The Marriage License

One of the first things that I discuss with couples is their legal status. This usually means explaining the details of the license, when we sign and what we sign. In Ontario, one can obtain a license only three months prior to the marriage date. There is no waiting period to get married once you have it. The license can be issued at any City service center in Ontario. So if you are wanting to get married in Ontario you can buy your license at any City Hall in Ontario; not necessarily the city you wish to be married in. This is important because the price for licenses is set by the city. For example, the price of a license in Ottawa is more expensive than in the surrounding municipalities. Go figure!

When you do show up at City Hall, make sure that you have all original documentation. You will need a birth certificate. If this is a re-marriage ie not the first time you are getting married, you will need the original court decision for the divorce.

Although the Federal Government dictates what can be a marriage, it is up to the provinces to administer them. How the Cities got involved in the marriage license is beyond my understanding. So check your province for their rules. For example in Quebec, the license must be posted 20 days prior to the wedding at the court house and the public location where the wedding will occur. This hassle has led many Western Quebec residents to cross the bridge to the Ottawa, Ontario side and get married.

This leads me to a word on destination weddings. My advice here is to get the civil ceremony performed in Canada and then the spiritual one at the location of your choice. This avoids all sorts of complications such as getting the birth certificates translated and notarized and certified by the consultat. Such a head ache. It also makes any future legal issues easier to deal with.

To make the wedding legal, all you need is yourselves, two witnesses and one who is licensed by the Province to Perform Weddinge, people like me. Once all is signed, then your license is sent to the provincial government for registration. You will not hear from the Province that your marriage has been registered. The registration by the province can take three months. After three months, you can apply for an official marriage certificate for $15. There is also an option to obtain a longer form certificate which is useful if you are planning to emmigrate or travel abroad.

After the ceremony, you will also get the Record of Solemnization. This is sort of a temporary certificate. It’s most useful function is to prove you are married to the honeymoon gettaways so that you can get your discount.

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