Marriage Licences, Certificates and Civil Ceremonies

Changes to licensing due to COVID-19

The Clerk’s Department will accept marriage licence applications for residents of Highlands East by appointment only on Thursdays.

Please book an appointment at the Municipal Office in Wilberforce by contacting Tracy Millar at 705-448-2981 Ext. 421 or email tmillar@highlandseast.ca

Congratulations, you're getting married! Read through the three steps below to learn about how to get married in Highlands East.

Step One: Apply for a Marriage Licence

What you need to know

  • A marriage licence is required to get married in Ontario (or the publication of banns from a church).
  • You must come to the Municipal Office in person to apply for your licence.
  • An appointment is required when applying for a marriage licence.
  • The licence can be used anywhere in the province of Ontario.
  • A marriage licence is valid for 90 days.

Who can get married?

Anyone over the age of 16 years old can get married in Ontario. If you are under 18 years of age you will need consent from your parents or legal guardian. A parental consent form must be completed. These forms are available at the Municipal Office in Wilberforce. Your parents or legal guardians must also be present at the time you submit your marriage licence application.

Everyone is welcome to apply for a marriage licence and get married in Ontario, whether you live here permanently or temporarily. There are no gender, residency, citizenship or medical requirements when applying for a marriage licence. The requirements are the same for everyone.

How do I apply for a Marriage Licence?

  1. Review the identification requirements.
  2. If applicable, review the guidelines on re-marrying after a divorce.
  3. Complete a marriage licence application.
    • You can download, print and complete the application by hand.
    • Printed applications are also available at the Municipal Office in Wilberforce.
  4. Make an appointment and visit the Municipal Office in Wilberforce with the following:
    • Completed application with original signatures (no photocopies or scans).
    • For both applicants, two pieces of valid government issued identification that shows the legal spelling of your name and date of birth. See Acceptable Identification below for more information.
    • The licence fee of $125.00 (HST does not apply). You may pay by Cash or Debit.
    • If necessary, the original court certified copy of your Canadian Divorce Certificate or Foreign Divorce Authorization.

The Clerk’s Department will accept marriage licence applications for residents of Highlands East by appointment only on Fridays.

Please book an appointment at the Municipal Office in Wilberforce by contacting Tracy Millar at 705-448-2981 Ext. 421 or email tmillar@highlandseast.ca

Can I apply in person without my partner present?

Yes, you can apply without your partner, if:

  • both of you have signed and dated the completed application,
  • you bring the required identification for each person on the application,
  • you bring original divorce documentation, if applicable.

What is acceptable identification?

Each person applying for the marriage licence must bring two pieces of acceptable government issued identification (ID) from the list below.

  • Identification must be valid and original (we will not accept photocopies or scanned images/documents)
  • ID must provide your legal name and date of birth
  • To have your middle name(s) included on your marriage licence it must also appear on both pieces of ID
  • ID on the list can be from any country, as long as it is government issued
Acceptable Identification
  • 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)

What do divorced applicants need to do?

Within Canada

Applicants divorced within Canada must produce the original or court certified copy of a:

  • Certificate of Divorce, or
  • Final Decree

A certified copy of either of the above divorce documents may be obtained from the court office that granted the divorce. A Decree Nisi, Divorce Order or Judgement is not acceptable. All documents will be returned.

If you do not know where your divorce was granted you can visit the Central Registry of Divorce Proceedings website or call 1-613-957-4519.

Outside Canada (Foreign Divorce)

If you were divorced outside of Canada, you will need to provide certain documents to prove that you are no longer married. The Office of the Registrar General for the Province of Ontario needs to validate these documents and provide authorization in order for you to get a marriage licence.

For more information, contact the Clerk’s Office at 705-448-2981 or visit Service Ontario.

Questions regarding the authorization process should be directed to the Office of the Registrar General at 416-326-1234 or 1-800-268-7095 (Toll Free within Ontario).

What if I don't read or understand English?

If you cannot read or understand English, you must bring your own interpreter.  The interpreter must present their own identification.

Step Two: Marriage Ceremony

There are two types of marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario, Religious and Civil.

Religious Marriage Ceremonies

A religious marriage is performed by a religious official of a recognized religious body who has received authorization from the Office of the Registrar General to perform marriages in Ontario.

Check the online list of authorized religious marriage officiants to ensure that your religious officiant is authorized to perform marriages in Ontario.

Civil Ceremonies

A civil marriage may be performed by an Ontario judge, justice of the peace or a municipal clerk or designate under the authority of a marriage licence.

What do I need to get married?

