How to Get a Marriage License

Even if you’ve been daydreaming about your wedding day for years, it’s unlikely that you’ve fantasized about how to get a marriage license.

If only getting married were as easy as saying “I do.” Unfortunately to make a marriage legal and binding, you’ll need to be issued a marriage license by the county in which you’re marrying. Usually that means a visit to the County Clerk several weeks before your wedding date in order to prove that neither of you are currently married and that you’re eligible to be legally married.

Visit the County Clerk’s website to review the guidelines for applying for and receiving a marriage license. While you’re reviewing the website, make sure you find answers to the following questions:

  • When should you apply for a marriage license?
  • What is the cost of applying for a marriage license?
  • What is the time frame after receiving your license in which you can get married?
  • Is there a wait to receive your license once you’ve applied?
  • Will you need to bring witnesses in order to apply for a license?
  • What documents must you bring to apply for a license?
  • What, if any, medical records are required?

Once you have the information you need, start collecting all of your relevant documents into a file folder so that the two of you will be ready to apply for your marriage license before the wedding day. A lot of counties will only issue the license a couple weeks before your wedding, so make a note in your calendar as to when you should apply.

Arrange a time to visit your County Clerk’s office and apply for your marriage license. Bring the documents that you compiled earlier and call ahead get an estimate as to how much time you should allow for your appointment.

The marriage license itself doesn’t make you legally married, but it does give you the legal grounds to hold a marriage ceremony. Your officiant will sign the license alongside you and your new spouse following your wedding ceremony, and he or she will be responsible for submitting it to the county as proof of marriage. Within a few weeks of your wedding, you’ll be able to request certified copies of your marriage certificate, which will act as legal proof of your marriage.

Now that you know how to get a marriage license, the process should be relatively easy.