Designing My Dream Wedding

What You Need To Know About Getting Your Marriage License

While most people will remember their actual wedding ceremony and reception, there is a very important step to getting married that you can't ignore and that's getting your marriage license. The only way your marriage will be legal is to obtain a marriage license. You need to sign it and send it to the government. You will then be issued a marriage certificate.

Here is what you need to know about getting your marriage license before your big day.

Have Your Wedding Date Set Before You Apply

It's important to have your wedding date set before you apply for your marriage license. You will need this date in order to apply for the license because marriage licenses expire after a certain period of time. This means you can't apply for your license a year or more before you get married because your license will expire by your wedding date.

It's a good idea to apply for your marriage license at least a week before the wedding. There could be a delay in getting your license approved by the state, and you don't want to still be waiting for the approval on your wedding day.

Bring Your Documentation

Once you have a wedding date set, you can then make an appointment and head to the country clerk's office. Be prepared to be there for at least an hour due to filling out paperwork. 

Bring your documentation with you on the day. You will need to be able to prove your identity and each state has different requirements in what documents they will accept, so check with your county clerk's office before you go. Typically a birth certificate, driver's license, or passport will work in this situation.

In some states, you will need to have a witness with you, so check to see if you will be required to bring someone who has known you for at least several months.

You may be required to give information about your parents, so make sure you come prepared with the required information. If you were married before, you will need to show proof that you are divorced or that your former spouse has died.

Sign The License And Send It In

After the wedding ceremony has been performed, the marriage license must be signed to make it legal. You and your new spouse need to sign it, as well as two witnesses. These witnesses can be your bridal attendants, your parents, or good friends who attended the wedding.

Your officiant must also sign the license. In some states, you are able to marry yourselves meaning you don't need an officiant. Check with your state to see what they require. Your officiant will then send the marriage license to the country clerk's office.

You will either be mailed your marriage license, or you can pick it up from the county clerk.