Getting Married in Quebec: Courthouse or Notary?


If you’re planning on getting married in Quebec, you have several options: two of which include at the courthouse or through a notary. While both these options present a number of advantages to couples, there are some key distinctions you’ll want to know about before you make your final decision. Read on to learn more about the most important differences between two routes toward getting married in Quebec.


What Are the Differences Between Courthouse and Notary Weddings When Getting Married in Quebec?


Although most religions have a highly ceremonial wedding and vow exchange process, under Quebec law, being married can be accomplished by simply signing the required government forms and having them approved by someone legally empowered to officiate marriages.

This means that you and your beloved can go to the courthouse to have your marriage declaration signed by a judge or clerk. You can also schedule an appointment to appear before a notary, who can explain your legal rights and obligations to you before issuing a marriage license and who has more flexibility when it comes to a non-traditional wedding ceremony.

Getting your marriage officiated at the courthouse is by far the quickest way to get married. All you need to do is schedule a daytime appointment at the nearest Quebec courthouse, arrive with your betrothed and a couple of forms of identification, pay a filing fee, and stand before a judge to be pronounced spouses. You won’t be able to invite a large number of guests (although a few witnesses are usually fine) or bring decorations.


On the other hand, getting married by a notary can accomplish the same quick and easy goal while also ensuring you and your soon-to-be spouse are fully aware of all your rights and obligations under Quebec law as a newly married couple. Many couples have non-traditional financial or legal situations that getting married may affect, and having advice specific to your own circumstances can be a game-changer when you’re deciding whether to take this important legal step.

Notary weddings are more flexible than courthouse weddings when it comes to timing and location. If you’d prefer to get married on a weekend or at the park or restaurant where you and your beloved first met, a notary can travel to meet you there. You’ll be able to invite guests to witness your vow exchange or schedule a wedding at a time that’s convenient for you.

How Can You Decide Whether a Courthouse or Notary Wedding is Right for You?

Both courthouse and notary weddings are a good option for many couples. But you won’t have your rights explained to you at a courthouse wedding, nor will you be able to get married outside of court business hours or throw a huge celebration. At the courthouse, all your location and decor options are set for you—and while some couples appreciate this convenience, it’s not for everyone. Having a notary wedding can give you more flexibility to plan (and have) the wedding of your dreams while also ensuring you’re aware of all your rights.