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Want to have your friend marry you!? TV and Hollywood make it seem so simple to have a friend or family member officiate your wedding; Think Joey officiating Pheobe’s wedding to Mike on FRIENDS. In Ontario it’s not so simple. Richard from Our Wedding Celebrations, gives us the inside scoop on what you need to know to have your friend marry you.

1) A little background – there are only 3 elements that make a wedding “legal” in Ontario. The couple must obtain a MARRIAGE LICENCE issued by a Municipality in the Province. That Licence can be completed by an authorized person such as a Licenced Wedding Officiant. The ceremony can take place anywhere in the Province of Ontario regardless of the issuing Municipality. It is validated for 90 days from the date of issue. The proposed date and location of the wedding are NOT binding. The couple may marry anywhere on any date within the 90 days that the licence is valid.

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2) The couple must EXCHANGE VOWS or promises with one another. The Officiant must witness those vows but there is no prescribed wording for marriage vows in Ontario. The marriage act also says they must have intent to marry – my take on this is, if you don’t have intent, why did you get a licence, invite friends and family, etc. 

3) The Officiant MUST make a VERBAL PROCLAMATION of Marriage – “I now pronounce you…”

So, the short answer to that question ‘Can your friend marry you?” is yes, BUT…If you’re still interested in having your own personal Joey perform your wedding ceremony, there are two ways you can do this.


A quick and legal ceremony before or after the public event. This allows the friend to say and or do whatever they want. There are no restrictions on what they do or say if a licenced Officiant is not present for the public event. This quick & legal ceremony takes less then 10 minutes and requires the couple and two witnesses to be present.

Others are welcome and often are in attendance for the real thing. The legal ceremony can even happen on a difference day. As in the case for many couples that marry here in Canada before departing for their Destination Wedding.  Remember – your wedding anniversary is when you tell people it is or for them, when they witness your public ceremony. About 80% of the couple opt for this option.

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A co-hosted event with the Officiant present and performing at minimum the legal portions of the ceremony. With a co-hosted event the Officiant (at minimum) must hear the marriage vows, supervise the signing of the Marriage Licence and make the proclamation of Marriage. They can assist in any other parts of the ceremony as agreed on by the couple and the friend involved with the ceremony.

Couples wanting to have a friend not just participate in their ceremony, but perform it is a growing trend. This can be exceptionally great, funny and heart warming or a near disaster for the couple and their guests. In our opinion it’s all in the preparation on the part of the friend. But that’s another article. Richard from Our Wedding Celebration also offers use of his online ceremony planner and consultations to help your Joey plan the ceremony. 

ABOUT OUR WEDDING CELEBRATIONS: Our Wedding Celebrations know you don’t just want to go through the motions in your wedding ceremony – that’s why we help couples like you to create a fully customized celebration that expresses the depth of your love and commitment to each other in this sacred moment in time.

This ‘how to have your friend marry you’ article can be seen in the Spring/Summer 2024 issue of The Wedding Ring Magazine

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT OUR WEDDING CELEBRATIONS | To speak with Our Wedding Celebrations about your wedding options, you can reach them using the form below.

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