maps and search for a wedding officiant near me. This will bring in an assortment of options, some ranked higher for reviews and others for geographic proximity. You can also check to see if the wedding venues have a preferred vendor list, especially a number of officiants that they have worked with closely over the years. Feel free to meet with anyone (what does a Zoom meeting cost?) and see how you both vibe. Some officiants may seem perfect “on paper” while disappointing in person. 


Do you have to pay the wedding officiant?

Do you have to pay the florist, how about the caterer? Would the videographer develop their craft to such a degree just to refuse payment (I am being sarcastic)? Just like you, everyone has a specific skill-set that they use to enrich the people around them. This is not to say that there are no low-budget options available, which many officials are willing to “go the extra mile”.


How much does a Toronto wedding officiant cost?

Toronto wedding officiants tend to be more expensive than in more rural communities. If you are looking at hosting your wedding at the Four Seasons Hotel then you are generally looking at a premium. However, if you are willing to get married at a small restaurant in North York or Scarborough, you could end up paying considerably less. 


Who pays the wedding officiant?

This really comes down to culture, with some nationalities expecting the father’s parents to pay while in others the roles are reversed. With many couples waiting longer than ever, some are paying for the ceremony themselves. It is important that the officiant is booked far ahead of the chosen date, especially if it is during the wedding season (June-September). Standard practice is to pay the officiant the first half as a deposit, with the balance being paid at a later date. Please remember to confirm the reservation, ensuring that there are no mixups on the big day!


What do wedding officiants wear to perform the ceremony?

It really depends on the type of officiant, with a priest dressing radically different than a rabbi or a Muslim Imam. Jewish officiants tend to wear a kippah and tallit, a scarf-like garment with elongated fringes. Christian pastors may wear their white collared shirts with modern business attire. It is important to check out the officiants' websites to see what they have worn to weddings in the past, giving a solid indication of what they could wear to yours.


Can a wedding officiant also be a witness?

No, a wedding officiant cannot also be a witness. You will need an additional two witnesses for the ceremony to be legitimate. They can be anyone that you choose, even if they do not live in the same country as the couple. As long as they are above the age of majority!

How can I choose the right wedding officiant?

It can be daunting at first, especially if the couple has not been to a religious event before. It can cause anxiety, perhaps fear of making mistakes or forgetting lines. The right officiant will be patient and kind, someone who is willing to listen and recommend someone else if they cannot personally accommodate. Every couple is unique with their own personal story to tell. 

When should I book the wedding officiant?

You should book your wedding officiant as soon as you have a date, meaning a reservation at a venue. This ensures that your choice is available on your date, especially if you are getting married during the warmer months in Ontario. It is common to book up to three years in advance, allowing extra time for planning and so forth. 


What questions should I ask the wedding officiant?
  1. How long will the ceremony take?

  2. What exactly do I have to say during the ceremony?

  3. Can you include something specific in the script?

  4. Can you make this date and this time?

  5. Can you help me fill out the wedding licence application?


Do you have to invite the officiant to stay for the reception (after the ceremony)?

While there is no rule that “forces” you to invite the officiant to the party afterwards, many feel inclined to do exactly that. Depending on his or her schedule, he or she may take you up on your invitation, depending on their schedule of course. Just to restate the obvious, there is no pressure to invite the officiant if it makes accommodation difficult in anyways.

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