Designated Officiants

What’s a designated officiant?

A designated officiant is a family member, relative, or friend chosen by the couple who will be responsible for ensuring that certain legal formalities are respected before, during, and after the wedding ceremony.

Who can be a designated officiant?

Your designated officiant can be any person who is a Canadian citizen, 18 years of age or older, and who meets the eligibility requirements of the Directeur de l’état civil

What are the benefits of having a designated officiant?

  • It can bring a very emotional and personal touch to your wedding ceremony if the person you choose means a lot to both of you and your relationship.
  • This person may be more comfortable taking a long hike or traveling far from home for your intimate wedding.

How long will it take to apply for a designated officiant?

The Directeur de l’état civil recommends submitting your application around 4 months before the wedding date. Sometimes the time frame is shorter (2 months), but leave yourself enough time to avoid stressing out about it.

To learn more about the time and cost of applying for a designated officiant, click here.

What are the steps to apply to have a designated officiant?

  1. Submit an application

    For a loved one to act as a designated officiant for your wedding, they must fill out an Application for the Designation of an Officiant of a Marriage or Civil Union and send it to the Directeur de l’état civil.

    The designation and the application process are free!

    For more information about designated officiants:
  2. Wait for the phone interview with the Directeur de l’état civil
    Upon review of the application for the designation, the Directeur de l’état civil will contact your designated officiant to ensure that they meet the eligibility requirements and understands their obligations as an officiant.
  3. Receipt of the ‘Officiant’s Guide’ by mail
    Once – and if – the request for designation is accepted by the Directeur de l’état civil, your designated officiant will receive by mail the “Officiant’s Guide” containing all the necessary documents as well as their authorization number to celebrate your wedding ceremony.

    Read more about the Directeur de l’état civil’s decision:
  4. Read the “Officiant’s Guide”
    This guide contains all the vital information the designated officiant will need as well as their obligations, before, during, and after the ceremony. Your officiant must take the time to read it to better understand their responsibilities.
  5. Meet the couple
    The designated officiant is now responsible for ensuring that all the legal formalities of the intimate wedding are respected and must first meet the couple to:
    • Verify that they both meet the requirements of the law (verify their identity, age, whether they are related, marital status, etc.).
    • Gather all the necessary official documents of the couple and make copies of them
    • Fill in the necessary forms with the couple’s information
    • Discuss with the couple to understand their vision for their ceremony, the tone they want to set, what elements of their personalities or their relationship they want to emphasize, if they want to include a particular ritual or if they want to create a new one. This step is super important because it’s at this stage that the designated officiant will gather all the necessary information to create a personalized ceremony for the couple.
  6. Build a seamless and cohesive ceremony
    After better understanding the couple’s vision for their intimate wedding ceremony, the officiant will need to ensure that they create a seamless and cohesive ceremony that showcases the couple’s personality and celebrates their union.
  7. Publish the notice of marriage
    The officiant will be responsible for publishing the notice of marriage on the website of the Directeur de l’état civil 24 to 23 days before the wedding date. It is vital to submit the publication in time or the legal ceremony will not be able to take place!

    Learn more about publishing a notice of marriage or civil union:

    Link to publish a notice of marriage or civil union:
  8. Respect the obligations during the wedding ceremony
    • Read the required articles of the Civil Code of Quebec
    • Receive the individual consent of each of the future spouses in the presence of two witnesses
    • Complete the “Declaration of Marriage” form and have the couple, witnesses and officiant sign it
    • Fill out the “Return of Marriage” form and have the couple sign it
    • Declare the couple united in marriage
  9. Make a copy of the “Return of Marriage” form
  10. Send the original of the “Return of Marriage” form
    Within 8 days following the celebration of the intimate wedding, the officiant must send the original “Return of Marriage” form to the Institut de la statistique du Québec.
  11. Send the “Declaration of Marriage’ and other necessary documents
    The officiant must send the original completed and signed “Declaration of Marriage” form along with a photocopy of the necessary official documents of the couple.

    To learn more about the necessary steps after the ceremony, click here.

Things to keep in mind before choosing to have a designated officiant:

Keep in mind that being a designated officiant is not an easy task that can be delegated to just anyone. This person will play a key role on your big day as they will be responsible for the most important element of your intimate wedding or elopement, the ceremony.

Beyond taking care of the legal formalities, your officiant for the day will also be responsible for creating a coherent ceremony that is meaningful to you. This is not a role to be taken lightly and will require work before your wedding day.

If, on the other hand, you prefer the peace of mind of knowing that a professional will take care of all the legalities of your intimate wedding and create a personalized, seamless ceremony to give your new married life an unforgettable start, hiring a professional officiant would be the perfect alternative.