In British Columbia, couples can choose a religious or civil ceremony for their marriage. Civil ceremonies are performed by Marriage Commissioners, who are private citizens appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Vital Statistics Agency.
Most recently in the North Thompson area, Marriage Commissioner Bonnie CruzelleMyram is retiring from that position after a decade of joining couples together in civil ceremonies.
Barriere resident Leslie Stirling will be taking Bonnie’s place, and the new ‘commish’ is all smiles regarding the appointment.
“I am quite excited. In fact I am really excited about it,” said Leslie in an interview last week, “I think it’s a really cool thing to do.”
Marriage commissioners are permitted to stay only a maxim of 10 years in the position. CruzelleMyram’s 10 year date was up in September of this year, but she says that due to personal health reasons she resigned early in May, and Stirling is now the person to contact.
“I really enjoyed the 10 years I served as the Marriage Commissioner for this area,” said Bonnie, “I wish Leslie all the best, and I know she will do a really good job.”
Leslie says she has spent a considerable amount of time over the years being involved with her church, but wants to advise folks that in this new position she will be officiating over civil ceremony marriages, which will not be religious services.
“I already have three weddings booked, and will be doing the first one on June 16,” said Leslie, “I turned 65 last Saturday; no one can tell me you can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”
You can contact Leslie Stirling at 250-672-5706, or go to http://www.vs.gov.bc.ca/marriage/howto.html for more information on civil marriage ceremonies.
The private Marriage Commissioner program administered by the Vital Statistics Agency has been in operation since 1982. The program has grown to a current level of over 340 Marriage Commissioners performing approximately 57 per cent of the roughly 22,000 marriages solemnized in British Columbia each year.
The fee that a Marriage Commissioner can charge for a ceremony is legislated through the Marriage Act.
The role of the marriage commissioner is to advise the couple of the legal requirements and options available to them with regard to different ceremonies and to ensure that the dignity and solemnity of the occasion is maintained.
The current marriage commissioner program provides a couple with additional flexibility on their special day. There are now no restrictions to time or location of the ceremony, and a couple may write their own vows or have other specific wishes or needs included in their ceremony.
Marriage Commissioners are not authorized to provide ceremony planning, coordinating or consultation services, which are provided by commercial vendors.