At Service New Brunswick, we understand that marriage is an exciting time in a couple's life. While there are certain steps you'll need to follow before and after your wedding takes place, our aim is to make this experience as stress-free as possible.
Getting Married - Frequently Asked Questions
- What constitutes a legal marriage?
- What is a Marriage Licence?
- What information and documentation is required when applying for a Marriage Licence in New Brunswick?
- What if one party can't appear in person before the Issuer of Marriage Licences?
- Where can we obtain a Marriage Licence in New Brunswick?
- How much does a Marriage Licence cost?
- How long will the Marriage Licence be valid?
- Can we acquire a Marriage Licence in New Brunswick, but get married in another province, territory or country?
- Do we need to register our marriage in New Brunswick if we were married elsewhere?
- Can we get married right away?
- If we lose or damage our Marriage Licence, how do we replace it?
- Can a cleric from outside New Brunswick preside at our wedding?
- How old do we have to be to get married in New Brunswick?
- How can we get married if we’re not of legal age?
- Is there anyone that I’m not allowed to marry?
- What name do I sign on the Marriage Registration Form and Statement of Marriage after the ceremony?
- What surname may I use after I’m married? Who should I notify if I change my surname?
- Who can be a witness to our marriage?
- Does New Brunswick law require my partner and I to have a blood test before we get married?
- Where can we get a copy of our marriage certificate after we are married?
A legal marriage may take place as either a religious or civil marriage ceremony. This ceremony may be performed anywhere in New Brunswick, as long as the person performing the marriage is authorized to do so.
- Religious marriage ceremonies are performed by clerics of churches and religious denominations recognized under the Marriage Act. In order to be registered, the governing authority of the recognized church or religious denomination will apply on behalf of the cleric to the Vital Statistics Office. Your cleric can advise you whether he or she is registered under the Marriage Act to solemnize marriage in New Brunswick.
- A Civil Officiants may solemnize civil marriage ceremonies throughout the province. An eligible member of the Law Society of New Brunswick may apply to the Registrar General of Vital Statistics. For a list of qualified Civil Officiants, go to www.snb.ca/civilofficiant.
Please note that only individuals who are eligible to register as a Civil Officiant, or a registered cleric may solemnize marriage in New Brunswick.
In the province of New Brunswick, every couple must obtain a Marriage Licence before getting married. A Marriage Licence confirms that an engaged couple is legally entitled to wed. You'll need to present this document to the person who is going to perform your marriage before the ceremony takes place.
A couple applying for a Marriage Licence will need to take the following steps.
- You will need to know the date on which you are going to be married in addition to the name and address of the person who is going to perform your marriage.
- You and your future spouse must appear before the Issuer of Marriage Licences, with whom you will each have a separate interview. All information disclosed will be kept strictly confidential.
- At this time, applicants for a Marriage Licence are required to provide proof of their age and identity by presenting documentation such as:
- Birth Certificate
- Current Passport
- Canadian Citizenship Card
- Record of Landing/Canadian Permanent Resident Card
- If you are divorced or have received a civil annulment, you must provide proof of your current marital status. It is the responsibility of the couple to ensure proper documents are obtained prior to applying for a Marriage Licence.
Acceptable proof of divorce includes the following:
- Certificate of Divorce
- Decree Absolute
- Final Decree, Final Judgement or Order granting a divorce
The above documents must be original forms, or copies certified by the stamp, seal and/or signature of an official of the judicial district where the divorce was granted. Uncertified photocopies will not be accepted. Documents issued by Canadian jurisdictions entitled “Divorce Order, Divorce Judgement, Decree Nisi or Conditional Judgement” are not acceptable as final proof of divorce.
If you have received a civil annulment, a court certified copy of this document must be presented to the Issuer of Marriage Licences. Please note a religious annulment is not an acceptable document when applying for a Marriage Licence.
Similarly, if you have been widowed, you must present proof of the death of your former spouse. This may include:
- Death Certificate issued by the Vital Statistics Office
- Statement of Death issued by a Funeral Director
- If any of the documents mentioned above were issued in a language other than French or English, you will need to provide a translation completed by a qualified, impartial translator.
- Before receiving a Marriage Licence, you will also have to complete and sign an “Affidavit on Application for a Marriage Licence.” You will both be asked to solemnly swear or affirm that the information you have provided is true before signing this form.
Only one person may be excused from appearing before the Issuer of Marriage Licences. In the event that either you or your partner must be absent, a “Personal Attendance Excused” form may be obtained from a service centre (www.snb.ca/locations). Whoever appears before the Marriage Licence Issuer must then bring this form and any supporting documentation when applying for the licence.
Marriage Licences are available at service centre locations throughout the province. For further Information go to www.snb.ca/locations to find the nearest centre that offers this service. Or, you may call 1-888-762-8600 toll-free within North America, or 1-506-684-7901 outside North America.
The fee is $115.
A Marriage Licence is valid for three months from its date of issue. If it expires before your marriage ceremony is held, you will be required to apply and paya the fees for another Marriage Licence.
No. You must obtain your Marriage Licence in the province/territory/country where your wedding will take place. For example, if you intend to get married in Hawaii, you will have to acquire a licence from that state. For further information, please contact the authorities where you wish to be married.
No. The Vital Statistics Office only registers marriages that have occurred within New Brunswick, regardless of whether or not you are a New Brunswick resident. This means that the province/territory/country where the marriage took place will register your marriage according to its own laws. In the future, proof of marriage must therefore be obtained from the province/territory/country where your marriage occurred.
Yes. As long as your application is in order, there is no waiting period; your licence will be issued immediately.
If you lose your Marriage Licence or cannot read it clearly due to a stain or tear, please contact the service centre that issued your licence for replacement instructions.
If you would like a cleric who resides outside of New Brunswick to solemnize your marriage, he/she must obtain a temporary registration permit from Service New Brunswick’s Vital Statistics Office.
In order for this to occur, the governing authority of a recognized church or religious denomination will have to make an application to the Vital Statistics Office on behalf of the visiting cleric. We recommend that this application be submitted at least one month prior to the marriage to allow sufficient time for processing.
Please note that not all applicants may be authorized to solemnize a marriage in New Brunswick.
In order to marry without the consent of your parents or guardians, both you and your partner must have been previously married, or be at least 18 years of age.
If you are 16 or 17 years old and have never married, your parents or guardians must sign an affidavit of consent.
No person under the age of 16 years may be married in Canada.
According to the “Prohibited Degrees of Consanguinity Barring Lawful Solemnization of Marriage in Canada,” a person cannot marry their:
¹ or half-sister, or sister by adoption
² or half-brother, or brother by adoption
These documents must be signed with the names indicated on your Marriage Licence in order to properly identify who was married. Note that this signature does not reflect your choice of marital surname, if you should decide to change it.
After you have been married, you and/or your spouse may choose to assume a marital surname. You have several options, including:
- Keeping your registered birth surname, which is the name listed on your birth certificate.
- Keeping the surname you retained from a previous marriage, if it was used immediately prior to your present marriage.
- Assuming the surname of your spouse.
- Assuming a combination surname comprised of both your surnames, with or without a hyphen.
It should be noted that assuming a spouse’s surname after marriage does not alter your birth certificate. Since it doesn't constitute a legal name change, no notice of a change in surname will be issued by Vital Statistics, or any other government office. However, you may use the Form 10 “Statement of Marriage” given to you by the Marriage Officiant to change your surname on other documentation, such as your provincial driver's licence, vehicle registration or Medicare card. In order to do so, you will need to present your Statement of Marriage at your nearest Service New Brunswick service centre.
Please note that specific offices may require additional documentation to make these changes, and that you are responsible for contacting such offices to determine what additional documents (e.g. a birth, marriage, death or divorce certificate) must be presented in order for the change to be processed.
For more information, please call 1-888-762-8600.
There must be two witnesses to your marriage. When choosing who your witnesses will be, keep in mind that both must be 19 years of age or older, as they will be required to sign the Registration of Marriage form on the day of your wedding.
You are not legally required to have a blood test prior to marriage in New Brunswick.
After the marriage ceremony, you will be given the Form 10 “Statement of Marriage.” You may also require or wish to own a registered copy of your Certificate of Marriage. If this is the case, a certificate may be applied for:
- At all service centres located throughout the province.
- Online at www.snb.ca/vs/
Complete application details may be obtained by visiting www.snb.ca/vs/ or by telephoning 1-888-762-8600 toll-free within North America, or 1-506-684-7901 outside North America.