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WEDDINGS SPECIAL REPORT: Spouses-to-be should get their regulatory ducks in a row before wedding

0709weddingR.jpg photo courtesy of Brandon and Ryan Panaligan Ryan Panaligan, left, and Brandon Panaligan pose on an outcrop at the side of the Ingraham Trail while wearing the Game of Thrones costumes they chose for their wedding. The couple travelled all the way to Yellowknife from West Hollywood, Calif., to exchange vows of matrimony.

Weddings can be grand occasions, or they can even be spur-of-the-moment, but those looking to get married should know that there’s more required of them than just saying “I do.”

There are marriage licence issuers in communities all across the territory and brides or grooms-to-be must first make an appointment with them and get their documentation in order.

“If I'm dealing with a client and they're saying, you know, I want to get a marriage license, I would advise them to email me as there is certain information that I need from them,” said Jenetta Day, a marriage licence issuer in Inuvik.

“So, I'd need to know their full names at birth, places of birth, their dates of birth, the names of their parents and the places of birth for their parents. If either party was married before, we would need a divorce certificate.”

Day said that last item is one that people commonly have trouble with. Marriage licence issuers require a divorce certificate, which is not the same thing as the divorce judgment document – the two are easily and commonly confused.

“The divorce certificate is generally issued after the divorce has been finalized,” said Day.

If one of the parties to the wedding had previously been married but their spouse had died, a death certificate would need to be produced as well.

If all the documentation is in order, a marriage licence can be processed and issued the day the couple meets with the issuer.

There’s also a $65 fee.

Keener couples shouldn’t get their licence too far in advance, though. The document is only good for three months, less a day, and then the couple would have to go through the process again.

Licence in hand, the couple can then go to a registered cleric or marriage commissioner. The key word here is registered and that registration has to be with the GNWT.

Day said some couples prefer to have “someone special in their lives” officiate their wedding, and this can happen with planning. They can work with a licence issuer behind the scenes to have that person approved and trained to be a temporary marriage commissioner.

Day said she’s found the role to be rewarding, and one of the more positive government appointments available.

“It's always a good thing to be a part of someone's happy days,” she said.