There are some people in Canada who will tell you we live in a police state. They are resentful of the many different types of licenses we have to apply for, the various restrictions they place upon us. A medical doctor probably feels angry each time tax season comes around, as she looks at the government bill not only personally but for her business too. And a lot of people see the fees which come along with licenses as just another tax grab, one which might not make sense.
The fact is, though, the various methods our country has evolved for collecting income and keeping track of the population are not only necessary, but in most cases beneficial. One needs only look at a country like Haiti or Somalia to see what happens when there is a lack of responsible government, officials uninterested in keeping statistics, and people who don't have to pay any taxes at all. And the marriage license the couple wishing to tie the knot must apply for is just one more brick in the wall of civilization which keeps the wolves at bay.
Marriage licenses are a way for a government to keep track of vital statistics within a country, as well as ensure that people in the country are being married with their own consent and legally. They have also been the center of much controversy lately, as various groups lobby for allowing gay couples to receive their own marriage licenses. The case erectors in this battle argue it is discrimination not to allow couples to get married.
In order to be considered legally married in Canada, with the entitlements that gives to the couple in question, there has to be a license on record. They are actually very easy to obtain, as long as the marriage is a socially acceptable one. A couple need only go down to city hall, fill out the necessary information, and pay a fee of $75. Then they get their license and they can go enjoy their spa day as a part of their honeymoon.
Of course, most people choose to make a bigger ceremony out of the marriage license signing. It is often included in the ceremony, with both bride and groom (or groom and groom or bride and bride now) signing the license. The officiator and members of the wedding party also sign as witnesses. Then, it's off to the reception, for which the bride and groom has sometimes spent many hours planning for.