Frequently Asked Questions:
How Long Before the Wedding Should We Book an Officiant?

It is best to book early!  I suggest six to twelve months before your wedding date to make sure you get the date you really want.
Saturdays are the first to go.
Some months are busier than others, especially June through September.
But email me even if you have just decided to get married.  I may have an availability anyway.

How Long Does the Ceremony Take?

I tell couples to budget thirty minutes for the entrance, the ceremony, the signing, and the recessional.
For me the key is the start up time as I may be heading off to another wedding.
I often book several ceremonies for the same date.  In consideration of other couples, your ceremony must start as scheduled or I will have to leave and return later at additional cost.

What Time Does the Officiant Arrive?

I arrive one half hour or so before the ceremony.  In every case you should give me an on site telephone number.

Can We Write Our Own Vows?

Yes, absolutely.  I actually encourage it for a personal touch.

Do We Have to Memorize Our Vows?

No. You repeat them after me. I give them to you slowly.
If you want to recite your own vows, which rarely happens, I will still have them in my ceremony copy to support you in case you need some prompting. 

What Name Do I Use When I Sign the Marriage Licence and the Ceremony Marriage Documents?

Sign the name that is on your current driver's licence. You begin using your assumed name after your wedding.

Can Our Children Take Part in Our Ceremony?

I encourage it.  It helps them feel more part of the family and less left out.  I can give you a list of several options for their involvement depending on their age.  They range from handing out programs, to you making a commitment to them during the ceremony.  Keep in mind, children are unpredictable and have a knack of providing a degree of comic relief.  If you want a serious, perfectly run ceremony, including young children may not be the best option.  

Is a Wedding Rehearsal Necessary?

Yes, I feel it is. 
We rehearse a short version of the entire wedding ceremony during the week prior to the wedding day at the chosen venue.  This includes the entire bridal party, children, and any parents, music too if possible.  
It is typically held at 7:00pm, giving everyone an appropriate amount of time to get to the venue after work.  We work on processional order, timing, ceremony placement, location and order of document signing, recessional, etc.
It should take less than an hour, but must be started on time, as I may have another commitment the same evening.
I find knowing where you are supposed to be when, makes everyone feel more at ease on the wedding day.  It removes one less anxiety.

What Does the Officiant Wear?

In most cases, I wear temperature appropriate black
business attire.
In a formal setting I wear a robe. 
An outfit to suit your theme can be worn upon request.
If a costume rental is required, it is at your cost.

Where and When Do I Purchase My Licence?

You purchase it at the City Hall in the city where you will be married.  The licence is good for 90 days.
To get a licence one needs to obtain an application.  The application can be picked up any time, or printed from my website, and it explains the necessary legal documentation that you will need to obtain the licence.
In most cases, you can pick up the application and licence the same day.  They type it up while you wait.
Please get it to me as soon as possible, at the latest, 30 days before the ceremony.  (Both 8 1/2" x 14" pages & the brown envelope it comes in.)

Note: There are issues if one of you has been divorced outside of Canada.

How Long Must I Wait from the Time I Purchase the Licence to the Time I Get Married?

You can be married the same day you purchase your licence. There is no waiting period in Ontario.
For an elopement, I prefer to have the licence in my hands at least 24 hours before the ceremony so I have time to do the appropriate paperwork in advance.  If the elopement is more spur of the moment, you may have to wait after the ceremony while I complete the paperwork.

How Do I Change My Name in Ontario after the Ceremony?

In most cases, you simply assume your spouse's last name and just start using it.
In short, spouses may take the other spouses last name, either name. You just inform your employer, credit card companies, banks, and other institutions that you are married.
Give them a photocopy of the ‘record of solemnization of marriage’ you will receive from your Officiant at the ceremony.
The above is proof that you are married for most things.  Some places require the original and not a copy of the record of marriage i.e. health card, social insurance number card, etc.  They will take their own photocopy for their records.

As of Monday January 23rd 2006, the Ministry Of Transportation no longer accepts your ‘Record Of Solemnization Of Marriage’ as proof of marriage for a name change.  You now need to produce a ‘Marriage Certificate’.  This must be ordered from the Office of the Registrar General.  You will have to wait 12 weeks after your wedding ceremony before you can mail in an application purchasing your certificate.  The 7” x 8 ¼” certificate is $15.00.
(See Fee:
Most marriage licensing offices will include this application form in the brown envelope you get with your license.  You give the licence and envelope go to me, you keep the rest.  If you do not get the application form or no longer have it, you can order your certificate on-line at this link:

How Are Payments Made to Weddings Of Love?

