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FAQ's

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If you’re reading this, most likely you’ve met someone and have decided to spend the rest of your lives together.Now you’re wondering, ‘How do we make that happen?’ Getting married is a major milestone in your life’s journey and your wedding day is certainly one of those days you will always remember. Selecting the right person to officiate for you on that big day is an important decision and you probably have a lot of questions.
 

There are answers here. Welcome and read on.What is a civil marriage commissioner/officiant?

I am licensed by the province of Albert as a civil marriage commissioner which means that in order to have your marriage recognized as legal by the government, you need to have it officiated by someone who is licensed by the province. A civil marriage is non-denominational and non religious.

What is the difference between a religious ceremony and a civil ceremony?

A religious ceremony is when couples are married according to the tenets of their faith. Whether this is also a legal ceremony depends upon whether the officiant has a Clergy Marriage Licence issued by the Province. Some clergy do, and some don't.

A civil ceremony is a legal wedding conducted by a Marriage Commissioner. The wedding is legal because the Marriage Commissioner has a Civil Marriage Licence from the Province. 

Who must be present for a legal wedding?

There must be at least five people in attendance. They are:

  • The two people who are being married

  • Someone with a valid Alberta Marriage Licence like a Marriage Commissioner or member of the clergy

  • Two witnesses who meet certain criteria.

 

What are the requirements for witnesses?

  • Witnesses must be over 18 years of age.

  • They must be fluent English-speakers.

  • They cannot be profoundly deaf, blind, illiterate or mentally-challenged.

  • They must not be drinking prior to the ceremony – nor can the couple.

  • Witnesses can be anyone who meets these criteria – from parents to complete strangers.

 

What if one of the people being married, or one of the witnesses, doesn’t speak English?

If someone involved in the ceremony doesn’t speak English, there must be a translator in addition to the witnesses.

 

What is a Marriage Licence?

  • The Marriage Licence must be acquired by the couple prior to the wedding. This is done by applying at an Alberta Registries office. Both members of the couple must be present to apply. Once the Licence is received, the couple can be married anywhere and anytime they choose in the next three months.

  • If someone wishing to be married has been divorced or widowed, they need to have the Divorce Certificate or Death Certificate if they wish to get a Marriage Licence.

  • It is very important to double- and even triple- check the information on the Marriage Licence. If your name is spelled wrong, your wedding will be registered under that spelling and it can be time-consuming to correct the official record.

What is a Marriage Statement?  

A Marriage Statement is provided to the couple by the Marriage Commissioner following the wedding. It is proof that they are legally married, but does not mean that the marriage is registered.

 

What is a Marriage Certificate?

The Marriage Certificate is applied for at an Alberta Registries office. It is proof that the wedding has been registered by the Province.

 

How quickly can a Marriage Certificate be acquired?

Yes. The Marriage Commissioner can do what’s called a ‘Rush Registration’ at an Alberta Registries office. As soon as this is done, the Certificate can be ordered and delivery arrangements made. This usually takes about two weeks off the time it takes to order and receive a Marriage Certificate.

What is the difference between a religious ceremony and a civil ceremony?

  • A religious ceremony is when couples are married according to the tenets of their faith. Whether this is also a legal ceremony depends upon whether the officiant has a Clergy Marriage Licence issued by the Province. Some clergy do, and some don't.

  • A civil ceremony is a legal wedding conducted by a Marriage Commissioner. The wedding is legal because the Marriage Commissioner has a Civil Marriage Licence from the Province. 

Where can we be married?

  • I will travel to whatever venue you wish. I have married people in churches, in their living rooms, in parks and community centres, at registry offices and in parking lots.

  • Since I am appointed for Calgary, it is important that you understand that, if you want to be married outside the city, there may be Marriage Commissioners appointed for that area. However, you are allowed to have whoever you want officiate for you.

Do you charge extra for weddings outside of Calgary?

Yes. I do charge extra for weddings outside Calgary, but it depends upon where and when the wedding is being held.

 

Can we customize or personalize our wedding ceremony?

The core of the ceremony is two pages of compulsory vows that I read and the couple repeats.In addition to the compulsory vows, you are free to include any additional vows of your own. Other than that, you are free to make your wedding suit your own vision. I have nice additional ceremonies like the Couple Sand Ceremony, the Family Sand Ceremony and the Rose Ceremony. Sometimes people do hand-fasting or hand ceremonies, and there are other special rituals, too. I am happy to discuss these in detail with you or perhaps you have an idea of yours that I would be happy to discuss with you when we meet.

Do we meet before the wedding?

  • I like to meet with couples about a month before the wedding, after they have their Marriage Licence. I find that before that you’re too busy with event-planning to really think about the ceremony.

  • At the meeting, we go into the details of the wedding from the time the music starts to when you go off, arm-in-arm, into your future together.

  • I will take custody of the Licence at this meeting and this is also the best time for you to pay me. All you should have to remember to do on your wedding day is get married.

 

Do you do rehearsals?

I will do a rehearsal if required, but my experience has been that the pre-wedding meeting is more useful to you. There will be an additional fee.

We want to renew our vows, do we have to have a licensed officiant?

No. Since the renewal of your vows has no bearing on the legal status of your marriage, it can be conducted by anyone. Often, of course, people do choose a Marriage Commissioner because their experience is helpful in constructing a personalized renewal ceremony. 

We were married secretly, but now we want to have a big wedding with all of our friends and family there. Can you perform a mock wedding?

No. A Marriage Commissioner cannot perform a mock wedding. It is possible to have a very nice and meaningful Celebration Ceremony, but it must be made clear at the beginning of the ceremony that this is not a legal wedding.

We were married in another country. Are we legally married in Canada?

Different countries have different systems for recognizing a legal wedding. Religious ceremonies in some countries have no legal standing unless a civil registration process is completed. Usually, a couple who is legally married in one country is legally married everywhere, but it's best to check. Often people who have only had the religious ceremony will have a quiet civil ceremony with a Marriage Commissioner here.

Do you do LGBTQ weddings?

Yes. I am always delighted when I am given the chance to unite two people in love regardless of their gender or orientation.

Do you do traditional weddings?

Yes. If you choose to have a religious wedding, I can marry you after the religious ceremony has taken place.

How far in advance do we need to book you?

I have married people within 45 minutes of booking me or within a year of booking. It all depends on you. I always try and work around your schedule.

How do we contact you?

The best way to get in touch with me is to call me at 403-275-1704. I find it works best if we can get all your questions answered in one call. If you’d rather text, the number is 403-804-2424. My e-mail is marriagecommissionercalgary@gmail.com.

 

How do we book you?

I ask that one, or both, of the people being married call me at 403-275-1704 to make a booking.

Do you require a deposit for bookings?

No I do not. Your word is enough for me.

What are your fees?

The fee is not a flat rate and is dependent on many factors. I am more than happy providing a quote dependent on the time and date of the wedding.