Signing the marriage register

Signing the register is a necessary part of the ceremony. It involves not only signing the marriage register but also the marriage license (See post on Marriage License). This is what makes the whole thing legal. Whether you are in a church wedding or not, this must be completed. The Ontario Marriage Act stipulates that at some point in the ceremony, we need to take some time to fill out the paperwork.

There are some more successful ways to do this. Firstly, you may have seen in some weddings that it seems to take forever. I pre-fill out the marriage register and the license so that all that is required during the ceremony is the couple’s and witnesses’ signatures. That way we only spend one song length of time on this part of the ceremony. I also always have a pen available. There have been times when the special pen that the couple bought for the signing – you know the one with the feather – doesn’t work.

Secondly, I recommend to couples that they either have a high cafe table where everyone can stand for the signing or that they sit at a small table during this part of the ceremony. This is important because I want to avoid anyone leanning over the table to sign. For example, if the men are leaning over to sign, they may be exposing a bald spot on their heads. Hmmm, that’s not too nice in the pictures.

Of greater importance is what happens with the women. As I noted in “The Wedding Dress” post, most bridesmaids and brides have strapless dresses. So you can imagine that in leaning over the table to sign the register, let us say that the valley of bosom is exposed. There are so many pictures that I have seen where the great divide is seen.  Oh dear!

I once had a bride who was quite… endowed. Somehow the push up bra with the strapless dress and her leaning over did not work too well. The ladies, as they say, fell out. It was an embarrassing moment to say the least. My sweetheart, the theatre costume designer, recommends double sided tape for these occasions.

So now, I make sure that everyone is seated. Besides it makes for much nicer pictures to be looking up from a table and we see their smiling faces.


  1. I was only wondering what kind of paper work would me and fiance need to get married and what do we have to do.

    • It depends on where you live. If you are getting married in Ontario, you go to a City Hall with your birth certificate or passport (and original divorce court decree if applicable) and purchase your license. Then you find an officiant to marry you. Two witnesses are required. There is no waiting period, residency requirements or blood test.

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