You’ve probably gone for a cake test, visited the hall you’ll be getting married in, spoken to your interior decorator, bought the flowers, watched videos on how to get married, and you’re getting ready to walk down that aisle and say your “I dos.” But before the celebrations, you’ll need to take time out to head over to the nearest county clerk with your spouse-to-be and obtain a marriage license, doesn’t sound like fun, right? Well, it might not be as fun as picking out a wedding dress, but it’s just as necessary for your marriage.
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What Is A Marriage License?
In the same way you need a driver’s license to drive on the road, you need a marriage license to say your “I dos.” Before your marriage ceremony, you’ll need to obtain a marriage license, which is a government document that approves you and your spouse-to-be for legal marriage.
How to Get A Marriage License
Marriage licenses can be obtained in person from the county clerk’s office in the county where you’ll be getting married, or you can set up an appointment online. The application fee for a marriage license ranges between $35-$115 depending on location.
A marriage license is valid for a limited period of time, in some states it can be valid for 30 days and in some other states it’s for a full year. You can also get your license same-day in some states, and in other states you might have to wait for 72 hours or more.
To apply for marriage license, the bride and groom will need to bring along identification such as a birth certificate and driver’s license and other necessary paperwork like certificate of divorce if you were once married. And if you’re under 21, you may need consent from a parent or guardian as well.
Can You Get Married Without A Marriage License?
You must obtain a marriage license before getting married. If you perform a ceremony without a marriage license, it will have no bearing on your legal status as a couple, meaning you’re not legally married.
During the wedding ceremony, the bride, groom, officiant (someone who is legally allowed to perform a wedding) and 1-2 witnesses (parents, siblings or friends for example) must sign the license. After this, the officiant will mail it to the county clerk’s office, or you can do this yourself. The license then becomes a public record.
Once your officiant has filed your marriage license with the issuing authority, you can now obtain your marriage certificate which proves that you are legally married.
This usually takes place right after the marriage, and it can be mailed to you a few weeks after the wedding. It states who married whom, the date, the location and the officiant that performed the marriage.
The marriage certificate will need to be signed by the newlyweds, the officiant, and one or two witnesses.
A marriage license application can be time-consuming, but it is best to get it done properly so that you can then focus on the other important aspects of your marriage.