Marriage License Basics: Everything You Need to Know
It may come as a surprise, but a marriage license is required to get before your big day. The license will have the specifics of your wedding, like the day of your wedding and where you and your partner are getting married. If you are tying the knot soon, be sure to research the specifics of your area, as this is an essential part of the planning process. It will ensure that you and your partner are legally married! Read on to learn more about marriage license basics.
Once you decide on the official location of your wedding, you will have to do a little research to figure out where you will need to get your marriage license. For most cities and towns, it is usually the town hall, clerks office, or marriage license bureau. Be sure to research the details a few months before your wedding to ensure you file everything within the correct timeframe.
Some states have different waiting periods that could consist of several days before awarding the license and your wedding day, so it’s important that you apply roughly a month before your wedding date. Both you and your partner will have to be present when applying. Keep in mind; most states have a specific time window where you will have to have the ceremony, sign the license, and file for a certified license and marriage certificate.
Marriage licenses are usually valid for 30-60 days after they are issued to you, meaning you have a short window of time to get married. If you don’t get married within that window, it will expire, and you will have to apply for another license.
Once you have your license, you will need an officiant who is authorized to perform your ceremony. Some use official officiants while some couples ask a friend or relative to perform their wedding ceremony. Before having them act as your officiant, check your state and county laws to ensure they are officially allowed to help you tie the knot.
After your wedding day, it’s the officiant’s responsibility to make sure the license is recorded with the county that you had your wedding in. Within a few short weeks, you will receive your marriage certificate in the mail.
The requirements vary by state and county. Be sure to confirm the exact requirements before filing for a marriage license. This will ensure that the process is easy and stress-free!
A basic checklist to follow for requirements is listed below.
- Birth certificate
- If under 18, parental consent
- Photo identification (driver’s license, state ID card, passport, or birth certificate)
- Social Security number
- Proof of citizenship and/or residence
- Divorce decree (if divorced)
- Death certificate (if widowed)
Most states will require a form of identification, whether that be through your license, social security card, or passport. If you have been married before, they will require you to show how the marriage ended. If you are a widow, they will require a death certificate, or if divorced, they will need a divorce decree. If you are divorced, some states have waiting periods before getting married, so it’s essential to know the requirements ahead of time.
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