Here are the "short" answers to the most frequently asked questions.
For detailed information on a variety of topics, please check out my blog postings.
Be sure to read the "Getting Married in Manitoba" Blog.
For a specific outline of our mutual commitment see My Commitment to You
What services do you offer?
I am a licensed Commissioner of Marriages in Manitoba. In addition, I will help you to custom-design a ceremony that reflects your unique personalities. I would also be happy to preside over commitment ceremonies if you are in a common-law relationship. If you are planning a destination wedding, I offer legality ceremonies to register you marriage here and to avoid costly and inconvenient "red tape" that may be necessary in some jurisdictions. If you would like to renew your vows, I would be honoured to help you in that regard, as well.
Should you have a family member that you would like to preside over your ceremony, I can attend to provide the legal signing. As well, I can write a beautiful ceremony for your friend to deliver.
Do we have any input into the service?
Absolutely! Your wedding service should reflect your relationship. You may choose vows and readings from a varied selection, or you may write your own. I have worked with couples to create ceremonies that are meaningful and reflect their individuality. I love finding creative ways to include children, aspects of tradition and culture, and modern touches to ensure your wedding ceremony is perfect for you. I am also open to having friends and family share in the readings during the ceremony.
So, anything goes?
Not exactly. There are aspects of the service that must be included in order for your marriage to be legal in Manitoba. I have summarized the Vital Statistics information in a Blog entry or you may wish to visit http://vitalstats.gov.mb.ca//GettingMarried.html.
What about witnesses?
You must have two witnesses sign your marriage licence. These can be members of your wedding party (the best man and maid/matron of honour are typical choices), your parents or other family members, or friends. If you are eloping and do not want your friends and family to know, I can usually arrange for witnesses to be in attendance and sign the license if given sufficient notice. I would ask that you compensate them appropriately.
Where can we get married?
I am able to perform your wedding in the Province of Manitoba. You can be married anywhere that has a legal address or description. I am happy to travel within a few hours of Winnipeg, though travel expenses will be applicable. There are many beautiful venues in and around Winnipeg that would be perfect for your day. Hotels, private homes, and halls are typical locations, but consider others as well; I have performed ceremonies at such diverse sites as Fort Gibralter, Pantages Theatre, the Western Aviation Museum, and the St. Norbert Cultural Centre. I even captained a ceremony on board the Nonsuch! During the summer months I would be pleased to perform your "cottage country" wedding at Falcon Lake, West Hawk Lake, or other Eastern Manitoba locales. I am also willing to preside over ceremonies in Ontario, as long as the legal paperwork is completed in Manitoba. I have also married people in my home office. Check the Links page for information regarding Winnipeg's public parks.
Are you "inclusive"?
If you are in love and legally able to be married in the province of Manitoba, I would be absolutely delighted to be part of your special day. I am fiercely supportive of those in the LGBTTQTS community.
When are you available?
Check my calendar to see if your wedding date is available, then use the "Contact Us" form to email me directly. Please note that dates marked "pending" are technically available as deposits have not been paid. Should the date you are hoping for be marked "pending", contact me. Deposits must be paid within 1 week of booking in order for the date to be secured. I will certainly perform more than one wedding on a given day should time and travel allow for it.
Can we meet before we commit?
It makes sense that you might want to be sure that we "connect" before you entrust your wedding to me. Please understand that my time is valuable and that speculation meetings are not often possible. (I also have a "day job"!) I would be happy to connect with you via telephone, email, and Skype and am able to supply you with numerous references and testimonials. Should you feel strongly that we must meet first, please note that a $25 fee will apply. Refer to the Rates and Services page for more information.
What does the Marriage Commissioner wear to a wedding?
I believe that I should strive to look professional, elegant, and not take the the focus at the front. I do not wear robes. I typically (though not exclusively) wear black to perform a wedding and dress in a manner befitting the occasion (a dress or suit). There are a few photos of me "in action" on this site. On occasion, I have been asked to accessorize to fit the wedding theme (wear a corsage supplied by the wedding couple) and am usually happy to oblige. I wore a velvet frock coat to perform a ceremony on board the Nonsuch. If you are planning an all-out theme wedding (Hawaiian Luau? Star Wars?) we can see what we can arrange as long as the dignity of the marriage commissioner is not compromised (Princess Leia: yes; Slave Girl Leia:no). (That would be my call.)
What is the difference between a marriage ceremony and a commitment ceremony?
I am commissioned by the province to perform legal ceremonies and fill out the marriage registration documents. A commitment ceremony does not entail any legal paperwork, though my attention to detail in your ceremony remains the same. Couples who choose to a commitment ceremony are choosing to retain or begin a common-law relationship. They may also be renewing their vows.
Do you take care of all the paperwork?
You are responsible for acquiring the marriage licence. It is my job to complete and file the marriage registration documents. You and your fiance(e) must appear in person with the appropriate identification when you purchase your licence. There is a 24 hour waiting period between time of purchase and time of ceremony, and your licence is good for 3 months. Licences are readily available at many jewellery stores, wedding vendors, and at the Vital Stats office. I also know a private vendor in NK and would be happy to pass on that information. A list of vendors is also viewable on the Vital Stats web site.
The completion of the application for a Marriage Certificate is solely your responsibility.