FAQ

When should we contact you? Whenever you would like to chat about your wedding. We’re happy to offer advice at any stage. It’s helpful to know your proposed date & location to see if we’re available. We have planned weddings in 24 hours – but booking ahead is recommended. We will also refer you to other officiants if we are booked.  You can send an online enquiry with this form:

Wedding Enquiry

When should we get our marriage license? You may obtain your license and be married the same day, but we suggest getting your license a few weeks ahead. Marriage licenses expire 90 days after issue. The COUPLE is responsible for obtaining their Marriage License. The officiant CANNOT obtain a license for you. If you have been divorced outside of Canada, you will need a lawyer’s letter as well, and this will take extra time. See Ontario Guidelines on how to get married.

Note: it may take 4-8 weeks to receive your final CERTIFICATE OF MARRIAGE REGISTRATION from Ontario after the wedding, so plan accordingly.

How many witnesses do we need? Two adults, over 18 years of age. They may be related, to each other, or to you, and may live in any country, if they have identification. Ask us if you do not have available witnesses.
How long is a wedding ceremony? It depends on the service. Generally, 15 to 18 minutes for a simple wedding, 23 to 30 minutes for music, readings, and additional elements. We offer brief legal ceremonies for simple elopements and private weddings, and traditional wedding ceremonies for family events or larger celebrations.

Please see our ceremony samples, or just tell us what you want.

May we write our own vows? Of course. Once you have stated the legal vows as required by the Marriage Act, you can add anything you wish to say. We encourage you to look at our sample ceremonies and tell us what you would like in your ceremony, and we’ll accommodate you.
How do we include children? We can include them in the ceremony, or write a special part for them, depending upon their age, and your family wishes. We also provide baby-naming ceremonies – just ask.
Do we have to memorize our parts? No – we prompt you for everything (discreetly). You simply need to relax and enjoy yourselves
Do you allow photos and filming of the ceremony? Yes, but I like to meet with the photographers briefly before the ceremony to set up angles and block out the ceremony for them. We usually ask guests to turn off their cellphones.
What additional ceremonies may be added? A wine, tea, or sake ceremony. A memorial or unity candle-lighting. A sand or water mingling. A rose or dedication ceremony. Bread and salt, honey and date or sugar ceremony. Seven Steps, or Seven Blessings. Arrhae and veil, garland, stefana, red thread or handfasting. Non-religious cultural ceremonies from various traditions (Jewish, Buddhist, Celtic, Persian, etc.) Ask us for examples.
May we include live music or other performances? Of course. We always encourage participation, especially by friends and family. We can also recommend musicians.
Do you offer weekday ceremonies? Evenings or mornings? Special times or locations? Yes, we are available on weekdays, and on non-standard hours. We are happy to discuss alternate locations and circumstances – boats, backyards, balconies and beaches. We offer small private weddings in your home as well standard ‘weekend’ weddings.  Again, just ask.
Fees and Contracts and other details We’ll be happy to email you a sample contract and fee schedule. We have a sliding scale based on the size of your event, location and date. Just drop us a line, or fill in this form and let us know the approximate day, time, and location of your wedding (if you know it), and we’ll send you a free package of information.  If I am booked, I’ll recommend other officiants to contact.
Code of Ethics Ontario Humanist Society Officiants are governed by a Code of Ethics. Concerns relating to the performance of a Humanist Officiant as set out in the Ontario Humanist Society Professional Standards may be directed in writing to: Chair, Ceremonies Committee, Ontario Humanist Society, 265 Gore Street, Almonte, ON; K0A 1A0 or by email to: ethicalconcerns@ontariohumanists.ca