I have been officiating weddings for a very long time. For a couple of decades they were straight-out-of-the-Anglican prayerbook weddings. That was a good thing, since I was an Anglican priest in those days. The couple was usually someone I knew from the church family and there was a process to getting married - booking, meetings, rehearsal, wedding. The church secretary and the altar guild looked after the rest.
As an Anglican priest, I couldn't solemnize a wedding outside of the sanctuary. No backyards. No fields. No banquet halls or hotels. My turf was the church.
There were times when friends would ask if I could marry them and they could come to the church for the ceremony. I once did a ceremony for my best friend in Bermuda - but we did the legal thing in Toronto first, as I had no license or jurisdiction in that part of the world. It was awesome. Truly memorable in so many ways.
Things have changed in the wedding world and the church's perception of it. Now that I am with a small inclusive independent church, I can marry a couple literally anywhere in Ontario. That gives lots of scope for interesting ceremonies. As long as the Marriage Act is satisfied for the legal part, the couple can have a wedding that reflects their personality. That can be a lot of fun.
When a couple is looking for an officiant, it is important that they feel comfortable with that person. Do they ask questions about the couple and how they met? Do they explain clearly what is entailed in their ceremony and their time with the wedding couple? Are they flexible, or just offer one set ceremony? Can changes be made? Can things be added?
There are lots of people out there who are performing weddings. Some come at it from a religious perspective and some are more open, offering some options as to what you can do.
There are many officiants who are limited in what they can do as far as weddings are concerned. Depending on their denomination or religious organization, they may not be allowed to perform same-sex weddings.
It is always a good idea to check out their information if you are a same-gender or trans-gender couple before you call. I talk to many couples who've been rejected, scolded, or worse, simply because they were looking for a person to perform their wedding. It is one of the reasons we have launched this website. The people you find listed are welcoming and happy to assist in any aspect of your wedding.
When a couple connects with the right officiant, they know it. Dialogue is easy. There is genuine interest in the ceremony, the details, and an openness to making it a joyful and meaningful experience. Working together, a ceremony is created that will conform to the legal requirements yet include elements that will make the wedding memorable.
The secret is finding that officiant who loves the wedding as much as you do. Happy hunting!