Marriage License vs. Marriage Certificate

First let’s clarify that a Marriage Certificate is different, and that comes AFTER you are married (more about that later). The License is what you need to apply for in advance, and give to your Officiant, and sign along with your Witnesses. You need the License in order to be legally wed, and it must be kept in good condition and cannot be folded.

Before You Apply for a Marriage License in Alberta

In Alberta, it is valid for 90 days so you need to obtain it and get married within that 3 month time frame. There is no waiting period, once issued you will leave with your Marriage License. If you are over the age of 18, you sign it yourself. If you are under the age of 18, your legal guardian will need to sign.

Where to Apply for a Marriage License

It must be issued within the Province you are getting married in. You can apply at your local Registry Office, click here to find a one near you.

Destination couples – Our couples travel to Alberta to marry in Banff and Canmore from all over. Since one is required to be married in Alberta, even destination couples need to get one. Though an appointment isn’t typically required, we often make our clients an appointment to ensure valuable vacation time isn’t wasted in a busy Registry Office.

What Do You Need to Get a Marriage Licence in Alberta

  • Both you and your partner need to be physically present and cannot be under the influence of drugs or alcohol to apply
  • Bring two forms of Government issued ID (Passport, DL, Birth Certificate, Citizenship or Immigration documents, etc.)
  • If applicable bring proof of Divorce/ Annulment
  • Application fee (typically around $80, but you can call around for the best deal as long as it is in the Province you are getting married in)

What Will They Ask?

The questions are mostly fairly standard, but one that trips couples up the most is the birthplace of each of your parents. Many couples have told me they’re glad I mention this, since they would have guessed their parent’s hometown yet surprisingly mom was born in a city where the bigger hospital was for example.

After the Ceremony

Your Officiant will give your Marriage License to your Wedding Planner before they leave. Your Wedding Planner will have discussed with you where they will put it for safe keeping. (Don’t have a Wedding Planner? That’s ok, just have a designated person and introduce them to your Officiant at the Rehearsal). Since your card box will already be guarded, locked up and taken to a safe location, this would be a good place to store it. Just make sure the card box will be big enough to fit it.

After 6-8 weeks your marriage will have been registered, and you can now order a copy of your Marriage Certificate. There are different sizes available, it’s up to you. If you’re planning to get a big copy and frame it you should know that it’s very official looking. Another option that our clients sometimes choose is to order the small one as well as to order a pretty one created (by a local Calligrapher or Graphic Designer or on Etsy) to actually hang on the wall.

Still have questions about your particular situation? Here are some resources to help you. https://www.alberta.ca/marriage.aspx and https://www.alberta.ca/getting-married.aspx#toc-0

Changing Your Name? Check out our post about what you need to know about that process too.

Planner's Signature

Don’t be afraid to set your own trends, and add your own personal spin on them.  Here are a few to watch for this year!

1)  Loose, Unstructured Florals

In 2015 we saw a move toward more organic looking, natural floral arrangements that give the impression of a bride just having gathered her bouquet from her garden on her way to the ceremony.  No more perfectly round bouquets, the modern bride prefers a less fussy look.  My guess is that we will continue to see more of this more free flowing look in 2016.
Edited: Just added this gorgeous bridal bouquet by Carla Lily Flowers.

Bridal Bouquet with succulets

2) Wedding Cake Alternatives

Cupcakes and cake pops have been paving the way in recent years for unlimited options for wedding cake alternatives.  This year’s biggest dessert will be the merengue- according to Suzanne of Handmade Cake Co. we can expect to see more in the form of macarons of course, but also meringue pavlova, nests, and more!  Well, I’ve tasted her merengues and they are to die for!!

Also consider a delightful selection of pies, even individual hand-pies, or a display of old fashioned donuts, cookie + ice cream sandwiches, ice cream sundae bar.

Cake Dress dot com - Hand piesMeringue Pavlova by Handmade Cake Co.

3) Suspended Centrepieces and Chandelier Cakes

Hello WOW Factor!  These gravity defying centerpieces and hanging cakes are such a memorable way to add drama to your reception!

Edited: Check out this gorgeous suspended floral piece that hung above a Cake-Tasting Bar by local shop Handmade Cake Co. at a recent wedding show. Florals by Fleurish Flower Shop. LOVE IT!

Suspended chandelier center piece flowers hangs from above.

4) Food Stations

Expected to be a big hit again this year, couples are breaking out with fun, new ideas for food stations.  Some are opting to go with a formal sit-down dinner with stations for cocktail hour, desert and late night snack.  Others still are skipping the sit-down dinner entirely and instead letting guests mingle between exciting action-stations where each item is prepared before guests’ eyes!  Just make sure to have plenty of casual seating and soft seating available for those who wish to gather at a table between stations.

5) Bold Dresses
This year we are going to see many Brides opt for bold statements with their gown.  Plunging necklines, or low backs, short dresses with long sleeves, asymmetric necklines, two-piece with a crop-top, and our very favorite dress trend this year: illusion necklines with lace or floral appliques.  So feminine and pretty!

Kristin Wiig Delphine Manivet Golden Globes Trends Dress Met Gala Kim Kardashian

Trends George Wu on Philippa Northeast Dress Trend - Rosamond Pike Vera Wang

6) Metallics

An elegant pop of sparkle, metallics are being incorporated in everything from foil stamped invitations to jewelry to decor elements and even dresses!  Silver, Gold, Bronze, are trending, but Rose Gold and Copper are already quickly becoming the most requested metallics.
Wedding Table Decor Mercury Glass Candle Holders and Vases

What do you think of our predictions?  Which other trends do you think will be hot this year?

Calgary Wedding Coordinator 
Wedding Planners Institute of Canada Certified Wedding Coordinator & Consultant