Many people find the process of getting married to be confusing, we hope that the following answers will help you get started planning your special day!
Q. Can a friend/family member marry us?
Short answer - probably not! In Ontario only licensed Officiants, some city clerks and Justices of the Peace are able to legally marry people. Most municipalities no longer offer this service through clerks and it's less and less common to find a Justice of the Peace who will perform weddings. Officiants are required to be a member of a recognized clergy and you can check here to see if your Officiant is properly licensed. You can't just go online and get licensed to perform a ceremony in Ontario like you can in the US, that would not be legally recognized. BUT ... we are happy to perform the legal aspects of a ceremony either during, before or after a ceremony performed by someone who is not licensed!
Q. How do I get a marriage licence?
Marriage licenses are issued by municipalities, but you don't have to get married in the municipality that issues your licence. You can download the application here, both parties have to sign it and then you bring it in with ID and any other documentation (e.g. divorce decree). Some municipalities only require one applicant to go in but they must have both people's ID. The cost varies by municipality and you can usually check this on the municipality's website. You can find the information for the city of Kingston here.
Q. How far ahead of time should we get the licence?
Marriage licences are good for 90 days and we generally recommend that you don't leave it until the last minute, especially if either party has been divorced or is not a Canadian citizen.
Q. What paperwork does the Officiant do?
At the wedding your Officiant will complete the licence and the marriage register (kept by the Officiant), you will be given your signed Record of Solemnisation from the licence and the Officiant will take the rest of it to send to the Registrar General. This is the legal record of your marriage and the Officiant is responsible for ensuring that it is completed fully and accurately with all required signatures.
Q. How long is a marriage ceremony?
This depends on your Officiant but Peter's weddings generally run about 12-15 minutes for a simple ceremony.
Q. How much can we customize our ceremony?
There are only three parts of a marriage ceremony which are legally required (statement of intent, witness affirmation and declaration of marriage) and everything else is personal choice. Your Officiant can provide you with many different options for ring exchange, vows, readings, blessings, hand fasting, candle and unity ceremonies, etc.
Q. Do we have to have music?
Music isn't a requirement but it is traditionally used for the processional (coming down the aisle) and the recessional (going back up the aisle). Some couples also choose to have music while doing the signing, but others choose to do the signing after the ceremony.
Q. Should I have a rehearsal?
It all depends on how big your wedding is going to be - if you have a big wedding party, music, processional, etc we really recommend you have a rehearsal. This gives your Officiant the chance to walk you through from start to finish so everyone knows what they're supposed to do on the day. If it's just you and your witnesses there's not usually any need for a rehearsal.
Q. How much does an Officiant charge?
Fees are set by each Officiant or agency and most Officiants will charge additional fees for travel outside their local area and also for rehearsals. We offer reduced rates Sunday-Thursdays and also offer a Military discount.
Q. Are there costs for travel?
Yes, most Officiants will charge an additional fee for travel depending on time and distance.
Q. Will I automatically get my marriage certificate?
No! And you won't get any notification from the government that they've registered your marriage and they don't automatically send a certificate, you have to apply. On average it takes 6-8 weeks after a wedding to have the marriage registered with the province and after that you can apply for your certificate here. Towards the end of the summer it can take longer if the Registrar General has a backlog of marriages.