Getting married in Alberta is actually quite simple, and involves obtaining a Marriage License (good for three months) from any registry office in Alberta—the same places where people get their driver’s licenses, vehicle registrations, etc. Just look under “License and Registry Services” in the Yellow Pages of the phone book and you will find many locations in each city.

In 2007 the prices were $80 for a Marriage License, and $35 for a Marriage Certificate.

(Note: The request for a Marriage Certificate is a separate form, and you will only receive a Certificate if you mail in your request to the government, after the wedding.)

In Alberta, marriages are performed either by an Alberta Marriage Commissioner (completely non-religious, and appointed by the government), or by Ministers (recommended by their denominations and authorized by Alberta Vital Statistics). Marriage Ministers are trained to bring that sense of tradition and spiritual blessing to the ceremony.

Marriages performed in Alberta are valid around the world, and can be conducted for non-citizens from other provinces and other countries.

To get your Marriage License remember the following:

• Both you and your partner need to show up in person at the License and Registry Office of your choice to give the information.

• You need appropriate ID (like driver’s license, passport, birth certificate).

• You might be asked whether you wish to "swear" or "affirm" the truth of your statements. That is, whether you wish to "swear on the scriptures" or simply "affirm" by raising your hand, as in court. (So be ready for that, in case you're asked!)

• Required information includes full name of each of your parents, mother’s maiden name, and their birthplace (country and city, if known).

• If divorced, you might be asked to produce a “decree absolute,” so bring it along.

• When asked to identify your religion, you can be as specific as your denomination (e.g., United, Anglican, Catholic), or as general as you like (e.g., Protestant, Christian, Sikh, Buddhist). And you can also answer “none.”

• The information you provide must be entered into a data base by the registry office. Usually this happens while you wait, but sometime there is a delay of a half-hour or so, and you’ll have to come back later to pick up the license.

• There are no blood tests or waiting periods required in Alberta.

• You could purchase the Marriage License the week, or even the day, before the wedding but better to get this task done much earlier. Remember, most registry offices are closed on Sundays and Holidays.

• You do not have to purchase the License in the municipality where you are getting married, but can buy it anywhere in Alberta to get married anywhere else in the province.

• You must bring this Marriage License to the wedding to be signed by your Minister or Marriage Commissioner.

• The bride signs the License with her maiden name.

• At the ceremony, you need two witnesses who are 18 years of age or over.

• After the ceremony, the Minister or Marriage Commissioner mails the signed document to Vital Statistics in Edmonton, and you only receive a Certificate of Marriage if you apply for one from the government (separate form, separate cost), also available from the Registry Office, when you purchase your marriage license.

For Calgary area, contact any “License and Registry” office operated by private companies throughout the city and neighbouring towns. Again, just check the Yellow Pages. Your license lets you get married anywhere in Alberta.

For more information about obtaining a Marriage License in Banff and vicinity, please follow this link to the Banff Bureau of Licensing and Registrations, Wolf & Bear Mall, 229 Bear Street, Banff

Phone: 403.762-2177

For more detailed questions about wedding rules, contact Alberta Government Vital Statistics in Edmonton, by Dialing 310-0000, and then the toll free number 780.427-7013 (though very hard to get beyond the recordings of “press 1,” “press 2,” etc.)

Information can also be found on the Alberta Government website

Calgary Marriage Commissioner | Banff Marriage Commissioner | Alberta Marriage Commissioner