Weddings are supposed to be romantic and magical, but there are also boring (but important) legal items that have to be attended to as well such as getting a marriage license.
The first thing to do is research the marriage laws in the state that you will be married. This website is a great place to start.
Next is to figure out where you need to obtain this document. It could be a County Clerk, City Hall or a Marriage License Bureau. Some states you can even download the form online and fill out at home.
It’s important to take time into account when applying for your marriage license because the time you will have to wait will differ. It’s not smart to wait until the last minute to obtain your license because you don’t want to risk not being able to get it before the wedding.
Marriage licenses will only be valid for a certain amount of time so it’s important to make sure how long yours will be last. Many of them are 30 days, so also make sure you don’t get it too soon so it doesn’t expire before your big day. A few weeks before the wedding is a great time to get your marriage license (don’t forget to take a photo with it outside the office!)
When actually applying for your license make sure that you have all the legal identification that is necessary to obtain it. Here is a checklist of items that you will most likely need in most places to obtain the license with no issue:
- Birth Certificate
- Parental Consent if under the age of 18 (You may also need court consent as well)
- Photo Identification (Driver’s License, State ID card, Passport)
- Social Security Card
- Proof of Citizenship
- Divorce decree if divorced
- Death certificate if widowed
You may also have to decide whether you are changing your name after marriage so it’s important to have that discussion with your spouse before going to get your license so you are not feeling rushed or pressured in the moment.
The last thing is to make sure that you bring your marriage license to the ceremony so that your ordained officiant can sign so that your union is legal! After that you will need to send your marriage license off to be filed so that you are legally married with your state.