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Frequently Asked Questions

Marriage Licences

1. What forms do we need to get before we marry?

Before you get married, you need either:
• a Marriage Licence, or
• a banns form that you get from a church when you publicly announce your commitment during a divine service (a church publishes this declaration, called “the publication of banns”)

Banns cannot be published if you or your spouse has been married before. You will need to get a Marriage Licence.

2. Do we have to be a resident of Canada to marry in Ontario?

You do not have to be a resident of Canada to obtain a Marriage Licence.

3. How old do you have to be to obtain a Marriage Licence?

You must be at least 16 years old to get married in Ontario. Applicants under 18 years old will need written consent from their parents or legal guardians.

4. How long is a Marriage Licence valid for?

A Marriage Licence is valid for use anywhere in Ontario for a period of three (3) months from the date of issue.

5. What identification is required to get a Marriage Licence?

You will be required to show 2 pieces of government-issued identification for each person getting married.  One piece of identification must include your photo. 

Examples of government-issued identification:
• government-issued birth certificate, including any change of name certificates
• valid passport
• record of immigrant landing
• Canadian Citizenship Card
• valid driver’s licence
• valid Ontario Photo Card

6. What if one applicant is unable to go to the Town to obtain a Marriage Licence?

The Marriage Licence Application must be completed and signed by both applicants. Either one or both applicants may bring in the completed application and 2 pieces of government-issued identification (driver’s licence, passport etc.) for both applicants.  One piece of identification for each applicant must be photo identification.

7. What documentation is required if I was divorced in Canada?

If you were divorced in Canada, you will need to bring official proof of the divorce with you when you apply for a marriage licence.  This will be the original or a court-certified copy of one of three documents:
• the final decree
• the final judgment
• a certificate of divorce

8. What documentation is required if I was divorced outside of Canada?

If you were divorced outside of Canada, you will need to bring official proof of the divorce with you when you apply for a marriage licence.  This will be a document from the Ontario Government confirming that they have validated your divorce and that you are free to marry.  To apply for this document from the province you will need to provide specific documents to prove that you are no longer married.  This process can take up to 4 weeks.  Please refer to the ServiceOntario website.

Marriage Ceremonies

9. Who can perform a marriage ceremony?

An authorized official needs to marry you to ensure that a marriage is performed properly and legally. There are 2 types of marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario; Religious marriage: a recognized religious official marries you; and Civil marriage: a judge, justice of the peace or authorized municipal clerk marries you, often at a local municipal office or city hall.

10. Are you required to have wedding rings to be married?Wedding Bands

Wedding rings are not a requirement for a marriage celebration.

East Gwillimbury Civil Marriage Ceremonies

11. What type of ceremony does the Town provide?  

The Town provides a non-religious ceremony that reflect the couple’s choices and desires.  All elements of the ceremony are thoroughly discussed with the couple in the pre-ceremony consultation. Remember, this is your day and you get to choose how you want it celebrated!  

12. How formal will the ceremony be?

That is up to you.  You can wear anything from jeans to a wedding dress or a tuxedo; we have performed very casual to fully formal ceremonies and many in between.

13. How long does the ceremony take?

The duration of the ceremony varies depending on what you have planned with your Officiant; generally, they run between 5 and 20 minutes, including the signing of the register. 

14. How far in advance do we need to book a marriage date?

Please call us to check our availability any time.  Some months are busier than others so you should book your date as soon as you decide you wish to have a Civil Marriage Ceremony.

If you wish to marry as soon as possible, that can usually be accommodated within a week or so.

15. Are witnesses required?

Two witnesses must be present during the ceremony; they can be family or friends.  If you wish to have Town staff act as a witness there is a fee of $54.20 per witness.

16. May we write our own vows and have friends read?  

You may expand upon the required vows by reading your own personal non-religious vows to one another.  In addition, you may choose to include non-religious readings of your choice throughout the ceremony.

17. May pictures be taken during the ceremony? 

Photographs and video may be taken at any time.  The Council Chamber has WiFi and you may connect to SKYPE if you wish to bring the required electronics. 

18. May music be played?  

Music may be played; you must provide the music and player; and arrange for someone to activate the music as you wish.

19. May confetti or rice be thrown?

No confetti, rice or any other material/item that will require clean up by municipal staff is permitted.

20. Is a traditional rehearsal required prior to a marriage celebration? 

To ensure that your wedding ceremony proceeds smoothly, both parties are required to attend a pre-ceremony consultation with Town staff to arrange the details of your ceremony; customizing to your wishes.

After the Ceremony

21. What will we receive after the ceremony?

Record of Solemnization 1

Following the ceremony, you will receive a "Record of Solemnization of Marriage"; this is not a marriage certificate.  Before you can apply for your marriage certificate, your marriage needs to be registered.  The officiant who performs the marriage will send the signed marriage licence to ServiceOntario.  12 weeks after your ceremony, you may apply for your official Certificate of Marriage from the province; this is NOT sent to you automatically.  For more information please visit the Service Ontario's website.


22. Why would we need to get a marriage certificate?

Marriage Certificate

A marriage certificate is the legal record of a marriage. It lists the date and place of the marriage, and names of the people who were married.

You need this document to:
• show legal proof you are married
• apply for certain social benefits
• settle an estate
• change a last name


23. Do I have to change my name after marriage?

When you get married, you don’t have to legally change your last name (surname). But if you choose to legally change your last name, you can do so through ServiceOntario.

24. Will our marriage in Ontario be recognized outside of Canada?

For heterosexual couples married in Canada, your marriage will be recognized throughout the world.

However, for same sex couples married in Canada, while your marriage is recognized in Canada, it might not be recognized in other parts of the world.  This is not to say that you are not lawfully married; you are; it just might not be recognized elsewhere.