You decided to get married?  Congratulations!  If you live in Canada, there are a few conditions and steps you can take to be able to unite in a legal way.

For the conditions, futures spouses must both be 16 years old and older, must not be family-related (there are kinship / relationship which forbid the marriage between family members), and must have given their consent without being forced and pressured.  If the bride and groom have already been united before, it’s important that they are legally divorced before proceeding to another marriage.  Important: same sex marriage has been legal in Canada since July 2005.

First step: Find a celebrant/officiant

Here the choice of the celebrant goes according to the spouses.  This can be a religious celebrant (e.g. priest, rabbi) or civil (clerk, notary).  In both cases, the celebrant must be allowed to make weddings must be registered at the provincial civil registry office.

Second stage: Marriage license before the ceremony

The marriage licence is a document that the bride and groom must obtain.  It’s an official conformation that they meet all the conditions mentioned before. The licence must contain the name of the bride and groom, the name of the celebrant, the personal address and the place of celebration.

Obtaining a marriage licence depends on the region.  Some Canadian provinces are consorting that future brides may have a licence with a licensed person or business.  In other provinces, the licence can be obtained at city hall or in a government service center.

Third stage: the marriage ceremony

The wedding ceremony must take place within three months after the licence is obtained.  In Newfoundland, it has to be done within the next 30 days.  Whether it’s a religious or civil ceremony, it must have at least two witnesses present.  During the ceremony, the spouses signed registration papers and the marriage licence obtained a few weeks ago.

Fourth stage: Registering marriage at the Civil registry Office

The final step to marry legally is essential.  It consists of registering the marriage in the Civil Status office of the province or territory.  Obviously, the registration must be done following the ceremony.  In general, it’s the celebrant who takes care of this stage, but depending on the province, it can be the witnesses or the spouses who have to do it.

Conclusion

In order to be legally married in Canada, certain conditions such as age, consent and lack of kinship are required.

Thereafter, the steps consist of finding a civil or religious celebrant, obtaining a marriage licence and performing the ceremony within three months.  Once the documents have been signed during the ceremony, the marriage must be registered with the civil registry office.  Once done, you’re officially married.  Congratulations once again!

*For Quebec, the conditions of marriage are somewhat different, please contact Mtre Leopold Lincà, notary, for more information.

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