If you are not getting married in a Church and having Banns published (the announcement of your wedding for 3 consecutive Sunday’s in the bulletin and from the pulpit) you are required to get a Marriage License. Almost every town/city has a clerk that can issue and sign the license. In Ontario you can go to your local town/city website or go to www.pondsideministries.com and download and print off a license application. They are very clear as to what documentation and identification is needed when you bring the completed form to the town or city hall. You can get the license at any town or city hall in Ontario, it does not have to be where the ceremony in located. Make sure you have ‘original’ copies of divorce papers if you are divorced. Photo copies are not allowed. Only one of the couple need to go and apply although it is a nice thing to do together.
Marriage licenses are valid for three months. One suggestion if you are going to a small town, call ahead and make sure that the clerk that needs to sign the license is not at a meeting, on vacation or sick. Contrary to popular belief, there are no blood tests required to get a marriage license.
Make sure you bring everything you received when you got the license, including the big brown envelope to your officiant BEFORE the ceremony. There is paper work of their own they need to fill out as well. I have had couples scramble because someone forgot page 2 of the license or forgot the envelope not something you want to happen on your special day.
Following your wedding ceremony, the officiant will give you the bottom section of the license. It is the Officiant’s responsibility to send in the signed and completed forms to the government no later than 72 hrs following the wedding. If you are assuming your partners last name you will require a marriage certificate About 8-10 weeks after the wedding fill out the paper that came with the license or go to the Service Ontario website and along with the fee and it will be mailed to you.
There are other requirements should you want to get married out of province or in another country. I can always conduct the ‘legal’ marriage here before you go out of province, and you can have the ‘ceremonial wedding’ at that location with out worrying about ‘red’ tape.