To have a civil ceremony completed you must provide:

  • A valid Province of Ontario marriage licence. Couples are requested to obtain or supply a valid Ontario marriage licence. Marriage licences are available from the Municipality of Highlands East as well as most municipalities in Ontario.
  • Two witnesses. Couples must provide one witnesses for each partner. The Marriage Act specifies that the witnesses must be present at the ceremony. 
  • An officiant. Your marriage must be performed by an officiant who is authorized by the province of Ontario to properly and legally perform marriages. The Municipality of Highlands East has a Clerk who will perform a civil ceremony if requested.
  • A language interpreter, if needed. Couples are responsible for bringing an interpreter if they need one. The Municipality of Highlands East's Clerk will perform the ceremony in English. Couples who require a sign-language interpreter for the wedding consultation and/or for the wedding ceremony will also need to make their own arrangements and notify the Clerk.

Marriage Ineligibility

The Municipal Clerk or Designate, also known as the Wedding Officiant, will not solemnize the marriage of any person if there are reasonable grounds to believe either person lacks the capacity to marry.

Circumstances which make a person ineligible for the civil marriage include:

  • One or both parties are under physical or mental duress.
  • One or both parties fail to meet the age requirements. Both parties must be at least 18 years old to get married in Ontario. Parties who are 16 or 17 years old may marry only if they have the consent in writing of both parents.
  • The parties are related as grandparent, parent, child, grandchild, brother or sister.
  • One or both parties are currently married.
  • One or both parties are mentally ill or under the influence drugs or alchohol and are incapable of understanding the nature of the marriage contract and the duties, obligations and responsibilities that result from marriage.

Fees

 
  • Marriage licence: $125.00 plus HST
  • Civil marriage ceremony (Solemnization): $250.00 plus HST
  • Civil marriage ceremony (Solemnization) with rehearsal: $300.00 plus HST

Payments can be made with cash or debit. The Wedding Officiant's fee is non-refundable.

What is the Wedding Officiant responsible for?

When acting as your wedding officiant, the Municipality of Highlands East's Clerk will:

  • Perform the ceremony
  • Complete the marriage licence
  • Provide you with the Record of Solemnization
  • Send the completed marriage licence to the Province of Ontario to be registered

Where can I get married?

Once you have your marriage licence you can get married anywhere in Ontario. You can have a marriage ceremony at home, a restaurant, a banquet hall, a place of worship, a park or at a municipal facility if you make the proper arrangements. 

What if I want to get married outside of Ontario?

If you get married outside of Ontario, your marriage will not be registered in the Province and you will not be able to request a marriage certificate from the Province of Ontario.

If you are getting married in another province
  • Check with the Vital Statistics Office in the province or territory in Canada where you want to get married for general requirements and further instructions.
  • Inquire with the municipality, city or town in which you are getting married for specific information on applying for a marriage licence as policies and procedures may differ from ours.
If you are getting married outside of Canada:
  • Eligibility and marriage requirements differ from country to country. Check with the Canadian Representative in the country in which you are getting married for more information.

Some countries require proof that you are not currently married, often called a Letter of Non-Impediment. Be sure to find out before you travel if your destination requires this document.

Step Three: Get a Marriage Certificate and decide if you want to change your name

Marriage certificates are issued by the Office of the Registrar General for the province of Ontario. You can order a marriage certificate through Service Ontario approximately 8-12 weeks from the date your marriage ceremony took place. If desired, you can use this certificate to change your name.

Ordering a Marriage Certificate

  • The easiest and fastest way to order a marriage certificate is online through Service Ontario's online application website.
  • To order a marriage certificate by mail you can complete the form that was included with your marriage licence or download a copy and submit it according to the instructions on the form.

For questions regarding marriage certificates please contact Service Ontario at 416-326-1234 or 1-800-268-7095.

Changing your name 

Once you are married there are three options either spouse may consider in regards to retaining, assuming, or legally changing their last name.

Option one: Continue to use your last name.

If you want to keep using your last name, you don't have to do anything. Ontario law does not require a spouse to change their last name when they get married.

Option two: Assume the use of your spouse’s last name.

When you get married, you can choose to assume the last name of your spouse and use it instead. Assuming a spouse’s last name after marriage does not change the name on your Ontario birth registration. However, you can assume your spouse’s last name on government documents such as:

  • health card
  • driver’s licence
  • Ontario Photo Card
  • enhanced driver’s licence

There is no cost to assume a name on the above documents. To change your last name on these documents after you have assumed your spouse’s last name, visit a ServiceOntario centre with your marriage certificate and required identification.

Learn more at the ServiceOntario website.

Option three: Legally change your last name.

You can legally change your last name once you are married by completing an Election to Change Surname – Form 1. If you were born in Ontario, legally changing your name will change your name on your Ontario birth registration.

When you legally change your name, you get a certificate of name change and a new birth certificate (if you were born in Ontario). You can use these documents to update other government documents like your driver’s licence.

Learn more and request the Election to Change Surname – Form 1 at the ServiceOntario website.