When it comes to planning a wedding, most couples know they need to book a venue, a photographer and a caterer. And they know they need someone to marry them, but who? For couples looking for a personal ceremony without a specific religious angle, a non denominational wedding officiant might be the perfect fit.

But what is a non denominational wedding officiant and what kind of ceremonies are they right for? Find out below!

What is a non denominational wedding officiant? 

A non denominational wedding officiant is perfect for couples who want a meaningful and personal wedding ceremony that is not under any specific religious institution. Depending on the couple and the officiant, a non denominational ceremony could still include some spiritual or religious practices.

Technically the term “non denominational” refers to a person or thing that is religious (usually Christian) but not under a specific denomination. For example, you may have heard of non denominational churches that are broadly Christian, but not a specific sect of Christianity, such as Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, etc.

However, most people use the term “non denominational wedding officiant” to mean an officiant who is non-religious or who doesn’t officiate weddings under a religion. In this case, the term “secular” (meaning non-religious) is probably more accurate than non denominational (meaning religious, but not under a specific religious denomination).

All of the wedding officiants at Young Hip & Married would fall under the non denominational or secular category: regardless of their personal beliefs or any faith-based organizations they may be a part of, all of our officiants will joyfully marry couples of any, all and no faiths. Religion is never included in a Young Hip & Married wedding ceremony unless requested by the couple. 

young hip and married helicopter elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

Civil wedding officiant VS non denominational wedding officiant: What’s the difference? 

What is the difference between a civil wedding officiant and a non denominational wedding officiant? Both would perform non religious ceremonies, or ceremonies not under a specific sect of a religion.

However a civil officiant is usually a government official, like a marriage commissioner or Justice of the Peace. They generally have less freedom and flexibility with their ceremonies, such as only being allowed to officiate in certain locations or having to say specific things in their ceremony script.

Find out what the difference is between a marriage commissioner and a wedding officiant!

A non denominational officiant is usually independent – i.e. not employed by the government – giving them more freedom, flexibility and creativity to personalize your ceremony. While they may be licensed under a religious organization, if they are non denominational or secular, they should be able to officiate a wedding without any religious aspects.

non denominational wedding officiant with young hip and married, beach wedding
by John Bello Photography

Can we still include aspects of our religions into a non denominational wedding ceremony?

Absolutely! At Young Hip & Married, our wedding officiants love blending different languages, cultures, religions and beliefs to ensure your ceremony is personalized to you two and your loved ones. Because our officiants come from a non denominational and secular starting point, any religious inclusions would be requested by you and welcomed by your officiant.

With our Creative & Custom wedding package, your officiant will design a ceremony that tells your story and represents who you are. You can incorporate prayers, readings, unity ceremonies and so much more!

If it’s important to you to include your religious beliefs in your ceremony, make sure you talk with your officiant about this ahead of time. They should be receptive and supportive of your ideas and help to make sure your ceremony is as meaningful as possible.

non denominational wedding officiant and young hip and married
by Franki Lee Photo

Can we get married in a church with a non denominational wedding officiant?

It depends. If you are getting married in a non denominational church or non denominational religious institution, they will likely have officiants connected with their organization who can marry you. If you’d like to bring in your own officiant but still get married under the church or on their property, you’d have to speak with the church leaders.

If the church or religious institution you’ve selected is under a specific denomination, they are less likely to allow officiants from outside of that denomination to marry you. If it’s important to you to get married there, speak with the church leaders to see what accommodations can be made or if there’s any flexibility with the ceremony script they usually use.

stanley park vancouver elopement with young hip and married
by John Bello Photography

Planning a civil wedding ceremony? 7 reasons to choose a non denominal officiant for your wedding ceremony: 

Training & professionalism: Non denominational wedding officiants usually have to undergo specific training on how to officiate weddings, separate from any government or religious training. They are usually experienced officiants with many weddings under their belt.

And if they belong to a larger organization (like Young Hip & Married) they will have a dedicated customer service team behind them to assist in your booking and a talented pool of back-up officiants, should an emergency arise on your wedding day.

Customization: When an officiant isn’t bound to a specific religious or government ceremony script, they are able to customize the ceremony to you. This may mean incorporating your own faith, the faiths of your families, your beliefs and spirituality, or no mention of religion at all.

Flexibility: Wedding officiants can offer more flexibility to couples. Instead of only being able to marry couples inside a church, at a courthouse or within a few miles of home, our wedding officiants will hike, bike, canoe, helicopter ride and sail to wherever you want to tie the knot!

Focus on you: A non denominational officiant can focus on what’s important to you – not what a religious organization thinks is important. They can tell your love story and create a script based solely on you two.

Personalization: If you’re looking for a personalized experience for your wedding ceremony, a non denominational officiant is the way to go. From meeting you over coffee to hear about your love story and interviewing your friends and family to leading your rehearsal and officiating on the big day, your wedding officiant is going to create a ceremony experience that is reflective of who you are.

Creativity: Wedding officiants have the option to be more creative than marriage commissioners or religious officiants can be. Since they’re not tied to a specific script or setting, they can incorporate creative elements and design a completely custom ceremony. In your backyard in French? On the beach and featuring a surprise musical performance? At your local coffee shop with your favourite barista as your witness? Let’s do it!

Inclusivity: One of the reason why all of our Young Hip & Married officiants offer secular and non denominational ceremonies is because we want your wedding to be as inclusive as possible. We know many couples and their guests feel excluded by certain religions or in religious settings, and we want your wedding to be a welcoming and celebratory place for all!

Meet our team of non denominational wedding officiants and book your ceremony package today!