Weddings and other Ceremonies

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Lay Chaplains

Kjerstin Mackie and Anne Vaasjo are warm and compassionate Unitarians who love to help people create meaningful ceremonies.

They are specially trained to perform all rites of passage, weddings, memorials and child dedications, and are legally authorized as marriage officiants in the Province of British Columbia. You do not have to be a Unitarian or a member of this religious community to use our services.

We are Here for You

We recognize the profound privilege bestowed on us when you ask us to facilitate your important life passages. We provide a deep personal service and spend the time making sure your wishes and needs are met. We strive to perform only one ceremony per day so that you have our full attention.
Kjerstin Mackie, Lay Chaplain: 
My parents were Swedish-Irish and Finnish-Welsh Immigrantskjerstin chaplain 2 who embraced diversity in cultures and living styles, and who taught me Unitarian values both directly and by example.
My upbringing resulted in a fascination with comparing human relationships and experiences across time and geography. I’ve worked in South America, the Middle East, the U.K., the U.S. and Canada.
I now work in a museum where I can bring my understanding of the inherent worth and dignity of every human being and the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part. I bring these values to my role as a Lay Chaplain, and also a love for ceremony which recognizes the shift from one chapter of life to another.
Anne Vaasjo, Lay Chaplain: 
Ceremony and ritual have been a main theme throughout the 40 anne vaasjo years that I have been a contemporary artist.
Collaborating with others has also been an important aspect in my work. Formerly, I was a consumer councillor mediating complaints. I have had two years of social work education, taught fine art at two universities and I write poetry.
All of these skills contribute to making a creative, sensitive, expansive Lay Chaplain delighted to be able to gently help build unique ceremonies that centre around your needs.


Let us help you create the wedding ceremony of your dreams

Spiritual but not religious? Just as every couple is unique, every wedding should be unique. Let us help you create a ceremony which reflects your values, traditions and beliefs.
We are licensed as marriage officiants by the Province of British Columbia. As Religious Representatives under the BC Marriage Act we offer a wider range of options in our services than Marriage Commissioners.
We work with you to create a ceremony that fits your needs and dreams. We are pleased to incorporate traditions and customs from various religions, faiths and cultures and we welcome the participation of friends and family in your service.
We are honoured to perform weddings for any two people who wish to dedicate themselves to each other, including same-sex couples.
Please email laychaplains

Fee for Weddings – $300

What you get:
  • At least one in-person meeting to get to know you and together design your ceremony.
  • A ceremony just for you with all the elements and rituals you wish with your own ideas or choose from our booklet of options. All ideas welcome. Your Lay Chaplain will correspond with you by email or telephone to refine your ceremony so that it’s perfect for you – as many drafts as you wish until you are delighted.
  • A rehearsal at your venue included in the fee.
  • A ceremony at a place of your choosing.
  • A copy of your ceremony script and a certificate in recognition of your ceremony.
  • A day just for you. Your Lay Chaplain usually has only one ceremony per day to concentrate on your special day. (On rare occasions the Lay Chaplain may accept up to two ceremonies for a weekend.)
How you pay:
  • A deposit of $50, payable in cash or by cheque,  at your initial meeting. This guarantees your spot on our calendar.
  • Balance ($250 plus any mileage fees) payable two weeks before your ceremony, also by cheque or cash.
  • No mileage charge within Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt or Oak Bay. (Mileage charged at 50 cents per kilometre from the edge of the four core municipalities to the venue and return.)
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Memorials, funerals, celebrations of life

Honour your loved one in a service that reflects your beliefs

At your time of loss, we offer compassionate support and experience in planning a memorial service that is meaningful for the participants.
We support the celebration of a life that has ended, while allowing space for grieving.
We meet with you and those you wish to include, in your home or elsewhere, to co-create a service that is personal. To construct such a service, we spend time with you to become acquainted with the character of the person who has died.
You may choose from among our many resources: literary, cultural, and spiritual.
We would be pleased to include religious readings, prayers or meditations if it would give comfort to those present.
We welcome the participation of friends and family at various stages of the service.
Workshops are offered at the church on creating your own memorial service and we welcome the participation of non-church members.
Please email laychaplains
Fees for Memorials $300
What you get:
  • At least one in-person discussion with family members and to review the life of the deceased. The Lay Chaplain will provide a variety of options for readings and words for the family.
  • Values and beliefs of the family are respected. You will have as much input as you wish.
  • Assistance in designing an appropriate memorial service or celebration of life to honour your loved one.
  • Certificate in recognition of the service.
  • A service led by the Lay Chaplain at a place of the family’s choosing.
  • Graveside interment or scattering of ashes by the Lay Chaplain at the same time for an additional fee of $50.
How you pay:
  • Fee payable by cash or cheque at the first meeting, if possible. Otherwise it will be accepted at the service.
  • There is no mileage charge within Victoria, Saanich, Esquimalt or Oak Bay. Mileage charged at 50 cents per kilometre from the edge of the four core municipalities to the venue and return.
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Child dedication and baby naming

Share the miracle of your child’s life in a meaningful ceremony

Working with you, we create a service that speaks to the commitment of significant people to your child’s well-being, and we welcome the active participation of loved ones, Joyce child dedication 2013 Liz - baby Dedication especially children, who will be an important part of your child’s life.
We are familiar with a number of ceremonies that may enrich the experience for your family, including earth-centred, cultural and religious elements.
Please email laychaplains
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Other rites of passage

Mark significant life passages with a co-created ceremony

Drawing on our extensive resources, we work with individuals and families to create a memorable service for events such as renewal of wedding vows, dissolution of a relationship, coming of age, loss of a pet, graduation, house blessing, retirement or any other passages or transitions in a life. Email us if you are curious about any of these services. Or, read and download (PDF) our brochure.
Ritual is a deep human need practised by all human cultures. We do them because they are effective. They bring joy, solemnize promises, alleviate grief, facilitate change, give comfort.  Our Lay Chaplains strive to provide ceremonies steeped in sacred performance meant to reflect the needs, aspirations, and personalities of the individuals we serve.
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