Wedding Officiant Puts her Own Spin on marriage ceremonies

By: Dariya Baiguzhiyeva, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,
When Suzanne Montigny gets home from work, she feels “that high and energy” floating in the air.
Born and raised in Timmins, Montigny, 62, is a wedding officiant at All Seasons Weddings, serving local areas from Hearst to Gogama and Foleyet.
“When I leave the wedding, I still have a lump in my throat because a couple was so romantic and everybody was crying, and their vows were so nice. I get home and I’m still floating on that cloud of positive energy,” she says about her experience performing wedding ceremonies. “I really, really enjoy that part of it.”
Montigny plans the ceremony ahead of time by interviewing the couple and getting to know them. She asks them how they met, what’s their relationship like or what was the first thing they noticed about each other.
When Montigny herself was getting married for the second time, she says she didn’t remember a word from her wedding ceremony. As an officiant, she tries to personalize the ceremonies as much as possible.
“And then you put your own spin on things, your own personality on it. It’s about the couple and learning as much as I can about them,” she says.
In pre-COVID times, she used to be booked for every weekend, sometimes twice a day.
Last year during the pandemic, she did about a dozen small weddings. As a gift to couples, she offered to redo the weddings free of charge when gathering restrictions are eased and a bigger wedding can be organized.
Montigny got her officiant license to perform wedding ceremonies and funerals through Clergy Support Memorial Church. Before she received the license, she had to go through online courses and pass the test.
Montigny is Métis and is fluent in English, French and Spanish.
She’s held a variety of jobs throughout her life, ranging from a bartender and a secretary to a receptionist and a clerk, but says she found her niche working as a wedding officiant.
As part of a family tradition, she joined the Canadian Armed Forces when she was 17 and was the first female in her family to do it. She worked as a supply technician for two years until she got married to her now ex-husband.
Montigny was a board member of Métis Nation of Ontario for 30 years and worked on getting the organization recognized by the province.
She’s proud of her Métis heritage.
“It’s something that in my family was hidden slightly, they didn’t talk about it. When Louis Riel died and people were looked down upon if you had any Native blood, so it was hidden and not spoken about so much,” Montigny says.
“When I found out more about it, I thought this is something to be proud (of), not something to hide. Being Métis is something I’m very proud of. It’s something you feel inside of you.”
Having lived in various communities across the province as well as in Alberta, Montigny returned to live and work in Timmins and married her childhood sweetheart, with whom she’s been together for 36 years now.
“That’s the nice thing I find about the Northern Ontario: people really try to help each other out,” she says.
During her six years of performing wedding ceremonies, only one of the couples she wed got divorced, Montigny says. She keeps in touch with most of her clients and sends them Christmas cards every year.
She says she enjoys working as an officiant.
“I look forward to continuing doing it as long as I’m able to.”