Montreal Weddings – Johanne Major

Interview with a Montreal Weddings ' expert, Johanne Major from FSEV


Name : Johanne Major
Tittle: Regional Director
Company : FSEV Ceremony Officiant
Telephone : 514-970-5575
Email : 
Website :

Montreal Weddings Interview Questions


How long have you been the regional director for this organization? 

Since 2007

What brought you here?

I had the privilege of assisting first hand at a marriage created by a celebrant of FSEV, my own!!   And my guests all had the same comment, “what a beautiful wedding; the nicest I have ever seen!  It seemed like the celebrant must have known you for a very long time.  What she said really reflected your life story”.  It was evident to us all, that love was foremost to the celebrant and, that it was an honor for her to be part of this event.  Even before the big event, during our two meetings prior to our wedding day, the encounter with the celebrant fascinated me.  I felt respected and listened to. 

After this experience, I applied to FSEV.  After some training I became a celebrant myself.  I wanted to share what I had experienced, with other couples.  I took the opportunity to become acquainted with FSEV and with time I became the director for the regions of Montreal and Outaouais. I share this enthusiasm with my two colleagues who are also directors; Ginette Dubois Levasseur has been with us since 1988 and covers the regions of Central Quebec, L’Estrie et l’Abitibi and Lyne Giguère since 1997 and covers the regions Quebec, Charlevoix, Beauce, Saguenay and Gaspésie.


What do you like most about what you do and why?

What could be more fantastic and marvelous than to work with happiness and to be the witness of magical moments within the lives of people; to create for them, and with them a very important event in their lives and to share in their joy.  Marriage is important. For me, it is the union of two beings who are ready to live their love every day and proclaim that to others.  It is a solemn commitment to be beside the one you love, through the highs and lows and to nurture your love, like a garden, for all of the days of your life.


What distinguishes FSEV from other organizations?

Our founders taught us that every human being is born with faith and love at the crux of their being and that sharing this with another human being is the greatest discovery on earth.    They ask us to use our professionalism, our listening skills and  our understanding of marriage  to know how to create a ritual just as the couple knows how to build their home.

The respect of all religious, cultural and spiritual beliefs is very important. We have developed the capacity to detect their values, accept them and give credence to them within our celebrations.

We offer our couples a booklet to help them to prepare and to decide what they want for themselves.  Each couple is invited to share their love story; some are funny, some deep, others are witty but they all help to determine the flavor of their ceremony. 

FSEV rests on a solid structure which allows us to offer a quality service, based on  a code of ethics, a formation for the celebrants and a constant renewal of our rituals.


Do you have any stories to tell us from your time as a celebrant?

a) We have many that have happened to our celebrants during the past 25 years…Here are two of the many…After a very emotional ceremony, it was time for the exchange of rings.  The little ring bearer came toward me with great reverence.  I took the little cushion and it was soon evident that I could not untie the knot.  I tried to hide my smile and muster up my patience to untie this knot but no such luck.  Remember here that the chapel was filled to the grim with expectant guests who were all holding their breath, waiting to see what would happen.  I looked up and addressed the crowd:  Is there not a little knife in the room?  The guests began to laugh discretely but then roared when I added, «where are those little Swiss scissors, when you need them?

Despite the good humor in the room, the little hamster in my head was working hard to find a solution, because it may have been funny but we needed the rings.    I took a deep breath and remembered that we had just lit the nuptial candle. At last, a little light went on, so to speak.  I took the flammable cushion  and held the knot just under the flame of the candle.  The ribbons untied to the hilarity of the guests.   The couple was crying from laughing so hard.  We took a few moments to catch our breath, calm down and then continue.  I managed not to laugh and concluded the ceremony.   But all the way home in the car I laughed ,my heart full of joy.

b) One year before the wedding date, I met with a young couple (31 and 32) who were reserved but obviously in love.

Following an exchange of emails with the bride about their new address after the wedding, she told me  "we are pregnant." On our second meeting, she told me that it happened a little faster than expected, they would have preferred after the move and marriage, but they were thrilled!

At the time of marriage, she was three months pregnant. During the ceremony, they were both "in their bubble," alone in the world. I knew they were going on a  European cruise, so I wished them a wonderful honeymoon.

In early October, I received the following email from the bride (unofficial translation): "I ​​never had the chance to thank you for the wonderful ceremony. We had a difficult time since the wedding. One week after our return from honeymoon, the groom fell ill and went to the clinic; he was told to go to the on-field hospital. After a week of tests, he was diagnosed with cancer (seminoma). He returned home after a week of chemotherapy ... he was not going very well ... difficulty breathing ... I called the ambulance and returned to the hospital in intensive care; he died on the morning of 22 September. " I am writing you  to ask you to send me a copy of his answers to our questionnaire. I would like to have a copy to be able to show our daughter. That would be really appreciated.” I sent her the original, written in his hand. One day her daughter will read, what her father wrote about his love for her mother and feel like, she knows him little.

It is these stories that make all the difference within FSEV.


Why is it that your organization is a place of reference for future couples?

Everywhere we see that the signature of FSEV is recognized and incomparable. For 25 years, we have shown an expertise in creating unique ceremonies, one at a time, it is incomparable! We are approaching the milestone of 40,000 marriages. We have been recommended by specialists in the area of marriage for so many years! Everyone recognizes our commitment, our reliability and our reputation! Everyone knows that the wedding will reflect the character of marriage as celebrated and successful. We are always looking for new inspiration. Our strength lies in our group inspired by a spirit of integrity and dignity that is working to make a difference.

 A novelty in our collegiality. Our rituals are constantly renewed, be it for weddings, baptisms, renewal of vows, etc. It’s surprising to note how our couples come back to us for all the significant moments of their lives!


How long before the wedding couples should meet with you and why?

Once the date and place of marriage are known.


What mistakes do the bride and groom make during their planning?

Booking their celebrant the last, because it may be that their date is no longer available. We must not forget that the wedding officiant is the most important anchor that day. It is he or she, who formalizes/legalizes the marriage and sets the tone for the evening.   A beautiful wedding is the beginning of a successful marriage!


What mistakes, do the bride and groom during their planning?

1-Choose a celebrant with experience instead of a family member or friend. If it ever happens due to illness or accident that the designated person must withdrawal at the last minute, the couple will have a problem. The marriage could not proceed and be legalized. Choose a FSEV celebrant to avoid stress. With FSEV, there is always an available alternative celebrant on the wedding day. In addition, observing all  the legal aspects for marriage registration in the civil status is not as simple as it seems.

2- Never give a booking deposit to a celebrant before meeting him/her. Make sure you have a signed agreement for booking your wedding containing: date location, time and fees paid.

3- For weddings outside, provide a place in case of rain.


What is your advice to the newlyweds to save money?

The cost of a celebrant is a small fraction compared to other wedding expenses. Do not spare the celebrant to avoid problems of all kinds. A celebrant is a professional; it will make your celebration unique. Cut elsewhere if necessary. Getting married should be an unforgettable event surrounded by people we love.


What are the latest trends?

a) The bride is not the only one to enter with her wedding procession. It is tasteful now that the groom has his own entrance with his groomsmen and his own music. He then waits for his future wife who will enter last.

b) A spiritual marriage, often non-religious, perhaps humanist or thematic in a place chosen by the couple.


Other comments :

FSEV offers the choice of the celebrant. It is important that chemistry occurs between the couple and the celebrant, it is what makes all the difference on the wedding day. FSEV creates custom celebrations, where the price is fixed, regardless of the number of selected rituals.


Thank you Mrs. Major!