Marriage Certificate vs. Licence

The licence vs. the certificate... what gives, and do I need both?

In Ontario, your marriage certificate is a document that proves you are married. The marriage licence (see previous blog here - to get the in’s and out’s of obtaining a licence) is what allows your “official” to marry you on your wedding day.

The typical sequence of events:

  1. The couple obtains a marriage licence

  2. The couple holds the wedding ceremony

  3. The licence is signed by the couple, dated and co-signed by 2 witnesses (Pre-during-or post the “I do’s”) on the same day as the ceremony

  4. The official who performed the ceremony sends away the signed licence to Service Ontario. This is often done just after the ceremony. The couple leaves the ceremony with A Record of Solemnization of Marriage.

  5. The couple orders their marriage certificate 6-8 weeks after their wedding ceremony/marriage licence has been submitted.

If you order online [link here], regular service will see the certificate mailed within 15 days. Premium service for an extra $30.00 will get it in the mail within 5 days.

Why is a marriage certificate important? This is the only legal document that proves you are married. You may need this document to:

  • apply for certain social benefits

  • settle an estate

  • change a last name

If you are unsure whether you need a file sized certificate or certified certificate, please check with the Ministry, government agency, or person requesting the document before you order.

We hope this clears the air!



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