Frequently Asked Questions

Who may be married in Ontario?

Any person who is at least 18 years of age may marry. No person under 16 years of age may marry. Any person who is 16 or 17 years of age may marry with the written consent of his/her legal guardian (consent not required if previously married and divorced).  You do not have to be a resident of Canada to marry in Canada.

Where do we get our marriage license and is there a waiting period before getting married?

You may obtain a marriage license at most City Halls within the province of Ontario. You can download an application form fromthis government website page. Your marriage license is valid for 90 days. In most cases, you will fill out an application and receive a marriage license. At least one party to the proposed marriage must apply in person. However, two pieces of original valid identification are required for each applicant, and the application must be signed by both applicants (please see below for identification requirements). 

There are no requirements respecting residency, pre-marital blood tests or medical certificates. There is no waiting period in Ontario between obtaining a license and actually marrying.

Two pieces of valid identification for each applicant are required (photocopies are not acceptable).

The first type of identification must be one of the following:

  • Birth certificate (along with any change of name certificates)
  • Current passport
  • Records of immigrant landing or Canadian citizenship card, along with photo identification.  (Certificates of Naturalization are NOT accepted.)

The second type of identification must be one of the following:

  • Driver's License
  • Photo Health Card
Do we need to have a marriage license before we can book a wedding date with Creative Marriage Celebrations?

No, you do not need to have a marriage license to schedule a date with Creative Marriage Celebrations. However, you must have a valid marriage license with you on the day of your wedding ceremony, otherwise the marriage cannot take place.  For this reason, we require that the license be in our possession from our preparation meeting onwards.  This ensures that we have the license on the day of the marriage and allows us time to complete necessary paperwork before the marriage.

If one or both of us is divorced from a previous marriage, what procedures do we need to follow?

If you were divorced in Canada, you must bring the original or court-certified copy of the final decree, final judgment or certificate of divorce to your local municipal office when you are purchasing the marriage license. Contact your local municipal office for further information. 

If you were divorced outside of Canada, you must obtain authorization from the minister of Government Services before you can be issued a marriage license. For authorization, send the following documents to:

The Office of the Registrar General
Marriage Office
P.O. Box 4600
189 Red River Rd.
Thunder Bay, ON P7B 6L8

  1. A completed marriage license application.
  2. A Statement of Sole Responsibility for each divorce signed by both parties of this marriage.
  3. An original or court-certified copy (certified by the proper court officer in the jurisdiction the divorce or annulment was granted) of the divorce degree or annulment. If the decree is in a language other than English or French, include a translated copy together with an affidavit sworn by the translator.
  4. A legal opinion from an Ontario lawyer, addressed to both applicants, giving reasons why the divorce or annulment should be recognized in the Province of Ontario. The Office of the Registrar General will fax a sample legal opinion letter to your lawyer if you call (807)-343-7492 or toll-free in Ontario at 1-800-461-2156.

A marriage license application form, Statement of Sole Responsibility form and a suggested format for a lawyer’s opinion letter are also available from most municipal offices or click here for the forms.

How far in advance do we need to book a marriage date with Creative Marriage Celebrations?

Some months are busier than others and Saturdays are the most popular day for weddings. For this reason, we suggest  that you book as soon as you have established the date and location of your wedding. Please call us to check our availability any time.

However, there are couples who decide to marry very quickly for a number of different reasons.  As long as you are in possession of a valid Ontario marriage license, Creative Marriage Celebrations will be there to assist you - whether your marriage is today or a year from now!

Do you provide witnesses?

No, we do not provide witnesses (unless prearranged ahead of time). Two witnesses must be present during the ceremony. They can be family or friends (over the age of eighteen).

How long does the ceremony take? What kind of venues are acceptable?

The duration of the ceremony varies depending on what you have planned with your Officiant.  Generally, they run between 20 to 40 minutes, including the signing of the register.  The choice and arrangement of a venue  (indoors or outdoors) rests with the couple.  While we generally have no concerns about most venue locations, we do reserve the right to refuse to officiate at locations that are inappropriate or unbefitting the occasion being celebrated.

May we take pictures during the ceremony? Can music be played?

Yes, pictures and video may be taken at any time. And yes, music can be played.  While we do not supply the music, please arrange all these details ahead of time with the officiant during your preparation meeting.  Creative Marriage Celebrations has an extensive library of assorted readings and music that we will gladly discuss and share with you during the preparation meeting.

What type of ceremony do you perform?

