Getting Married


Before the Ceremony

  • Marriage Licence
    • To get married in Alberta, a couple must apply for a marriage Licence at an Alberta registry agent office.
    • A marriage licence shows the marriage officiant that a couple meets the laws to get married in Alberta.
    • The registry agent issues a two part document. The top part is a Registration of Marriage and the bottom part is the Marriage Licence.
    • The full document (Registration of Marriage and Marriage Licence) must be given to the marriage officiant that will be performing the marriage.
    • The document must be kept in good condition and not folded because once the marriage is performed, the Registration of Marriage portion becomes the legal marriage record and is permanently archived. Vital Statistics has original Registrations of Marriage dating back to 1875.

  • Choose a Marriage Officiant
    • A marriage officiant is a person with the legal authority to perform marriages.
    • Alberta offers two types of marriage officiants - religious and civil. The religious and civil ceremony are legal marriages.
      • 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 Government of Alberta to perform civil ceremonies for the community and area in which they reside.
    • Use the Marriage Commissioner Listing or Marriage Commissioner Map to locate a marriage commissioner in your area. All registry agents can provide a list of marriage commissioners. 
    • As there are over 8000 clergy registered in Alberta, a public list is not available. To find an authorized clergy person/religious representative, contact the applicable church or religious organization.

Ceremony

  • Religious Ceremony
    • Religious ceremonies are performed by religious representatives (clergy person) registered with Vital Statistics to perform marriages.
    • All Marriage Ceremony Requirements apply.

  • Civil Ceremony
    • Civil ceremonies are performed by marriage commissioners authorized by Ministerial appointment.
    • All Marriage Ceremony Requirements apply.
    • A civil ceremony requires each person getting married to declare in front of the intended spouse, both witnesses and the marriage commissioner the following two statements.
      • 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 lawful wedded (wife/husband/spouse).

  • Ceremony Requirements
    • The marriage licence must be valid on the date of marriage.
    • The Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence document must be given to the marriage officiant.
    • The ceremony must take place in Alberta.
    • The marriage officiant must be authorized/registered with the Alberta Government to perform marriages in Alberta.
    • The couple and two adult witnesses must be physically in the presence of the marriage officiant. 
    • Marriage by proxy is not permitted.
    • The witnesses must meet the following requirements:
      • The witnesses must be 18 years of age or older.
      • The witnesses cannot be cognitively impaired.
    • The couple and the witnesses must be fluent in the languages being spoken at the wedding ceremony and fully understand the English documents they will be required to sign.
    • When a person in the wedding party (couple and/or witnesses) are not fluent in English an interpreter/translator may be required. Contact the marriage officiant for details.
    • When an interpreter/translator is required, it is the couple's responsibility to provide one.
    • None of the wedding party may be under the influence of a drug or alcohol.
    • During the ceremony the Registration of Marriage must be signed by the couple, two witnesses and marriage officiant. 
    • At the conclusion of the marriage ceremony, the marriage officiant will provide the couple with a proof of marriage document.

After the Ceremony

  • The marriage officiant keeps the marriage licence portion of the form and submits the Registration of Marriage portion for registration within two days of the ceremony.
  • The Registration of Marriage document is permanently archived with Alberta Vital Statistics.
  • The information on the Registration of Marriage is used to create government issued marriage documents.
  • Alberta marriage certificates can be ordered at an Alberta registry agent office
    • When there are errors on a government issued marriage document, an amendment is needed.
  • In Alberta it is traditionally acceptable for a married person to keep his/her own last name or assume a married last name.