NOTE: The information on this page was last updated on April 27, 2022. Provincial regulations change often with little notice.
COVID-19 has impacted wedding ceremonies in so many unpredictable ways. But love conquers all! You can still get married in accordance with Ontario regulations, which generally means smaller gatherings with social distancing.
My priority as an officiant is for everyone to feel safe and comfortable as we celebrate your wedding day. I'm fully vaccinated with 3 shots, I have minimal social contact outside my family, and I take a rapid antigen test before every wedding ceremony.
To include remote guests, you are welcome to live-stream your ceremony for guests who are unable to travel to your ceremony. I recommend the services of a professional DJ or videographer to ensure a seamless experience. I can supply a microphone and indoor/outdoor speaker system if you require one.
The question I am asked most often is, "What restrictions will be in place on our wedding date?" Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict what rules will be in place on a particular date in the future. It depends on the severity of covid which comes in waves. There may be capacity limits and other rules for social gatherings including wedding receptions, although for the most part these restrictions are expected to continue easing.
Rescheduling your wedding
If you previously arranged for me to officiate your wedding ceremony but are now changing your date due to covid restrictions, please contact me as soon as you know. It is no problem to change the date as long as I'm still available on your new date.
Rescheduling your wedding may require some flexibility on the ceremony time, because there could be multiple couples who want to reschedule to the same date. I understand this can be challenging and I will do my best to fit into everybody's schedules. For example, I might not be available at 4 PM on your new date, but I could do 3 PM or 5 PM. It is best if you confirm with me before finalizing a change of plans.
Some couples are choosing to have a smaller legal wedding ceremony now, with immediate family and close friends present, then a larger celebration and symbolic exchange of vows at a future anniversary party. Some are calling it a year-long wedding, others a vow renewal. I would be happy to help you with either one or both of your ceremonies.
Marriage licence requirements
A marriage licence is required to get married in Ontario. You must get one before your wedding and bring it with you to your ceremony. Officiants are not allowed to get the marriage licence on your behalf, nor to perform a ceremony without a licence.
If you live outside Ontario and are getting married in Ontario, you will need to get a marriage licence in Ontario once you arrive. A marriage licence issued in your home province or outside Canada is not valid for a ceremony in Ontario.
Please plan in advance. There are strict requirements around forms of identification and proof of dissolution of prior marriage, and it may take some time to gather the documents necessary to obtain a marriage licence.
Getting a marriage licence does not mean you are married yet. It is the first step. You become legally married when your officiant solemnizes your marriage on your wedding day. After your wedding, you can obtain a marriage certificate from ServiceOntario.
Please note: A marriage licence is different from a marriage certificate. A marriage licence is required before you get married. A marriage certificate is legal proof of marriage after your wedding.
Marriage licence validity extended due to COVID-19
Marriage licences normally expire after 90 days and must be used during that time. However, marriage licences issued during a state of emergency (or in the 3 calendar months preceding the declaration of the state of emergency) have had their expiry dates extended until 2 years after the end of the state of emergency, as long as your name or marital status has not changed during that time:
if you got your marriage licence on or before November 30, 2019, it has expired and you must get a new one
if you got your marriage licence December 1, 2019 to July 24, 2020, it is still valid until July 24, 2022
if you got your marriage licence July 25, 2020 to September 30, 2020, it has expired and you must get a new one
if you got your marriage licence October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020, it is still valid until February 10, 2023
if you got your marriage licence January 1, 2021 to June 4, 2021, it is valid until June 4, 2023
if you got your marriage licence June 5, 2021 to October 31, 2021, it has expired and you must get a new one
if you got your marriage licence November 1, 2021 to February 24, 2022, it is valid until February 24, 2024
if you got your marriage licence on or after February 25, 2022, it is valid for 90 days from the date of issue
Where to get a marriage licence during the pandemic
You can get your marriage licence from any city hall in Ontario that is open and providing this service. It does not have to be from the same city where you live, although some municipalities are serving only local residents for now.
Please plan ahead! Delays and temporary closures have been happening throughout the pandemic, often with very little notice. Some city halls are requiring appointments and are booked weeks or months in advance.
If your wedding will for sure be in the next 90 days and you are able to get a marriage licence now, get one now while you can.
As of January 3, 2022, city halls in Waterloo and Hamilton are still open and offering walk-in service for marriage licences, while city halls in Kitchener, Cambridge, Guelph, Brantford, Milton, Burlington, Oakville, Brampton, Mississauga, Brampton, and Toronto require an appointment in advance.
If you are unable to get a marriage licence from your city hall in time for your wedding, you can apply for one in a different city. A marriage licence issued in one city in Ontario is still valid for a wedding ceremony to take place in a different city in Ontario. Plan ahead. Getting a marriage licence is a legal requirement. The officiant cannot perform a wedding without a marriage licence.
If you have questions relating to wedding ceremonies and officiant services, or if you wish to book a marriage officiant, please call or text Sassan Sanei (licensed officiant) at 519-501-4523 or email to: email@example.com