Your Knot, Your Way
Tie, retie or tighten your commitment to each other!
Want to get married? I can help!
Often when people fall in love they want to get married and “tie” the knot. Some want to publically announce their commitment to each other. Traditionally, lovers had been married in churches, as it was considered a holy sacrament.
Some people are having difficulty getting into a church for a nuptials, or they don’t want to get married in a church. I am sure there are hundreds of reasons why folks choose to not get married in a house of worship. Some church services are out of a couple’s budget. Some churches won’t allow you to marry in them if you are not a member of their congregation. Other couples have mixed faiths. It can be complicated. It doesn’t have to be!
There are many reasons why people choose to get married by a Marriage Commissioner versus a member of the clergy such as couple having different faiths, the absence of faith, being spiritual but not religious, unfavourable experiences with the church, not believing in the church, not being able to get married in the church due to sexual orientation, not having enough time to plan ahead, etc. Sometimes people want to elope and don’t want a big fuss. Others can’t afford a big wedding ceremony and reception. (FYI, same-sex marriage was legalized in Canada in 2005.)
There are also those who are already committed to each other and want to renew their commitment and/or wedding vows. Perhaps they want to “retie” the knot or “tighten it.” After a certain number of years, sometimes it is nice to celebrate an anniversary by having a Marriage Commissioner help you renew your vows in front of a small (or large!) gathering of family and friends.
How Much it Costs to Get Married
In Manitoba, to get married, you need a marriage license. It costs about $100. Find your license at any of these License Issuers, including some jewelry stores, golf clubs and flower shops. Then you will want to apply to have a copy of the Marriage Certificate sent to you, which is $30. The marriage license has to be obtained at least 24-hours before the wedding and it is valid for three months. The Marriage Commissioner services vary in price, from $75 to $450 depending on what is required.
Becoming a Marriage Commissioner
The Marriage Commissioner (MC) or Wedding Officiant (WO) is an outstanding member of the community who is appointed the responsibility of ensuring the required wedding vows are said and witnessed. To become an MC, also know as a wedding officiant, in Manitoba you must fill out a personal resume and three letters of character reference are required. You must be a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, and you also have to be a permanent resident of Manitoba. This appointment is good for five years, and it costs $100.
The Role of the Marriage Commissioner
The MC is responsible for completing and filing your marriage registration document. He or she will also mail in your completed marriage license (if you want a copy of your marriage certificate, you have to apply to Vital Statistics to get it). Also, it is a time commitment on the MCs part to meet with you, talk with you on the phone/email/text and be there for the ceremony. Some MCs charge more, some less. A basic rate is $50 plus fees for any related expenses such as travel, and it can go up to $200 or more, depending on the time commitment, travelling distance and other requirements as expressed by the happy couple.
Listings of Marriage Commissioners in Manitoba:
I’ve been happily married since 1990. I know the value and importance of marriage and commitment. If you are interested in my non-denominational, open to all belief systems services, please contact me using the form below.
Angela G. Gentile
Angela G. Gentile MSW, RSW is a clinical social worker and author. She lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba with her husband and has two adult children. She is the creator and administrator of many Facebook communities including the “Marriage Commissioner Wedding Officiant Network (MaCWON)” and “Aging Well for Women.” For more information, visit: www.AngelaGGentile.com