"Signing the Papers", "Registering a wedding", "No ceremony", Here are the facts.

There has been a new flurry of new people asking us to "just sign the papers", "we don't want a ceremony, we just want you to 'register' the wedding" so we can get our "marriage certificate'.  "We're having (or we 'had') another wedding, so we need someone to 'register' the marriage, without a ceremony".  "Our (friend/relative/non-licensed  officiant) is going to marry us, can you please come and sign the papers".

I've written about this for 10 years, but I suppose we can't say this too often:  The Marriage Act of Ontario requires a SPECIFIC SPOKEN LEGAL CEREMONY to be held in front of witnesses, conducted by a LICENSED officiant, to make your marriage legal.  It is not the 'signing of papers', it is this specific VERBAL CEREMONY that makes the marriage acceptable by law.  The 'signing' or 'registering' is simply filling out the papers after the ceremony to PROVE to the Government, and the Registrar General, that the proper VERBAL LEGAL CEREMONY happened in front of witnesses.

If you are being married by a properly registered Religious officiant, they will include the legal parts of the ceremony with your spiritual ceremony.  If your religious or traditional officiant is not licensed by the Registrar General of Ontario to conduct official weddings,  you must find a LICENSED officiant to conduct a legal ceremony, or you are not officially married.

If anyone is offering to just 'sign the papers' for you - that is against the law. Or if anyone offers to simply 'sign the papers' for a non-licensed officiant, that is also illegal.

The required verbal ceremony is short, and follows the requirements of the Marriage Act of Ontario.  You must EACH speak the declarations, saying who you are, and that there is no impediment to your being legally married today, and then you must repeat the legal vows to each other, and the Officiant must properly pronounce you to be married.  The witnesses are signing the 'papers' afterwards, to show that they saw and heard you do and say these things.

You can add lots of other things to a legal ceremony - personal vows, readings, music, rings, cultural ceremonies  - but you CANNOT OMIT the sections required by the Marriage Act.

Please see:
Elements of a Simple Legal Marriage
Can my Sister, Dad, Uncle, Friend Marry US?
Posts about "Signing the Papers", Legal Marriage