Whether your wedding is a civil marriage or a religious marriage, COVID-19 will necessarily have an impact on your project. Some couples are cancelling or postponing their marriage. Others are changing their plans and reducing the number of guests for the celebration and postponing the party until later. There are various options to still celebrate a civil marriage during the time of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Here’s what the Direteur de l’état civil du Québec says
The Director de l’état civil du Québec stipulates that civil marriages cannot be done remotely: the spouses, witness and the celebrant must be present in person. Consequently, marriages and civil unions cannot be celebrated by videoconference. If the marriage date is postponed, the following points are asked to be respected:
If the celebrant is a designated celebrant (one-day celebrant)
You must contact us by email at firstname.lastname@example.org to have the file updated.
If the celebrant is a minister of religion, a notary, a court clerk or a municipal official
You do not have to inform the Director de l’état civil du Québec. On the other hand, you must ensure that the celebrant’s authorization is still valid on the day of the ceremony.
The validity period of a celebrant’s authorization is indicated in the authorization issued by the Director de l’état civil du Québec to the celebrant and to the head of his/her organization. Notaries are authorized to celebrate marriages as long as they are authorized by law to receive notarial deeds.
In all cases, you must ensure that a valid notice of marriage or civil union has been published.
If the marriage is celebrated within three months and twenty days after the start of publication, the marriage notice remains valid.
If the marriage is postponed more than three months and twenty days after the start of publication, it will have to be published again. The celebrant will therefore have to submit a new request for publication. (Source: Website of the Director de l’état civil du Québec: (http://www.etatcivil.gouv.qc.ca/en/news.html)
Celebrating a marriage during COVID-19
The marriage celebrant that you choose and the location where the marriage will take place must comply with the government of Quebec’s health instructions.
Since March 2020, all staff in our notary’s office have applied the following rules, both for our day-to-day operations and for our civil marriage celebration service in our two true wedding ceremony rooms:
- Keeping a register of visitors with their names and civic addresses
- Maintaining at all times a minimum distance of two (2) metres between our staff and our clients and those accompanying them
- Mandatory wearing of a mask
- Ventilation of our premises between each marriage ceremony or consultation
- Disinfection between each client of contact surfaces (handles, switches, faucets, desk, tables, chairs, etc.) and pens
- Use of teleconsultation and videoconsultation for consultations and deeds permitted by decree of the Quebec Minister of Justice
- Any client or person accompanying a client who has returned from outside Canada within less than 14 days will not be able to have access to our offices
- Any client or person accompanying a client who has any Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms will not be able to have access to our offices.
Although Covid-19 has caused postponements and cancellations of marriages, we are seeing more and more couples modifying their ceremony, choosing a more intimate wedding. We have even broken our record for the number of celebrations in August since 2011 (the year since which we have been compiling statistics) Mtre Mona Salehi observes.