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