How to obtain your marriage license in Ontario?

There are just so many things you need to plan for when you are about to get married. An important part of your big day, if not the biggest, is making sure you are ready to be legally married. In Ontario, you need to obtain a marriage licence in order to marry. Without this document, your wedding will be symbolic, but unfortunately not legal.

What do you need to do to obtain your marriage licence in Ottawa?

  1. The first thing is you have to meet the eligibility criteria. You have to be of legal age (18 years old, or 16 with parental consent).
  2. You have to make an appointment with your municipal office. In the Ottawa region, there are several offices where you can obtain your licence (e.g. Almonte for example). Most couples chose to go to City Hall. It’s a fun occasion to go for a stroll downtown afterwards! You need to book a timeslot with a clerk in advance using their online system. You will also need to complete an application form in order to book your appointment.
  3. The day of your appointment, either just one applicant or both can be present. You must, however present two pieces of government issued ID (e.g. driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate). The list of acceptable documents is posted online on the City of Ottawa website. You will be purchasing the marriage licence, and the cost is approximately 180$. It is possible that the fees vary slightly by municipal office.

    Note: if you were married before, you will need to show original proof of divorce.
  4. With your licence in hand, you are ready to be married! But you MUST be married within 90 days of the date of issue. There are some exceptions because of COVID for licences that were obtained at the peak of the pandemic. Information on exceptions can be found here.
  5. Keep you licence is a safe spot until your wedding day. On your big day, your officiant will use your licence to officially marry you. You, your partner and two witnesses will be signing the documents. After the ceremony, your officiant will give you a Record of Solemnization which is your proof of marriage until you obtain your marriage certificate from Service Canada.