Planning a wedding can be a lot of fun; choosing your colours, the flowers and your dream wedding dress. But of course you can’t forget the legal details of your wedding either. In Ontario you want to make sure you’re being married by an authorized official and that you have a marriage license as well.
You have two choices for your wedding ceremony in Ontario; a religious marriage or a civil marriage. A religious marriage is conducted by a recognized religious official and a civil marriage is conducted by a judge, justice of the peace, authorized municipal clerk. When looking for the person to conduct your wedding ceremony make sure they are properly licensed so your marriage will be official. You can check online at the Ontario Government’s website to ensure your official is registered. You can also call ServiceOntario at 1-800-461-2156.
If you’re having a civil marriage, contact your local city hall, town hall or municipal office to determine whether they provide civil marriage services and if so, who can perform a marriage.
Next in the legal marriage paperwork steps is to get a banns form or a marriage license.
If you’re having a traditional church wedding you can get a banns form when they announce your marriage during a religious service. The place of worship will also handle publishing this declaration. If you or your fiancé has been married before though, you won’t be able to get a banns form and will have to get a marriage license instead.
The process of getting a marriage license is fairly simple. You need two pieces of government-issued ID (birth certificate, valid passport, record of immigrant landing, Canadian Citizenship Card, or a valid driver’s license), money to pay the license fee (amounts vary from city to city), and a completed application. You can download the application on the Ontario Government website, and it is very simple to fill out. All that’s left is to go to your nearest city hall, town hall or municipal office to submit your application and get your license.
This marriage license is what you, your fiancé, witnesses and the person who conducted your ceremony sign, right after the ceremony is finished. Once it’s signed by everyone, the person who conduced your ceremony will send the license off to ServiceOntario. Once it’s been registered there you can get a copy of your marriage certificate. Your marriage certificate shows proof of your marriage and is needed to change your last name.
For more information about this process, visit www.ServiceOntario.ca/GettingMarried.