Huffpost Weddings

Getting Married In Canada

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Two brides pose for a photographer after their wedding in Niagara Falls, Canada.
Two brides pose for a photographer after their wedding in Niagara Falls, Canada.

Some couples are content to tie the knot at the courthouse down the road. But for those who are more adventurous, a destination wedding -- and an international marriage -- are a must. The Huffington Post's guide to international marriages will tell you everything you need to know to get legally married in Canada. Read on to ensure all of your paperwork is in order before booking your ticket. --Marnie Kunz

Residency Requirement And Waiting Period

There are no residency requirements to get married in Canada. Most territories and provinces have no waiting period, but Manitoba and Yukon have 24-hour waiting periods, Newfoundland has a four-day waiting period and Quebec requires a public intent-to-marry post 20 days before the ceremony.

Intent To Marry

Americans can get married in Canada through a process similar to that in the U.S. All marriage applicants must file for a marriage license. The price of a marriage license in Canada varies depending on the province or territory. The price can be anywhere from $20 Canadian in Yukon to $121.78 Canadian in Nova Scotia. Waiting periods vary. Please check with the local province or territory marriage office for specific information.

The Ceremony

Canada does not require wedding ceremonies to be religious in nature, but they may be religious if the applicants desire. Ceremonies may be officiated by religious leaders or by commissioners of the government in each territory or province. Each of the 13 provinces and territories has the power to make specific regulations regarding the ceremony, including requirements for witnesses and required statements at the ceremony.

*If applicants are applying for a marriage license in Alberta, they must have the wedding ceremony in Alberta.

The Marriage Certificate

After a marriage is performed in Canada, the officiant must complete a Registration of Marriage form -- which includes the signatures of the newlyweds -- and forward the form to the Office of Vital Statistics within 48 hours of the marriage. Newlyweds receive a temporary proof of marriage certificate after the wedding, and the wedding is officially filed with the Office of Vital Statistics. Couples must contact the Office of Vital Statistics to receive the official marriage certificate.

Legal Documentation

To apply for a marriage license in Canada, applicants must furnish proof of age and legal name with a birth certificate or passport. Previously married applicants must show proof that past marriages have ended with divorce decrees or death certificates.

Same-Sex Marriage

Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada. Canadian law defines marriage as a legal agreement between two people who are equal partners (regardless of sex). Canada enacted the Civil Marriage Act in July 2005, becoming the first country in North or South America and the fourth country in the world to allow same-sex marriage. Same-sex couples from American can marry in Canada, but the unions may not be recognized in many U.S. states that do not allow gay marriage.

Additional Information

Since marriage certificates and regulations are set at a regional level in Canada, applicants should check the website of the province or territory in which they are applying for marriage for the most detailed and accurate information regarding marriage licenses and ceremonies.

View the full set of laws and regulations regarding marriage in Canada.

Learn more about getting married abroad here.