Ontario Marriage Licence Costs
Getting married in Ontario? Congratulations!! As you work on your budget, here is one way you may save some money – SHOP AROUND for your marriage licence.
You (the couple) must purchase an Ontario Marriage Licence from any City Hall in Ontario for a legal marriage service to take place. The licence is valid for 90 days, so I recommended that you purchase your licence 1-2 months in advance of your ceremony. Your licence does NOT have to be purchased in the same city that the ceremony will be taking place. So, here is the catch, even though the document you receive is provincially regulated, each City Hall sets their own pricing for the cost of that licence being issued to you.
My advice? If you are planning a little get-away in the 1 or 2 months prior to your wedding date, and going to a place where you can pick up your marriage licence at a cheaper rate, you might get a deal! But be prepared. The rabbit hole I went down to collect this information, exposed how Ontario City Halls can make this process even more confusing by being inconsistent across the province.
This PDF list is based on today’s date of July 23, 2023, with links to the majority of City Hall locations across Ontario. Prices may increase slightly as this blog ages, but currently they range from $100 to $189 (HST Exempt). Some City Halls, such as Timmins, is even letting you know in advance that the prices will keep increasing (2022 - $170.00; 2023 - $175.00; 2024 - $180.00; 2025 - $185.00). Leamington charges $135, but includes a “convenience fee” of an additional $4 (What is this?). Others, such as Brockville, do not provide you with any idea of cost of the marriage licence upfront. I gave up trying to find it on their site.
The higher the price climbs, the more random the costs seem to be. Ottawa being the weirdest of them all. And, please NOTE: It is the Wild West out there. Not only do the prices range across the province, but the rules for getting the licence do as well.
Some City Halls will require that you book an appointment in advance. And some, such as Quinte West (Belleville $140) require you to be a resident, which was common during the pandemic, but I’m not sure if it’s still legal to do this anymore? Others, such as Pembroke will issue you a licence, even if you don’t live there, but they will charge you extra ($125 for residents and $150 for non-residents.) Leeds and the Thousand Islands do not provide marriage licences at all, but they will direct you to neighbouring areas.
They are also very unsure if licence is spelled with an ‘c’ or an ‘s’ and use the Canadian and American spelling interchangeably. Someone should tell them it is a ‘c’ in Canada. But to be fair, a lot of these City Halls are still discovering this.
And finally, most of these City Halls are still telling couples that they must wait 6-8 weeks before they can apply for their Marriage Certificate after the date of their marriage. Well, good news folks! The Internet has been invented! The suggestion to wait 6-8 weeks was a part of the process when couples would have to mail in their forms to request the certificate. You can now apply for your marriage certificate online immediately following your ceremony. Take a screenshot of the receipt page once you do though. The government has not learned how to email you the receipt following the transaction, and you will need your Order Number to follow up with them if there are any delays.
For more tips an tricks, follow my rants on Instagram @themarryinglady
Here is your list and happy bargain hunting!
Photo Credit: Barb Simkova