How to Get a Marriage License
Though you’re busy enough meeting with your florist and picking the table linens for the reception, you can’t forget one important detail: the marriage license! A marriage license is a legal document stating that the two of you can get married, and the temple won’t even perform a sealing without one. This article walks you through how to get a license and meet all the requirements.
(Note: Marriage licenses may not be required in all countries outside of the United States and Canada.)
Requirements to Get a Marriage License
To get a marriage license, you’ll need to contact your county clerk. Start at your state or province’s website if you’re not sure who to speak to.
The requirements for receiving a marriage license vary from state to state, but in general you must:
• Both be present
• Be 18 or older (or have parental permission)
• Present valid identification, like a driver’s license, birth certificate, or passport
• Fill out the marriage license application form
• Pay the associated fees
• Get any necessary blood tests (not required in most states)
You must get your license in the state where you’ll be married, and you may or may not be required to be a resident of that state. If you live in a state other than the one where you are getting married, call your county clerk for details.
Cost of a Marriage License
Fees for obtaining a marriage license vary by state and county, but you can expect to pay between $20 and $50.
Most states offer a discount if you and your spouse complete a marriage prep course approved by the state beforehand, so you might be able to save some money by taking that marriage prep class during Sunday School.
Waiting Periods and Expiration Dates
Most states and provinces give you your marriage license immediately when you apply, but require a waiting period of 1-6 days until the wedding can actually be performed.
So get your marriage license a week or two in advance, but not too far in advance – most marriage licenses also have an expiration date of 30-90 days.
Receiving a Copy of Your Marriage Certificate
You must bring your marriage license to your wedding to have the officiate or temple sealer sign it and mail it to the clerk’s office.
You won’t automatically receive a copy of your completed marriage certificate. You must request a copy and send in the appropriate fee (usually around $15.) This is an important document for proving that you are legally married, or legally documenting wife’s change of last name.
Getting a marriage license can be sort of a pain in the neck, but it’s a necessary part of the whole wedding planning package. To make it more fun, set aside an afternoon with your fiancé to apply for your marriage license two or three weeks before the wedding, and make a date out of it.
♥ Jenny Evans
Exclusively for WeddingLDS.com
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