Is Your Officiant an Official Officiant?

When my wife and I got ‘married’ the first time, we wanted to do something wild and crazy, and we wanted to do it in our back yard, and we wanted our friend Sam to officiate.  Trouble was, Sam wasn’t a legally registered officiant.  So we knew if we went that way, we would eventually have to go see an actual, licenced officiant to get the job done in the eyes of the Province.  So we did.   We had our big backyard splash with our friends, and a month or so later headed out to Uxbridge to get legally married in a very small ceremony in a semi-detached house.  Job done, everyone happy.

Looking back, I realize it could easily have turned out very differently.  We found our official officiant on Kijiji, and I confess it never occurred to us to make sure she was for real.  Nor that people online might represent themselves as being something they’re not!  I know!  This was a long time time ago!  Kijiji, like the internet in general is a magical place where people’s dreams can come true; if you’ve always wanted to be, say, a guy that does weddings, you can put up a free ad to say you are a guy who does weddings. You can even charge money for it.  And if nobody checks you out, guess what?  You’re a guy who does weddings!

This is what happened to this poor couple, right here in Peterborough, a couple of years back.  This is not something that happens a lot; there are over 150,000 weddings every year in Ontario, and fewer than 40 a year were conducted by fraudulent officiants.  But really, if it happens to you, it only has to happen once, right?  Do yourself a favour – do your homework!

Peterborough couple learns their ‘officiant’ is unauthorized after ‘mortifying’ marriage ceremony.

Every licensed officiant in the Province is listed on the Government’s website, and, as you can see, for a Government website, it’s refreshingly simple to search!  Click on the books below and enter the magical world of Government files…

All 20,000 or so registered officiants in the Province of Ontario are listed in these pages, found in the Government’s very own Hogwarts Library.


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