If you invite me to conduct your ceremony I require an initial 50% non-refundable cash deposit, or email money transfer (no cheques), to hold your wedding date. This is pretty much standard policy now for Officiants.

Once your deposit has been received, your wedding ceremony and rehearsal times can not be changed without written permission by me.  Other couples’ events, on the same day, could be negatively affected by an unexpected changes.

The balance is then paid by cash, email money transfer, certified cheque, or money order, made out to “Chris J. Love”, at the latest, 30 days prior to the wedding ceremony.  If the balance payment is not made in time, it will be assumed that my services are no longer required.

If your wedding is cancelled in that final 30 day period, there will be no refund, as several other weddings may have been turned away to save that date for you.

If your wedding is postponed prior to that 30 day period, your payments will be used towards a new wedding date, assuming I also have that date available.  This option is only available once.

Will You Be Joining Us for Dinner?

No, I am there for the ceremony only, as I may be heading off to another wedding.
I may linger a bit after the ceremony to take few pictures of my own.  (A few of them may be used on my website.) 
Please send me a copy of your invitation anyway, complete with enclosures, so that I have accurate directions to your ceremony venue.  I would love a favorite wedding photo emailed to me for use in my scrapbook or on my website.

What do we bring to our consultation?

Please feel free to bring any of your wedding planning materials, sketches, venue layouts, and a list of any questions you may have.

What happens after we have given you our deposit to hold our wedding date?

I overload you with paperwork.  I email you 8 or more sample ceremonies, tons of vows and approximately 45 readings.  You then wade through the paperwork, cut and paste together the pieces that suit you, adding in anything you find in books or the internet that will make the ceremony more personal to you.  Feel free to be creative.

You then email it back to me, preferably within a week of our consultation.
I put it in my ceremony format, make sure it flows properly and has all the required legal bits.  I then fax it to you to proof read, mark-up and sign off on with the date and both of your signatures.  That's it!

I am always available to you via email for support and guidance.

Please send me a copy of your wedding invitation, complete with inserts.  This ensures I have all the same times, addresses and directions as everyone else.  I will later use it for my scrapbook.

Once the final payment and marriage licence have been received, we don't meet again until your rehearsal, if I am needed.

What if I would like to register a complaint?

Comments relating to breaches of the Ontario Humanist Society Officiant Code of Ethics (available at may be directed in writing to the Chair, Ethical and Complaint Resolution Sub-Committee of the Officiant Ceremony Committee of Ontario Humanist Society, 265 Gore Street, Almonte,  Ontario  K0A 1A0, or email

What if my experience is a positive one?

Tips are not expected.  If you are happy with the service you received, referrals, tips, thank you notes and positive feedback are greatly appreciated. Please send comments directly to Chris Love on the pre-addressed card provided to you, or via email to:

"Why do Officiants charge so much for a half hour of work?"

(Please keep in mind that Ministers, Priests, etc. collect a salary plus receive an Officant does not.  Our fee is our income.)

It takes an average of 10 hours of work per ceremony: 
- consultations 
- scheduling 
- emails, phone calls 
- a lot of chasing brides to get ceremony, vow & reading choices (sometimes
  this alone takes months) 
- sometimes research for a particular ceremony (definitely the benefit of tons  
  of research over the years + education / training) 
- ceremony prep, proof-reads, approvals, updates, modifications, last minute
  changes, re-approvals 
- ceremony practice time 
- travel time + mileage to & from rehearsal 
- waiting before rehearsal 
- co-ordinating rehearsal 
- travel time + mileage to & from wedding
- waiting before ceremony 
- performing ceremony 
- sometimes mingling after ceremony 
- paperwork, paperwork...paperwork...overhead costs (including advertising) 
- (not to mention the time lost with their own significant others on the
  weekends,..usually Friday night & part of Saturday, when significant   
  others are at home) 

Here's the most important part: 

Your Officiant is a licensed professional without which there would be no marriage
It is the least expensive cost in the typical wedding, yet the only part that is really required. 
You can have a wedding without flowers or centrepieces. 
You can't have a legal marriage without an Officiant. 

Be careful where you cut your corners!     :)

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