I thee wed: a Q&A with JP Alia Saied

SAMSON LEARN, SAMSON PHOTOGRAPHY WEDDINGS

This Halifax-based justice of the peace  strives to bring “humanity, innovation and humour” to the weddings she officiates.

Alia Saied loves crowds. She also loves emotion. Her personality is the perfect recipe for a wedding officiant, which she just sort of fell into doing a few years ago after officiating for friends. Saied offers her services in English, Spanish and Arabic.

She has an impressive, multi-talented resume with her work as a MC, a DJ and a doula. Saied is a super open person who has married folks everywhere from a kitchen to a sushi restaurant.

What’s important to you in your work?

I think what’s important for me is to get to know the people that I’m working with. And it’s more than “What do you do for work?” and “How long have you been dating?” but also like, “What’s important to you?” and “What do you feel needs to be reflected in your ceremony?” and “What also do you not want reflected in your ceremony?” And that you take time, and don’t just try to apply a uniform script to everything, which you know…is easy to do.

Is there a memory of a ceremony that sticks out for you?

It was on a hill on the south shore, overlooking the water. Everyone that was attending was at the top of the hill, and when the wedding party arrived, the couple and the families all came in holding hands in a big line. Then they came up and stood in a half circle, facing the group. And it was a really beautiful way of changing that script.

How would you describe your style as an officiant?

I’d say my style is friendly and approachable. I don’t have any expectations or desires for your ceremony, I want you to do what’s best for you.

Do you have any advice for folks who are looking to pick the right officiant?

Look around, and if you have the time meet with people and get a sense of them. Ask your friends—if you know people who have been married, they might tell you “I really liked this person, or I really didn’t.” And try and think before you go into it: What is important to me? See if your officiant can reflect that back to you.

What elements of being an officiant inspire you?

I love seeing those joyful moments. I love seeing when the couple, or the bride, walk into the room and everyone gets up. Like, it’s just such a passage. And it’s such a moment of community. I also just love getting to know people.
–interview by Ashley Corbett

This interview has been edited for clarity and length.

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