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Marriage Rules in Canada

Marriage in Canada has always been the strongest foundation to be made and the conventional idea of a Christian style marriage has influenced the country since it came into being. But the traditions and laws of marrying in Canada have changed tremendously over the years. On the other hand, there had been noticed relaxation on the part of family customs and rituals and the expectations of the society during this period.


Are you planning to get wed in Canada?

If you want to tie the knot in Canada and wondering if your current status or eligibility adheres to the lawful guidelines, then here is something for you to know. Before you plan for the wedding, it is important to get accustomed to some rules and requirements so you stay out of trouble and get happily married.

What are the rules to get married in Canada?

For your marriage to be peaceful pursuit, taking care of what government has to stay in this regard is critical. Marriage in Canada is controlled by the rules of both, the provinces and the federal government. The main two acts expressing in detail the guidelines to stick to or fulfill before you get married are the Marriage Act and the Marriage for Civil Purposes Act.


The Marriage Act or legally referred to as the Marriage (Prohibited Degrees) Act is the act enlisting the persons you are not allowed to marry in Canada. These persons are the siblings and all other close relations of the individual sharing the same line of blood. It includes the adopted brother, sisters, or family members as well.


The Civil Marriage Act 2005 is to legalize the marriage of two people of the same sex. The act defines marriage as an act of union of two individuals barring all the other factors. The Civil Marriage Act is to prohibit the religious organization or strict believers to oppose the marriage ceremony of same-sex couples. It gives the right to the same-sex couple to get married in the same way as others and getting the same benefits of a formal wedding.


Besides the laws, some factors or rules for being legally married in Canada are stated below.

The Age Factor

Before reaching 18, you are allowed to do anything that comes under the vicinity of the law without the requirement of your parent’s permission. This includes the decision to get married as well. However, if there is a court order or the permission of one of your parents or guardian to get married, you can get married at the age of 16 or 17 too. In the province of Alberta, marriage is not allowed for an individual below the age of 16.

The Marriage Ceremony

For the marriage ceremony to take place, there has to be a registered clergy or a commissioner under the Marriage Act. There must be two adults for the marriage to be performed and completed and also, other reliable witnesses (guests or family) to the marriage. You can find out the commissioners or clergies for your marriage on the official Marriage Commissioner Listing page of the Alberta website.


The words-‘’I do solemnly declare that I do not know of any lawful impediment why I (state name) may not be joined in matrimony to (state name)”, along with the marrying couple affirming to each other: “I call upon those persons present to witness that I do take you, to be my lawful wedded wife or husband,” should be included. Besides this, the couple is free to assert any vows they wish to.

Marriage License

The marriage license is a must and you can get it by applying in the registry offices of the province. Keep check of all the documentation requirements before you go to the office. You have to pay a certain amount for obtaining a marriage license and the cost varies from province to province. The issuance time for the marriage license is just the time spent waiting for it in the registry office; it is a quick process.


The validity for the license is three months and the license has to be given to the individual performing your wedding ceremony. This individual will send the license to the government for registration within 48 hours. You will also get a marriage certificate as legal proof of marriage. However, the couple cannot get married if either of them is under any kind of substance abuse such as alcohol or drugs.


Documents required for applying for a marriage license:

  • Filled out forms with personal information of the individuals to be married
  • Affidavit that states the information in the forms filled as true and final
  • Certificate of Divorce if one or both of you is/are a divorcee
  • Copy of the court order of the annulment of marriage, if your marriage was annulled
  • Death certificate of the deceased spouse in case you are widowed

Other crucial points-

  • If you are a Canadian and want to get married to a foreign citizen, then the non-Canadian citizen is permitted to reside in Canada only after he adheres to certain rules and procedures. To know more about this, go through the Citizen and Immigration-Immigrant Sponsorship requirements.
  • If you are a Canadian and got married in a foreign country, then you do not have to register your marriage in your residential province. You just need to show a marriage certificate issued by the country where your marriage took place.
  • If the fallacy in the execution of your marriage is attributed to a human mistake to some extent, then your marriage will not go void altogether. For instance, if the commissioner was not eligible to perform your marriage, then you can apply for a judge’s order to reciprocate this fault.

For more information, you can visit the official website of Canada or a certain province to understand the exact meaning of different legal terms.