Frequently Asked Questions about Marriage in Alberta
What is a marriage officiant in Alberta?
A marriage officiant is a person with the legal authority to perform marriages in Alberta.
Alberta has 2 kinds of marriage officiants – religious representative or clergy and civil marriage commissioners. Religious and civil ceremonies are both legal marriages in Alberta. There are no legal differences between getting married by a religious officiant or a marriage commissioner. I am a Marriage Commissioner appointed by the Government of Alberta.
- religious ceremonies are performed by a religious representative or clergy person registered with Vital Statistics
- civil marriages are performed by marriage commissioners appointed by the Alberta government to perform civil ceremonies for the community and area in which they reside.
Why would I choose a Civil Marriage Commissioner?
A civil marriage commissioner can help you incorporate ritual and ceremony into your wedding service, without the religious elements a clergyperson would provide.
How far in advance should you book your Marriage Commissioner?
When schedule allows, I can be booked as little as 24 hours in advance. However, prime wedding season is April through September and those months can get busy. As much advance booking as possible is helpful.
Before, During and After:
Before the marriage ceremony
- All couples must get an Alberta Marriage License. Marriage licences are valid for three months. https://www.alberta.ca/get-marriage-licence.aspx
- Choose the style of marriage ceremony; religious or civil
- Find a marriage officiant who is authorized through Vital Statistics to perform marriage in Alberta
During the marriage ceremony
Provide the marriage officiant the license and payment. Make sure all the requirements for a ceremony are followed. This is my job, so check it off your list.
After the marriage ceremony
- The marriage officiant keeps the Marriage License portion of the Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence form
- The marriage officiant sends the “Registration of Marriage” portion of the Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence form to Vital Statistics within 48 hours of the ceremony for registration.
If you want/require an Alberta Government issued marriage certificate, they can be ordered at an Alberta registry agent office. In Alberta, you can keep your own name or take the name of your spouse when you get married, or hyphenate.
What are the legal components that are required to be said during a marriage ceremony?
A marriage ceremony that is performed by a licensed marriage commissioner in Alberta, requires that during the ceremony, and in the presence of two adult witnesses and the marriage commissioner, the couple must declare to each other the following:
- I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I, (name), may not be joined in matrimony to (name).
- I call upon those persons present to witness that I, (name), do take you, (name) to be my lawfully wedded husband/spouse/wife.
Do I need to be an Alberta resident or Canadian to get married in Alberta?
No you do not! You must meet the legal requirements in Alberta including both over the age of 18, legally able to wed and have government identification. You can arrive in Alberta, get your license and get married in one day!
Witnesses must meet the following requirements:
- Over the age of 18 years.
- Cannot be cognitively impaired
- May not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs
There are a number of reasons a couple may not want to provide witnesses. You may be travelling or you are doing a surprise wedding at a destination or even your own backyard. I can provide witnesses with advance notice for a fee of $40.00 per person.
The best place for information is the government of Alberta’s website https://www.alberta.ca/marriage.aspx