Kim Payant Photography

So, you’re getting married in Alberta? While the planning phase is undeniably fun, there’s more to it than penning the perfect wedding vows, selecting an officiant, touring venues and scrolling through Pinterest pages for inspo. You’ll need to sort out your marriage license before your big day to make the whole deal legit in the eyes of the law. Good news, though, the whole process is pretty simple.

Here’s what you need to do to get a marriage license in Alberta.

Before you head out on your quest for a marriage license, make sure you actually can get married in the province of Alberta. Are you over the age of 18? If you answered yes, you’re free to get the ball rolling. If you’re under the age of 18 you’ll need to get all legal guardians on board before you start signing any documents (they’ll need to sign, too). 

Next you’ll need to get ahold of the paperwork, which you can do at an Alberta registry agent office. If you have no clue where to look, the government has got your back. They’ve created an easy to use search engine that’ll show you where exactly you need to go. Remember to leave the house equipped with your proof identity. Each of you needs one valid piece of government-issued photo ID, such a driver’s license or passport; a list of acceptable ID can be found onlineFor those who have been married prior, you’ll also have to bring along proof of a divorce, annulment or the death certificate of a deceased spouse.

Both members of a couple must be present to apply for the license, so you’ll want to go on a day that works for you and your loved one. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so you may want to speak with a registry agent beforehand.

At the registry agent office you’ll be given a two part document which includes the Registration of Marriage and a marriage license. The paperwork must be in good condition (AKA not folded or crumpled) to be considered valid, so treat it with the utmost care or you may have to do it all over again. You’ll want to hand this over to your marriage officiant once you’ve filled it all out.

Something to note, marriage banns are not accepted instead of a marriage license in Alberta. This is different from places like Ontario.

As with Alberta’s neighbouring provinces, the document is valid for three months starting from the date that it was issued. But, luckily, there’s no waiting period. That means if you want to get hitched on the same day that your license is issued, you’re free to. You can also arrive in Alberta on the same day you apply for a license (there’s no wait for that either).

The final step of the whole process happens on your big day. At your wedding you and your spouse, your officiant and two witnesses will sign the Registration of Marriage and your officiant will supply you with a proof of marriage document. Your officiant will hang onto your license and submit your registration document within two days of the ceremony - it’ll then be archived with Alberta Vital Statistics.

Once your license is all taken care of you can order a marriage certificate. They can be ordered in different sizes at an Alberta registry agent office.

As you can see, the whole process is pretty hassle-free. Once you’ve sorted out all these details you’re free to start hashing out the more enjoyable details of wedding planning, like bridal bouquets and multi-tiered cakes.

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