Now that you’re engaged, the next step is to start planning your wedding. In between all the fun of picking your wedding dress and selecting a wedding photographer, you might be wondering what you have to do in order to legally get married. While movies make spontaneous marriages seem like a thing, in Ontario you have to get your legal ducks in a row before you can say “I do”.
Here is what you have to do in order to legally get married in Ontario.
Requirements to Get Married
Before you look into getting your marriage license, make sure you meet the basic requirements. In Ontario, you have to be 16 to get married, but anyone under 18 has to have written consent from both parents.
Types of Weddings
There are two types of weddings in Ontario- religious ceremonies that are performed by recognized religious officials, and civil marriage ceremonies that are performed by a judge, justice of the peace, authorized municipal clerk, or other licensed wedding officiants. Before you select who will marry you, check to see if your venue has any restrictions. Some religious venues may require you to use their religious official, while secular locations are open to anyone.
Types of Marriage License
In order to legally get married in Ontario, you need to get a marriage license, but there are two options: a banns form or a basic marriage license.
A banns form comes from a church when you publicly announce your commitment during a service. The plus side of opting for a religious route is that the place of worship will handle publishing the declaration. However, if you or your SO has been married before you’ll have to skip the banns.
A standard marriage license is what most people in Ontario go for. These are issued by the Province of Ontario, and you usually have to go down to city hall to get them. Getting a marriage license is an easy process and simply requires an ID, an application, and a small fee.
How to Get a Marriage License
If you’re opting for a marriage license, here is what you need in order to get one. In order to get a marriage license, you and your SO each need two pieces of government-issued identification. One piece of ID must contain a picture.
Acceptable pieces of ID include:
- Government-issued birth certificate
- Valid passport
- Record of immigrant landing
- Canadian Citizenship Card
- Valid driver’s license
- Valid Ontario Photo Card.
You’ll also be required to pay a small fee, but these will vary depending on the municipality. It’s usually around a few hundred dollars. If you or your SO is divorced, you’ll also have to bring along official proof of the divorce when you apply for the license.
FYI: A marriage license is valid for three months from the date it was issued. Ontario has extended the expiry date in response to COVID-19, but please double-check the dates.
After the Ceremony
After the ceremony, whether that’s a religious, secular, or civil one, you’ll have to complete a few steps to ensure the marriage is valid. After the ceremony wraps, you, your spouse, two witnesses, and the person who performs the marriage will all have to sign the banns or marriage license.
Once you’ve sorted the marriage license, the next document to focus on is the marriage certificate, which is a legal record of your marriage. This document is important since you’ll need to show proof of marriage to do certain things like apply for benefits or change your name.
Luckily you don’t play a big role in this. Your officiant will send off your signed marriage license to ServiceOntario and then it’s done! If you want a copy of your marriage certificate yourself it’ll cost between $15-$22.
We hope now you feel confident in knowing what you have to do to get married in Ontario! The process is easy if you have all the documents ready to go. Whether you’re planning a big wedding, an intimate one, or just running down to the courthouse, our team of wedding photographers and videographers at AGI Studio would be honored to capture your special day! Contact us today to learn more about our services and to meet our award-winning team.