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ONTARIO RESIDENTS GETTING MARRIED IN QUEBEC (and vice versa!)



Are you an Ontario resident wanting to get married in Quebec, or vice versa? Wondering about how the whole licencing process works? Read on to find out!


A couple of important notes to start:

  • No matter where you live, you can get married in either (or any other!) province, and your marriage will be legal Canada-wide

  • The licence that you need in order to get married is obtain through the province in which you get married, not the province in which you reside

  • Officiants are certified per province - you need an officiant who is able to perform marriages in the province in which you plan to get married. Note: On our team, Karen and JL can perform marriages in Quebec, and Karen, JL and Kat can all perform marriages in Ontario. You can look online to be sure your officiant is legally certified to perform marriages in your province:

  • If you experience any issues with your licence or certificate, or, (although no one wants to think about it...) if you ever wanted to end your marriage someday, this would need to be dealt with through the province who issued your marriage licence. If you want to get married in Quebec, but you don't speak French, this is something to consider - many government services are only provided in French in Quebec.



Getting married in Ontario


These rules apply to anyone getting married in Ontario even if they are residents of a different province.


  • You will complete a request for a marriage licence online, and at least one of you will need to go to City Hall to pick it up. You bring this with you to your ceremony.

  • During your legal ceremony / in front of at least 2 witnesses, your officiant is legally required to:

    • Ask you both to consent to the marriage (usually, you say "I do"!)

    • Have both of you and your witnesses sign the marriage licence documents, and sign them themselves

    • Proclaim you as married

  • Following the ceremony, your officiant will mail the necessary documents in to the province

  • You can go to a Service Ontario website to order your marriage certificate. Note that it can take 6+ months for your marriage to be registered in the system and for them to mail the certificate.



Getting married in Quebec 


These rules apply to anyone getting married in Quebec, even if they are residents of a different province.


  • Your officiant will obtain all your information, and they must post a "Publication of a notice of marriage" on the Directeur de l'état civil website. This needs to be posted for 20 days in the 3 months leading up to your wedding date.

  • Your officiant will fill out your marriage licence and bring it to your ceremony. 

  • During your legal ceremony / in front of at least 2 witnesses, your officiant is legally required to:

    • Ask you both to consent to the marriage (usually, you say "I do"!)

    • Read the required articles of the Civil Code of Québec

    • Have both of you and your witnesses sign the marriage licence documents, and sign them themselves

    • Proclaim you as married

  • Following the ceremony, your officiant will mail the necessary documents in to the province

  • The province will reach out to you directly to provide you with instructions on how to order your marriage certificate - usually takes about 8-12 weeks.



Additional FAQ 


  • What if you want an Ontario licence but you are planning a wedding in Quebec, or vice versa?

    • Consider a "paper signing" ceremony on a different date. You can get legally married in the province of your choice, and then have your officiant (or anyone else!) perform a symbolic ceremony on the day of your wedding. 

    • Note: your marriage certificate will reflect the date of your legal ceremony only - not a symbolic one. It is not legal for an officiant to post-date the paperwork to reflect a different date than the one on which you signed your legal papers. 


  • Can my friend or family member legally marry us?

    • Ontario: Not possible to obtain a 1-day licence to perform ceremonies. 

    • Quebec: It is possible to obtain a 1-day licence to perform ceremonies in Quebec. The person must apply and pass an interview. More info here.

    • Both: Talk to your officiant about options! The officiant must legally do the 3 or 4 pieces mentioned above, but someone else can perform the rest. We offer a DIY ceremony service where we take care of legally marrying you (either on a different date, or onsite at your wedding), and we provide a guide, templates, and coaching to assist your friend or family member in performing a non-legal ceremony. 


  • Can I assume a new last name after marriage?

    • The ability to assume a new name after marriage is a based off of where you reside, and not the province in which you get married - the opposite of the licencing process. 

    • Quebec resident: You are unable to assume a new name after marriage, no matter where you get married. 

    • Ontario resident: You can assume a new name after marriage if you wish, no matter where you get married. Once you have your marriage certificate, you can do this through Service Ontario.

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