If you’re looking to get legally married, you’ll need to find a licensed wedding officiant to marry you. Without one, your marriage won’t be registered, you won’t be able to sign your licence, and you won’t receive a marriage certificate. But how do you find a licensed wedding officiant in BC to make sure your marriage is legit?

Let’s dive in and find out!

Who can marry couples in BC?

In British Columbia, a marriage commissioner or a wedding officiant can legally marry couples. Marriage commissioners are government officials and wedding officiants are independently licensed. There are also religious officiants, who are licensed and officiate weddings through their religious institution, such as a priest who can marry couples at a church.

What’s the difference between a marriage commissioner and a wedding officiant? We’re glad you asked! We wrote a blog post all about that.

And check out this blog post to learn more about who can perform a marriage in BC

Can a Justice of the Peace marry us?

In British Columbia, a Justice of the Peace is not able to marry couples. However, in other locations, JoPs do have this ability. To learn more, check out this blog post all about getting married by a Justice of the Peace.

Can a celebrant marry us?

A celebrant (also called a “wedding celebrant” or “marriage celebrant”) is usually the same as a wedding officiant – someone who is independently licensed to marry couples. The words “celebrant” and “officiant” can be used interchangeably. “Celebrant” is more commonly used in the UK and Australia whereas “officiant” is more common in North America.

licensed wedding officiant with young hip & married
by Amber Leigh Photography

How do I become a wedding officiant in BC?

Unlike in the movies, you cannot simply go online and get ordained in British Columbia. While this is possible in some places in the world, like in the US, you cannot legally marry couples this way in British Columbia.

In order to become a wedding officiant in BC, you need to be licensed. Every licensing body has their own specifications. Many require potential officiants to go through specific training or be members of certain groups in order to qualify for licensing.

Similarly, there are certain criteria that must be met if you’d like to become a marriage commissioner in BC (the other type of person who can legally marry couples). This criteria can be found on the BC government website but includes requirements such as being partially retired and living in a specific location where commissioners are needed.

How do I get a wedding officiant licence?

Wedding officiants are usually licensed through a religious or spiritual institution. However, many (like those at Young Hip & Married!) are still able to deliver secular, non-denominational ceremonies without any mention of religion, if that’s what you’re looking for.

And in case you’re wondering: Young Hip & Married is not able to license people at this time! Many people who are interested in officiating reach out to us hoping to join our team. As much as we’d love to have you, we’re not able to license officiants. However, if you are already a licensed wedding officiant and want to join our team, get in touch!

amanda & michael with young hip and married officiant lauren
by John Bello Photography

How do I find a licensed wedding officiant?

Congratulations, you’ve found us! Every Young Hip & Married team member is a licensed wedding officiant who is able to legally marry couples. Meet our team and find an officiant in your area! 

Looking for more wedding officiant options or we don’t currently serve your area? Find out how to find a wedding officiant in this post! 

How to check if a wedding officiant is legal:

So you’ve found a wedding officiant, but how do you know that they are licensed and can legally marry you?

Start by checking out their website. Licensed wedding officiants should state on their website that they can legally marry you, complete the necessary paperwork and register your marriage. If you can’t find this information on their website, reach out and ask. A reputable officiant company should be able to confidently and quickly answer your question.

You can also read reviews about the officiant or check with your other vendors. Both past couples and current wedding vendors should be able to tell you if the wedding officiant you’ve chosen is licensed and legal.

Why would someone want to book a wedding officiant who isn’t licensed? 

Sometimes, couples don’t need a licensed wedding officiant for their ceremony. For example, if a couple is planning a destination wedding, they may take care of the legal part at home before or after their international wedding. For the legal signing ceremony at home, they would require a licensed officiant who could sign their paperwork.

But for their destination wedding, they wouldn’t need someone to legally marry them. In that case, they may ask a friend or family member to perform the ceremony. Or, they may still want a professional officiant with experience to lead their ceremony – but just skip the signing of the marriage licence!

Or if a couple is renewing their vows, they wouldn’t require a legal ceremony since they are already legally married. For their renewal ceremony, they may still want to hire a wedding officiant to write a custom ceremony and deliver it in front of their guests. Once again, whether this person is licensed or not wouldn’t matter since the couple doesn’t require a legal ceremony.

Meet our team of licensed wedding officiants and book your ceremony package now!