When couples think about getting married they immediately focus on the date, the venue, who they want to invite, who they don’t want to invite! All of these decisions are what makes your ceremony personal and they are super important. What makes your wedding legal though is often a last-minute consideration which can become a bit stressful and confusing.
Here are the basics:
Step 1 - Apply for a Marriage License
A marriage license is basically the legal permission-application that you and your fiance must apply for and receive in order to get married. The license can be applied for online, downloaded and filled out prior to, or received from the municipal/clerks office in person. The cost for the license is $140.00(may vary) and it is good for 90 days from the date of issue. This license can be obtained by either of you as long as you have each signed and dated the form and have each provided the 2 pieces of original and valid government-issued ID. Divorce documentation if applicable must also be presented. The entire process is completed in about 20-30minutes as long as you have the necessary legal documentation required with you. Check to see if appts are required to process or pick up licenses as this varies.
Step 2 - Bring your Marriage License to your ceremony
Your officiant cannot marry you on your wedding day unless they receive this documentation. Again it is the legal permission necessary for you to be married. Your officiant will complete his portion of the license.
Step 2 - During your ceremony - Marriage Registry & Record of Solemnization
Your officiant will bring their Marriage Registry (they are the licensing body) and will have the couple and 2 witnesses each sign. Your witnesses will also each sign The Record of Solemnization, which is the proof that the ceremony has taken place and they just witnessed it. You may choose anyone to be a witness during your ceremony as long as they are 18 years of age or over and present for the ceremony. This Record is left with the couple as the officiant will take the original Marriage License & Registry with them to file within 48 hours with the Registrar General.
Step 3 - Applying for a Marriage Certificate
Approximately 6-8 weeks after your ceremony you may request a Certificate of Marriage Registration. This ‘Marriage Certificate’ is a record of your marriage and not only serves as legal documentation, but also a lovely keepsake. It is also needed if you choose to change your name. Both of these applications are processed through Service Ontario.