Congratulations on taking the plunge! You are finally getting married! We know you’re currently planning your celebration and we are truly excited about your special day. Many couples find themselves so entrenched and excited about the wedding preparations that they forget about the legalities involved.
If you’re getting married in Ontario, you can do so through civil means or the church. A civil marriage is officiated by a judge or any government authorized individual while a church wedding is presided by religious marriage officiants.
If you are going to have a church wedding or a religious service, you can get a banns form instead of a marriage licence. The church will handle the whole process so you won’t need to worry about anything else. If you are opting for the civil route, you would need to get a marriage licence and have a licensed official to preside over your wedding.
We’ve divided the process into simple steps so that you don’t need to stress over it. The whole procedure is simple and easy as long as you’ve prepared the requirements. Ready? Read on to find out!
Step 1: Prepare your Identification Requirements
Each of you that are applying for a marriage licence should prepare two government-issued identification that provides legal name and date of birth. Make sure that your identifications are original documents. They will not acknowledge scans, photocopies, or pictures. Your first and last name must match on the two pieces of ID you are presenting.
ID on the list can be from any country, as long as it is government-issued. If the ID is not in English, a written translation from a certified translator is required. Health cards and S.I.N. cards will not be accepted. Expired identification will not be accepted.
Acceptable Identifications: Birth Certificate, Passport, Driver’s Licence, Ontario Photo Card (Purple photo ID card), Certificate of Canadian Citizenship (Canadian Citizenship Card), Canadian Government Refugee Travel Document, Conditional Release Identification Card, United States Green Card, Native Status Card, Record of Immigration Landing, Confirmation of Permanent Residency, Permanent Residency Card, Citizenship Card, Identity Card, Nexus Card, Firearms Acquisition Certificate (FAC), Possession & Acquisition Licence (PAL) (Source: City of Toronto.)
Once you have the requirements ready, put them aside and move on to the next step.
Step 2: Apply for Marriage Licence
You can conveniently complete your marriage licence application online. Click here and carefully fill up the details with your partner truthfully. After filling up the form, download, and print so the two of you can properly sign and date the document.
Step 3: Obtain Your Marriage Licence
After completing the first 2 steps, book an appointment to obtain your marriage licence from North York Civic Centre. Click here to book an appointment.
To bring during your appointment: Appointment Permit, Completed application with original signatures, 2 pieces of an original and valid government-issued ID for each person
The name on the appointment permit must match one of the names on the marriage licence application. Only book one appointment per couple. A marriage licence costs around $145. You can pay through credit card or debit.
Step 4: Book an Officiant & Witnesses
Once you obtained your marriage licence, the next step is to book a legal wedding officiant and two witnesses. Your marriage must be performed by an authorized officiant to properly and legally perform marriages.
The officiant will perform your marriage ceremony, give you the Record of Solemnization of Marriage and complete your marriage licence. Your witnesses must sign the marriage licence. The officiant will register the completed marriage licence with the province of Ontario to get a marriage certificate. The marriage certificate contains details of your marriage performed in Ontario and proves that a marriage has taken place.
- Getting an officiant: You can check out wedding officiant services here (click here),
- or find one via the search engine, friend referrals or via Service Ontario.
- Getting witnesses: Witnesses could be any of your family or friends. If you are eloping, you can ask your officiant or your venue to bring witnesses for you.
You must perform marriage ceremony within 3 months of your licence being issued.
Step 5: Get Married at a Venue or Your Home
Once you book an officiant and witnesses, select a location to perform your marriage ceremony. This could be at the privacy of your own home, or at the officiant’s office, or at your selected wedding venue.
You can click here for our all-inclusive wedding ceremony packages that includes legal wedding officiant, wedding venue & all other wedding necesitites.
Things to Remember
- Your marriage certificate will be ready for processing 10-12 weeks from your wedding date and you can then proceed to change your last name or apply for certain social benefits.
- The person to preside over your marriage must have a valid licence to do so. You can check through the same administrative offices listed above or call 416-325-8305.
- Get a marriage licence for your wedding plans in Ontario. Pursuing marriage in a church entails a publication of banns instead of a marriage licence. Having said that, you should consult your church officiant.
- If you have the necessary documents prepared beforehand, the process is simple, fast, and efficient.
- After you get your licence, you can get married anywhere in the province of Ontario. You read that right. You can choose from the vast array of different wedding locations in Toronto and the GTA!
- Make sure you schedule getting your licence properly because once it’s issued, it is valid only for 90 days.
- For those who got a divorce, the process involves an added step. A banns is not applicable for this case and official proof of divorce is a requirement before you get a new marriage licence.
- The couple, your chosen witnesses, and the presiding officer should sign the banns or marriage licence.
We hope this helped and made your planning a tad bit easier. Good luck and may you have a wedding day to remember!