Frequently Asked Questions

 Photo credit: Artiese Photography

Photo credit: Artiese Photography

What is a Life-cycle Celebrant?

A life-cycle celebrant is a specialist in ceremony and ritual who is professionally trained and experienced in developing unique, personalized ceremonies for marking and celebrating life major accomplishments and transitions. Anyone may use the title of “celebrant” including those without this specialization. However, “Certified Life-cycle Celebrant®” is reserved for those who are certified by the Celebrant Foundation & Institute and adhere to a Code of Ethics and standards of the profession. (These standards are reflected in the answers to questions below.)

Life-cycle celebrants create and officiate at ceremonies for marriage, birth, adoption, baby naming, coming of age, divorce, retirement, healing, end of life and death, and more. The most popular roles for a life-cycle celebrant are doing weddings and funerals.

How do I select the right wedding celebrant?

The wedding celebrant is the person who will help you create the ceremonial beginning of your life together. This person will also be the officiant who performs your marriage ceremony, witnessing your vows. You must have the right person for this important role.

The “fit’ between you is crucial. Take the time to learn about the celebrant you are considering. Ask all the questions you have to be sure that you are comfortable with and trust the person to consider your hopes and dreams, and take care of your ceremony on that special day. Sonia Beverley offers you time to get to know each other at no cost.

What qualifications should I look for in a celebrant?

The most important qualifications are your emotional connection with and trust in the celebrant; and, will you have fun working with this person?  

To assess these qualifications, find out:

  • The celebrant’s professional values, training and experience
  • If the celebrant really loves doing this work and cares about doing it well
  • Exactly how the ceremony is developed and customized – if you are picking from a menu of formats and vows, it is not being designed just for you
  • If the celebrant has the knowledge to suggest rituals, traditions, readings and other elements suitable to your cultural, ethnic and spiritual beliefs
  • If the celebrant will be comfortable with your family, friends and aspirations for the ceremony
  • If you are comfortable with the celebrant’s style and sense of humour
  • What your role is in creating and finalizing the ceremony
  • If you are comfortable expressing your preferences and concerns to the celebrant
  • Who the celebrant engages with to create your ceremony
  • How the celebrant manages the ceremony on the day
  • If the celebrant will book another wedding on the same day as yours
  • If there is a written contract and what the terms are
  • What exactly is included in the fee
  • If desired, is the celebrant authorized to perform and register legal marriages in that Province?

Can all celebrants perform legal marriages?

Only celebrants registered to perform legal marriages may do so. A person who is registered to perform legal marriages in one province in Canada may be authorized to perform marriages in other provinces. Celebrancy credentials do not qualify a celebrant to perform legal marriages. An unregistered celebrant may create the ceremony, but a legal marriage must be witnessed and solemnized by a provincially registered marriage officiant. Sonia Beverley is a celebrant who will be able to perform a legal marriage for you.

How do we decide what kind of ceremony to have?

Discuss your wishes and ideas together as a couple to decide how important the ceremony itself is to you.Do you feel deeply about the ceremony and need to it be unique and very meaningful to you? Do you want your family and friends attending to be engaged in it and share a powerful experience with you? Do you want an unconventional ceremony lovingly divined and staged collaboratively with you? Explore these questions during your initial conversations with Sonia Beverley who is expert in the art of ritual, then you may work together to produce the perfect one for you.

What is our role in developing the ceremony?

Your role is to help the celebrant to know you very well and to know your story. Share your individual and shared heritage, accomplishments, interests, values, preferences, beliefs, wishes – everything that you bring to the life decision you have made with each other. Identify all the people and messages you want included or excluded. All these details will not be used in the ceremony, but they will help Sonia Beverley consider possibilities and sculpt a ceremony to your unique mold. Most important, your job is to approve of all aspects of the ceremony and sign-off on the final version.

Can we write our own vows?

You sure can! When you write your vows, you contribute in a very tangible way to your unique ceremony. Sonia Beverley is happy to help you do so. She can provide samples and ideas, and will edit them for you, if you wish. If you choose to surprise each other with your vows on the day, she will work with each of you so they complement each other, e.g. in length.

When and how do I get a marriage licence?

You must have a valid marriage licence to be married by Sonia Beverley. Be sure to check on the requirements for getting a marriage licence in the Province and/or Municipality in which you are getting married. That is where you must get the marriage licence. In most places, you may get a marriage licence on the same day you get married. However, it is best to get the licence in advance. Typically, a licence is good for 3 months from the date of issue.

Are there special requirements for a marriage licence if one of us is divorced?

If divorced in Canada, you will need to provide official proof of the divorce with you when you apply for a marriage licence. Verify the requirement in the Province in which you are getting married, however in most jurisdictions, this proof has to be the original or a court-certified copy of one of three documents:

  • The final decree
  • The final judgment
  • A certificate of divorce
 Photo credit: James Looker Photography

Photo credit: James Looker Photography


“Take the attitude of a student; never be too big to ask questions, never know too much to learn something new.”
Og Mandino