Service Alberta is responsible for licencing and registering marriages in Alberta. In addition, the department registers religious organizations and clergy who perform marriages, appoint marriage commissioners and establishes the legal requirements for marriage ceremonies.
Before You Get Married
Before you get married, you must get a Marriage Licence and a Registration of Marriage from any registry agent in Alberta.
A Marriage Licence shows that you meet the requirements to get married in Alberta and gives you the legal right to get married any time within three months from the date the licence was issued. You will receive a Registration of Marriage form from the registry agent at the same time you receive your marriage licence, which you must present to the marriage officiant. Once complete, the Registration of Marriage form becomes a permanent legal record of your marriage.
Contacting a Marriage Officiant
A marriage officiant is a person with the legal authority to perform marriages in Alberta. When planning your marriage, you may choose a religious or civil ceremony. There are no legal differences between these two types of ceremonies.
Religious ceremonies can be performed by a religious representative or clergy registered with Vital Statistics. Marriage Commissioners appointed by the Government of Alberta can perform civil ceremonies. Check our listing of marriage commissioners for an Officiant in your area. Any registry agent can also provide you with a list.
Marriage Ceremony Requirements
There are several basic requirements for marriage ceremonies in Alberta:
- Both parties to the marriage, a registered officiant and two adult witnesses must be present at the ceremony
- The couple must present a valid Alberta marriage licence
- The Registration of Marriage must be signed by the bride, groom or spouse, marriage officiant and two adult witnesses
Marriage ceremonies performed by a marriage commissioner require that during the ceremony, in the presence of the marriage commissioner and the two adult witnesses, the couple must declare to each other:
- 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 thee, (name) to be my lawful wedded wife/husband/spouse
Other than the above basic requirements, there are no government regulations with respect to the solemnization of the marriage by a member of the clergy.
Marriage Licence Requirements
To get a marriage licence in Alberta, you must meet the following requirements:
- You must be at least 18 years old (if you are younger than 18, you will need legal consent from your parents)
- You must show acceptable identification such as a birth certificate, passport, treaty status card, Canadian citizenship card or driver's licence
- Both parties must provide their parents' full names and birth places
- You cannot be related to the person you wish to marry by whole blood, half blood or adoption (for example, you may not marry your grandparent, parent, grandchild, child or sibling)
- You must be currently unmarried
- If you are divorced, you must present proof the divorce is final such as a Certificate of Divorce or a Decree Absolute
- You must have your wedding in Alberta, however you do not have to be an Alberta resident to get married in Alberta
- You must be free of the influence of drugs and alcohol when you apply for a Marriage Licence (and when you participate in the wedding ceremony)
- Both parties to the marriage must apply together for their marriage licence
Additional requirements for special circumstances:
- Both parties to the marriage must speak English (Note: If they do not, it is their responsibility to provide an interpreter who is over 18 years old and is fluent in both English and the language requiring translation. If the registry agent issuing the Marriage Licence is fluent in the other language, then that registry agent may proceed as the interpreter for issuing the Marriage Licence. The couple applying for a licence cannot translate for each other.)
- If either party is deaf, a sign language interpreter may be required
- If either party is mentally challenged and a trustee or guardian has been appointed, proof that their trustee or guardian has been informed of the upcoming marriage is required
- Blood tests are not required
Forms and Publications - Vital Statistics
Application for Certificates/Documents:
Who can apply for Vital Statistics' documents? (pdf)
What happens when... (pdf): Amendment Brochure
- Alberta's Vital Statistics Answers Your Frequently Asked Questions:
(these booklets are also available from registry agents)
Family Searches (pdf) - Genealogy Information booklet
- Birth Records (pdf) - Adoptions Information booklet
- Family Searches (pdf) - Genealogy Information booklet
For more information please visit the Government of Alberta - Services Alberta website.