Getting Married

On PEI, you must be 18 years old to get married unless you have permission from your parents or from a court. No one under the age of 16 can get married.

In Canada, it is illegal to be married to more than one person at a time. It is also illegal to marry people closely related to you, such as a sibling or half-sibling (biological or adopted).

Both people must be mentally competent and able to understand the full consequences of marriage. If one person is not competent, the marriage cannot go forward. Mental competency is a medical decision, determined by doctors.

Same-sex marriage is legal in Canada and same-sex spouses are subject to the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual spouses when it comes to marriage and the law.

  • Legal Documents and Marriage Commissioners

    To get married on PEI, you must have a marriage license. Once one is issued to you, it is valid for three (3) months.

    You may wish to be married in a religious institution, like a mosque or a church, or in a civil ceremony. For a secular ceremony you can look for a marriage commissioner—a secular person who can perform civil ceremonies—or request a civil ceremony from the provincial prothonotary.

    Once your wedding is complete, you may wish to get a marriage certificate. Marriage certificates are the legal proof of marriage.

    Note that marriage voids a will. When you marry, you will need to write a new will.

  • Names

    There is no law saying that a person must take his or her spouse’s last name when marrying – this is a choice. When a person marries, they may keep their birth name, their current last name, use a combination name, or adopt their spouse’s last name.

    For example, when Morgan Smith marries Pat Jones, Morgan can choose to be called Morgan Smith, Morgan Jones, or Morgan Smith-Jones.

    A person can change their mind and adopt their spouse’s name or return to their birth name at any time after the marriage.

    A person can use his or her birth surname for professional purposes and their married surname for all other purposes. However, it may be a good idea to have identification documents in one name only and to sign all legal documents in that name. A person who has taken their spouse’s last name can continue to use that name after a separation and a divorce, and even after a remarriage to someone else.