Sweetheart Chapel, Niagara-on-the-Lake
Things you need to know as you prepare for your wedding
What are the legal requirements to marry in Ontario?
You can find complete requirements for marriage licenses from the Niagara Falls city website, Click on City Hall, then Marriage Licenses for details; special requirements apply if you have been divorced or had an annulment. There is a $125 (Canadian dollars) fee for the license, which you can use anywhere in Ontario for 90 days after it is issued.
IMPORTANT What If I Have Been Divorced?
If you have been divorced outside of Canada, you will not be granted a license until a Canadian lawyer verifies your documents. No way around this, folks.
A Canadian lawyer MUST do the footwork, send things off to Thunder Bay (Registrar General) and then you may apply for a license. Paperwork needs to be received a few months in advance of the wedding, but in some cases a faster turnaround can be achieved. Once your documents have been approved there is a 90-day window to have your wedding.
The official government voice mail 1-800-461-2156 will tell you to expect it to take FOUR WEEKS to be processed once they receive your paperwork. Please make sure that the attorney gives you a breakdown of what you can expect for your money! Anyone charging more than $300 and not sending the paperwork for you is a red flag, and should be avoided.
We recommend this firm in Niagara Falls, Ontario, that handles foreign divorce authorizations all the time:
Bev Hodgson's office at 905-354-1600. Sherry is the lawyer in charge of the authorizations and will work with you step by step. Her email is [email protected]
What if we are not Canadian?
You do not have to be a Canadian citizen to marry in Canada. There are no residency or citizenship requirements, nor are there any special requirements for same-sex couples.
Will my Canadian wedding be recognized in my home country?
Canadian weddings are recognized world-wide. In the case of same-gender couples, if your country recognizes same-sex weddings, your license from Ontario is recognized.
May we write our own vows?
Yes, you may bring along original vows. Little touches like these make the ceremony uniquely yours.
How long do services last?
Generally, ceremonies are between 15 and forty minutes in all. Lengthy ceremonies tend to become uncomfortably long for guests, we have found.
How much do your weddings cost?
Services begin at $325 for Location weddings, $200 for onsite elopements and $300 for onsite weddings with guests. Off-site ceremonies may include fees for travel. Upon booking, you are sent a verification of your date and time, along with a receipt of your deposit/payment.
What if I am estranged from my Anglican or Catholic church?
Deborah worked with the Anglican Church for 25 years and is now the Presiding Bishop of the Community Catholic Church of Canada. This church has historically been in communion with the Anglican church and is also recognized by the Vatican as having valid orders, sacraments, and apostolic succession. As such, your wedding is sacramental and valid in both churches with the exception of same-sex marriages, which are not accepted by either body.
I am part of a same-sex couple. Can I have a sacramental marriage?
The Community Catholic Church of Canada recognizes and blesses gay and lesbian weddings just as any other and is pleased to offer the sacrament of marriage to same-sex couples. Bishop Deb is happy to perform sacramental weddings for any couple who wishes one and has no impediments to the sacrament. If you have questions, email us.
Do you charge a late fee
Yes. Often Deborah has many weddings on a busy day. If you set your wedding to begin at a certain time, then she arranges to be available and also leaves enough time for other weddings that may come up that day. If you are more than 20 minutes late that can have an impact on her schedule and the next couple's wedding.
If you are more than 20 minutes late, there is a late fee of $35.
What if I forget my cash on the wedding day to pay the balance
If couples do not have the balance paid by the wedding or do not have cash at the ceremony, there is a $35 non-payment fee added to the balance owed.
Here is a handy FAQ from the Ontario Government: