Debra Barron

Marriage Commissioner

Phone/Text: 780 222 6478

Email: debbarron@shaw.ca

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Frequently Asked Questions

​What is a Civil Ceremony?

Many people choose a civil wedding ceremony. This may be because of convenience, lack of or conflicting religious traditions or even time constraints. Civil marriages, just like marriages performed by clergy, are legal contracts between two persons and require actions and agreements between the parties. They can be as formal or informal, sentimental or streamlined, traditional or creative as the couple wishes.

 

What do we need to do to get married?

  • arrange for a Marriage Commissioner to officiate at the ceremony;

  • obtain a Marriage Licence from any Alberta Registry within 3 months of your ceremony;

  • arrange for two witnesses to be present at your ceremony (anyone over the age of 18); and

  • choose a venue

The Marriage Commissioner will guide you through the rest of the process.

Can we add any religious components to the ceremony?

I am appointed to perform weddings only in accordance with the laws of Alberta and by virtue of this appointment not authorized to perform religious ceremonies. However, if you would like to incorporate some religious aspects into your ceremony, you may invite others to contribute to the ceremony through the offering of prayers or readings etc. I am completely comfortable having you do this - I just am not authorized to do it myself.

How far in advance do I have to book?

With appropriate documents (ID, proof of marital status if previously divorced) you can obtain your Marriage Licence and be married on the same day. You may have some challenges finding a Marriage Commissioner available on very short notice, but if you are flexible in your timing you are probably fine. As long as I have no other appointments scheduled and am available, I’m happy to accommodate a short lead-time.

Do you perform same-sex marriages?

Yes, I am honoured to officiate at same-sex marriages (it's all about love, unconditionally!).

Do we have to use the words "husband" or "wife", or can we say "spouse".

You may absolutely use the word "spouse" in lieu of "husband" or "wife".  

What is your availability?

I am available most evenings and weekends, and can occasionally meet during a week day.  I'll make my schedule match yours.

Do you have a place we can come to for the ceremony?

I recommend you find location that is meaningful for you even if it is to be a simple ceremony. It could be in your home, a park, hotel, restaurant, coffee shop, inside, outside . . . anywhere that will personally resonate with you, and will create a memory to cherish. I am also very willing to have you come to my home in Sherwood Park.  I have hosted a number of weddings in my living room, by our lovely white fireplace.  

Will you come to my home for the ceremony?

I will be pleased to marry you in your own home, either surrounded by your friends and family, or just you, your partner, and two witnesses.  

Can you provide witnesses?

I am very happy to work with couples who choose to marry as simply and anonymously as possible (in other words, elope!). On one hand, it can be an adventure in trust and good fortune to find witnesses once we have arrive at the venue.  For those who are less inclined to trust fate, I am happy to arrange for witnesses at a small additional cost.

How do I change my name?

It's best to check the Service Alberta for the most up to date information.  Generally, institutions require proof that you've been married (either the certificate I share with you at the end of the ceremony or the government issued certificate for which you apply will do), and they will make the name change.  Note that you must contact every agency and ensure that your name is changed; nothing is changed automatically.  Don't forget about social insurance numbers, passports, driver's licences, and mortgages and household bills.