As wedding officiants, we get questions every single day about what a wedding officiant is, if you actually need one, when to book one, etc.

We get why people have questions. Sometimes it feels like the wedding ceremony gets put on the back burner until it’s the week of your wedding and you think, “Wait a minute, who is going to actually marry us!?!”

At Young Hip & Married, we want your ceremony to be the most important and most incredible part of your wedding day. And a big part of making that happen is the person who is marrying you. When you take the time to plan your wedding ceremony and put thought into hiring your officiant, it pays off. After all, your ceremony is the reason for the awesome party afterwards! All of the outfits, food and decor are meaningless without the ceremony.

So, let’s dive into some wedding officiant FAQs so we can put the focus of your wedding day where it should be: Your marriage!

Vancouver wedding officiant at a helicopter elopement
by Erica Miller Photography

Do I need a wedding officiant in Canada? 

Yes, you need a wedding officiant or marriage commissioner to legally marry you in Canada. Unlike in the United States or in the movies, you cannot have a friend go online and get ordained to marry you in Canada.

But I wanted my friend to marry us!

Unfortunately, unless your friend is an officiant or commissioner, they can’t legally marry you. However, they can still be heavily involved in your wedding ceremony. Your friend can do a reading, give a speech or lead part of the ceremony – they just can’t do the legal bit.

And trust us, it’s almost always better to have an experienced professional officiate your wedding. While friendors (friend + vendor) are nice because they know us and work for cheap, sometimes you get what you pay (or don’t pay) for. With an experienced officiant, you’ll be confident that they will know what to say and do, that they can handle any bumps along the road, and that they will keep the attention on you two (instead of themselves!).

Wedding officiant at a backyard wedding ceremony
by Erica Miller Photography

How do I find a wedding officiant?

Great news, you’ve already found us! (All right, that’s a cheeky answer. But seriously, feel free to head to our locations page to see if we have a wedding officiant in your area.)

Other awesome ways to find an officiant:

  • Look for officiants in your area on The WeddingWire or The Knot
  • Do a Google search for “officiant + your city”
  • Ask friends and family members who officiated their wedding

How do I choose an officiant for my wedding?

Now that you know you need an officiant and you’ve found a few in your area, how do you actually choose the right one for your wedding? Start with these 15 questions to ask your officiant before you book. With those answered, you should have a pretty good idea of who you want to go with.

On your wedding day, you want to be comfortable with the person who is marrying you. You want to be confident that they’re going to show up, set the right tone and say the right things. From the moment you inquire until you receive your marriage certificate in the mail after your wedding, your experience with your officiant should be stress-free and positive.

Vancouver Young Hip & Married officiant in Stanley Park
by Erica Miller Photography

When do I need to book my wedding officiant?

2022 is shaping up to be a very busy year for weddings. So if you’re getting married in 2022 or 2023, you’ll want to book your wedding officiant as soon as possible. In order to book an officiant, you need to know the venue, date and time of your wedding. (Flexible with your date, time or venue? Let your officiant know!)

Unlike florists or bakers, officiants can only do one wedding at a time. And marriage commissioners can only marry couples in their specific area. Because of these constraints, it helps to inquire as early as possible. Booking early is even more important if you’re getting married on a popular day (i.e. any Saturday in the summer or early fall!).

We’ve had some couples book our officiants 12-18 months in advance and other couples book the week of their elopement. Of course, we prefer as much time as possible to match you with the best officiant and ensure the process is seamless for everyone.

What if I can’t find an officiant for my wedding?

If you can’t find an officiant, reach out to your network. Put the call out on Instagram or check local wedding groups on Facebook. Don’t forget to ask your other wedding vendors for recommendations too.

But what if you can’t have an officiant? For example, if you’re getting married abroad and don’t qualify for a legal ceremony. Many countries have strict rules where you need to be a resident, stay in the country for a certain number of days, conduct your ceremony in a foreign language and/or take a blood test in order to be legally married there.

In those cases, it’s usually easiest to do a legally ceremony at home before or after your destination wedding abroad. That way, you can take care of the paperwork in an intimate elopement, and rest easy on the beaches of Mexico or a vineyard in Tuscany knowing your legal marriage is all taken care of.

Vancouver wedding officiant in Golden Ears
by Erica Miller Photography

We hope we’ve answered your most pressing questions about wedding officiants and that we’ve been able to shed some light on what we do and why you need us for your wedding day. If you have any other questions, feel free to check out our past blog posts, send us a message or leave a comment below!


written by Riana Ang-Canning
feature image by Erica Miller Photography