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Getting Married In BC

Are you eligible to marry in BC?
You do not have to be a British Columbia resident to be married in the province. However, you are required to get a Marriage Licence valid only in British Columbia.

Anyone over 19 years of age is eligible to apply for a marriage licence in BC. Anyone under 19 years of age must first obtain the consent of both parents. Visit website for the consent form or get the form from the local Marriage Licence Issuer. No one under 16 years can be married without the consent of the Supreme or County Court.

If one or both individuals were recently divorced within the last 31 days, proof of divorce must be provided. No licence is issued until the courts finalize a divorce, normally 31 days after the divorce decree is issued by the Courts.

To marry, blood tests are not required under British Columbia legislation.

Apply for a Marriage Licence in BC
To get married in British Columbia, the Marriage Act requires that the couple get a Marriage Licence. You may get married during the three-month term of the licence.

Only one member of the couple needs to apply for a marriage licence. Visit website for the marriage licence application and fee. Find here locations of Marriage Licence Issuers. Please bring the following identification for both individuals who plan to marry.

Full name, including given names
Birth date and birth place
Marital status
Current address
The marriage licence is issued at the time of application. The marriage licence is non-refundable, valid for three months and may not be extended.

Arrange the Marriage Ceremony
In British Columbia, couples can choose a religious or civil ceremony, which must be witnessed by two people.

To perform the religious ceremony, you can choose a religious representative who must be registered with the Vital Statistics Agency, under the Marriage Act.

In BC, civil ceremonies are performed by marriage commissioners, who are appointed by the Chief Executive Officer of the Vital Statistics Agency.

If you plan to have a civil ceremony, contact and book a marriage commissioner as soon as possible once you set your wedding date. Make sure you provide the necessary information on your wedding:

Date and time of your wedding ceremony
Location and address
Payment of fees to the commissioner
Additional information can be helpful, including the number of guests and people in the wedding party, plus any special wardrobe or other requests.

Find here the approved wedding ceremony for your use. Any changes should be discussed with your marriage commissioner. Please note that the bold and capitalized text is mandatory for all civil ceremonies in British Columbia.

Register the Marriage
The marriage commissioner or religious representative who will perform the wedding ceremony will help complete the Marriage Registration Form. Within 48 hours of the wedding ceremony, the form will be sent to the Vital Statistics Agency, where the marriage will be registered and a legal record will be kept.

Proof of Marriage
At the time of the ceremony, your marriage commissioner or religious representative may provide a statement of marriage, which can be used temporarily as proof of marriage. However, it is not a legal document.

You will receive a legal Marriage Certificate from the Vital Statistics Agency after the registration of the marriage.

Which name can I use?
After marriage, you can continue using or choose to use your own surname at any time. You also gain the right to use your spouse's surname. This does not result in a legal change of name or any automatic change to your identification records.

If you choose to use hyphenated surnames, a legal Change of Name is required.
BC Vital Statistics Agency
URL: www.vs.gov.bc.ca/marriage/howto.html

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