March 30, 2004 (updated June 14, 2004)
marriage in Quebec
For Civil Marriages:
Civil marriages are organized and held in the various "Palais de justice" in metropolitan centers across Quebec by the Service des mariages civils. There is no citizenship requirement but the two persons must be 18 or older (16 and 17-year-olds are permitted to marry but only with parental consent). The persons may not be close blood relations nor be married or civilly unioned to someone else.
Civil marriage requires completing a simple form, one page per person, and submitting it to the Civil Marriage Service. On receipt, the Service schedules an interview (only one person from the couple is required to be present) where the birth certificates and other legal papers are reviewed. Once this application process is competed, the date for the ceremony is scheduled.
The ceremony must be more than 20 days from the acceptance date since all marriages are announced at the place of the marriage ceremony for 20 days.
[NOTE: U.S. resident Jim Hock has planned his wedding in Montreal and he kindly advised us that out-of-towners are easily accommodated: "After contacting the Palais de Justice to obtain a civil wedding application we were told that they can accomodate non-Montrealers by requiring just one trip. They get the information they need from the application for the 20-day posting, and can set the wedding date once they've received the application. They can also schedule the interview date to a day or 2 before your wedding date. The interview is just to check your birth certificate and divorce decrees, if applicable. They were very accomodating to our request of date/time with only a couple months notice ... I guess my point is that people may be unduly discouraged from getting married in Quebec due to the 20-day posting period. We have some friends that ended up getting married in Toronto rather than Montreal due to the perceived complications of the 20-day waiting period, when in fact it's a very easy and accomodating process.]
Ceremonies are held from Monday to Saturday, on the half hour, in a room reserved for this purpose. No rice, no confetti, no drinking of any liquids, nor eating, is permitted in the room.The service takes about 15 minutes and is essentially comprised of a reading of the various engagements between the couple as laid out in the Quebec Civil Code at the end of which the couple each say "I do" and exchange rings (if they so desire). A speech is permitted at this point.
The cost is 253.06$ Cdn including all taxes, the room, the officer of the court who presides over the marriage.
Application forms are available from:
The same service also offers Civil Unions with the only difference being the title on the form and a slightly different reading of the Civil Code engagements. The responsabilities and benefits are the same but they apply only in Quebec as no other government recognizes the Quebec civil union. Couples who are already civilly unioned may not marry until they have dissolved the civil union.
For religious marriages:
The couple must contact the church directly and it will provide the forms and the procedures according to their faith; they also complete the official government registry of the marriage. Since churches vary greatly in their requirements concerning who can marry in them, it is not possible to provide the details of how to proceed. However, the posting of the application for 20 days is a statutory requirement.
Most likely, the couple could contact the church of their faith in Montreal and obtain information directly. The Quebec Civil Code permits licenced priests and preachers to grant or deny permission to marry in their churches depending on the tenets of their faith (and according to the law for age, present marital status and blood relationship). Most religions will not marry a couple of mixed religious backgrounds, the Catholic Church does not marry divorced persons, etc..
The churches who are open to same-sex marriages in Montreal are the Unitarian and some parishes of the United Church. There is not as yet a Metropolitan Community Church in Quebec.