First things first
You've already done the hard part . . . finding your soul-mate, the love of your life, the person you want spend of the rest of your life with!
Getting married in a civil ceremony in Alberta is relatively easy, but that doesn't mean a civil marriage service can't be a wonderful, memorable experience that you will cherish for the rest of your life.
Once you set your wedding date, it's best to contact myself or another Marriage Commissioner as soon as possible to make sure we are available for the day and time you're thinking of. Calgary is a rapidly growing city of 1,000,000-plus people and there are approximately 40 Marriage Commissioners to serve that booming population.
When it comes to paperwork, your first step is to visit one of the many registry offices around town, the same spot you renew your driver's licence. You can search online for a registry agent online at Services Alberta - Registry Agents or search the Yellow Pages for "License and Registry Services". There, you will purchase a Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence Form.
On that form, you'll be asked to supply the full name of the bride and groom (i.e. John Charles Smith or Cheryl Marie Conrad), your dates of birth, religious denomination if applicable, place of birth, the full legal names of both your parents and their place of birth (as in Calgary, Spokane, etc.)
Once you purchase your Registration of Marriage/Marriage Licence, it is valid for three months. If you purchase it on March 1st, your wedding can take place anytime between then and June 1st. But that doesn't stop you contacting me and together, starting to think about, exchange ideas, etc. about what kind of marriage ceremony you'd like six months or a year down the road.
The Registration of Marriage Form also has space for the information of the two witnesses that are required to be present at any civil marriage service. The lone requirements for witnesses are that they be at least 18 years of age and be present at the ceremony. Witnesses can be your best man or maid of honour, your brother Jim, your favourite aunt Bea, your curling buddy Barry ... you name it. Just don't forget to tell them you'd like to have them as official witnesses. We'll need their full name and mailing address before the service too.
After the civil ceremony is completed, the bride and groom, the two witnesses and the Marriage Commissioner all sign the Registration of Marriage. The commissioner then forwards it to the Vital Statistics department of the provincial government to act as the official record of your marriage. The small Marriage Licence is retained by the Marriage Commissioner, who issues the bride and groom with a Civil Marriage Statement which captures the essentials of the service.
For more information on marriage in Alberta, visit Alberta Government | Programs & Services - Getting Married.