You Can Officiate Your Friends' Weddings!

AuthorChiu, Victoria

Did you know you can officiate your friends' and family members' marriage ceremonies in Alberta? For a long time, only appointed civil marriage commissioners could officiate weddings in Alberta. The provincial government recently changed its policies to allow members of the public to perform these ceremonies. The new rules allow any Canadian permanent resident over the age of 18 to perform a non-religious ceremony in Alberta for one day free of cost by becoming a temporary marriage commissioner.

Who can officiate a marriage in Alberta?

Civil marriage commissioners appointed by the provincial government, registered clergy and temporary marriage commissioners can all perform in-person marriage ceremonies in Alberta. "Zoom" weddings and other teleconferencing arrangements where the officiant is not physically present to perform the marriage are not allowed in Alberta.

What is a temporary marriage commissioner? Who can become one?

Temporary marriage commissioners can perform one non-religious marriage ceremony on one specified day as long as they do not charge a fee. Any Canadian permanent resident over the age of 18 is eligible to apply. The application is free of charge.

The temporary marriage commissioner program has been around for a long time, but until very recently only certain categories of people could apply. These people included Members of Parliament, judges and lawyers. The general public could only apply to the program if they could prove no civil marriage commissioner was available on the marriage ceremony date. This was difficult to prove considering the large number of appointed commissioners. Because of these difficulties, the government opened these categories to include the general public.

How do you apply for a temporary marriage commissioner license? What materials will you receive?

You need to fill out a temporary marriage commissioner application. This application asks for your personal information, including your legal name, birth date and mailing address, as well as personal information for the people who want to be married. You will also need to give information about where and on what date the marriage ceremony will take place. You, as well as the to-be-married couple, must sign the application.

The application can take up to a week to process, but it is often faster than that. To account for potential delays, give yourself at least a week between the submission of your application and the proposed marriage ceremony...

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