Creative Marriage Celebrations performs ceremonies that reflect the couple’s choices and desires.  It can be faith based or secular.  All elements of the ceremony are thoroughly discussed with the couple in the preparation meeting. Remember, this is YOUR DAY and you get to choose HOW you want it celebrated!

May we write our own vows and have friends read?

Yes, you may expand upon the Officiant's vows and read you own personal vows to one another.  In addition, you may choose to include readings of your choice throughout the ceremony. We strongly encourage as many persons as possible to participate in this memorable day.

What will we receive after the ceremony?

Following the ceremony, you will receive from us a "Record of Solemnization of Marriage".

The Form 7 section of your license will be mailed by Creative Marriage Celebrations the same day to the Office of the Registrar General in Thunder Bay for registration.  After 12 weeks, you may request an official Certificate of Marriage from them.  This is NOT sent to you automatically by the province.  It must be applied for with the exact information as it is recorded on your Record of Solemnization of Marriage (I suggest you send in a copy of your  Record of Solemnization of Marriage with the application to the province.)  It is strongly recommended that you apply for it through the traditional mail system, not on-line.  You can download and complete the application form from this government website page.

Do we have to change our name after the marriage? If so, how? Can we keep our name or combine them as one?

You do not have to change your surnames after marriage; you can keep your original surnames. However, if you choose, you may assume your spouse’s surname or a combination (hyphenated surname), simply by using it. In fact, most communities and organizations accept this practice with proof of marriage (Record of Solemnization of Marriage).  This is not the same as a formal (legal) change of name and does not change the name on your birth certificate. If you wish to revert to your legal name, you simply revert back.   

Individuals may choose to ‘legally’ change their surname (family name) or a combination (hyphenated surname) as a result of marriage by filling out an Election Change of Name form.  There is no fee for this type of name change, if it is made at the time of the marriage.

Please be aware that if you elect to legally change your name and were born in Ontario, this type of name change will result in changing your surname on your birth certificate (it will appear as if you were born with your married name). If you wish to revert back to your previous name at any time, you will need to contact the Office of the Registrar General.  Please refer to the previously cited web site for The Ontario Ministry of Business and Consumer Services for more detailed information.

Are we required to have wedding rings to be married?

Wedding rings are not a requirement for a marriage celebration. The Egyptians are credited with the origin of the wedding ring some 4,800 years ago. Twisting plant material such as hemp into rings and bracelets, they believed, was linked to an immortal love with no end. These rings were worn on the fourth finger of the left hand based on a belief in vena amoris, or love vein. It was believed that this vein connected directly from that finger to the heart, thereby linking the couple's destiny.

The Romans took a less romantic approach. Their iron wedding bands were not a symbol of love, but signified a binding legal agreement of ownership by their husbands, who regarded rings as tokens of purchase. As with the Egyptians, the Romans believed in vena amoris and wore the bands on the fourth finger of their left hand.

Will our marriage in Canada be recognized outside of Canada?

For heterosexual couples married in Canada, their marriage will be recognized throughout the world. 

However, for same sex couples married in Canada, while the marriage is recognized in Canada, it might not be recognized in the couple’s home jurisdiction.  This is not to say that they ARE NOT validly and lawfully married; they are. It just might not be recognized as such where they live.

Why doesn’t Creative Marriage Celebrations require a deposit when booking with them?

Creative Marriage Celebrations does not require a deposit when booking a marriage celebration to assist in eliminating unnecessary financial worries for engaged couples who might have to reschedule or postpone their marriage.  There is enough of a financial loss suffered in such situations without the marriage officiant fee adding to their concerns.

Are traditional rehearsals required for a marriage celebration with Creative Marriage Celebrations?

Due to the large number of weddings I officiate each year, I am unable to attend rehearsals.  Couples find that by the time we complete our final planning meeting, they have a clear understanding of how the ceremony will unfold. After the planning meeting I email the couple a detailed copy of their actual marriage ceremony in advance of the wedding date. It will include the order of lineup, positioning of bridal party, readings, vows, secondary ceremonies – all the elements we agreed on at the planning meeting.  With this document in hand, most couples will still have a ‘traditional’ rehearsal/practice on their own with their bridal party.  It’s also a great opportunity for a good party with friends and family before the Big Day.

Additionally, I make it my practice to arrive on the day of the wedding at least 15 minutes before the scheduled start time.  This allows me time to ensure everything is set to go ahead and to meet family members and the bridal party. 

On the rare occasion if a couple still asks that I attend a rehearsal – and my schedule allows - I ask an added $75.00 to cover my time and travel.

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