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The Friday Five

5 Things to Know About Applying for Marriage Licence in Ontario

Applying Ontario Marriage Licence, The Friday Five - Tips for Brides - Amy Pinder Photography

It’s wedding season, which means many of you are probably asking yourselves this very same question:

“What/How/When/WTF is a Marriage Licence“?…Been there with you, my friends!

Today on The Friday Five we’re talking about 5 Things you Need to Know About Applying for Marriage Licence in Ontario!

PS. And it’s here that I forewarn you that these tips are for residents in Ontario and that I’m writing from PERSONAL – rather than legal – experience. *Phew!* Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get down to business!

1. THE CERTIFICATE VS. THE LICENCE.

Before we dig deeper into this conversation, you need to know that there’s a difference between the Marriage Licence and the Marriage Certificate. The marriage licence is the document that you provide to your officiant on the day of your wedding, which shows that you have successfully registered to be married. In essence, the government is telling you that you meet all the legal requirements to get married (you’re over 16; you aren’t related; yada, yada…). The Marriage Certificate is the document that you apply for after being married.

2. IT COSTS MONEY.

Nobody said weddings were cheap. On top of the venue, florist, photographer, food, officiant, etc., you also have to pay your city to be legally married.

You’d think the cost of this marriage licence would be fairly standardized across the province…Well, that’s what I thought, and I was wrong!!; you’ll pay a different price depending on which service centre you go to. We personally paid $155.30 to get our Marriage Licence at the Nepean (Centerpoint) Client Services Centre, but each centre is different. You can expect to pay between $100-170 for this legal doc.

3. 90 DAYS.

Are you one of those people who wants to get all of the important planning out of the way, really early? Well, when it comes to your marriage licence, you’re out of luck…a marriage licence in Ontario is only valid for 90 days, so don’t even think about applying until within 3 months of your wedding day. All being well, you should be able to obtain this document on the same day you apply. For us, I was able to walk in, apply, and leave with the licence in under an hour.

4. ONE PERSON REQUIRED.

You can apply for your marriage licence without your partner being there; surprising, right!! All you need from them is an original signature on the application (which you can print in advance), and two pieces of valid ID…and I’m talking about the physical and ORIGINAL cards here (your driver’s licence, passport, birth certificate etc.). And NO your health card is NOT accepted – that one always gets me. 

5. *YOU* NEED TO BRING IT!!

YOU are responsible for giving this documentation to your officiant. Typically, this is handed over the day before the wedding at your rehearsal, but the bottom line is, YOU are responsible for acquiring this document and making sure it makes it to your officiant on time.


The Marriage Licence was one of those things that I knew surprisingly little about, until I was a bride. After your wedding day, you will use this licence to apply for your Marriage Certificate, which – again – is a whole new (and sometimes tedious) legal process. Best of luck, my sweet brides!! xo

Questions? Thoughts? How much did you spend on your licence, and where did you go?? Leave your advice below!

2 Comments

  1. Jessica Walsh Reply

    Thanks!! I really like the friday five!! This one is particular :)

  2. Very intriguing! This actually got me into a rabbit hole of googling how much it costs in nearby cities! May have to go for a road trip to save a few bucks on the license ;)

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