Q. What is a Marriage Commissioner?
A. Marriage Commissioner is appointed by the Alberta government and is able to perform civil ceremonies. This is an alternative to religious ceremonies which are performed by a religious representative or clergy person registered with Vital Statistics
When planning the marriage, a couple may choose a religious or civil ceremony. There are no legal differences between these two types of ceremonies:
~Religious ceremonies are performed by a religious representative (registered clergy) as long as they are registered with Vital Statistics under the Marriage Act
~Civil ceremonies (non-religious) are performed by marriage commissioners who are appointed by the Government of Alberta under the Marriage Act
Q. How far in advance should I book a Marriage Commissioner?
A. It is recommended to book a marriage commissioner 6-12 months in advance. BUT bookings are accepted at last minute notice for elopements and destination ceremonies, dependant on the officiants schedule.
Q. What are the legal components that must be said during a civil marriage ceremony?
A The two legally required statements are in Section 8(2) of the Marriage Act.
8(2) No particular form of ceremony is required in the solemnization of a marriage by a marriage commissioner except that in some part of the ceremony, in the presence of the marriage commissioner and the witnesses, each of the parties shall declare:
I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful
impediment why I, _______________, may not be joined in
matrimony to ____________.
and each of the parties shall say to the other:
I call on those persons present to witness that I, ________,
do take you, ___________, to be my lawful wedded wife (or
husband, or spouse).
Q. How long is the ceremony?
A. Please allow 30 minutes for your Marriage Ceremony however depending on ceremony selections and vows – usually runs 20-25 minutes.
Q. How do I obtain a Marriage Licence?
A. You must get an Alberta marriage licence before you can get married in Alberta.
A marriage licence shows a marriage officiant that all the laws in Alberta have been met and the couple can get married.
Alberta Marriage Licences are available from a registry agent office.
A registry agent issues a 2-part document. The top part is a Registration of Marriage and the bottom part is the marriage licence:
- the full document (Registration of Marriage and Marriage Licence) must be given to the marriage officiant that will be performing the marriage
- the document must be kept in good condition and not folded as the document will be permanently archived
To obtain a Marriage Licence in Alberta, you must meet the following requirements.
Q. How long is a Marriage Licence valid for?
A. A Marriage Licence is valid for 3 months.
Q. What is a Civil Marriage Statement?
A. It is a statement provided by the marriage commissioner serving as a Proof of Marriage until receipt of the Marriage Certificate.
Q. What is a Marriage Certificate?
A. Alberta Vital Statistics maintains a record (registration) of all marriages that occur in Alberta and can only issue certificate/documents for events that occurred in Alberta. Marriage Certificates are issued using the information from the original Registration of Marriage, completed at the time of marriage. The appropriate form must be completed and submitted through an authorized registry agent in Alberta. Please see samples provided on the Alberta Vital Statistics Website.
Q. What paperwork is needed to be completed prior to/on the wedding day?
A. Please remember to bring the Alberta Marriage Licence with you to the marriage ceremony and that it is provided to the Marriage Commissioner prior to the commencement of the marriage ceremony.
The Marriage Licence is what is signed during the marriage ceremony.
~ TWO witnesses need to be chosen to sign the Alberta Marriage Licence (over the age of 18 years old). They will be asked to sign the Marriage Licence after each of you have signed.
~ Civil Marriage Statement will be provided (proof of marriage but not a legal document) by Marriage Commissioner following the ceremony.
~ Completed Alberta Marriage Licence will be submitted to Alberta Vital Statistics via mail on behalf of the Marriage Commissioner.
Q. Can our paperwork be completed on a rush timeline?
A. Yes, this can be done either after the ceremony (time permitting) or the next business day. This eliminates waiting time if the registration of the marriage was mailed to Alberta Vital Statistics office. There will be an $50 rush fee that will apply for this service.
Q. What paperwork is needed to be completed AFTER the wedding day?
A. Couples need go back to Alberta Registries office to apply for Alberta Marriage Certificate.
For Registry Office Locations and Information, Please Visit: http://www.servicealberta.gov.ab.ca/1158.cfm
~ Alberta Marriage Certificates are printed in Alberta Vital Statistics office (Edmonton). Alberta Marriage Certificate are mailed directly to the couples’ home (or if requested at time of request sent directly to the local registries office for pick up). Please see samples provided. Alberta Vital Statistics website.
Q. Do I have to change my last name?
A. In Alberta, you can keep your own last name or change your name when you get married.
In Alberta it is traditionally accepted for you, as a married person, to assume your spouse’s last name. A legal change of name is not required.
The assumed last name can be your spouse’s last name or a combination of your and your spouse’s last names. Combining a last name can be with a hyphen or a space. The order of the 2 names is up to you.
As a married person you can also keep your last name and not change it.