Sylvan Lake’s Barb Fenske has been a part of over 2,000 weddings during her career as a wedding commissioner.
Fenske became a commissioner 22 years ago, but has been involved in other people’s weddings since the age of five.
She started out singing at people’s weddings and wearing curtains as a pretend veil before finding herself as an officiant.
“You think once you’ve done 2,000 weddings you’ve seen it all… no way,” said Fenske, who once performed seven ceremonies in one day.
Throughout her career she has set out to make sure every single one of the ceremonies she performs is different.
Fenske says the only limitation is your own imagination.
“If you tell me what your vision is and you can’t find something, together we’ll figure it out so that you get the day that you want and that’s what’s fair,” explained Fenske.
Fenske is stationed in Sylvan Lake, but can go anywhere.
She has performed weddings in Eckville, the West Edmonton Mall and the ski jump at Calgary Olympic Park.
Fenske has even gone as far as jumping from a plane for a wedding.
“Don’t ever ask ‘can I?’ it’s just ‘how are we going to make it work?’ because there’s never no,” said Fenske. “You just have to think outside that box and make it so special to them.”
She makes time before the wedding to meet with the couple to put together their personalized special day.
After the wedding the couple gets to keep the copy of their ceremony.
“[My husband and I] have been married for 45 years and I haven’t got a clue what we said. I have nothing to look back at,” Fenske said. “For me it’s special, so if you decide you want to keep it and frame it or put it in a box or put it with your dress or whatever, you have it.”
Being the wedding’s commissioner is a lot of commitment and is to be taken very seriously, she says.
Fenske once signed herself out of the hospital to assure she would make a wedding.
“If your photographer doesn’t show up somebody’s got a camera, DJ doesn’t show up somebody’s got music somewhere along the line, if your caterer doesn’t show up there’s take out, if your officiant doesn’t show up you just have a great party,” said Fenske, adding she considers it an honour when someone asks her to officiate their wedding.
“I just make it exactly what they want it to be.”