Getting Married

Types of marriage

An authorized official needs to marry you to ensure that a marriage is performed properly and legally. There are two types of marriage ceremonies performed in Ontario:

Arranging the marriage ceremony is your responsibility. Hamilton City Hall does not host wedding ceremonies. 

Marriage licence vs. Publication of banns

Before you get married, you need either:

  • a marriage licence, or
  • a banns form that you get from a church when you publicly announce your commitment during a divine service (a church publishes this declaration, called “the publication of banns”)

Banns cannot be published if you or your spouse has been married before. You will need to get a marriage licence.

Getting married outside of Ontario

When you get married outside of Ontario, your marriage won’t be registered in the province.

You need to follow the marriage license requirements from the place where you intend to get married.

Get a marriage licence, outside Ontario

Get married in another province: check with the Vital Statistics Office in the province or territory in Canada where you want to get married.

Get married outside Canada: check with the Canadian representative in the country you want to get married in.

You may need to prove that you are not currently married and you may be required to apply for a marriage search letter.

Changing your name

When you get married, you don’t have to legally change your last name (surname). You can assume your spouses surname. If you would like to change your name you can:

Change your last name to your spouse’s last name

  • Use your spouse’s last name alone or hyphenated with your last name
  • You can use your spouse's legal last name without legally changing your name, as long as it is not for fraudulent purposes

Legally change your name to your spouse’s legal last name

  • Change your last name within 90 days of your marriage for free
  • This does change your last name on your birth certificate

If you choose to have a double last name you can also select the order that they appear.

If you decide to change your surname, it is your responsibility to change your name with all relevant government departments and agencies.

To change your last name, you will need: