With over a year of weddings under her belt, we thought it was about time you met our fantastic Vancouver Island wedding officiant, Melinda Orlowski!

Melinda is a ray of sunshine, bringing so much care and positivity to her couples and to the rest of the team here at Young Hip & Married. She also has an eye for spotting some of the best wedding locations on Vancouver Island, which she’ll be sharing with us in a future blog post!

Read on to learn all about Melinda, what she loves most about officiating and what you need to know about choosing your wedding vendors!

Please introduce yourself, Melinda! Who are you and what do you do?

My name is Melinda Orlowski, and I am an ordained minister, wedding officiant, life celebrant and metaphysical practitioner.

How long have you been officiating weddings?

I was ordained through the University of Sedona in July 2022, and I officiated my first wedding in October 2022. It’s the happiest job ever!

Young Hip & Married wedding officiant Melinda leading a ceremony on the beach on Vancouver Island
above & feature image by Jades Photos

When you’re not busy with weddings, how do you love to spend your time?

My partner Bill and I find our spirituality in nature and spend most of our leisure time foraging for wild food and hiking with two very active border collies.

In 2020, I was incredibly fortunate to connect with my biological family through Ancestry(dot)com. After a lifetime apart, we have been getting to know each other better. My sister has become my travel buddy.

As a former chef, I enjoy cooking and baking for my friends and family. And as a certified special events manager, I have a passion for planning special events.

I’m also a bit of a SJW (Social Justice Warrior), advocating for those who don’t have a voice. And I LOVE meditation. I try to meditate every day to stay grounded. I have a peaceful, happy life.

What is the best part about officiating weddings? The most challenging part?

The best part about officiating, aside from the wonderful couples I get to meet, is the authentic displays of emotion during the wedding… like when the couple sees each other for the first time, or when they recite their vows. Happy tears are my favourite emotion!

The most challenging elements of officiating are: (1) travel; and (2) hoping the couple remembers everything they are responsible for.

For one wedding, a wildfire shut down the road to Tofino, so it was a last minute scramble to travel to Whistler to marry my couple.

Another couple forgot to write their vows and asked me to make something up on the spot – that was a bit unnerving!

You definitely need to be adaptable in the wedding industry.

Share a wedding story! What’s the most memorable wedding you’ve ever officiated?

The most memorable wedding I’ve ever officiated was a surprise wedding at a tattoo shop. The couple had been together for 15 years. The bride had asked her fiance how he wanted to celebrate their anniversary, and he said, “Why don’t we get married?” To which she responded, “We don’t have time for that!”

Well, the groom sprung into action and conspired with the bride’s family, their friends, the owner of the tattoo shop and Young Hip & Married to arrange a secret surprise wedding. I was initially hesitant to officiate a wedding where one person didn’t even know they were getting married, but after a long discussion with the groom and lots of reassurance that she would say yes, we started planning.

When the couple arrived at the tattoo shop on the big day, all of their friends and family were there to greet them. We told the bride what her fiance had planned and she was SO THRILLED that he had gone through all that effort to surprise her. I made sure she was not being coerced into getting married, and when she said “Let’s do it,” the ceremony began. It was so much fun!

When meeting with a couple, what’s the first question you like to ask them?

The first question I like to ask a couple is, “Tell me your love story – how did you meet, when did you know they were the one, and how did the proposal go?” I find most couples LOVE to talk about how they met, and as a wedding officiant, it gives me really good insight into the couple’s dynamics.

Vancouver Island wedding with Young Hip & Married officiant Melinda
by Jayme Lang Photography

What is the best compliment a couple or wedding guest has ever given you?

So many wonderful moments… it’s hard to pick just one.

It was probably after officiating my first wedding. One family member said, “You did a beautiful job, that was such a nice ceremony. They are usually so boring and stiff.” I said “Pretty good for my first wedding, hey?” They were shocked and said, “Wow, you would never know!” That gave me a great confidence boost.

Then there was my Pender Bender couple, as I call them (they got married on Pender Island). Such lovely, gracious, beautiful people… the entire weekend felt like a big warm hug, and they followed up with one of the kindest reviews I’ve received so far. I even got a referral from them to another couple that I will be marrying soon!

If you had one piece of advice for couples looking for a Vancouver Island wedding officiant, what would it be?

When looking for a wedding officiant, find someone who is compatible with your own values, and make sure you really click. Your officiant is playing a part in one of the biggest days of your life, and everyone will have a better experience if they trust and connect with their officiant.

Have that interview – meet, discuss the vision for your wedding, and get to know each other so you feel comfortable. It’s all about the chemistry.

Eanimi & Emmanuel's wedding wedding with Officiant Melinda
by Taylor Dawning Photography

Who is your dream couple that you’d like to officiate for?

As a BC girl, I’d love to re-marry Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively. They are such fun, down to earth, kind people who are truly in love with each other. And Ryan is such a great Canadian icon. (Hey Ryan and Blake, if you want a vow renewal, hit me up!)

What is your dream ceremony setting?

Taking a helicopter up to the top of a glacier would be pretty cool!

Fun fact: I was once a witness for a helicopter wedding in the Grand Canyon, and that was very impressive.

Any other wedding dreams?

I would LOVE to do a Halloween-themed wedding, and I’m always up for a good wedding conspiracy to surprise family and friends. (I’ve done a few surprise weddings to date, and they have all been a blast!)

What song always gets you on the dance floor at weddings?

Sweet Caroline – a great one for all ages!

Thanks so much to Melinda for taking part in our officiant interview series. You can learn more about Melinda here and meet the rest of our Vancouver Island officiant team, plus check out all of our wedding packages.

Ready to get married on Vancouver Island? Get in touch to book your wedding officiant today!